Filed under: rl architecture, Uncategorized, Unity, Unity3d | Tags: animation, arch virtual, architecture, arcspace, BIM, blueprints, CAD, cg, collaboration, computer, faculty, graphics, import, jon brouchoud, replicate, rutgers, school of business, simulate, simulation, student, ten arquitectos, virtual, visualization, walk-through
Construction is now officially underway on the new Rutgers School of Business, designed by the renowned architecture studio Ten Arquitectos (frequently covered by arcspace), but you don’t have to wait until construction is complete to explore the new design! Arch Virtual recently completed a virtual prototype of the new facility for Rutgers University, replicating the design based on architectural CAD drawings, BIM models and blueprints provided by the architect, then publishing them into realtime 3D with the Unity3D game engine. See a video preview of the virtual model below, and see some screenshots of the model here.
Rutgers University leveraged the best of several virtual platforms throughout design development of this project. In early design phases, Arch Virtual replicated the design in Second Life, which was ideal for recreating the schematic and conceptual models and making the design accessible to students and faculty (seen here). That model was then brought into OpenSim, where it was integrated into a more comprehensive model of the campus, including more of the context surrounding the Business School’s new building site.
When final construction documents were ready, we interpreted the architect’s CAD drawings and BIM model with Autodesk Maya, that could be brought into the Unity3D game development engine. Rutgers worked with Tipodean Technologies to export their OpenSim islands, including buildings surrounding the new business school. Tipodean converted them into Collada mesh format, along with the textures, which were then added to the Unity3D environment. The final result is a blend of the architectural model alongside meshes exported from OpenSim.
With the model in Unity, Rutgers will now be able to embed the virtual model into a variety of formats. For example, they can embed the model directly a website or Facebook page, but could also publish the same model to be accessible from Android or iPad mobile devices, or as stand-alone applications that can be installed on a Mac or PC and run locally without being online, and at full screen.
To follow the progress of the virtual Rutgers School of Business, join the Rutgers University Virtual Worlds facebook page at: http://www.facebook.com/ruvw3d
To learn more about how Arch Virtual can translate your blueprints, CAD, or BIM file into a virtual experience, contact us here. http://archvirtual.com/?page_id=3388
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: 3D, arch virtual, architecture, city planning, education, online, participatory, simulation, training, Unity3d, urban planning, visualization, walkthrough
Check out our new site here! http://www.archvirtual.com
It’s been a while since our last post, but we’ve been hard at work on some new projects we hope to publish soon! In the meantime, check out our newly renovated website: http://www.archvirtual.com We’ve made some exciting progress in technologies and methods for bringing architectural and city models into virtual environments, along with interactive features to augment and enhance those models. We will be posting more about these projects and services soon, so stay tuned!
Here are some pieces from the new website front page:
Architectural Simulation: Import buildings and entire cities into online 3D environments that can be accessed from a browser or embedded directly into your own website. We use cutting edge game development technology that enables you, your clients, project stakeholders or community members to explore, interact and collaborate within immersive 3D environments that are easily accessible.
Virtual Architecture: Use virtual environments for long-distance collaboration, education, training, simulation and more. We create virtual spaces that help organizations achieve greater effectiveness and efficiency for a variety of use cases. Contact us to learn more about how your organization can make use of virtual environments.
Design Collaboration: Nobody knows how your new building should function and perform better than you. Being able to witness and participate in the design evolution through interactive workshops, puts you, the end-users of your building, and other project stakeholders in the driver’s seat of the design process. Instead of waiting weeks to see the results of design changes, see them take shape immediately. Contact Arch Virtual today to learn more about how we use virtual environments to offer a whole new approach to building design.
Check out our new site here! http://www.archvirtual.com
Filed under: architect, architecture, second life | Tags: AEC, animation, architecture, BIM, CAD, construction, daden, engineering, information, multi-user, online, realtime, second life, virtual world, visualization, walkthrough
Check out this article HERE.
“Whilst the hype (and marketing interest) around virtualworlds has faded, the technology is increasingly being used in areas such as training & education,collaboration and data visualisation. This paper explores the on-going use, and future opportunity, of virtual worlds to help model the built environment, and as a result to use the virtual world to build a better physical world.”
There are a number of key differences here in comparison to more traditional Architecture, Engineering and Construction (AEC) visualisation tools.Principally that:
- The user is embodied in the world as an avatar, rather than having just a “camera” view
- The avatar/user can go where they like, and interact with the build
- The environment is multi-user, so users can interact with other users
- The environment is rendered in real-time, so although visual quality may not be as high, the environment can be far more dynamic and flexible, and renders instantly rather than needing an over-night render-farm.
