The Market For Virtual Walkthrough

Hi so, I have a pretty serious question, that hopefully someone with the experience can share, and answer in a more detailed response.

What is the need/market for interactive architectural walkthroughs? I’ve been trying to ask around and see if anyone would even be interested in paying for that, and so far, no one wants to pay for interactive walkthroughs. Am I missing something? Who should be the target audience? How do people gain success in this?

Any thoughts?

Have you talked to any Archviz companies?

I know many places that do still renders are very interested in doing real-time walkthroughs

It depends on where you live as well i suppose. In Turkey for instance, most people are still content even with a 30 second video animation rendered with Vray’s default settings…

Im not too much into Archiviz, but im pretty sure that if you create cool walkthroughs with Oculus Rift support, companies will pay well for that. I knew a guy who did archiviz and earned quite a lot of money.

There is a market for this for sure. Working on something like this myself and will tell you if we go on to the next step. :slight_smile:

The ‘market’ is definitely there, its just taking a little while to get moving.

I’m doing my university graduation project based on an arch-viz + oculus rift with a real residential model from an architectural firm. During my first meeting with them, I brought along my laptop and the realistic rendering demo and they were completely blown away. They wouldn’t stop talking about how far technology has come (they’re still used to just static screenshots of models or Vray renders) and the boss literally said he was ‘interested to see how we could streamline this and implement it into our workflow’.

Then I explained to them further that the photorealism was just the beginning. I then pulled out the Oculus DK1 and let them walk around in the realistic demo. Suffice it to say, they were beyond gob-smacked.

Trust me, visualisations with gaming engines is definitely going to catch on. Especially as more and more people get into it and discover it, and as technology just continues to get more powerful.

The only real setback is speed. As in, how fast you can crank out visualisations. The graphical fidelity and photorealism is nice, but if you can’t keep up with tight deadlines then it’s useless. As long as you can prove that the workflow is efficient and fast (which at the moment to be fair could be a lot better), then it’s very viable indeed.

EDIT: in terms of interactivity (like switching on lights, turning on taps etc), there isn’t a real ‘need’ for it. While it would definitely be nice as a sort of wow factor, a customer/client is not going to really care about being able to turn on a ceiling fan or opening a door in the long run. Especially since they’ll probably change their ideas on what they want which can modify the entire design brief anyway.

One of the main issue that I see is that vray renders are quite cheap, and usually ( at least where I live ) some guys do this job for around 50-60€ per shot, which is ridiculous considering the amount of work on shaders and lighting.

Archviz in a game engine is something that always interested me and I started quite a bit ago with Lumion, but the lack of “game logic” and the overall price was a big problem, plus the ability to do video only ( now you have a standalone client which you can send ) was a problem.

Honestly UE4 right now is the best solution available, and the quality is simply stunning.
I’m creating a demo right now and I will start to go around and propose this solution and check the response, so hopefully this solution ( together with Oculus rift ) will be the best choice…I also order two mocap suit ( Perception Neuron ) which soon will have UE4 plugin, so I could have both streaming mocap and Oculus together for total immersion, and hopefully blow awway the customer :slight_smile:

What I would like to see is a couple of tutorials Blueprint related such as:

  • Material swapping using left-click mouse
  • Ability to have two setup ( daytime and nightime ) swappable without too much problems
  • A compressed/light .exe to send directly to the customer in order to view the project
  • Web browser viewer ( 4.5 has it, right? )


My whole family, except me, are architects (I am the black, nerdy sheep). I have also studied first year of architecture.
From what I have gathered, from the two companies of my family members, are that such services are in high demand, BUT at a much too low price that I would bother. doing it
They actually use services like these often, but they outsource it to low cost countries.
In Norway, where we live, the prices are very high, and so are the salaries, so there is really no way for me to compete with these guys, unless I am willing to go way below the national minimum wage, when all taxes and expenses are paid.
Therefore, I have given up on the freelance 3D idea…

If you live in a low cost country and are willing to work internationally, the business should be “booming”, though.

EDIT: I actually remember my parents rendering **** like the archviz (some .mov files with vr) in an app called Jonathan in the mid-90s. They had to leave the mac on for over a weekend to render a small apartment in half-life (1) quality…

There is a market for somewhat bigger projects as well, I am Swedish oasf so not quite as high salaries and such as there are in Norway but it is still a possibility. When it is discussions about building new houses for a few million then paying a few thousand for realtime visualization is not a big deal. If you can provide results in good quality and time it wont matter to bigger companies if they have to pay 5x as much as long as the things are consistently on time and the results are good. Also as soon as you have things done you can reuse them in other scenes, it is not like you need to redo a whole lot unless there are special demands after all.

That might be. My father and sister run a mid-sized office (10-15 employees), but they handle very big projects. For these kinds of things, they really just go for it when building villas. When building commercial buildings the project is often very fragmented (other companies doing interior and another company doing landscape architecture), and the interior may even be done after the exterior is done. They are therefore limited to renderings of facades in their presentations.

So in other words, they use a lot of Polish people to render stills of these big project. A VR walkthrough would really only be feasible in smaller villa projects (running around a 100.000 NOKs or about 15500 USD), or projects that repeat the same base architecture over large areas (kinda like suburbia, without the “hell” in suburbian hell).
I would, however, send demos around to companies, as the ArchViz demos offer close to the quality from a rendered still in real time. It is a grand step forward from what architects are used to (as far as I know).

Of course, the bigger offices (100+ employees) tend to centralize everything, so you might get to do commercial buildings with them. I really have no experience with those kinds of companies, though :slight_smile:

And: Hej Kuro1n :slight_smile:

I found that amazed reaction when I met with some real estate companies to show our VR solutions. Everyone was aware that the technology is still under development and we couldn’t set a proper date to make business. But they sound quite comprehensive and looking for making their projects into VR.

Few time latter I found out that one of them indeed made the move into a arch-viz VR to show a new building inside a local mall using a Oculus VR DK1… well… seems that they looked after someone else to make the VR project for them and that another people indeed made it… the seller told me most of the people that used the oculus ended up sick and never came back…
Now, with all the negative feedback that the company had, I don’t thing they’ll be contacting anytime soon… maybe even after the consumer release of the Oculus VR… all because the market in Brazil is a little mess with unprepared companies trying to make money out of everything… right or wrong…

I find the reaction to Oculus Rift to be hit or miss. They either become amazed by it, or they think ‘so what’. The motion sickness is definitely a problem though, but it’s getting much better. I have a DK2 and it’s much better than the DK1 but there’s still a long way to go. Maybe in 2 or 3 years VR will really kick off.

I am sure there will be a market in the future. Maybe not for small architectural companies or single family house owners. But the big developers of large residential projects, soccer stadiums, theaters, museums, what ever costs money will make a use of it. With VR you can not only show apartments but also explain and test large interior or exterior space. You want to see how a the view from a seat in a stadium is? Use VR with Oculus Rift and it will blow you away. There are endless possibilities.
I started to promote this kind of service on my webpage (Service for Architekturvisualisierung) and already have customers which are awaiting April when the Oculus Rift (hopefully) hits the market.