The next generation of Virtual Reality will allow designing from scratch within the RV itselfalityThe next generation of Virtual Reality will allow designing from scratch within the RV itselfality

Source: Autodesk Journal

The architecture and the manufacturing industry are about to undergo a radical change in the way we do things. In the near future, designers and engineers will be able to create products, buildings and cities in real time, in virtual reality.

In a predictable dramatic evolution of virtual reality, as a legend explained, when the first movie camera appeared, the actors were filmed in a set, in front of fake trees. Then someone said, “Why do not you put the camera in the woods?” Simple, but the game changed. Virtual reality technology is now available, and it’s only a matter of time before it gets the most out of it.

What is there now: Visualization

In a center dedicated to virtual reality inside the Los Angeles office of John A. Martin & Associates, the classmates hold their glasses and navigate using portable controllers through 3D models created by the BIM software. Visualizing a design in this context allows users to detect structural irregularities that might otherwise be overlooked.

For example, in virtual reality, you can see if a beam is not properly connected to another beam. Of course, this is possible without a virtual reality, but being completely immersed in a 3D environment makes you feel as if you were in that real physical place. It is easier to detect construction components that are not in the correct location.

This revolution has achieved great advances as a visualization tool, its use is predominant in the architecture, engineering and construction industries, both within companies and for use with customers. Through the use of portable controllers engineers and designers can move through 3D construction representations as if they were in a first-person video game simulation. They can climb stairs, teleport through corridors or look through the windows of the upper floor. It is really surprising.

Design visualizations can also help companies sell ideas to interested parties. By implementing 3D construction models as reproducible “games” with software compatible with virtual reality such as Revit Live, 3ds Max and Enscape, designers can invite clients and owners to exhibit their prospective projects.

What is to come: Creation

Even so, these examples only touch the surface of the potential of virtual reality. The next big opportunity for designers and engineers will go beyond visualization to create structures and products from scratch in virtual reality. Imagine virtual reality for Revit: What would happen if you could put on virtual reality glasses and with the movement of your hands and feet you could scale a model, push it, turn it and change its shape? That scenario may not be far away. Programs like Google Tilt Brush, which allows you to paint in a 3D environment, could indicate what is to come to create design projects in virtual reality.

Simply turning the wrist with the painting tool, you can color an object in a virtual reality environment. That type of physical-responsive design functionality is not available on the virtual reality platforms used by most architecture and manufacturing companies, but its existence outside of industries suggests that it could migrate.

If designers could create directly in virtual reality, instead of using external software, they could look around the back walls and teleport to narrow places, like joints and moldings.

By working in a closer and more manageable range for objects, designers could create more organic shapes with a greater level of granular detail. Artists and craftsmen learned a long time ago to use their hands to sculpt with stone and clay, and while that skill does not apply directly to the realities of building and car design, there is an opportunity to bring it back virtually.

What needs to change: Interactivity

Before this revolution gets widespread adoption as a tool of creation in the architecture and manufacturing industry, software must take a significant leap forward. As it stands, most gaming engine technology allows users to look only around, not touch objects or edit on the fly.

For example, if you are visualizing your model in virtual reality and you want to make a correction of a beam, you must remove the glasses, configure them, look for a beam in the creation software, make the change with the mouse and the keyboard, update the model in the viewer of the game engine, replace the glasses and make sure that the change has occurred. That workflow is long and tedious.

The future needs to go beyond removing virtual reality glasses and relying on mouse and keyboard clicks to make changes. Architecture and manufacturing design software should take full advantage of handheld controllers and the immersive environment, as well as provide tools within the experience to interact and make changes to 3D models.

Another obstacle is the lack of automated interactivity within virtual reality. Any action that a user can perform with virtual reality (move a beam, open a window or turn on a light) must be pre-programmed by an experienced game engine programmer to be interactive. A better solution could be to automate this process.

For example, the Revit 3D model could automatically become a gaming engine environment that is compatible with virtual reality, with the interactivity already programmed, so that each time a user wants to move a wall, open a door or flex any type of component within the virtual environment, this was possible.

Modeling information is like something that lives and breathes: a building, a door, a window, a table or a medical equipment have flexibility in their parameters. In most of the technologies based on game engines that are used today, these elements are static.

Virtual Reality is to evolve. Are you ready?

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