Forward-thinking architectural firms, infrastructure consultancies, and interior design businesses are increasingly leaning on real-time architectural visualization to explore, evaluate, and present designs. By affording clients and project stakeholders the opportunity to experience future spaces in interactive and immersive environments, real-time technology provides a compelling immediacy that 2D drawings cannot.
The next generation of architectural visualization tools is providing new ways to accelerate workflows. More intuitive user interfaces are drastically reducing learning curves, while new ways of quickly and easily connecting to software that architectural designers use every day make for increased productivity and faster iterations.
One of these next-generation tools is Twinmotion. It is user-friendly, regardless of previous CG experience, allowing anyone to easily create high-quality images, panoramas, and standard or 360° VR videos in just a few clicks. Twinmotion is utilized by architecture, construction, urban planning, and landscaping professionals. Following is a look at how two different businesses are leveraging the toolset.
Accelerating the sign-off process for architectural firms
Scenario Architecture has long embraced cutting-edge technologies. The architectural design studio was an early adopter of 3D design and was keen to find out more about real-time workflows. “It didn't take us more than five minutes of trying Twinmotion to realize it was exactly what we were looking for—specifically because of the link to ARCHICAD,” says Ran Ankory, Founder and Managing Director at Scenario.
Twinmotion synchronizes with many of the market-leading architectural design packages in one click. Users can go from designs in ARCHICAD, Revit, SketchUp Pro, and RIKCAD to immersive real-time experiences in seconds. Once they’re in Twinmotion, a simple and intuitive interface makes it easy to create and enhance a scene by dragging and dropping lights, materials, and props; they can even change the season or weather just by dragging a slider.
Having the ability to help clients better understand how finished projects will look has been a game changer in speeding up the sign-off process. “The fact that you're able to walk around a 3D environment that has all the materials and all the lighting effects means that sign-off for the client is a lot easier,” explains Architectural Designer David Rieser. From initially experimenting with it, the toolset has since become an integral part of the studio’s workflow. “We can say it helps us bring in more clients with better projects,” says Ankory. “We can no longer imagine working without it.”
This video shows more information about how Scenario uses Twinmotion.
Visualizing a highway in VR with Twinmotion
EFLA is the largest civil engineering and consulting company in Iceland. It works on large infrastructure projects such as roads, bridges, and public transport, and was recently involved in visualizing a busy section of highway on the southwestern coast of the country.
The team used Twinmotion to deliver high-quality visualizations that were presented to local people and stakeholders to educate them on the plans for the new road and give a sense of how it will look. As well as traditional video, the team was able to create an immersive VR experience of the designs.
“People are much quicker to orient themselves in a virtual environment than by looking at 2D images or printouts on a table,” says Thor Bragason, Visualization Specialist at EFLA. Because of the fast, intuitive nature of real-time visualization, EFLA was able to turn the project around in record time. “We’ve spent far fewer hours on it by using Twinmotion for visualization than if we’d used more traditional 3D software,” says Bragason.
Accelerated workflows also meant they could react quickly to client’s feedback, making adjustments to the design at lightning speed. “With Twinmotion, we have more time for iterations and experimentation,” says Bragason. “The low entry threshold is also a great incentive to get our in-house users to try out the software as well.”
Read more about this and other projects where EFLA have used Twinmotion.
Compelling real-time visualization — at no cost
One of the reasons AEC firms are flocking to Twinmotion is its ease of use. The software has purposefully been built so that anybody can pick it up and start using it almost immediately. But an enthusiastic and passionate community is intent on reducing the learning curve still further still by creating a vast library of learning materials and tutorials.
Twinmotion became part of Epic Games—the company that offers the powerful real-time solution Unreal Engine—earlier this year. The software is actually powered by Unreal Engine, and is currently available to download for free until early 2020.