New BIM advances are empowering designers with more visualization capability than ever before.
One of the big advantages to [Graphisoft’s] BIMx PRO is that it was created for use on a tablet. Real-time changes become much more accessible when teams have access to the model in the field.
The interactive nature of Building Information Modeling (BIM) has forever changed the way that buildings are designed, but new innovations in BIM are taking this a step further by automating visualization—which is having a huge impact on client involvement in the design process. Historically, limitations on BIM have centered around issues with access, interoperability and processing power for visualization, but a few major companies are busting through those limitations with shocking speed.
Limitations on BIM have centered around issues with access, interoperability and processing power for visualization, but a few major companies are busting through those limitations with shocking speed.
The breakthrough? Companies have created software that makes gaming VR platforms accessible to design professionals to create realistic walkthroughs from 3-D models—fast. These are the products that are changing the game in BIM functionality for the AEC industry: Autodesk LIVE
“The big impact of Autodesk LIVE is that it enhances a designer’s ability to communicate design intent and explore design options,” shares Nick Fonta, senior product line manager for San Rafael, Calif.-based Autodesk Inc. “The function is really about the accessibility of these interactive experiences. It used to take an expert and a lot of time to get to an interactive and immersive experience from an Autodesk Revit model. Autodesk LIVE now provides access with a click of a button.”
Autodesk LIVE is fully compatible with the Autodesk Stingray game engine. It bridges the gap between the design world and the interactive world. The rendering is created when the model is uploaded to the cloud. It features the ability to have a free exploration of the space without setting up camera angles—meaning that if a client asks to see a view in real time, you can simply go there—even if you didn’t plan to initially. It also allows you to change times of day and seasons in the model to communicate the lighting or landscaping features of the design.
“The power of Autodesk LIVE is that the client can jump into designs rather than simply commenting on a picture. We’ve also had design teams share that they’ve discovered issues in a design that they were only able to notice while using this technology. It is a game-changer because it democratizes this capacity for small, medium or any sized firm without having visualization specialists on staff,” Fonta reports.
The Autodesk LIVE service is available to subscribers of Autodesk Revit for an additional monthly cost.
With Autodesk LIVE by Autodesk Inc., clients can reportedly jump right into the design process, rather than simply commenting on a picture.
VIMtrek is the Unity Technology/Distribution partner for AECs, giving design professionals the ability to leverage the powerful Unity VR platform that automates a lot of the painful interoperability between CAD data and producing real-time environments, supporting BIM data to multiple VR platforms.
VIMtrek Cloud (website, web application, and storage and computation hosting) converts building design files into a 3D interactive walk-through. The visualization retains and displays all BIM data from the original design and provides hyperlinked access to SmartBIM Library and ecoScoreCard services. Models from Autodesk Revit and SketchUp can be uploaded into VIMtrek's portal where they are transformed into a high-definition, free-roam 3D, walk-through environment that the client can explore. The platform is reported to be fast and flexible enough to allow designs to be updated quickly.
Models from Autodesk Revit and SketchUp can be uploaded into Vimtrek's portal, where they are transformed into HD, free-roam 3D, walk-through environments that clients can explore.
VIMtrek Cloud has both Stay-Within-Walls and Walk-Through-Walls modes and the ability to collaborate through 3D VIMnotes. It also enables the customer to distribute high-fidelity models for viewing on PC and Mac in standard format mobile, with Virtual Reality options also available. Stakeholders do not require Revit application.
“VIMtrek is the ultimate real-time visualization platform for architects and designers. As the rendering is created in the cloud, it means every designer now has access to real-time visualization at their fingertips, enabling them to use up-to-date 3D models for design, review and approvals—both for internal and external [meetings],” reports Sanjay Mistry, vice president AEC at VIMtrek in Norcross, Ga. “Our cloud rending shreds time from days to hours to create real-time interactive VR/AR experiences, supporting a desktop viewer application and native direct link to Unity 3D.”
While Mistry was once director of AEC at Unity he explains that Unity decided to focus on its core business model—gaming, “but I felt strongly that VR/AR would have more people using it if there was specific focus. I recommended that we partner with a company focused on AEC, which is how I came to be with VIMtrek,” he notes. “The AEC industry works differently. We want people to have visualizations at their fingertips. We have removed the barriers of entry for real-time visualization to be used by all in the AEC space.”
VIMtrek is software as a service and can be purchased as a monthly/annual subscription. BIMx PRO by Graphisoft
“The BIMx PRO functionality began as a way for an architect to bring the model into a mobile device,” says Yanni Alexakis, product manager for Graphisoft North America Inc. in Waltham, Mass. “It started with iPad and is now available on Android. BIMx PRO puts the Archicad model into a gaming interface where you are able to use your finger to move through the 3D model. A client can walk into an entrance, see the lobby, look at views and get a sense of what it is like to be in that space.”
One of the big advantages to BIMx PRO is that it was created for use on a tablet. Real-time changes become much more accessible when teams have access to the model in the field in a way that allows designers and builders to interact. Design and construction teams can also mark up and send changes to documents while walking a site.
“When you take the model to the construction site, you have all the documents at a finger touch,” Alexakis reports. “You touch on a section and that plan, elevation, and all of [the] CDs come up. Not only that, but any changes—even last-minute changes—can be uploaded and accessed by the whole team via Wi-Fi.”
Alexakis continues, “It makes your office very portable. The advantages are numerous. Our software was developed by architects so it thinks like architects think.“
BIMx is available for free while BIMx PRO is purchased per project or for single use—reportedly often for less than printing a set of paper plans.