December 4, 2017

Real-time is the Future, Why Change Now?

By Ken Pimentel

We’re in the midst of a massive transformational shift in the way design visualization content is created. In the burgeoning age of interactive experiences, static images aren’t always effective in conveying the full depth of a designer’s vision. When it comes to meeting the needs of stakeholders and clients, having the speed and flexibility to iterate quickly is particularly invaluable in product design and architecture visualization.

Tadao Ando’s Church of the Light is brought to stunning  life by Fabrice Bourrelly in Unreal Engine

That’s why many of today’s designers and visualization specialists are turning away from slower, traditional offline rendering methods in favor of adopting more efficient real-time workflows that streamline the process of crafting great 3D design.

Understanding the power of real-time

Real-time design is making a world of difference for designers seeking a competitive edge across fast-paced creative industries. As they discover what’s possible with real-time tools, many are finding the old way of doing things just doesn’t cut it anymore.

With offline rendering techniques, making changes to a complex design can mean spending minutes, hours, and even days re-rendering with each iteration cycle. Additionally, assets created this way are limited to their initial intended use. By creating real-time assets, designers can unlock a range of possible use cases and targeted experiences. Adopting real-time techniques allows designers and artists to extract more creative value from a given effort -- better design, better flexibility, and far, far faster feedback. What’s not to like?

BMW Design uses Unreal Engine to explore interior alternatives

Experience-driven design lets clients step into a scene, explore it from different perspectives, and customize it to get what they need from it. There’s never been a more effective way for designers to sell someone on their vision.

Why real-time, and why change now?

Simply put: the future is already here. Real-time engines are changing the competitive landscape across the realm of architectural visualization, product design, engineering, industrial design, and other creative industries. 

Faster iteration speeds and greater design flexibility is putting early adopters of real-time technologies at a major cost advantage over artists who stick with traditional techniques for asset development. Offline rendering takes significantly longer to produce the same quality of work, meaning that wasted time could have been better spent improving the end result. 

Boeing uses Unreal Engine to create a virtual training simulator for the Starliner project

As clients experience design in newer, more immersive ways -- such as VR and interactive live rendering -- their expectations are growing, too. Teams who ignore this fundamental shift will risk falling behind the competition and miss out on many opportunities in a rapidly evolving design space.

Finding accessible solutions today

Adopting new design techniques can be intimidating, but getting up-to-speed with real-time engines for design is now easier than ever.

For designers seeking artist-friendly solutions and frictionless workflows, Unreal Engine is a foundational building block that makes adapting real-time design to the needs of any creative industry a seamless process. The platform is fully expandable, and powerful tools like Blueprints -- Unreal Engine’s accessible visual scripting system -- lets designers build on top of Unreal without having to learn actual code. This has opened the door to bringing real-time capabilities to a much broader range of industries beyond games.

Rotor Studios built a sales configurator for Toyota showrooms using Unreal Engine

Unreal Engine provides an easy on-ramp for integrating real-time design into many diverse industries, empowering designers to craft their own visualization strategy with the platform to get exactly what they’re looking for. From architects and automotive builders to product designers and marketing teams, it’s helping to bridge the gap into real-time and gain a competitive edge in numerous design fields.

Ready to accelerate and streamline your real-time workflows in Unreal Engine? Joni the free Unreal Studio beta today to turbocharge your real-time design world!