By now, you’ve likely heard about real-time rendering for architectural visualization and how it’s changing the way designs are presented. With real-time rendering, you can edit your design and see the changes updated instantly, at full quality, and you can produce animations and panoramas in minutes instead of days. Real-time rendering also opens the door to immersive experiences like 360° videos and virtual reality.
One of the easiest solutions for real-time rendering is Twinmotion. This visualization software features a highly intuitive interface and runs on both PC and Mac. Twinmotion is designed to simplify the process of creating stills, animation, and immersive media from your existing CAD models; it promises to get you up to speed and creating quickly, while not compromising on the quality of the output. What’s more, it’s currently available for free until November 2019, and even after that, you can keep using the free version as long as you like.
Once your model is built in the CAD package of your choice, you can import it into Twinmotion. If you’ve created your model in ARCHICAD, Revit, or SketchUp Pro, you can take advantage of Twinmotion’s direct link feature to synchronize your files in a single click. This enables you to keep making changes in the source package after you’ve already begun creating your visualization. Twinmotion can also import FBX, C4D, and OBJ files, offering support for most popular modeling packages.
With your model imported, you can assign PBR (physically based rendering) materials and add lights and props simply by dragging and dropping from the extensive library of ready-to-use assets. Many of the assets are animated; you can populate your scene with moving characters and vehicles that will follow a path of your choosing and dress it with plants whose foliage blows in the wind.
Setting the time of day, the season, and even the weather is a simple as dragging a slider; change the season from summer to fall and leaves start to drift down from the trees; drag another slider and rain begins to fall; tweak the season again and the rain turns to snow. You can even ensure that your sunlight and shadows are correct for your project’s intended location at a specific time of year by positioning a pin on a map and setting a date.
Virtual reality, 360s, and more
High-quality stills and animations are one thing, but today’s clients are coming to expect immersive media where they can truly experience the design. Just a few years ago, giving a client a live, real-time, immersive tour of a building required expensive hardware and software. Now, with Twinmotion, you can create panoramas, 360° videos, and self-executable BIMmotion files, all from a desktop computer, with just a few clicks. And with support for most popular headsets, you can navigate your project within Twinmotion or a BIMmotion file in VR. All these types of output are available from a single Twinmotion scene, eliminating the need for multiple versions.
Fast learning, fast results
One of the biggest barriers to real-time rendering and new media has traditionally been the learning curve. Twinmotion is already very easy to use, but on top of that, the enthusiastic community has developed some helpful YouTube training series. Pressing F1 in any part of the UI will also launch a context-appropriate video, meaning there’s no need to search for information in lengthy manuals.
In May 2019, Twinmotion became part of Epic Games, the same company that offers the real-time solutions Unreal Engine and Unreal Studio. In fact, Twinmotion is powered by Unreal Engine under the hood. For anyone interested in getting started with Twinmotion, Epic Games recently ran a webinar called Fast architectural visualization with Twinmotion, available for replay on demand.
Epic Games recently released a free update for Twinmotion, which includes the new direct link with SketchUp Pro, together with an expanded pack of grasses and flowers. You can download the latest version from their website.