What are your thoughts on the ArchViz article on the front page today?

In case you missed it:

For me, it re-affirms that this business - and Unreal Engine especially - is successful and is a really awesome concept. It also makes me a little sad that my company has a long way to go to get this good and to be of such status that we would be commissioned to work on such a massive project.

I love that we have our own forum for this topic and that real time visualization has become a bigger subject.

In ‘‘that business’’ I guess you mean architectural visualization. I’m not sure there’s a big demand for interactive projects like that tho. It takes alot of time to make that stuff and it’s expensive. I think most clients have tight deadlines. It’s not photorealistic enough for my taste but for some, i guess, interactivity can compensate for that! If Ue4 could make more realistic results i’d really like to use it more tho. The ‘‘gaming’’ feel is still too strong tho. I think.

Btw, what is your company and what are you doing? arch viz?

I think you’re right that the demand for a huge project like the one in the article is going to be extremely limited, but I can imagine a lot of bigger companies finding it interesting enough to dabble in. There are many people still out there who haven’t been exposed to this new type of interactive walkthrough, and it’s still an exciting idea that businesses may yet be exploring.

It definitely takes a long time to create an entire product and workflow from scratch, but I think using a game engine could be much faster in the long run if you are comparing it to traditional rendering (while factoring in the interactivity). Once you have a library of furniture and materials, it becomes easy to throw together a scene into the pre-programmed game you have. Modeling the unique items for each location is the biggest problem, but it could only take a couple days depending on your team. There is almost no rendering cost, and iteration time is impressive.

I feel like Unreal’s realism is mostly limited by the user. Obviously there are technical limitations that can’t be overcome, but I’ve seen some jaw-dropping screenshots from realistic ArchViz projects posted in the forums.

My company is Theia Interactive. We’ve been keeping in touch with some interested real estate owners, and we just launched a campaign of sorts to get dedicated buyers.

I started to use cryengine some time ago having as a final goal to make realistic walkthroughs for architectural projects. I tried to learn unreal too (it is a great engine) but I found the whole lightmapping thing complicated as I am not a 3d artist. Both engines have very good features and can create impressive walkthroughs but in the end, I don’t think the demand is as big as I thought in the first place. There are also a lot of practical problems. It’s difficult (impossible) to update the models if you want to make a change on them, something very common. Imagine making all the redoing of the lightmaps! There is also the publishing of the projects. If you want to produce a standalone level it needs for the client to have a good pc. Not everyone is a gamer! Otherwise clients have to visit your office (and your occulus rift maybe!) There are more everyday problems that make game engines a little difficult to use. The best solution is to make unreal run inside modeling and architecture programs like archicad and sketchup. That would be a real revolution!! The graphics of these programs are 20 years old. But if someone could update them with unreal, it could change the whole archviz industry

I agree that this is a huge hurdle. Luckily Unreal is scalable, so the web version and mobile phone versions are doable, but the graphics quality can’t be top-notch for every user. The company in the article are working on a showroom dedicated to sales, which is definitely the ideal setup. You just need really wealthy clients.

In good enough hands, Unreal can be used for high quality renders if you want to ignore the interactive aspect entirely. Flythroughs and and screenshots are instantaneous, and you can crank up all the settings without worrying about performance. Because I have a game background, the lightmaps and whatnot come to me pretty naturally now, so I could currently do much better work in Unreal than Vray.

Thats a great spirit. Keep going.