3D architectural design reviews—in the time it takes to make a coffee

June 15, 2021
Before the pandemic, an architect’s day would likely have included in-person meetings in which renderings, animations, plans, and sections were shared to review building designs. These meetings might have involved walking clients through the building in VR, or watching a screen while a designer navigated around the architectural model. 

Neither of these options to review designs is perfect. Clients can sometimes feel uncomfortable in VR headsets, and having a designer run through a model means clients do not have full freedom to explore the design themselves. 

Then there’s the fact that meeting rooms are rarely kitted out with the necessary high-powered computers to provide a good experience for these reviews, whether at the client’s office or the architect’s. 

During the pandemic, design reviews didn’t get much better. Now, architects were forced to contend with annoyances such as lagging interactivity on shared Zoom screens. 

A feature released in the latest version of Twinmotion has the potential to turn these less-than-ideal review processes on their head—and not just for the pandemic era, but going forward into ‘business-as-usual’ times as well.


Faster, easier immersive design reviews 

Twinmotion Cloud enables architectural designers to showcase their latest designs by simply sharing a link. Clients can view and walk through the project at any time—not just during the meeting—regardless of how powerful their computers are. 

Not only does this improve communication, but it also gives time back to the architect. To prepare for these meetings in the past, architects would need to render out images with post-production tweaks, produce walkthrough animations, take screenshots of the model, and more. 
 

With Twinmotion Cloud, any changes made to the model are instantly represented in the images and animations using quick and easy push-to-cloud functionality. Like all the most powerful ideas, it’s a small and simple change, but one which could have huge ramifications on the architect’s day-to-day workflow. 
 

The architect’s day, reimagined 

Let’s imagine an architect has wrapped up modeling for a design they’ve been working on. To share that design with their client, they simply import the model into Twinmotion, then push this model to the cloud and send the client the link.

The client is out of the office and working from a laptop—but that’s no problem. An email pings into their inbox, and they can look at the design file on their own computer, irrespective of how powerful that computer is.

The client makes some comments regarding geometry changes, then goes off to get their morning dose of caffeine. Meanwhile, the architect has been developing the model with materials to bring the project to life. They receive the client’s comments, change the geometry, and send back a link with the updates.
 

The client comes back with a fresh cup of coffee to the updated changes. They’re happy to see some textures that help provide a sense of scale, but it now has them reconsidering the materials used in the space.

Back in Twinmotion, the architect creates a presentation with different material layouts and then pushes this to the cloud.

At this point, the architect and client jump on a call to discuss the options. During the call, the client requests lighting changes. The architect can quickly make the changes there and then, push to the cloud, and get the link to the client before the end of the call. The client now has a link in their email that they can refer back to at any time in the future.

With all the time freed up from this faster, easier process, the architect can turn their attention to further developing the design, pulling material samples—and perhaps even grabbing a coffee themselves. 
 

Real-time workflows have real-world impact 

This new cloud feature gives architects the ability to provide immersive experiences in an accessible way. Designers are already saying farewell to hitting the render button and waiting an hour, and instead putting projects directly in the client's inbox in a matter of minutes.

A case in point is Matthew Isikhuemen, a 3D designer and animator, VR content developer, and cinematographer. “Twinmotion Cloud has been a huge part of my workflow, especially during this season of social distancing and restricted movements,” explains Matthew. “All I do is upload the project and the client can easily navigate the project all by himself, without any major explanations or guidelines.”
Image courtesy of Matthew Isikhuemen
Matthew can do this irrespective of his or the client’s location, and if the client has any feedback, they can easily highlight what they want corrected. 

Recently, Matthew needed a way to communicate the design of a mini residential estate for a project based in Abuja, Nigeria. Rather than the clunky old way of doing it, he used Twinmotion Cloud to share the design file with the client. “The client was blown away, especially due to the fact that he could literally navigate as though he was playing a video game and he could see every part of the design process,” says Matthew.
Image courtesy of Matthew Isikhuemen
Bill Sands is another Twinmotion user who has recently started experimenting with the Twinmotion Cloud feature. A 3D visualizer from London, Bill is something of a pioneer. He focused his degree at university on the use of real-time technology in architecture way back in the 90s—long before the technology had become commonplace in the AEC industry. 

Bill explains that Twinmotion Cloud is a game changer for him because it enables easy sharing of a scheme environment with a design team or client. “Prior to Twinmotion Cloud, showing the client or design team a visualization required either sending very large files and folder structures and relying on them having a PC with sufficient power to be able to run it adequately, or presenting it myself on a machine that could cope with it,” he says. “The former regularly resulted in the experience being rather underwhelming, or a complete failure.” 

Now, the ability to upload to the cloud and share the model on a level playing field opens up access to everyone, giving users greater control. 

Bill recently visualized a housing development design by architect Andy Lanham, who is proposing a small development in a woodland. Twinmotion Cloud was used to help Andy and his team to better visualize the proposal and its potential, and to help to sell the scheme off plan. 
Image courtesy of Bill Sands | Woodland Project for Andy Lanham, Architect
Initially, Bill provided Andy with a few images of his design before Twinmotion Cloud was available. “The images alone impressed the team, and when I demoed the scene over a network call, Andy was very impressed,” says Bill. “When I shared the project in Twinmotion Cloud and Andy was able to open it and drive it himself, he was bowled over. He and his team have found the experience to be very valuable indeed to the design process.”
Image courtesy of Bill Sands | Woodland Project for Andy Lanham, Architect
Matthew and Bill are some of the early adopters already benefiting from the huge leap forward that design review processes have taken thanks to Twinmotion Cloud. With laggy video call reviews a thing of the past and fast, streamlined cloud sharing now possible, architectural design reviews will never be the same again. 

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