While VR is getting all the attention lately, it has eclipsed an even more exciting growing trend in architecture visualization: live 1st person exploration. Why spend 10 hours on a still rendering when you can walk around your project?
I've been trying all the major rendering plug-ins for Revit with this feature: Lumion, Enscape and Autodesk Live. All of them are great and have their own strength. I plan to write a review for each of them.
So far, my favorite is without a doubt Enscape. I've been using it to present models to a client and the response has been spectacular.
Click here to visit Enscape website. Cost for a year: 449$ to 679$.
1- ENSCAPE IS SIMPLE
Enscape is not the most complete, sophisticated or beautiful rendering plug-in. But it is by far the most simple. Simplicity is the most important factor when judging a rendering plugin.
Designers used to outsource renderings to an outside team. The more simple a rendering tool is, the easier it is to kill this archaic workflow and let the designers control the renderings.
In Revit, go to the Enscape tab, select a 3D view and click start. Enscape will open. You are ready to walk around your project, using the same controls as a first-person shooter video game.
No need to export file or go through a complicated process.
2- ENSCAPE INSTANTLY SYNC WITH YOUR REVIT MODEL
Want to test changes to your project? No need to export the model again or restart the rendering. The change in Revit will immediately sync in Enscape.
The simplicity of this feature means that renderings can be used through the whole process, not only when the design is complete.
3- ENSCAPE USES REVIT MATERIALS
No one wants to change their material all over again when it is time to render. Enscape use the Revit Appearance materials.
4- ENSCAPE TRANSFORMS ENTOURAGE INTO BEAUTIFUL OBJECTS
Place a few trees and people in your Revit model: they will be transformed automatically into realistic looking entourage inside Enscape.
Make sure to activate the "Grass Rendering" option in the Advanced settings to get great looking 3D grass. No more wasted time spent photoshopping grass into renderings.
5- YOU CAN IMPORT A 360 PANORAMA BACKGROUND
Most smartphones now have the ability to produce a 360 panorama picture. You can use this file and import it into Enscape to create a realistic environement. Be careful: the picture will look weird and inaccurate if you go to far from where you took it.
6- YOU CAN EXPORT TO AN .EXE FILE AND SEND IT TO YOUR CLIENT
Enscape lets you capture screenshots and create videos. Even more awesome, it lets you export an .exe file of the Enscape model. That means people without an Enscape license can still get to experience the model. They will need a computer with a descent video card, else it is going to be quite slow.
Plug-in a Xbox controller and experience your project like a video game.
There is a few things Enscape could improve. The glass reflection is good, but not as beautiful as other Revit rendering tools like Lumion. The cutout material feature doesn't really work. But overall, this is an incredible product that I recommend to every designer and architect.
I will receive an Oculus headset in the next few days. Stay tuned for a test of Enscape VR capabilities.
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