There’s a lot of buzz going on in terms of technology-driven innovation in the AEC industry. Especially the increasing use of 3D renderings and virtual reality for architectural projects is hitting every architect’s newsfeed. Photorealistic images and virtual reality walk-throughs seem to be turning into the new industry standard. That being said, for many architectural firms it seems to be hard to keep up with quickly developing new tech and thereby find ways to differentiate themselves from the competition.
The good news, however, is that innovation doesn’t stop at bigger companies. In fact, it sounds harder than it is. The market is offering lightweight and straight-forward technology like the Enscape plugin, a real-time rendering and virtual reality solution that works with the most popular modelling programs: SketchUp, Revit, ArchiCAD and Rhino.
Myth #1: 3D renderings require too much time and effort and only make sense for large projects
The days of investing resources in external visualization processes are coming to an end. Live updates to a fully-rendered, photorealistic project: this is no longer a feature of the future, but a reality. With the click of a button, Enscape will not only render high quality 3D walk-throughs, but any changes made in the CAD program instantly come to life in Enscape. This will revolutionize the planning workflow from the ground up as architects will now be able to collaborate with colleagues on-site or guide clients through a project while still being in the planning phase.
Especially during the design process, architects don’t want to worry about learning new functions or altering rendering settings down to the smallest detail. Unlike other rendering software, Enscape specializes in simple, easy-to-use functions relevant to architecture.
It takes about the same amount of time to render a fully-navigable, real-time scene using Enscape as it does to open the same model in the design program. "The ability to walk through BIM models and regenerate design changes without leaving Revit is a ‘real time’ saver,” affirms Jamie Casas, BIM Manager at Wood & Grieve Engineers. “This is especially important in our industry, where design changes require clear communication on the go!"
Myth #2: Only experts can create photorealistic renderings and work with VR
Until recently, the standard rendering workflow was separate from the design phase. Architects spent hours creating CAD models, and then handed it over to the company rendering expert or a third-party service. If they were dissatisfied with the result, the process began again. Real-time rendering solves this by putting simplicity and ease of use at the core of the process. In fact, there’s little to no training required; it is really as simple as clicking a button. The Enscape plugin integrates as a toolbar in the modelling program, eliminating the need to learn a separate new software. Architects work in their usual software environment, while benefiting from Enscape’s fully-rendered walk-through and other stunning features.
Thus anyone who works in a CAD program will immediately be able to create a rendered walk-through, which can be navigated either by mouse and keyboard control or – even more impressively for client presentations – in a virtual reality environment by connecting compatible VR hardware.
Beyond the live walk-through, architecture firms of all sizes and their clients benefit from the multiple export functions that Enscape offers, many of which do not require any special soft- or hardware conditions. Architects and planners will delight their customers with 360° panorama views that can be exported from any position in the rendering. Or they simply export the whole walkthrough as an executable file or web standalone which offer viewers the whole Enscape experience. Less data intensive, but not less impressive, are customized 360° panorama views that can be shared as a file or via QR code, openable on a mobile device. Or, create a high-quality video fly-through in minutes. All of these functions of course exist in addition to the most well-known export: high-resolution images, rendered in seconds. These tools make Enscape the number one resource for marketing and presentation materials.
Myth #3: It’s a very costly technology and only big players can afford
All this is great news, but does it still sound like a big investment that only large enterprises will be able to make? Another myth that can be easily debunked by taking a look at Enscape’s licensing model. It starts as low as $45 USD for a monthly fixed-seat license. This makes the entry hurdle as low as possible, plus there’s also a free 14-day test version that everyone can download to test Enscape to its fullest extent. For more flexibility in teams of any size, there’s also a floating license available, which can be activated on multiple machines. Enscape is all about simplicity in its licensing model as well. Customers always get the full version for all license types, no feature dumping or hidden costs.
In a nutshell
Real-time rendering tools like Enscape really disrupt the way architects work in a very positive way. The seamless integration into the existing working environment and fast execution time make 3D renderings not only an eye-catching way of presenting architectural projects, but a powerful tool in every stage of the design process. The focus is clearly on ease-of-use and effectiveness which makes extra training obsolete; everyone who installs the plugin will gain a new visual dimension with one click of a button. The low level entry price point, plus the 14 day free trial, make Enscape a must-try solution for every architect.