Real-Time is the Future of 3D Visualization

I attended and presented at a local public works conference last weekend (to hear the presentation, listen to last weeks Beyond CAD episode). While I made several points in the presentation, there was one that stood above the rest: real-time is the future of 3D visualization. There are just too many advantages of using game engines for modeling, presentation and rendering and almost all of them are related to the fact that you can navigate and move around the model in real-time.

The industry standard for 3D visualization has traditionally been 3ds Max (or similar) with the final results fully rendered. The results of this workflow can’t be argued, but the barrier to entry to use this type of software is so high that the benefits are slowly going out of style. For best results you need a team trained in 3ds Max (not engineers, typically) and a render farm on hand doesn’t hurt.

Now that game engines are very low cost- or even free for visualization- and often easier to use, I expect more and more in our industry use these types of software for transportation and other civil engineering visualization.

Sure, maybe some of this is wishful thinking. If I was the one with 3ds Max training or even a 3ds Max team, I might be singing a different tune.

That said, I’ve seen the power of navigating a model in real-time with a client and I have a hard time believing this type of interaction won’t be more common in the future. Heck, even 3ds Max is moving toward real-time.

I’ve talked on this subject countless times on this blog and on the Beyond CAD podcast, but I just want to take this opportunity to say that the industry and the software we use will continue to move towards real-time for our type of visualization. So, let me say it again…

Real-time is the future of 3D visualization.