Monday, December 17, 2012

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Is Unity the Best Platform for Realtime 3D Architecture Visualization?

Architect Jon Brouchoud, who's used Second Life for several innovative applications in his practice (such as this one), has a collection of interesting videos showing off realtime architecture visualization in Unity3D, among them this:

Many more on his blog here. Pretty impressive. I've seen better-looking architectural visualizations in Second Life and in OpenSim (such as this one), but Unity is the more open, more popular platform, and can run on the web, so it has the advantages there. I'd say SL maintains the advantage if you as the architect are already extremely familiar with the platform, and are planning to demo the SL visualization to the client yourself, as LA architect David Denton did for a major Egyptian project.


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Connie Arida

In answer to the question posed by the headline. Yes.
When you can view a 3d environment within a browser and have a client do the same without having to download software, learn a UI and deal with the complications attendant within the SL viewer that have nothing to do with the purpose of just viewing a visualization, again the answer would be, yes.
Horses for courses.


Currently, Yes. You miss out on quite a few niceties like standard avatars (which are important to architectural visualization), but can buy off the shelf solutions which a far more accurate than SL's defaults. Unity is open enough, ubiquitous enough, visually powerful enough, to produce a good solution with minimal effort. Flash 3D is a possible competitor, but doesn't have the sophistication nor focus of Unity's platform, nor it's highly optimized IDE.

Unfortunately, despite progress, SL is not a competitor for architectural visualization. Avatar scaling issues, and game oriented camera systems make it a poor choice. (I say that as a developer who has worked on various architecture projects within both SL and Unity.)

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