Virtual reality offers benefits that, just years ago, were hardly even imaginable. Projects can be walked through before being built; the interiors fully visualized before all the details are decided. It allows architects and clients the ability to work as true collaborators in the design of a project.
As firms continue to develop their expertise in the new medium, these benefits can only grow. The experts behind Enscape, a revolutionary real-time rendering software, are making this happen. Indeed, in one particularly successful VR experience, a client who was for years dissatisfied with a project worked with his architects using VR to come to a satisfying new design in just a few hours. Any architect who has struggled to satisfy a client knows what a dream this can be.
Enscape is a plugin that creates not just instantaneous, high-quality visualizations (no more waiting for the cloud) but also lets users continue to design and develop within a fully rendered model. This seamless process has obvious benefits, but new users may be unsure what to keep in mind as they get started. Here, the tips and insights from the experts:
Make VR Visualisation Part of Everyday Practice
The traditional visualization process is one adjacent to practice and takes time away from project development. Detailed renderings can take long to complete, while quick ones can give only the barest idea of a space. Enscape abandons this approach, allowing designers to visualise and adapt their project in real time. Even at early concept stages (when few designers would even consider rendering), a quick visualisation might offer insight into basic elements that can be difficult to change later
The ease with which you can render with Enscape means that there’s never a reason not to.
Modify Projects While Within a Rendering
Iteration may be the hallmark of the design process, but that doesn’t mean that it’s always easy to achieve. Renderings in particular have traditionally shown a frozen moment in the design process. The time they take to achieve often means designers are forced to repeatedly reference old images. Enscape upends this frustrating friction, combining modeling with visualization to allow users to change their projects - and see those changes - in real time. Lag is a thing of the past, even when rendering visually complex materials or surfaces. As items are added or removed from the model, so are they added or removed in the visualization.
Quickly Spot Problems
One of the greatest benefits of real-time visualization is the ability to quickly spot otherwise undetectable problems. These can range from trivial (screens placed in an area that receives sun glare) to significant (outsized scale, confusing circulation). Seeing the space as it would be experienced - rather than as an array of colored masses - allows designers and clients to catch and fix problems immediately.
As designers do embed visualisation in every stage of their design process, surprise design issues might also become a thing of the past.
Curate Your Own Experience
Many new users imagine virtual reality to be a strictly curated experience - one that can take significant time to assemble and coordinate. It doesn’t need to be. While setting up views and perspectives ahead of a presentation can cut out the stressful scramble, Enscape’s lack of lag also means you can also explore the model on the fly.
Unlike many programs, Enscape doesn’t require time to load new views. It can also handle project adjustments in real time, allowing users to take client feedback into account instantaneously.
Choose Your Level of Detail
While rendering a project throughout the process can be a helpful way to gauge progress, it’s not always necessary (or even helpful) to focus on detail. Enscape offers a range of rendering settings, allowing the user to choose their preferred level of complexity. At its simplest, it’s focused on high performance and provides a simplistic image, at it’s highest, it provides state-of-the-art technology to achieve photo-realistic images. All of these settings can be used in VR.
The Draft Mode is useful for a quick impression of the space. This mode fully models all elements, but does not add rendered details such as lighting or finishes. In the Medium Mode, there is Global Illumination in non-VR visualisation (ie, desktop visualisation) and more detailed graphics overall. When presenting to clients or doing a review with the project team, it may be useful to switch to the High and Ultra Modes, both of which present the renderings in lifelike detail. Both modes require powerful graphics cards (recommended Graphics Cards for the Ultra mode are the Nvidia Quadro P6000 or GTX 1080 or higher) and renders the project with all set details, materials, backgrounds, and illumination.
Choose the Hardware that Works for You
Enscape’s adaptability means that it can be used with a range of popular visualization headsets; The most popular today include Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, and WMR. Each option offers different benefits, and different situations, users, and needs might call for a different setup. Enscape visualizations can be viewed seamlessly on every major type. A brief guide to the three major players:
Oculus Rift is lighter and more mobile than your average headset, making it ideal for presentations out of the office. It is also comfortable and non-restrictive, so users who are less familiar with VR might find this a less disorienting experience. Additionally, its high resolution and
HTC Vive boasts excellent tracking (less lag than some headsets) and colors (thanks to its OLED display) - but this quality comes with less mobility. Because this hardware is more difficult to set up, it is best suited for stationary VR Rooms. As VR becomes more standard practice, VR spaces might become as (if not more) common as model shops in architecture offices.
WMR has arguably the highest resolution and the easiest setup, but its stringent hardware requirements means that it is perhaps not the best option for beginners. That said, experienced users will likely prefer this option, as it is arguably the best.
Talk to the Experts
Learning a new software is often a one-way street, and new users are on their own to discover the nuances and solve specific issues. With Enscape, however, developers, are reachable through software forums meaning users can reach out for clarification at any time. Additionally, Enscape developers seek feedback from the users themselves when making updates, meaning it is truly a software for architects.
Virtual Reality may sound daunting, but it doesn’t need to be. Enscape is, among all available softwares, especially dedicated to making the integration of VR a seamless one. Soon enough, the tips above will be common knowledge to all.
Usually, if you follow all the above steps, and have a powerful enough machine, cybersickness is not a big problem. However, it depends on the individual and his/her experience within Virtual Reality. Some of the most common symptoms of Cybersickness include such things as general discomfort, headaches, a feeling of movement within the stomach, generally feeling odd, nausea, disorientation and dizziness.
The results are in and most clients find value in exploring their project in virtual reality (VR). The application of VR in the AEC industry empowers clients to explore the areas in the project that are important to them - at their own speed and in a way more natural than looking at 2D prints and static renderings.