3D Viewer Model Quality

This thread is to discuss the user perception of the current state of the 3D model viewer. The disclaimer is that most of us have heard about some big releases coming so anything that seems buggy right now may be in preparation for those releases. That being said have at it. @Anya @AlexHennessey @Jamespipe

I personally do not like the new navigation. It is backwards from many of the Carlson and Autodesk 3D environments that we use and is confusing to my users to keep switching. I have also noticed degraded rendering of the textures. Whether it be speed, distance or just straight quality it has obviously degraded over the last week or so. Last, but not least in my book is the transparency. If this is going to be possible it needs to be a setting like in every other 3D environment, particularly Navisworks. Seeing through a wall kind of defeats the purpose of modeling it and I can’t think of a reason why I would want to see through a structure when I can just navigate to the other side of it.

It really has degraded and I’d hoped after a week it might have been tweaked or corrected to get it back to where it was. It’s embarrassing when trying to present to internal and external bods.

At first I liked the transparency, with being able to see behind trees, but now it annoys me. The finished 3D structures, when they were good, looked confusing when transparent. Now that the 3D quality has dropped off, they just look crap, even in HD.

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I see that as I get ready to type this response that the devil I was going to speak of is replying, LOL…


@JamesC, I’ve already escalated this issue and they are working on it. You can contact @Kaitlin about this issue. I didn’t want to roll back to the older 3D Viewer at this time but may have to if I fly a building in the near future.

DD Tech Support is working on it and hopefully they get a solution in the next few days.

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Thanks for the update @GregO. I’m not sure DD have previously acknowledged the problem so your note is appreciated.

Is there a way of rolling back the viewer until the fix has been implemented? All of my maps involve built form and trees and so it is imperative their detail is able to be displayed.

Thanks again.

@JamesC, ask @Kaitlin if they can roll you back. Also email support@dronedeploy.com and give them the links to your 3D Structure Models and they can look at the Maps, it may help them come resolve the issue faster with more examples. I gave them one site (same 20’ building) flown at 65’, 110’ and 150’.

Thanks @GregO

@Kaitlin, please can you roll my 3D viewer back to where it was a couple of weeks ago?

I’m not sure there’s a need to highlight any particular maps that I’m struggling with, as it’s all of them. Maps that were created a month ago for example and looked absolutely incredible in 3D view, hence the credit I gave in a different thread, now look like a sack of potatoes. The image above was taken from a map entitled ‘Grenfell’. When it was created it looked fantastic - I was dead chuffed. I needed to present to a client today and was somewhat embarrassed to have to show what you see above

A month ago the same map looked perfect and was difficult to tell an aerial photo and the model (set up with the same view) apart.


Hi all, Phil here from the engineering team behind the new (and old) viewers. @Jamespipe just brought this thread to my attention and I wanted to provide some more context and information. We’ve heard your feedback loud and clear, and fixes are rolling next week that we hope will address all the issues mentioned in this thread and many more.

The background here is that our old viewer worked well out of the box, but did not provide the hooks we needed to develop features on top of it. We are very actively developing new 3d features at this point (to start, we now have 3d support for the most popular annotation tools), but all of those features will be built on the new viewer. We can switch folks back to the old viewer temporarily, but we will be working hard to get everyone on the new viewer so everyone can benefit from all the new feature work. As for concerns with the new viewer, I can assure everyone that the issues mentioned here are more “bumps in the road” than they are structural defects:

  1. Transparency. This greatly helps annotation appearance, but we underestimated how disruptive it would be for non-annotation related workflows. As of next week, anyone can opt out of transparency in the new viewer, and keep that setting permanently. We could expose this setting as a feature, but I’m hopeful we can find a solution that will work for everyone without making the product more complex.

  2. Blurry tiles. We’ve found and fixed a couple of issues with the way that tiles are selected to be loaded at higher res. We hope that these “blurry tiles” issues will simply disappear next week, but of course we are eagerly anticipating your feedback so we can tell if we’ve finished the job or not. If not, we want to hear from you. But please note that this blurriness is a viewer issue only – your old maps will sharpen as the viewer code improves.

