How to View Your Fusion 360 Designs in AR with USDz File Format

Emily Engle June 2, 2021 3 min read

Fusion 360 now offers USDz file format! This article will show you how to easily view your Fusion 360 designs in real life—right from your mobile devices.

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Have you ever wanted to see what your design looks like in a real-life environment before you manufacture? Want to impress your clients by showing them working prototypes in advance? We recently released a feature that lets you view your Fusion 360 designs in augmented reality (AR) with USDz file format. Now, you can easily place your designs in your current environment right from your phone or tablet. This article will walk you through the history of USDz, how to use the feature and different scenarios where it may come in handy.

What is USDz, anyway?

USDz is is a 3D file format that shows up as AR content created by Pixar. The leading entertainment company developed USDz to use throughout their graphics and animation pipeline as a convenient way to preview models and staging in a way that allows designers to focus on creativity rather than data management. Now, the file format is supported by future-forward companies, including Apple, Nvidia, Houdini, Blender and now—Autodesk’s Fusion 360.

USDz files are rich in detail, optimized for storage and sharing, and compatible with WebAR viewers, allowing you to preview them in AR on iOS devices. Currently, devices with iOS 12 and above can view USDz files natively. Exporting your design into your iCloud folder enables you to retrieve it from your iPhone or iPad and immediately view your design in AR.

USDz Files and Fusion 360

Okay, let’s get right to the good stuff. To view your Fusion 360 designs in AR, open up your design in Fusion 360 and go to File > Export > Export Options. Via Export Options, you’ll be able to export your designs as USDz files. Next, save the file to your iOS or mobile device. Finally, open the file right from your device using an AR viewer app and virtually place your design in your current environment. It’s important to note that the USDz export doesn’t support Unicode, so you can only export Fusion 360 files with component names that are in English or without Unicode characters.

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Learn more about exporting different file formats via Fusion 360 here. And watch the feature in action in this What’s New video:

What AR viewer apps can I use to view my USDz files?

One of the first questions we get asked about offering USDz file export is: What AR viewer apps do you recommend? At the moment, this feature only works for iOS users. We recommend Apple’s Native AR viewer and the AR Viewer app.

Why is USDz Useful?

As we mentioned before, the most obvious use case for USDz files is getting a sense of the scale of your design and seeing what it will look like in a real-life environment before you manufacture. This gives you a chance to double-check details like measurements and how color, materials, and finish will look. One of our favorite benefits, though, is that showing designs in AR makes it easier for you to communicate your designs with project stakeholders and clients, speed up decision-making, and reduce potential operating costs. Also, it’s just really, really cool. We hope you have fun with this added feature, whether it’s for work or play.

We hope you love Fusion 360 as much as we do. If you do, why not share the love with a friend? Give your friend 20% off and get $100 for every friend who subscribes to Fusion 360 through our Refer a Friend program.

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