Making Virtual Reality a Real Thing

David.Menard David.Menard April 25, 2017

2 min read

Virtual Reality (VR) was certainly a hot topic in 2016. So much so that some industry specialists called 2016 the “Year of VR.” With over 1.5M premium VR devices – like the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift – and an additional 15M mobile VR devices – including Google Cardboard, Daydream, and GearVR – sold worldwide, it certainly seems like VR is here to stay.

AEC (Architecture, Engineering, and Construction) is undoubtedly one of the leading markets when it comes to adopting VR in day-to-day workflows, mainly because of how effective VR is at helping people understand how a space will feel before it’s built. There is no substitute to physically being in the space, but with virtual reality, you can be as close to the real thing as possible.

Customers expect VR when approving new designs, but virtual reality is proving to be such a great technology to communicate design intent that it has moved upstream from client presentations to part of the design process. For many architects, VR has become a daily routine to help them review, get feedback, and find issues with their own designs earlier in the process, leading to better designs and lower costs.

Game technologies are the backbone of VR, but the complicated process of getting a Revit file into a game environment had been a barrier for Revit users.  This problem is exactly what Revit Live, a new cloud service from Autodesk, aims to solve. As a one-click solution to VR, Revit Live takes care of all the necessary steps to bring your model into a real-time environment, making this amazing technology accessible to any Revit user.

Revit image in Revit Live virtual reality

A typical use case – An entire Hospital campus running in Revit Live, straight out of Revit

Revit Live now offers more control over the experience, by allowing users to choose between optimizing their scene for appearance or performance, and suggests recommended optimization setting based on their hardware. Revit Live 1.8 also brings support for Revit 2018 and Revit LT 2018.

The latest 1.8 version of Revit Live takes another incremental step towards reaching the goal of making VR easy and seamless.  While, the first version of Revit Live optimized the models themselves to offer a smooth experience in real-time, the last few releases saw improvements in the service, like levels-of-detail and instancing.

Accessibility and ease-of-use are important features for Revit Live, and Autodesk’s future work is geared towards exactly that. Upcoming versions of Revit Live will focus on improving performance and accessibility throughout the entire experience. This includes reducing the time to pixel, or the time it takes between clicking the “Go Live” button in Revit and seeing the first image of your model in Revit Live.

Virtual reality Revit Live scene enhanced in Stingray

A Revit Live scene enhanced in Stingray, 3D game engine and real-time rendering software.

VR is taking an interesting path for the future. More mobile virtual reality devices are surfacing, which exponentially increases the complexity of getting large models into VR on smart phones. These devices need to be connected to your data at all times, and the data itself needs to be further optimized by an entire order of magnitude for it to run on these new devices.

Get started with VR. Learn more about Revit Live.

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