HNTB has more than 100 years of experience in infrastructure solutions and has offices in 25 countries. However, HNTB still maintains keen insight and keeps up with the trend of the times. Their visualization department is responsible for creating art works to help the company win projects. In the past five years, they have used 3ds Max and V-Ray for rendering, but with the advancement of technology, they have completed more projects in a shorter time
Sometimes it takes us five days to render an animation. "said David Finlay, VR/interactive 3D team leader of HNTB. "But we won't have so much time to render slowly." Austin Reed, head of the 3D visualization team, explained. The team began to explore real-time solutions, and first noticed unreal engine because they felt that unreal engine was much easier to use than other products. Easy-to-use factors include blueprint visual scripts, and Reed believes that blueprints make their art "art first, then technical art." Finlay agreed, and gave an example, saying that it was like a real experience for participants to walk up and down an escalator. "This effect no longer needs a programmer to achieve. Just look at some tutorials to understand all the operations that need to be completed. " He said.
But the decisive factor is the speed of completing the task. The team thinks that it is an ideal state to create a mature virtual reality experience in three months, but it has been proved that this time can usually be shortened to three weeks. To say that this process has a constant factor, that is, change. "We iterated over and over again until the interview day, because the project manager is still trying to figure out the information to be conveyed to the customer." Said Reed. To import scenes into unreal engine, HNTB uses Datasmith, a tool set in Unreal Studio, which can simplify the import process of 3ds Max and CAD formats. Finlay marvels at this non-destructive re-import function, saying that it can help them to iterate quickly and ensure that the settings they have created are not lost, such as collision objects and LOD. Daniela Sanchez, a veteran 3D visualization expert, enjoys the fact that she can work in real time. "I can see [resources] right now, and in traditional rendering, I have to sit there and wait to see what is wrong." She said with a smile. Sanchez is not the only one who likes the benefits of real-time rendering. In the recent survey conducted by Forrester Consulting, more than 80% of the respondents believe that it can speed up the process, improve the iteration and modification speed, and improve the quality and results. At the same time, 76% of the respondents said that the time needed by offline rendering prevented them from exploring creative solutions. It is not easy to convince stakeholders that VR is the future development direction. "They showed their heads for the first time, took a step back, and then said in surprise,' Wow, I am in this environment.' "Reed said," Then we knew-we did the right thing. "
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