AU Focus: Real-Time 3D and Designing for the Metaverse

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We live in what gamers would call an “open world,” meaning that we can explore it freely and interact with anything in it in real time, limited only by the laws of physics. Countless other characters are in this world with us, both human and non-human, and we can interact and collaborate with them in nearly infinite ways. We call this “reality.” 

Digital worlds such as those found in games have historically provided far greater restrictions. You could often only see things in 2D or from a set angle, for example, and could only perform a set number of actions.  

Real-time 3D (RT3D) visualization technologies are changing that, enabling us to explore and interact with digital assets and environments in nearly infinite ways—and the laws of physics are optional.  

What is real-time 3D?  

With RT3D, computers turn 3D models into photorealistic experiences with no discernable lag or delay—so you can go where you want to go, do what you want to do, and see what you want to see.  

Originally created for gaming, RT3D experiences are creating value in other industries—from architecture and construction to manufacturing and media. RT3D enables you to explore assets from any angle, intuitively understand the scale of an object, and even make changes in real time, whether you’re viewing through VR goggles, using an AR experience on a tablet, or simply navigating on a flat screen. “We all naturally see the world in 3D,” according to Adam Horn in his AU 2022 Theater talk. “And now new tools and workflows are allowing us to design in that way.”  

RT3D experiences aren’t new, but they used to take a lot of work and powerful (read: expensive) processors to create. Today, a new generation of 3D engines, new GPU processors, and cloud-based computing technologies are changing the equation, enabling us to create real-time experiences with just a few clicks. 

The partnership between Autodesk and Epic Games, announced at AU 2022, makes it easier than ever to create real-time 3D visualizations from Revit models using Twinmotion—and every Revit user gets free access to Twinmotion included with their subscription. And the recent investment in Arcturus volumetric video technology could soon make nuanced character performance in RT3D as good as what you might see from a human actor. 

RT3D will be foundational for the development of the metaverse—whatever shape that ends up taking. So now is the time to build your skills and your understanding of what’s possible. As Andy Pye of design firm Seymourpowell pointed out in his AU 2022 Theater talk, “With all the data that you likely already have or could easily acquire, there are all sorts of things you can be doing with the technologies that will underpin the metaverse to create really impactful new solutions.”  

Build your skills with these AU 2022 sessions:  

Media & Entertainment sessions 

RT3D was first adopted in gaming, allowing users to explore open game worlds and take a variety of actions with objects and environments. Today, innovators are using the technology for virtual production—putting live actors in front of LED screens synched to real-time playback, to transport human actors anywhere the script needs them to go.  

Architecture, Engineering & Construction sessions 

The built world is a natural fit for RT3D. After all, it’s been an ongoing challenge to show not just how a building or piece of infrastructure looks—but actually convey what it’s like to be in it and around it.  

Product Design & Manufacturing sessions 

Virtual 3D review caught on first in automotive design, but it’s spreading to other manufacturing areas where the ability to have a first-hand experience at life scale is helping designers create better products.  

“Real-time 3D has two fundamental characteristics which are going to become essential to people,” according to Mark Petit of Epic Games. “One, it's interactive. And the other one, it's multi-user and therefore social and collaborative at the core.”  

Learn more about real-time 3D visualization anytime and explore related learning on the Media & Entertainment page of the AU website.