Blender to build SCADA

Hi Guys,
I’d like some expert advice about using Blender for building SCADA (SCADA on Wikipedia).
The architecture I’m thinking about would be like this:

  1. a series of pages similar to this ones: Schematic example
    Each page will have some kind of electrical or hydraulic circuit with line (cable/pipe) that connect different object (circuit breaker, tank, etc.). Each cable/pipe/circuit breaker/tank/etc. should be animated (change color to reflect status)
  2. pages should be assembled using a “graphical” tool like BLENDER
  3. runtime framework to use: Babylon.js or Pixi.js
  4. data to animate pages come-in via websocket
    The main question here is: do You recommend Blender to build these kind of pages? Is it overkill? Any other tools You may recommend in place of Blender?
    Any suggestion would be highly appreciated
    Thank You

Blender is a complex and not very intuitive piece of software. If you already knew Blender, you wouldn’t be asking about this here. So I gather that you want to learn blender for this. Don’t. It will take you a lot of time you could be spending more productively, and you will inevitably run into issues that will make little sense, or stump you for a while because tools were built with a specific workflow in mind. Use a 2d tool for 2d tasks. Inkscape perhaps. Or just Photoshop.

Of course, if you do already know Blender well, then it’s a fine tool for putting together some UI, I don’t see why not. I use it for 2d stuff all the time.

For the record, I don’t know anything at all about SCADA. :slight_smile:

@Piotr_Adamowicz, thank You for Your advise.
You are right, I know very little about Blender.
The reasons I’m thinking about blender are:

  1. I may pay a professional author to realize the pieces I need
  2. I suppose with my (very) little knowledge I should be able to just assembly the pieces built from the author in order to build the final pages
    Any comments specially about point (2) are very welcomed!

Going back to Your suggestion about another 2D tool, it should have this requirements:

  1. the object I’m drawing in a page should contain simple animations that I can trigger from javascript (using Pixi.js for example)
  2. I’d like to partially automate the building of the page (I have the 2D coordinate of piping and cabling in a .csv file)
    If I use Photoshop or Gimp I guess the draws can not contain animation. I don’t know Inkscape so I can not comment on that.
    Are there other tools You can recommend base on this assumption?
    Thank You

Blender will not automagically make the images it outputs animated, nor will any other tool. Any animation in your system must happen at runtime. All Blender (or any other graphics tool) can do is render images, frames of the animation, video clips, textures, masks, etc that you can then use to create animation in whatever you’re working with. The exact type of assets you need depends on how your engine works, but there is no magic format that lets you import and export callable, interactive buttons or animations and such.

I mean, you can do that if you’re working with a full game engine like Unreal, but that’s simply because people have built the specific import/export tools UE needs. You probably won’t find that for this Pixi.js thing.

@Piotr_Adamowicz, once again I’m showing my ignorance here but my understanding is that in Blender I can create animation than I can than play back when I use the assets exported from Blender to my runtime. I’m referring for example to the process of riging a character and then create idle, walk, run animation. Is my assumption correct? Are there other tools that let me do the same thing in a 2D environment?
Thank You

You can of course render animation frames, and you can play it back. And yes, you can do the same thing in a 2d app like say Krita, although the method to create the animation will of course be different.

With your character example, you can of course render a walk and a run animation, but if you want a transition from walk to run and back, with pre-rendered frames, you’ll need a third and fourth animation. If you want it from two different angles, that’s four more animations. If you want a character with a different colored shirt, that’s 8 more animations. You can do it this way of course, but it stacks up real fast and it consumes lots of memory. Ideally you want to render the character at runtime, blend between animations, and have the shirt color just be a shader variable so you don’t have to pre-render so much content and have such a large footprint.

All I’m saying is that assembling the assets into a functioning application won’t be all that simple. Of course, for SCADA, you’re not dealing with characters. But the idea is the same. You want to have as much of the animation being created proceduraly at runtime as possible because that’s both more efficient and easier to change and adapt and edit.

You actually connecting to anything or just making a simulated Scada animation?
I really think if it is just a simulation, as connecting to manufacturing is doubtful, you could use something Like PowerPoint, or I would advise a FREE Open Office version.
Or if you are going to use it as an actual SCADA system then try the FREE Version.

Far beyond your abilities for now as well as mine…there is also a Python version of Scada open source, that someone might be able to play with…

Hi swclimber,

If I understand correctly, you want to build a system similar to VTScanda but using the babylon.js 3D framework to drive a website (or application) with scada functionality. As for Blender it can be used to create models and graphics that could then be used/imported into babylon.js. Assuming I’m guessing your intentions correctly. There are Blender addons that will export to babylon.js. There is an example there too which you might want to explore. See: https://doc.babylonjs.com/extensions/Exporters/Blender

I suggest you carefully read the babylon.js documentation. This should let you know what is possible. Then start small with test models or graphics and see how it goes. Good luck!

Hi @pxipaul,
yes, Your assumption is correct.
The reasons why I’m evaluating Blender are:

  1. I want a graphical tool where to draw my electrical schema that I’ll then export to use into Babylon.js
  2. I want to draw object (switch, etc.) to be exported into Babylon.js
    Point (1) is the main reason as the electric schema may by a lot of cable interconnected and doing it programmatically (inside Babylon.js) would be a mess. It’s much easier to draw them into some sort of graphical tool (kind of what Autocad of Autodesk does) and, at runtime, just change color based on variable value.
    Now I’m evaluating

Krita

as suggested by @Piotr_Adamowicz

Hi @RSEhlers,
right now I’m just doing a proof of concept and the I’m only simulating.