Building Information Modeling was certainly around before AutoDesk launched Revit over a decade ago. However, that particular launch ushered BIM into the mainstream, as architects and engineers gravitated towards it for the flexibility and efficiency it allowed - not to mention its accuracy.
Over the years since its release, Revit has undergone a number of important quality of life upgrades that has transformed it into a powerful construction documentation tool that is no longer a clunky mess. Its usability has given designers no other choice but to abandon exclusive 2D drafting in favor of something that not only assists in the documentation process, but the design process as well.
Now, AutoDesk is searching for a new frontier for Revit to conquer: visualization. Revit has always had an on-board rendering engine that never seemed like an afterthought, and doesn’t begin to hold a candle against dedicated renderers such as V-Ray, Keyshot, or Maxwell.
AutoDesk is hoping to change that with the release of Revit Live - a licensed plugin that promises to give architects an all new Revit, complete with visualization tools that can be used seamlessly alongside the base program. We’re going to take an in-depth look at what Revit Live is, and how it can expect to change the way we use BIM software.
Revit Live is a cloud-based extension of Revit that will render your model in real-time, and allow architects and designers to create a variety of different visualizations, walk-throughs, animations, and even VR tours of their building model. It takes material and texture information directly from the components within the model to create a virtual space where users can explore at their heart’s content.
It gives design firms the ability to utilize a powerful visualization tool without the need for expensive equipment to run the back-end. The cloud computing offers almost instantaneous results, meaning users can quickly update the visualization once changes have been made to the base model.
Revit Live comes packaged with most AutoDesk software packages, so no additional funds need to be set aside to make full use of the service.
One appealing feature of Revit Live is the ability to share the visualization models with just about anyone. This means engineers, consultants, clients, and builders will have access to a fully rendered version of the building - as it is drawn in the construction documents - to better understand the design in its most current state.
For architects and designers, there is nothing more important than having the ability to clearly communicate ideas, details, and vital construction information that might make the end product more aligned with the design. Revit Live has the potential to do this, with cutting the middleman from the equation of designer to visualizer, back to designer and finally to the intended party.
It injects efficiency and accuracy into a program that is touted for its efficiency and accuracy. Architects are given the tools to quickly communicate visually without the need to hand-hold through a sterile set of 2D plans and drawings.
Perhaps the most impressive feature included in Revit Live is seamless virtual reality integration. More and more design firms are digging their teeth into the possibilities of VR to showcase their unbuilt designs. The problem has been finding software that doesn’t require a doctorate in computer engineering to be able to operate. Most offices have resorted to hiring outside help to set up and operate virtual reality experiences in the office.
With Revit Live, the software is all right there, and all that’s needed is an in-house virtual reality headset to get things up and running.
Clients love being able to freely move around in the buildings they are paying lots of money to construct before ground is broken on the project. It gives them hope during a long and sometimes painful design and permitting process, that their project is going to come out the other side as good as advertised.
This flavor of visualization is what strengthens trust between designer and client, and allows decisions to be made a bit more freely. The client can see with their own eyes, and therefore don’t need to blindly believe that things will turn out as planned.
Revit Live is just getting started, but it promises to shake up the design and visualization industries with streamlined information that is more closely aligned with real-world context.