I also appreciate their list of advantages of using virtual worlds in AEC fields:
The advantages of virtual worlds such as Second Life include:
• The ability to make changes instantly, in-world
• The ability to support multiple users in the same space – typically 50-100 (but of course you can always clone spaces)
• The ability to make things interactive – even linking computers to real computer applications, and signs to real signage systems
• The ability to not only integrate building environmental and performance data, but also to visualise it in new and effective ways
• The ability for users to peel-back layers of a building to see structural and service components
• The ability for users to annotate the space, feeding back comments which can be automatically collated
• The ability to track users through the building, and their interactions with its systems
• The ability to let users choose between configurations and vote on them
• The ability to support “live use” of the building, eg for entertainment or training
• The ability to clone the building to create multiple copies to explore what-ifs
• The ability to use the same platform to support virtual meetings, conferences, training, collaboration etc
• Dynamic rendering which enables the instant changes and multi-user deployment
Extranet Evolution has a great write-up (link) about this paper as well. Consequently, Paul Wilkinson’s twitter feed is also a must-follow resource for anyone interested in construction collaboration technologies (and more!) – follow him @EEPaul
This site has moved to
Check out this article HERE.
Filed under: Unity, Unity3d | Tags: animation, architecture, design, documentation, elevation, engine, game development, how to, plan, prefab, quality settings, rendering, section, teleport, toggle, tutorial, Unity, Unity3d, urban, visualization, walk-through, waypoint
Check out Architectural Beginners Kit 2! If you’re not a programmer, this is a must-have toolkit for architecture and design visualization projects built with Unity3D.
Here’s a video showing the kit in action: http://vimeo.com/17939173
Here’s a demo build: http://archvirtual.com/ABK2.html
Here’s where you can purchase the kit for $45: http://bit.ly/fx4TPQ
Here’s what the kit includes:
Click to Look: instead of having to lock and unlock the mouse to click buttons, this kit now includes a ‘click to look’ setup, where the scene doesn’t move unless you want it to.
Scene Switch: Load several models, and let visitors switch between them. For example, you might load several iterations or options for a design project you’re working on. Visitors will now be able to simply click a button to switch between them.
Waypoints: Set up various waypoints in your scene, and enable visitors to access those locations just by clicking a button. For example, you might have waypoints set up for the Lobby, Offices, Cafeteria, etc. so visitors can quickly access those areas without wandering through the model trying to find it.
View Switching: The default mouselook view is great, but sometimes those traditional Plan, Section or Elevation views are helpful to understand the design. With this feature, you can set up those views, and enable visitors to your project to switch between them.
Quality Toggle: You never know what kind of computer your visitors are using. With Quality Settings toggle, they can adjust it to suit their own computer’s performance. If they’re on a netbook, they can toggle it way down to ‘Fastest’ – which won’t look as great, but it won’t lag as much. If they’re on a super fast machine, they can enjoy the highest possible quality settings.
Detailed Tutorial Documentation: As with the previous kit, the tutorial documentation is just as valuable as the prefab elements themselves. You can drag and drop the prefabs into your scene, or you can dig deeper, learn how they work, and customize them to suit your project’s specific requirements.
We hope you enjoy the new Kit! We’re already brainstorming the next kit, and welcome any suggestions for specific features you would like to see included. Send us a note at info (at) archvirtual.com if you have any questions.
Architectural Beginner’s Kit 1 is available here: http://archvirtual.com/?p=2950
Filed under: Unity3d | Tags: architecture, BIM, browser, CAD, camera, changer, control, illustration, material, orbit, realtime, rendering, texture, Unity3d, visualization, walk-through
This site has moved to www.archvirtual.com
No doubt about it, Unity3D is a game changer for realtime, online architectural visualization. Illustrations, animations and renderings are great, but online realtime 3D is better, and no other platform comes even remotely close to providing the level of flexibility, sophistication and ease of use that Unity offers. Import your Revit model, publish the file to your website, and walk through the design in realtime from within your browser. Its a killer app for architectural visualization, and best of all, its free.
You can download it HERE and start importing your models right away. But if you’re an architect or designer with limited experience, even the simplest functions like doors, lights and cameras can be time consuming to master. To help speed up your learning curve, we developed an ‘Architectural Beginner’s Kit’ designed specifically for architects and designers getting started with Unity3d.
This kit combines detailed tutorial documentation within a Unity package that contains some simple prefab items you can put to use right away. You can drag and drop these items into your scene, but you also read the documentation to understand how they work, and how you might customize them to suit your project’s specific requirements. Check out this preview build, showing off some of the kit’s elements.
