“It’s still being rendered.” It’s the most common response to an inquiry on the status of images for upcoming meetings. Visualization teams often have to make a decision to compromise image quality in order to reduce render times for an urgent deadline. This is a typical scenario in the process of producing high end photorealistic images in unrealistic time to wow a client. When time spent rendering becomes such a bottleneck, and project managers must settle for lower quality against their original intentions, what’s really being compromised are the actual goals of infrastructure visualization.
Advances in cloud computing have enabled a “best of both worlds” approach to infrastructure project visualization. RDV’s 123BIM platform allows civil engineering organizations to navigate their project model in a cloud-based gaming environment rendered in real-time and create their own custom images, videos, and virtual tours. Now, with ray-tracing integration, these custom assets can be rendered in the cloud for the highest quality results available at high speed.
Since 2005, RDV has differentiated itself from the rest of the 3D visualization industry by offering a dynamic and interactive environment where designers and project managers can navigate their designs rather than simply creating rendered images and videos. RDV has been involved in hundreds of projects involving transportation infrastructure, working with DOTs, transit authorities, local agencies, and their engineering consultants.
RDV’s philosophy has always been pragmatic: the engineer’s task is to communicate designs as clearly and effectively as possible, not to impress with award-winning graphics. For this reason, RDV chose to forgo fully realistic lighting, which is too computationally intensive to render in real time, in favor of allowing dynamic exploration of the project model in real time.
123BIM allows users to create visual assets directly from the project model including still images, ‘flyover’ videos, 360 videos, and virtual tours. Until now, these assets were created using a realtime rendering pipeline (the same technique that is used to navigate the 123BIM model) which produced results of the same quality as the project model. Today, utilizing the more comprehensive rendering technique known as ‘ray-tracing’ with an innovative cloud computing approach, significantly more realistic results can be achieved for visualization assets without compromising the ultimate goal of communicating project designs.
RDV’s technology distributes the rendering tasks among multiple cloud servers in order to produce a final result. For clients this means no need for maintaining resource-heavy “render farms” or any other non-standard hardware. Additionally, this allows 123BIM to cut render time to a fraction of the typical production process. Still images can be rendered in the highest quality available today in just minutes while videos and virtual tours can always be completed in under an hour, meaning that high quality rendering never needs to slow you down or be the reason to miss an important deadline in the future.
The 123BIM interactive 3D model using real time rendering combined with high-speed photorealistic capabilities allows for a new paradigm of dynamic project visualization. All of the advantages of 123BIM are maintained, now with no compromise on quality of the final product. The rapid speed of photorealistic rendering means that design updates can be incorporated, and alterations to camera angle or other parameters can be made after the fact with negligible costs for time and computing power.
The advantage of photorealistic quality is subtle. Shadows look softer, as they would in real life, reflective surfaces such as water or vehicles accurately reflect the surrounding environment, and textures better indicate the different materials of the design. These small details, which are difficult to consciously notice, converge to make an image with greater appeal that more closely resembles real life.
Inconsistent and unrealistic images can distract the viewer from the message that is being conveyed. For public engagement purposes, this message is critical for obtaining approval, and any distractions in the quality of the visualization only detract from the goal. Some visualization professionals have a tendency to create hyper-realistic or overly flashy visuals that miss the point of frankly communicating designs to the public, and often waste time adding non-critical flair. RDV’s technology strikes a balance between visualization that is aesthetically pleasing and realistic but clearly shows the design in question without distractions.
RDV Systems’ 123BIM platform allows designers and project managers to review designs, compare alternatives in real-time and in context, and communicate their proposed designs to stakeholders and the public. Now, with integration of photorealistic rendering techniques, the dynamic and interactive 3D models can be used to quickly produce visual assets that are of the highest available quality. Using this innovative approach, RDV customers can have their cake and eat it too.
To see examples of using photorealistic rendering for virtual tours of infrastructure projects, scan the QR codes below with your mobile device, or navigate to the web links.
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