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Thu ,11/04/2019

Real-Time Rendering: Ushering in a New Era of Design Visualization

Real-time rendering is on the rise throughout the design industry. In light of this trend, any sector that focuses on design as a guiding principle—architecture, entertainment, fashion, engineering, and so on—is likely already putting it to work for them.

Since the 1990s, we have leveraged computers and CAD software to render our designs and this, in itself, was a revolution of sorts. Everything changed, from the way we presented designs to a client to the way we approached design at its most fundamental. It saved us all a great deal of time and money while opening up the potential to be able to show more plans to more clients. 

While there was some investment of time and resources required to make the most of CAD—and, more recently, photoreal and real-time rendering technologies—there are clear benefits that prove value, both for the client and for us. 

Video: Our designer at b+a architecture is demonstrating the real-time rendering.

 

What is real-time rendering?

Real-time rendering is a type of graphics and animation rendering that appears to happen instantly. It’s certainly nothing new; the video games industry has been using real-time rendering since its inception. It is only in recent years that the rest of the design industry has begun to adapt it to their own needs. 

As the technology became more accessible from a financial standpoint, we started to see it being applied to create visualizations of all kinds. It’s easy to see the value in providing an immersive, interactive experience over a static diagram-like set of plans, but to make it work in any capacity, it requires a specific skill set as well as some not-insubstantial investment to deliver the best possible results. 

Photoreal rendering vs. real-time rendering

In presenting an architectural design, the ability to apply photorealistic elements to a rendering is hugely beneficial to our process. It allows us and the client to see a realistic representation of what the new building is going to look like, landscaping, materials textures, and all. 

Photoreal and real-time rendering illustrate our work in ways that a drawing simply cannot. It allows us to try on different ideas on the fly so, when we arrive at the build stage, few questions remain for any of the stakeholders, meaning that the work will proceed more efficiently and economically, and there will be fewer delays from end-to-end. 

Real-time rendering takes photoreal to the next level, enabling 3-dimensional interactivity with the model. It is much like a virtual reality experience, except it is computer-generated rather than based on photographs. 

The next level up from that is photoreal real-time rendering, which is an approach that will once again inject value into what we do. 

Adoption of real-time rendering is on the rise

According to a study conducted by Forrester Research, 95 percent of architectsare interested or have already adopted a real-time rendering workflow. 

One of the main drivers of this trend is the need to compete with other firms who are already offering the technology. In a hyper-competitive market, the faster and more accurately you can complete a project, the more work you can do, giving the firm room to grow while answering our client’s needs with the best possible tools for the job. 

Cost of real-time rendering

Like most professional-grade graphics rendering software, the price of entry is not cheap. Software costs range from $500 to several thousand. Training and lack of skills can also be a barrier as, like all professional software, these tools are highly nuanced, and a certain level of mastery is required to deliver the best results. 

Ultimately, we find that real-time technology provides us with a lot of value, both in giving us some economy of time and resources and allowing us to delight our clients with beautiful images of their finished project. 

How b+a architecture helps your project with real-time rendering

b+a architecture is thrilled to offer real-time photorealistic rendering. Some of the things our clients love about it are that it gives them a detailed view of how their project is going to look when it’s done. It also allows us to make changes on the fly and it supports a close connection with every member of the design-build team. 

Simply put, sometimes, seeing something in a tangible form is the best way to get things done. If you would like to dive deeper into our real-time rendering process, we’d love to tell you more. Reach out today