In the last several years, the accessibility and proliferation of virtual reality (VR) technology has changed the way architecture is practiced and received — from the virtual recreation of never-builtor razed Frank Lloyd Wright buildings, to firms such as ZGF, Ennead, and SHoP using the tools to better visualize the details of a project or present to clients.
Autodesk® has been at the forefront of the VR revolution in gaming, media, and entertainment, and has continued to build upon these tools to make VR more accessible to the AEC industry.
To adapt and simplify VR to fit the needs of building and facilities designers, Autodesk introduced 3ds Max® Interactive, a feature of the popular rendering and animation software, 3ds Max. 3ds Max Interactive extends already powerful architectural renderings by adding an immersive, self-directed virtual experience, built on the Stingray gaming engine.
“3ds Max has a long history of producing high-level photo realistic renderings for designers. But when we acquired the Stingray gaming technology, we saw how it could be leveraged in the architectural space,” says Jon Van Benthem, Autodesk’s architecture strategy manager.
With a majority of architects adopting Building Information Modeling (BIM) processes and using Revit® as their core platform, Autodesk has now made it easy for designers to move from a 3D BIM environment to VR with the introduction of Revit® Live.
“Our 3ds Max Interactive solution provides the ‘best of both worlds’ — a powerful tool for creating photo realistic renderings and this powerful new immersive visualization experience. Revit Live takes this a step further, accessing the same power with a simplified interface, making it accessible to every Revit user,” says Van Benthem.
An exterior view of a hospital displayed in Revit Live
Revit Live puts the power of VR into the hands of architects with a simple workflow. Leveraging BIM data already created, designers can upload their Revit or Revit LT model to the cloud and keep working while it processes. Within a few minutes, they receive notification by email when their scene is ready.
Using the cloud for much of the computational “heavy lifting,” Revit Live alleviates the technology shock for architects, enabling them to easily produce high quality visualizations without costly IT overhead.
Revit Live helps architects to understand, explore, and experience their designs in new ways. Unlike traditional static renderings, immersive visualization allows designers, their teams, and their clients to experience a space – not just see a space – long before it’s built. In addition to wowing clients during presentations, Revit Live provides an everyday design check: sightlines, glare, and scale can all be seen with greater accuracy, providing opportunities to validate or question design decisions, build trust with collaborators and contractors, and potentially even do some pre-inspections.
An interior view of a dining room displayed in Revit Live
At this year’s Autodesk University in Las Vegas, November 14-16, Autodesk will showcase Revit Live 2.0, highlighting new features and allowing guests to try out both the desktop and VR experiences.
This new iteration of Revit Live promises faster processing times, and improved performance and responsiveness. Users will also be impressed to see a strong link between 3ds Max and Revit Live workflows, making it easier to connect their dataset to 3ds Max’s real-time environment where they can work more iteratively and interactively on projects.
“With demanding project deadlines and fast paced environments, AEC professionals want to iterate more rapidly on their designs. We’ve also been seeing a growing demand for using Revit Live to go to 3ds Max where our customers can enhance their real-time and VR experiences,” said Nic Fonta, Autodesk’s senior product manager. “This version of Revit Live is addressing these two needs by offering a more robust, much faster processing pipeline as well as full interop with 3ds Max Interactive.”
Adjusting daylighting in Revit Live
The continued enhancement of Revit Live has a bright future, says Van Benthem. He envisions the service having different capabilities as it matures and can access other cloud data. “I see this one day becoming an input-output mechanism,” he says, “a new way to design and to author BIM data directly.”
If you’re ready to extend BIM to VR, you can put Revit Live 2.0 to the test with a free 30-day trial. And if you’re a subscriber to the Architecture, Engineering & Construction Collection, you have instant access to Revit, Revit Live, and 3ds Max to help you to realize your best design ideas, faster.
All images courtesy Autodesk