In the 1990s, the field of architectural design was transformed by the widespread adoption of computers and CAD programs. This revolution affected the entire design process from start to finish, including presentation techniques. Traditional watercolor paintings were replaced by computer-generated images that could show the design from multiple angles. A virtual camera could even fly through the design and produce a video tour of the yet-to-be-built concept.
This new workflow eventually saved architects, engineers, and designers time and money, and gave them new ways to present their work to a wider audience. But the revolution was hard-won, initially requiring users to learn new tools and spend a great deal of time on rendering.
Clients’ expectations continue to rise with every new innovation. With photoreal renderings now commonplace in TV shows and feature films, clients expect the same level of quality in their architectural presentations. Advances in rendering technology have made photoreal renderings possible—but at a price.
Photoreal rendering has always been “expensive” in terms of time and resources, requiring minutes or hours to render each frame. But what if the rendering bottleneck could be removed? How creative could you be, how many types of presentations could you create, and how happy could you make your clients?
Welcome to the next revolution for design. Photoreal real-time rendering for architectural visualization is here, now, with Unreal Engine.
Real-Time Rendering: More than Presentation
Simply taking each part of your workflow that uses traditional rendering and replacing it with real-time rendering will save time. That alone is attracting many designers toward real-time rendering, but it’s only one of its benefits.
In a recent 2018 architectural visualization survey, the majority of those experimenting with real-time rendering stated that they intend to use it for every part of their workflow that requires presentation.
But the use of real-time rendering goes beyond presentation tasks. Real-time rendering provides additional benefits like the ability to iterate and collaborate more effectively, leading to greater freedom of creativity.
A new era of design visualization
Unreal Engine has opened the door for new design experiences that can take design to new heights.
For companies looking to gain a competitive advantage, real-time rendering can make all the difference. Neoscape, for example, specializes in high-end architectural presentations like short films and interactive experiences. Using real-time visualization to enhance the design process and creating captivating visual stories to bolster their clients’ brands has become an integral and effective part of their workflow.
Integrating real-time rendering is easier than ever
In the same way that some intrepid architects adopted CAD years before their skeptical colleagues, innovative design firms have already seen the potential in real-time rendering with Unreal Engine. Architectural design giants like HOK, HNTB, and Gensler are finding that real-time technology is changing their design processes from start to finish.
In the architectural visualization survey cited earlier, 73 percent of respondents stated that real-time rendering is important to their workflows, indicating a major shift towards real-time rendering is already well underway. Unreal Engine was cited as the most popular real-time engine among respondents who are experimenting with new render engines.
With more and more architectural professionals adopting Unreal Engine as part of their workflows, the creators of Unreal Engine decided to take things a step further and make this workflow as smooth and stress-free as possible.
Introducing Unreal Studio
In response to this exciting new use for real-time rendering, the creators of Unreal Engine have introduced Unreal Studio, a suite of tools and materials designed for Enterprise (non-game) users of Unreal Engine. Unreal Studio includes:
- Datasmith—A suite of export/import plug-ins. Production-proven by thousands of customers, Datasmith’s toolkit efficiently transfers CAD data from over 20 CAD sources, including Autodesk 3ds Max, into Unreal Engine.
- Learning Tools—Extensive tutorials include Unreal Engine fundamentals and industry-focused training materials, with updated content released on an ongoing basis.
- Assets—Includes 100 Substances from Allegorithmic for common architecture and design materials, and industry-specific templates to quickly create immersive design experiences.
- Support—A monitored community-driven discussion board and one-to-one ticketed support.
Datasmith doesn’t just convert polygons and materials—it makes scenes more efficient, preparing them for real-time rendering. Datasmith for CityEngine, for example, converts CityEngine instances into Unreal Engine instances, conserving memory and facilitating real-time rendering.
Unreal Studio eliminates obstacles to real-time design and lets designers pour more of their time and attention into focusing on what counts the most: bringing their visualizations to life.
Ready to experience real-time creativity with Unreal Studio?
Try the free beta today!