RPC is a File Format as well as a Platform for handling render-ready content within the world's most popular design visualization products from companies such as Autodesk, Bentley, Robert McNeel & Associates and Adobe.
As a file format, RPC makes adding image-based content as simple as placing the RPC in a scene, freeing users from the painstaking process of creating geometry, materials, mapping textures, and rigging objects to follow cameras. RPC files can contain both image-based data as well as geometry. The variety of image-based data and geometry stored in the RPC file format includes single 2D images, a series of 2D images, and underlying geometry. RPCs are published in several "flavors" including 2D, 2.5D (motion), 3D, 3.5D (motion) and 3D+ (geometry). Details about each of these types of RPCs is below.
As a Platform, RPC is supported natively or via plug-in for over a dozen of the world's most popular 3d design applications such as Autocad, 3ds Max, Revit, Microstation, Accurender, FormZ and Photoshop.
Viewport for Dashboard is a new 3D viewing mode that lets you preview your RPCs in full 3D. For 2D motion RPCs (2.5D) it will also let you scrub through the animation sequence with a simple time slider. Viewport for Dashboard can drastically improve your work flow for using RPCs in Photoshop. When you preview an RPC directly in Dashboard using the new Viewport viewing mode you can choose your viewing angle and click the Render button. A small thumbnail will appear just below the Render button that you can then drag & drop directly into Photoshop. If you're using Photoshop CS5 or above the new rendered view of your RPC will be placed on a new layer as a Smart Object that you can scale and place within your scene.
The new and improved RPC Creator for Dashboard lets you convert any alpha-masked 32-bit PNG or TIFF image into an RPC in seconds complete with custom preview and icon. After dropping your own PNG or TIFF image onto the RPC Creator all you'll need to add is a name and real-world height. That's all there is to it! Within seconds you'll have an RPC file of your custom image ready to drag & drop into your favorite applications such as Revit, 3ds Max, Rhino, FormZ or Microstation.
If you have any commercial texture collections you've purchased over the years from companies such as Imagecels or TurboSquid you can drag & drop the entire collection onto the RPC Creator and convert to RPC making them infinitely easier to use in Revit, 3ds Max and other applications.
Entourage Workshop lets Revit users easily stylize RPC entourage in their scenes for just the right look. Any RPC placed in Revit can be displayed as non-photorealistic entourage with individual settings affecting the Geometry, Color, and Transparency of the content.
With one click you can download any RPC from within Dashboard. Access to thousands of RPC files are at your fingertips! Dashboard provides you with 24/7/365 access to the content you need.
Drag & Drop
Now users can drag & drop any RPC from Dashboard directly into Revit (2013 and above), 3ds Max or Autocad.
One of the primary goals of Dashboard is to provide improved ways to organize and search your content. Channels are one of our first organizing tools. We think of Channels as the first order of organization designed for visual browsing. Clicking on a Channel within Dashboard filters specific content that has been tagged to that channel. Dashboard supports what is called a "many-to-many" relationship between content and Channels. For example, you may find the same Oak Tree RPC in the Trees Channel as well as the Revit Channel. Channels represent different ways of organizing all of your content into logical groupings. A future update of Dashboard will allow you to create your own Channels and organize content in new ways.
Search is one of the easiest ways to find content in Dashboard. In order for search to be effective the content being searched must carry the appropriate "tags" or "metadata" relevant to that piece of content. With Dashboard, all content is search-able by tags.
Mass Edit tools are included in the RPC Plug-ins for 3ds Max and Autocad. Mass Edit provides you with a way of editing all or a sub-selection of RPCs within your scene. Features include the ability to set RPC parameters as well as the ability to switch the RPCs being referenced in the scene. For example, if you have placed hundreds of Oak trees in a scene but decide they should be Maples you can easily "auto-substitute" those RPCs without having to delete and replace.
Mass Populate is a feature included in the RPC Plug-in for 3ds Max and Autocad. The Mass Populate tool lets you easily propagate hundreds or even thousands of objects easily within a scene. Originally designed to help populate parking lots with virtual cars, the Mass Populate tool makes it easy to distribute and manage people, trees and cars within your 3ds Max scenes. Mass Populate tools include Proxies, Attractors and Repulsors.
ArchVision uses a user-based licensing-in-the-cloud model for RPC All Access. This cloud-based, user licensing model fits best with the way our customers use our products. You aren't always working from one machine, sometimes moving between offices and from work to home. With Dashboard you can log in from anywhere automatically retrieving your license. This move to cloud-based licensing also allows us to play well with the next generation of our partner's products and services such as Autodesk RaaS.
A great feature of Dashboard is the ability to monitor the applications you have installed that support RPC and help you keep RPC Plug-ins and related software installed and up-to-date. We call the service that enables this feature "Beacon". Beacon keeps track of the current versions of software that are available and alerts you within Dashboard of any updates that are available. One click within Dashboard is all it takes to keep plug-ins up-to-date.
RaaS (Rendering as a Service)
Autodesk launched it's first labs experiment called Neon for rendering Revit models as a cloud service in 2010. After native support for RPC was introduced in Revit and the RaaS service became official last year, our respective teams went to work on making sure all RPC Content will render in the service. We're about there! Watch for full RPC-RaaS support beyond the native content that ships with Revit soon.