This kit is only intended to serve as a beginner’s guide, to help get your architecture or design visualization project started with some very simple elements. Some of the prefab elements included may be immediately useful in your projects, while others may require additional customization to suite your project’s specific needs.
Here are the elements you will receive with this kit:
- Switch between lighting scenarios
- Users click a button on the User Interface to switch tagged lights on and off
- Example Use Case: Turn on or off different lighting scenarios – daytime, nighttime, etc.
- Camera / Player Options
- First Person Player – prefab and documentation describing how to setup a ‘player’ for your model, that visitors will use to explore the design
- Click and Orbit Camera – allows visitor to click a button on the interface to get a distant, orbiting view of the design
- Materials Changer – 2 setup options
- Select an object, then click on different texture options displayed on the user interface.
- Click on object -> Material Changes – multiple-clicks on the same object cycles through all textures
- Door automatically opens whenever visitor approaches it – automatically closes when visitor leaves
- 2 Door Types
- hinged door – rotates 90 degrees
- sliding door – slides X distance right or left
- Crosshair setup
- interaction with the design
- Reticle setup – for highlighting objects
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: architecture, illustration, multi-user, realtime, rendering, Unity, Unity3d, visualization
This site has moved to www.archvirtual.com
The list of demos and samples of architectural visualization with Unity3D can be found here: http://archvirtual.com/?p=2832
Filed under: rl architecture, Unity, Unity3d | Tags: architecture, autodesk, crescendo design, design, home, house, import, jon brouchoud, residential, revit, simulation, Unity, Unity3d, virtual, visualization
Chez Keystone! Come on in…(plugin required).
This isn’t multi-user (yet), and navigation might take some getting used to, but this is an Autodesk Revit ‘as-built’ model of my home, imported into the Unity game development platform I wrote about last week. If I make a change in Revit and save it, the Unity build dynamically updates. With the exception of the trees, this is pretty much a raw output from Revit without any optimization (which is why it looks so crude). If I spent a few hours on it, I could add dynamic lighting and even import lightmaps to really enhance the model. I can also export it to Nintendo Wii, iPhone or a variety of other platforms if I really wanted to, but at this point, I don’t have the necessity or resources to do so.
I should add a disclaimer that we didn’t design this house, but we are planning a green make-over in several stages in the months and years ahead, so we’ve been using this model to test master plan ideas. I haven’t built or enabled access to the interior spaces, but I will soon. This is just a starting point for design exploration, so even though I don’t have much to demo yet, I wanted to share some of my initial progress and publish updates with more thoughts on what I’ve learned about using Unity in professional practice.
What I like most about Unity so far is the ability to quickly and easily embed the virtual model on a web browser, or to a stand-alone .exe application if need be. This makes it much easier to share design ideas with long distance clients that might not have the time or patience to deal with a registration process, large client downloads and orientation of larger virtual worlds. Once they get the hang of using their mouse and arrow keys, just about anyone, even on lower end machines, can be walking around inside of a design concept within a few seconds.
When the time comes to add additional details and entourage, I simply save most raw file-types in their native format to the Assets folder of the project. Unity then automatically finds updates if I change the model in its native application (Maya, 3DS Max, Photoshop, etc.). What I find doubly enticing about this work-flow is that I can transition my assets into any platform I choose without being locked into a proprietary format. For example, if/when Second Life enables mesh imports, I should be able to take these same raw assets and use them in SL, or Blue Mars, or on whichever platform I wish – without having to rebuild everything from scratch. I will then be able to choose which virtual platform is most appropriate for the project’s requirements.
I also like the fact that the indie version of Unity is free to download and use. Plus, its relatively easy to learn – much easier than any other 3D app I’ve worked with. Also, there is a rapidly growing community of Unity users and support forums to find answers to just about any question you have, and lots of in-depth tutorials to help you get started.
With several companies building MMO’s or virtual worlds on Unity, it probably won’t be long before I can drop this model into a virtual world for multi-user, and avatar-based experiences. However, I don’t think we will see realtime, in-world building tools in Unity the way we have in Second Life, or OpenSim. Unity wasn’t designed or intended to be used that way. I also think that any Unity worlds that do surface will likely be smaller, niche communities. For those reasons and more, I really don’t see Unity as any threat or comparison to Second Life or OpenSim. However, for online, realtime, virtual architectural visualization, Unity is definitely a platform worth exploring.
Be sure to check out this thread in the Unity forum about architectural visualization in Unity: http://forum.unity3d.com/viewtopic.php?t=33684&highlight=architectural
Also, check out a recent post by epredator on his Life at the Feeding Edge blog regarding the combined application of Unity, OpenSim, Evolver and Smartfox to create the next generation of virtual worlds.