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123456789_123456789_1123456Arch Bridges Software

Rendering, Animation & Virtual Reality
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Updated 21-10-2019


This page outlines some general practices for rendering & animation in 3ds Max and Virtual Reality development for AEC.

 

Rendering & animation in 3ds Max

You can create an animation movie with 3ds Max for your project, where 3ds Max, Revit and Civil 3D are all included in Autodesk AEC Collection. The movie is in *.wmv format incl. audio in *.wav format that you can play in any PC. To this movie, your Revit BIM model, Civil 3D terrain model should be imported in 3ds Max where you here can add further 3ds Max objects in high level of details. ICDAS provide detailed manuals on this subject.

 

Animation in fact is a series of rendered images. Therefore a faultless animation needs control on each single image. ICDAS provide manuals for rendering in 3ds Max for:


› Interaction between light, material, reflection, refraction of different objects in the scene


› Materials displayed on 3ds screen and on rendering.


› Parameters needed for interior and exterior renderings.


› Rendering in 16:9 format, 9:16 format (vertical) or other formats.


› and many other instructions…


Animation is also a matter of the following issues:


› Camera path as lines, circles, arcs and turning camera to focus on objects


› Time configuration determined the speed of animation depending on the path.


› Populate crowd in motion.


› Audio editing and insert text


› Movie format *.mp4 vs. *.wmv


› Resolution 1080 pixels or higher (8K)


 

› Keep high images quality and minimalize size of the file on the same time


› and many other instructions…


Examples of ICDAS animation can see here. 


Virtual Reality (VR)

 

VR provide an immediate sense of function and feel in 3D environment that 3D graphics or photography on 2D monitor or printed on paper cannot achieve. VR in the AEC industry has a role to play at every step where BIM model/IFC file is the basis input, typical from Autodesk Revit or Trimble SketchUp. VR replaces the real world with a simulated one in 3D using headset HTC ViveOculus Rift or other VR wearable devices. Most VR headsets available on the market today (2019) could real-time 3D rendering, which requires the computer graphics to rapidly update the displayed image in 30-60 frame per second to be an enjoyable experience.

 

Using Autodesk Revit LIVE, you can with one click send your Revit project to cloud service where you can then open project anywhere with internet connection without need of Revit software. Once the Revit.lvmd file opened in LIVE editor, you can with one next click enter into virtual reality with VR headset. This VR technology is further developed by Unity Reflect for AEC 2019/2020 with real-time display in VR/AR, where changes in the Revit model also show in VR/AR, incl. real-time 3D rendering of Revit materials. Thus, Autodesk will no longer be supporting LIVE for Revit 2020 and forward, where you can read more about Autodesk’s recommendation here.

 

Similarly, Bentley LumenRT provide also immersive VR visualizations for use on VR headset HTC Vive and Oculus Rift. Other commercial VR technologies in AEC are e.g. FuzorEnscapeLumionRevizto, and others.

 

There are two types of VR development workflows, cf. [2019.01]:

 

1. Manual Conversion of 3D Models into Virtual Reality Environment

2. Automated Conversion using commercial Plugin and Software 

 
Enscape example of rendering



Enscape example of rendering



Enscape example of rendering



Enscape example of rendering



ICDAS 3ds Max Animation Manual 
     
 
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The second workflow skipped the format conversion and model optimization in the previous workflow using a 3rd party software or plugin. This workflow also skips the optimization because they are already created during the conversion process. Because most of the conversion process lie in the optimization, this workflow type could greatly save the amount of development time. The downsides of this workflow are:

 

1. The tools used for conversion are not free and require the user to pay subscription fees.

2. The tools are specialized for certain development software packages. One tool even requires the user to be connected to the authorization server in order to display the optimized model.

3. Most tools can not do subdivision of the models. This type would not be efficient if the user would like to use the model for something other than model walkthrough.

 

The study [2019.01] has following worth learning conclusion and suggestions for development of VR in AEC firms:

 

1. Virtual reality division, if any, in AEC firms plays a relatively minor role in the whole project. The core team would consist of only one or two members who, depending on the scope of the project, would collaborate with other division.

2. The minor role and the very specific skillset required for this field which are removed from the skillset desired by many AEC firms can be a barrier to implementing VR in AEC firms. Therefore, it would be logical for the company to use a commercial software for the VR environment creation. 

3. For a very specific need, the firms would rather develop the tool using video game engine. Aside from natively supporting off the shelf headsets such as HTC Vive and Oculus Rift, the development team would have more freedom in programming the interaction.

4. Mesh decimation, shadow and light baking are the most prominent approach to optimization in VR development. These approaches are common because the process can be automated in 3D modeling software.

5. In order to improve the workflow, VR should not be considered as a “novelty” but rather an integral part of the project.

6. There are commercial software suites that could greatly streamline the optimization process. However, further study about the cost/benefit ratio of the software needs to be conducted.

7. There are more potential uses of VR than simply a design visualization tool. Since currently VR software suite tailored for AEC industry is quite limited, AEC firms could use this opportunity to develop their own VR tool to leverage their company.

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[2019.01] Workflow in Virtual Reality Tool Development for AEC Industry, Lucky Agung Pratama & Carrie Sturts Dossick, University of Washington Seattle. 
Updated 21-10-2019
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ICDAS  •  Hans Erik Nielsens Vej 3  •  DK-3650 Ølstykke  •   
E-mail: th@icdas.dk   •  Tel.: +45 60 53 83 79  •  CVR no.: 34436169 
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