Why 3D Models are the next level of communication and the new dimension of business
Maybe you don’t know exactly what BIM stands for or what comes out of a render farm. But definitely, 3D models are something you’re already pretty familiar with.
3D technology for consumers and professionals has come a long way. Back in the 50s, 3D started becoming a catchword with the trend of watching films through those funky polarised blue- and red-lensed glasses. Fast forward a few decades ahead, and today we have goggles like HoloLens and Oculus Quest that can deliver an interactive, three-dimensional experience like never before. Together with innovative 3D technology, these headsets present limitless possibilities for anyone from gamers to business professionals.
Understanding the science and construction of 3D models may seem overwhelming. Don’t worry – we’ll guide you through it (without the heavy tech talk) and introduce you to some of the highlights so you can understand what 3D models can do for you and your business.
3D models – the big 3
There are 3 main 3D models which are best understood across a spectrum. Each one has a different function, so which model you choose depends on what you’re using it for and the quality you want. So, in a nutshell, these 3D models are context-specific and serve different purposes. Here’s a quick overview:
- CAD/BIM enable precise measurements (used mostly in production and construction)
- Real-time allows interactive experiences (often seen in gaming)
- Pre-rendered creates photorealistic images (think movies)
A real-time model is a simplified 3D model that offers an across-the-board, collaborative, and direct experience. It lets us meet and communicate first-hand without travelling, defining the experience of telepresence. In a real-time world, we can move around and freely interact with 3D objects and people (as avatars).
Thomas Fenger, SynergyXR’s CXO and Co-Founder, highlights the benefits of being able to experience things first-hand:
Real-time 3D lets you explore, experience and collaborate in a way that’s much more immersive and impactful than someone just telling you or showing you something on a screen.
Now let’s take a closer look at pre-rendered 3D models. Have you ever been wowed with the incredibly realistic images of animated, blockbuster films like the Matrix, Avatar or Marvel movies? Well, those over-the-top special effects and larger-than-life realism are what pre-rendered models can deliver. Sometimes the sparkle and fluidity of a pre-rendered ocean are so photorealistic that we’re in doubt whether it’s real or not.
The crisp, vivid details come at the price of time. Generating high visual fidelity and going deep into every minute detail of lighting and texture in the scene can take many hours and sometimes even several days. By using render farms, this work can be “farmed out” to several computers making it possible to render a movie. But it has to be done in advance and it fixes the images, so we lose the ability to interact with the objects in the way we can with real-time – so pretty to see, pretty impossible to interact with.
The building blocks – CAD and BIM
Pre-rendered models impress us with razor-sharp resolution and stunningly vivid images down to the tiniest itty-bitty visual detail. In contrast, CAD and BIM models make their splash with exact measurements and flawless technological precision to the fraction of a millimetre. The terms may seem daunting with “3D CAD/BIM’s” capital letters stomping across the page, but what they stand for is pretty simple:
CAD = Computer Aided Design
BIM = Building Information Modelling
Both contain a staggeringly large amount of data to equip them for their hefty role in production. CAD models stem from engineering models as a foundation to make products, and BIM models are digital “blueprints” that capture a given space’s physical and functional features.
Structural engineers, architects, and construction managers use 3D CAD and BIM models to create visual images of their designs. The models give a detailed picture of what the plans will look like as completed structures inside and out, including plumbing, electricity, lighting, and a sense of space. CAD and BIM software also inform how different materials interact and improve communication with access to cloud-based designs. In short, these technologies help in modelling, workflow, construction, and finally in the handover of the model to the client. We can say that BIM is a chip off the old CAD block. With real-time visualisation and other fantastic plusses, this younger firecracker can go much further than CAD.
How real-time can add a new dimension to your business
Real-time modeling is mainly known within gaming but quickly expanding into the business arena for its advantages as a platform for augmented and virtual reality. One exciting example is how IKEA’s pioneering Augmented Reality app (IKEA Place) gives its users a complete, 3D understanding of how furniture will look in their homes. Another example is the ImagineIt app that we recently delivered for the playground builders Kompan. Like the IKEA app, it lets users see what playgrounds may look like using 3D Augmented Reality.
In this way, customers can come closer to the products to smoothly and precisely choose what they are looking for with real-time help. SynergyXR’s CEO and Co-Founder Mads Troelsgaard sees this as a bellwether for what’s to come:
This technology is the future of business. And nowadays, it’s not enough to see a commercial or even a store model of a product; we need to demo it in the way we intend to use it.
And what’s the simplest way to demo? On our handhelds and headsets, of course. With real-time, we can first-handedly experience products without going anywhere, and products can come right to our customers. They can also interact within virtual spaces like conference rooms and be telepresent anywhere they wish. Pretty convenient, right? We can even simplify highly technological models like CAD and BIM to real-time so we can use them on our cell phones or VR or MR headsets. Adding lighting, textures, and features like French windows streaming in sunshine or a rustic, blazing fireplace makes the virtual space look as realistic as possible and creates a specific ambiance.
Real-time for us all
Real-time’s use has increased as the general technology available to the public can now support it. What used to require expensive, exclusive equipment is “now an everyday happening since we can run these real-time applications on our phones,” notes Thomas. It’s easy to see how real-time’s popularity is rapidly making it a part of everyday life as we enter into a real-time lifestyle. Mads emphasizes that:
“Real-time is where we’re heading.”
SynergyXR is 100% pure real-time. As the name signifies, “SynergyXR” is all about interacting and working together – with the help of extended reality – to create something much more spectacular than what we could achieve alone. And that’s the function that real-time gives, that live, interactive experience, supporting SynergyXR’s motto: “XR to the people.”
Thomas explains, “It’s really up to the customer; we want to give them an easy way to create their own experiences and put the tech in the background. We believe that being able to interact, explore, and see things spatially is what’s really important.”
Mads sums up the impact of real-time and extended reality, “It’s not only SynergyXR – it’s the rest of the world. We’re looking into the future where exciting technologies will very soon be preferred in many ways, so it’ll be something that all companies will need to lean into at the end of the day.”