Real-Time Architectural Visualization Made Easy + VR

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As a tech generalist, I’ve always been fascinated by innovation and technologies of the future. Real-time rendering is the future of interactive visualization. We’ve seen GPU RT applications for design and visualization since the beginning of CUDA and OpenCL, but their use in unbiased renderers is not so real-time; some people can’t invest in heavy-duty hardware and sometimes GPU memory becomes an issue, especially in large architectural scenes. Well, the power of GPUs has evolved fast and awesome technologies like tessellation, parallax, ambient occlusion and even indirect illumination stopped being tied to hours spent rendering; they are now a real-time reality – found first in games.

It was just a matter of time for these technologies to arrive on the architectural visualization scene, but how easy is it? Programming in LUA, C++, dealing with several different softwares to port geometries and build custom illumination maps for them… oops, where is the easy part? This requires you to have either a lot of time or a group of professionals with different areas of expertise. Yet commercially, professionals want to achieve fast, cost-effective and high quality standards. And that’s just what Autodesk LIVE promised me.

Challenge accepted. I study electronic engineering and was in the USA doing research on the internet of things (IoT). During this time, I was having bi-monthly meetings with Bruno Landry, Product Designer for Autodesk LIVE, talking about how to achieve those goals. After months of following LIVE’s development, it was time to put it to the test as a case study. I called two young and very talented architects from Brazil, Hannah Grillo and Diego Santana who had no previous real-time engine experience. They were tasked with creating what Hannah called Autodesk – Reflections on White Screen (Autodesk - ROWS): a full exterior/interior scene focused on commercial use from ground up, with objects from real world brands that included BIM information like price, dimensions, links to buy, etc. The project is the design and the design is the project. All that with particles, fog, realistic water movement and a plus - virtual reality. Sounds very difficult, right? I hope we prove you wrong in this 3 part series; you’ll see, download, and experience the results. Keep reading friend.