What is Real-Time Rendering?
Real-time rendering is really all about interactivity. It means that the images you see – typically in a brochure or on a marketing website, but also in augmented and virtual reality, and mobile experiences – are rendered fast enough that a user can interact or move around in the environment.
Because complex images tend to take longer to render, real-time rendering has never been quite the same quality as what has been possible with final renderers in arch-viz and animation using tools such as V-Ray and Corona.
But this is changing. Physically plausible effects and ray tracing, once solely the domain of full-blown rendering engines, are often embedded in real-time renderers inside game engines. And that means the results out of game engines, although still not at the level that the mainstream renderers can produce, can be good enough to fool the untrained eye.
How Real-Time Rendering Can Revolutionize Design - Again
In the 1990s, the field of architectural design was transformed by the widespread adoption of computers and CAD programs. This revolution affected the entire design process from start to finish, including presentation techniques. Traditional watercolor paintings were replaced by computer-generated images that could show the design from multiple angles. A virtual camera could even fly through the design and produce a video tour of the yet-to-be-built concept.
This new workflow eventually saved architects, engineers, and designers time and money, and gave them new ways to present their work to a wider audience. But the revolution was hard-won, initially requiring users to learn new tools and spend a great deal of time on rendering.
Clients’ expectations continue to rise with every new innovation. With photo-real renderings now commonplace in TV shows and feature films, clients expect the same level of quality in their architectural presentations. Advances in rendering technology have made photo-real renderings possible—but at a price.
Photo-real rendering has always been “expensive” in terms of time and resources, requiring minutes or hours to render each frame. But what if the rendering bottleneck could be removed? How creative could you be, how many types of presentations could you create, and how happy could you make your clients?
Welcome to the next revolution for design. Photo-real real-time rendering for architectural visualization is here, now, with Unreal Engine.
Real-Time Rendering: More than Presentation
Simply taking each part of your workflow that uses traditional rendering and replacing it with real-time rendering will save time. That alone is attracting many designers toward real-time rendering, but it’s only one of its benefits.
In a recent 2018 architectural visualization survey, the majority of those experimenting with real-time rendering stated that they intend to use it for every part of their workflow that requires presentation.
But the use of real-time rendering goes beyond presentation tasks. Real-time rendering provides additional benefits like the ability to iterate and collaborate more effectively, leading to greater freedom of creativity.