Been about 6 months, so I thought I should check in on this. Tried the 1.1 rc2…
I really like that you can change detail after the import! One slider, super easy (although I must confess that I’d like a good old “maximum surface distance tolerance” so I can relate to real world measurements, but I completely get that the slider solution is more intuitive).
(EDIT: A coworker just told me he really likes the three different detail options you get in Datasmith, and that he uses “limit maximum edge length” especially… something to keep in mind, perhaps.)
However, the automatic merging of solid objects is still a very bad default setting. No matter what I import, I get two objects: One big lump with all solids and one big lump with all surfaces. Any assembly hierarchy is completely ruined, which means objects will have to be manually separated for material assignments and pivot points have to be re-created for animation (also, object names removed, although that may still happen depending on which CAD software you are exporting from), which wastes a lot of time re-doing things that you don’t have to do using other methods.
(EDIT: I just noticed that not only are solids lumped together, they are even merged together! In other words: The import performs boolean operations without asking the user and alters the geometry! You can’t even easily revert it manually. 110% major, major showstopper.)
My current goal at work is to dump 3D Studio Max/Keyshot at work, so I’m still crossing my fingers for this, but right now, Unreal Engine are doing great strides in this area, with native STEP importing, raytracing (even offline) and really powerful animation tools so they’re currently winning this race (and yes, I get that it’s not a fair comparison, or even a race, but that’s the lens I’m viewing this through)…
…however, if we can retain individual objects, and still be able to select them and adjust detail on the fly, I can see a future where this workflow could be faster than the Datasmith/Dataprep one.
(EDIT: One final bit of testing… it takes a looong time to import things. I’m waiting for the past 5 minutes now for something that Rhino imported & exported in under a minute… if I want to render in Blender today, going via Rhino/Unreal is still faster, even if you include application load times.)