Experiencing Design with Real-Time Architectural Visualization
Like any other art form, architectural visualization has the power to move your audience, whether it be the design client, potential customers or future tenants. When they can actually experience the design, they’re more likely to interact, collaborate, and comment long before the final version, giving them a sense of contribution to the whole—all while providing you with confidence that the design is really what they want.
But how can a client truly experience design? New developments in 3D architectural visualization are bringing immersive, interactive presentations to the design community. The simplest of these new media is real-time collaborative viewing, where you and the client can roam and explore the design together onscreen, with visuals that rival those of traditional renderers. Such collaborations can be with both of you in the same room, or with each of you in different cities or even countries. You can even give your clients their own remote viewers so they can review at internal meetings.
From there, it’s a quick step to virtual reality, where the same design can be easily made into a VR-ready experience. By virtue of the strong level of immersion it provides, virtual reality can be a powerful way to engage others and get them to truly see what you’ve created.
These types of projects, and many more, will be explored and discussed at the Build: Architecture event on November 2, 2021, hosted online by Epic Games.
Many other forms of real-time media are made possible by real-time rendering in Unreal Engine. By importing your 3D CAD file into Unreal Engine, you can immediately start exploring your own design in 3D. With the addition of advanced rendering tools like ray-traced lighting, optimization, and high-resolution textures, Unreal Engine has come of age as a professional presentation tool for architectural visualization.
Companies like Zaha Hadid Architects, HOK, and Foster + Partners are using real-time visualization right now to produce immersive and interactive experiences for their clients. ZHA, for example, currently imports most of their projects to Unreal Engine as a rule, and creates real-time tools for review and presentation. ZHA has also produced a real-time configurator for real estate, giving customers the opportunity to design their own vacation homes based on preset choices. ZHA will present some of their real-time projects at the Build: Architecture 2021 event, showing how they leverage real-time rendering to produce beautiful imagery and engage clients.
Companies like Buildmedia are taking things a step further with the development of digital twins. Even with the types of large, complex 3D models required for digital twins and smart cities, Unreal Engine can import the data efficiently—the importer supports native files from Revit, 3ds Max, SketchUp, and many others, optimizing your files as they’re imported. As for the continuous data streams a digital twin needs for updates, Unreal Engine comes with an easy-to-use scripting system called Blueprint that enables you to set up these advanced functions without the need for programming. A Blueprint script can also be set up to aggregate the data for later analysis.
Many studios, such as HOK, use Twinmotion for real-time visualization. With its easy-to-use interface, Twinmotion is a common choice for those just starting out in the field. Another common workflow consists of starting projects in Twinmotion, then importing them to Unreal Engine when more advanced tools are needed.
But real-time visualization isn’t just for large teams—many smaller studios are using Unreal Engine and Twinmotion to impress clients and win jobs. You’ll meet those teams, and others, at the Build: Architecture 2021 event, where these companies will show the stunning imagery they’ve been able to create with real-time tools, and the interactive and immersive experiences they’ve created. There will also be a whole host of ‘Dev Lounges’ so you can meet the presenters and ask them about their projects, and all things real-time.
Build: Architecture 2021 is free to attend, but you’ll need to register. Sign up now and save your place on November 2.