ArcGIS CityEngine

How to exchange data between Esri CityEngine and Autodesk Infraworks


Tutorial: Data exchange between Esri CityEngine and Autodesk Infraworks

Versions: CityEngine 2018.1 and Infraworks 2019.2



This tutorial provides an overview of how to exchange data between Esri CityEngine and Autodesk Infraworks in both directions. While it does not give any details on how to use the two applications, it gives step-by-step export / import instructions based on an initial CityEngine example project.

To get started, this tutorial assumes that you have installed both CityEngine (2018.1 or later) and Infraworks (2019.2 or later). For both applications, fully functional trial versions are available from Esri or Autodesk, respectively.

In this tutorial, we use the “Redlands Redevelopment” example, which is available as a download within CityEngine. First, launch CityEngine and download the example project used in this tutorial:

Figure 1: Download
Figure 2: Example
Figure 3: Redlands Scene

From here, we will illustrate how to bring CityEngine models into Infraworks via FBX and from Infraworks to CityEngine via FBX or OBJ.


Exporting CityEngine models to Infraworks via FBX

This section shows how to export CityEngine models using the FBX format and import the models into Infraworks.
To start with, continue with the open “Redlands Redevelopment” example in CityEngine:

Figure 4: FBX Export
Figure 5: FBX Export Details
Figure 6: Exported FBX

Now, we are ready to import the exported models into Infraworks:

Figure 7: New Model
Figure 8: Infraworks Coordinate System
Figure 9: Infraworks Empty Model
Figure 10: Infraworks add 3D Model

Note: for simplicity, in this example, we use only the “Building” type. For more advanced examples, you can export different CityEngine layers separately (buildings, streets, trees), import them individually and select the source type accordingly.

Figure 11: Infraworks Source Configuration
Figure 12: Infraworks Imported FBX


Exporting Infraworks models to CityEngine via FBX or OBJ

For the workflow from Infraworks to CityEngine, we use the “Charlotte NC” example that comes with the default Infraworks installation.

Figure 13: Infraworks Start Screen
Figure 14: Infraworks Example
Figure 16: CityEngine New Scene


Now the Infraworks data can be imported into CityEngine as follows:

Figure 17: CityEngine Copy Data
Figure 18: Coordinates
Figure 19: CityEngine Import Dialogue
Figure 20: CityEngine Import Complete

About the authors

Taisha holds degrees in Geomatic Engineering and Arts from the University of Melbourne, as well as an MBA from RWTH Aachen/University of St. Gallen focusing on technology and innovation. Taisha is a Technology Leader in the ESRI R&D Center in Zürich and is interested in all things related to technology, sustainability, art and the entertainment industry.


Dr Stefan Arisona's main interests are in GIS, AEC, computer graphics, game design and digital art. Stefan is a senior principal software engineer at the Esri R&D Center Zurich, where he leads the XR team. He graduated from ETH Zurich, and is a former principal investigator of ETH's Future Cities Laboratory in Singapore, where he developed new visualization and simulation methods for architecture, urban planning and design.


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