  3. Controls. We have improved zooming to make it feel much more natural, and easier to control where the “object of interest” lands. It’s my opinion that the new style of controls – orbiting around an object of interest – should be much more familiar to users of various CAD packages than the old viewer’s “map” like controls. Before becoming an engineer I was an architect (and user of these same CAD tools), and I can’t think of one that uses the “map” like controls of our old viewer; they are all based on pan/orbit/zoom. In particular, I’d expect that the inspection of vertical surfaces / facades will feel much more natural when compared to the old viewer. If next week’s release ships and you still feel that the old controls are fundamentally more intuitive, please reach out.

Thank you all again for your patience as we work through these growing pains. If you need to switch back to the old viewer temporarily, please do reach out to support. You can probably expect an email from me a few days later, asking to re-try the new viewer. But we’ll let you stay with the old one until you’re convinced, and we’ll keep working on the new one until everyone on DroneDeploy prefers it.

I’ll post back here when the release in question goes live. Your feedback is much appreciated!


Are you saying that this is because the model becomes dimmed and the annotations are more easily seen? Or some other thought? Until you have text, I am not sure the viewing of annotations in 3D does much for anyone. In my opinion seeing through a 3D object kind of defeats the purpose for wanting to view 3D geometry. Definitely needs to be a simple toggle.

It’s nice to be able to do a takeoff in 3D, but quite honestly the persistence of the takeoff area is annoying to those who just want to look at a model. There needs to be a master annotations on/off toggle so that you don’t have to click into the annotations menu to turn them off.

As of yesterday I have not seen any more issues with texture quality or missing triangles.

Controls is where we are going to have to agree to disagree. I am not sure what software you used when you were an architect, but every major design software I use has some sort of a navigation bar or steering-wheel. This allows for more functionality, but also customization of the navigation experience. The current navigation is more akin to a Sketchfab or toy model viewer. It lacks precision. The number one issue with the current navigation is the inability to quickly change pivot points. You basically have to pan and zoom your way to the new location to be able to change the perspective. Second problem is that the Y,Z axis controls are way to sensitive. They might be ok for those of us that use 3D viewers and/or CAD all the time, but I am asking on behalf of every other user out there… Dial it down.

Thanks for the great breakdown! The level of support we get remains one of the top two reasons that I chose DroneDeploy over the slew of other solutions we tested.

Two things that just came to mind… One thing to consider is giving back the option as to what type of device you are using for navigation. There use to be an option for the keyboard and we also need to add gamepad and I know VR is a given.

We probably also need the ability to reverse the mouse button navigation. Not everyone is right-handed and some are ambidextrous… :wink:

Example navwheel.

I think the Transparency Option should be a End-User toggle Off/On Feature. There is times that folks will want to use it while others they don’t. It’s as easy to add a slide switch on the Left Sidebar and the the 3D Viewer checks the status of the slide. It could be a box like the SD/HD Option on the map instead of a slider.

Never remove functionality that has been a main feature, turn it into a End-User Option.


Good morning! Agreed, but his has never been a feature before? I would leave off by default and slide the switch to go transparent.


Exactly, off by default since it’s the new feature and solid was the old

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Thanks Phil.

Unfortunately, despite the fixes I am still having problems as can seen below. It is understood that it’s the viewer that’s having problems and not the maps, as the maps have displayed perfectly in the past.

I think it might possibly be to do with the distance threshold re HD vs SD. The image above ought be close enough for HD to kick in, but it is not. If I move closer, HD does display now but personally, not only should the threshold be further away, I would hope in HD, everything on the screen was a the highest resolution.

Thanks again. Let’s see what the fixes over the upcoming week brings.


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Don’t know what happened to this one. Again, used to be photo realistic at any distance in HD.

Oddly, when zooming out a little, the features in the foreground drop to an readable resolution, whilst leaving patches of HQ further back.

I wasn’t able to write again without another breaking the conversation with a reply themselves, so I am having to edit this previous post to provide an update…

So I am very pleased to confirm that having spoken to Support, they have now reverted my account to the older viewer which not only includes the standard/previous mouse controls, but also includes flawless rendering.

Thank you.

I have submitted several 3D Maps that the DD Tech Support are going through and working out the issues. Hopefully they will have everything worked out soon.

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