Half engineering firm, half video game company… Completely crazy about visualization.
In 2011, Sam Lytle was working for the Nevada Department of Transportation as a Rotating Engineer when he fell in love with 3D visualization. After working with several project managers to communicate their projects using 3D animations, the idea for a visualization studio was born.
In 2014, Sam achieved his goal of becoming a licensed professional engineer and started Civil FX Studios- a company dedicated to blending civil engineering and visual effects.
In 2015, Civil FX was part of the winning pursuit of Project Neon in Las Vegas, the largest public works project in Nevada’s history. As visualization, Sam and a small Civil FX team took on the billion dollar project with the ambitious goal of using a video game engine to build a 3D model of the project interactively. The gamble paid off- the 3D visualization efforts were a hugely successful part of the public outreach strategy for Project Neon which included image renders and video animations as well as virtual reality helicopter tours and a driving simulator.
The success of Project Neon led to other NDOT and Las Vegas work and more opportunities to utilize interactive visualization as the ultimate tool for public outreach.
Soon the Civil FX team was involved on nearly every major project in Nevada, utilizing 3D visualization as part of public outreach strategies. Additionally, contractors were reaching out to have 3D animations and image renders developed as part of project pursuits.
In 2017, Wayne Sullivan left Louis Berger after nearly 20 years working in their visual communications group to join Civil FX. By this time, Civil FX was doing work in Nevada, California, Florida, Arizona and other states.
In 2018 an office was opened in Las Vegas and the Civil FX team went from a remote and flexible small group to a full time team working out of an office and capable of handling several major projects at any given time.
In 2020 Civil FX was acquired by Parametrix, a 100-percent employee-owned engineering, planning, and environmental sciences firm headquartered in Seattle with 13 offices across the Western United States.
Our staff includes project managers, a full time developer, several artists and an intern
When it was announced that Project Neon had been awarded to the team that Civil FX was a part of, there was suddenly a lot of work to do- more than the few artists and engineers on staff could handle. At this same time in late 2015, Petroglyph Studios (the only major video game development company in Las Vegas) faced serious financial issues and was forced to lay off most of their staff. Due to this influx of talent, 4 former Petroglyph employees were hired as contractors to help bring Project Neon to life.
This video game talent not only helped in the innovation of making a billion dollar transportation project fully interactive for public outreach, it also left a lasting imprint on the DNA of the culture and future of Civil FX. Instead of focusing on making 3D animations using expensive and slow render farms, Civil FX- then and now- utilized Unity 3D and other game engines to bring major infrastructure projects to life in real-time.
While we are able to produce high quality image renders and 3D animations using a variety of workflows and offer other services focused around our motto ‘the visual side of infrastructure’, interactive visualization remains at the heart of what we are most passionate about. We are constantly pushing the technology, often adding several new features with each major project we are privileged to visualize interactively.
Our flexible approach to application development allows us to quickly solve problems and bring innovation and features that effectively takes public outreach to a new level.
In 2017 our co-submission with NDOT was selected as an AASHTO Innovation Initiative for interactive visualization. The work done by Civil FX on Project Neon was the catylist for the initiative with many other state DOTs and agencies seeking to utilize interactive visualization on their own major transportation projects.