Video game engines have a long history of follow our latest graphic and display technologies. Their popularity made hardware more powerful and affordable every year, and we have now reached a point where real-time graphic processing engines for games can become a powerful new tool for architectural studies.
The folks at Inreal technologies understood this and developed a Revit plugin called Enscape3d, that directly uses the Revit project database to map and render a real-time walk-able export in minutes. This gives architects new tools to visually test the effects of the modeled spaces with realistic textures and light, thus allowing them to make improvements in the design before documenting it for construction.
One of the most important aspects of architectural design is predicting light effects that will happen in a space. Until now this was mostly done by imagination or pointing a camera and ray-trace rendering one image at the time. Since some of these images took hours to render (depending on the quality and complexity of the scene and lighting) it was a slow and laborious process. A real-time realistic graphic engine like Enscape gives this result in seconds allowing us to investigate more viewpoints and entire routes in the time that it normally took to make several images.
Another key aspect that 3d programs often lack is realistic reflections for glass and metal. We perceive reflections of glass and metal everywhere around us and often this gives the architectural objects an entirely different look than a transparant or matt objects. Its good to see and predict the effect of these reflections before building it so adjustments can be made to gets a desired look and feel.
Textures give a space and object the necessary look and ‘feel’ in a still or moving image. These textures can both consist of a detailed still image with depth offsets or highly detailed geometry with colors. Adding a depth bump or displacement effect to the texture is great way to safe over-modeling and performance issues. Enscape supports this by using the information of the revit material parameters, and gives architects a great new tool for real time material/color studies using the building information model.
To fine tune a images, professional rending engines like V-ray offer users ton’s of settings to enhance the camera, look and lighting of the scene. This gives designers te possibility to present the design of the building in a enhanced way. Enscape also gives users usefull options to fine tune the field of view, image quality, color temperature, fog, lighting hue and many more.
I see great potential for use of virtual reality for the architectural profession so its a good to see Enscape is also offering support for a stereo panorama view for use with Oculus Rift, (hopefully more VR headsets will be supported like the HTC Vive which we pre-orderd for our office). This allows architects, clients and users to walk in the virtual model of the building before anything is built. It also offers .exe export of the model so a “game version” of the BIM can be send or opened on any computer without opening Revit.
Well there is a ton more to say about this amazingly integrated plugin for Revit but best way is visit the Enscape website and try it yourself using the free trail.
Let me know if Enscape is also changing how BIM is being used in your office!