As new technologies are being developed and new tools are being published, the way we work keeps changing. Whether we’re talking about working less or working differently, this technology impacts not just our work but our lives as well. One such tool is Unreal Engine, a game engine that has redefined how we create video games and is looking to step into other industries.
With the development of Unreal Engine, the game development industry has also started pushing other industries forward. Movies, the metaverse, and even the architecture world often rely on it, especially its latest version, Unreal Engine 5. The impact it has on these industries is already well-known, and who knows what the future holds.
Today, we’re here to answer the question of whether you can use it for architecture. Apart from that, we’ll give you an overview of this engine and its features and tell you all about the advantages and disadvantages of using it for architecture and design.
Developed by Epic Games founder Tim Sweeney, it first appeared in a 1998 first-person shooter game, “Unreal.” However, while it was initially developed for a video game, it is now a pretty powerful tool that people use for all sorts of things. When people started playing almost 25 years ago, they quickly became amazed by how great all the levels and character designs looked, and that is how the development of Unreal Engine started.
Today, it is a powerful game engine with many features and tools that can help you create high-quality 3D models, visualizations, and interactive elements for almost any purpose you can imagine. Unreal Engine can import and create 3D models, materials, and lighting, as well as interactive elements such as walkthroughs, flythroughs, and even VR.
Apart from having powerful features and a broad set of tools, the engine is free to use today and has a massive community of users. That makes it an excellent tool for any industry, although it was primarily created for game development only. Today, it’s used in games, movies, the metaverse, and even in architecture.
The simple and short answer is yes. Moreover, a large number of architects and designers already use the engine daily, and others use it for many different purposes as well. It can be used for architecture because level design in games requires a certain amount of realism in terms of materials and scale, even though its primary purpose was, in fact, the gaming industry.
As we’ve previously mentioned, Unreal Engine’s tools, capability to create high-quality 3D models and interactive experiences, and the fact that it’s free-to-use make it an ideal tool for all architects and designers. 3D architectural renderings can be done reasonably quickly and in real-time.
Another great thing is that presentations can be interactive, while the buildings created with 3D models can be truly lifelike and stunning.
Obviously, all these features make this engine an excellent choice for architecture and design. You can also use it to create detailed 3D models of buildings and interiors, allowing you to create realistic environments and landscapes for architectural visualization.
The fact that Unreal Engine has real-time rendering capabilities makes it a great choice if you want to create high-quality visualizations and architecture and design presentations that are highly interactive.
Apart from being free to use for all architects and designers, at least with the latest version, which is Unreal Engine 5, it’s also a capable and powerful tool in its own right. There are, in fact, several unique advantages to using it over other tools. Although primarily developed for use in video games, it is now used by many in the movie industry, the metaverse, and the architecture and design world as well.
Read ahead to learn more about Unreal Engine’s most significant advantages and decide whether they’re enough for you to start using this tool. We suggest that you consider what type of projects you do as an architect or a designer to see if these features are valuable to your work and make the final decision yourself.
An integrated feature and just one part of the engine, Twinmotion simplifies the process of creating visualizations. These visualizations also work in real-time. Twinmotion adds hundreds of thousands of smart assets that you can easily use to create presentations that will grab your clients’ attention.
For example, you can add a person who will walk the path you defined or add a tree that will grow. These assets can impact characters, vegetation, lights, decals, and more. You can also change seasons, weather, or the time of day by simply dragging a slider. All of this is sure to make your presentations much more enjoyable.
Being one of the most powerful features, the real-time rendering capability of Unreal Engine is one of its biggest advantages. Essentially, real-time rendering allows you to see what your final product looks like in real-time. That makes it possible to change your design and reiterate quickly.
Real-time rendering allows for making design decisions and improving your visualization and your architectural project on the go. That in itself can improve your workflow as a designer or an architect by a large margin.
Most commonly used in the game industry, Unreal Engine has developed some fantastic visuals over time. Today, it packs a massive set of tools and is known for producing high-quality visuals that leave clients inspired and impressed. You can use these tools to create detailed and realistic models of buildings and interiors, which makes them perfect for architects and designers.
That’s why it might be a good choice for creating stunning architectural visualizations. By using Unreal Engine, architects and designers can also create lifelike visuals that grab their clients’ attention. The best part is that these presentations can even be interactive, allowing clients to carefully explore the exterior and roam through the exterior of your buildings.
By using Unreal Engine, your presentations won’t be dull and lifeless. Your clients and stakeholders will be pleasantly surprised by the interactive presentations you have created. The engine’s robust tools allow you to create interactive experiences such as walkthroughs and flythroughs of your designs, which can be pretty helpful when you are trying to communicate your ideas.
Furthermore, a tool called Animation Blueprints can add realistic and complex animation behaviors to your secondary objects. That can make your presentation much more interesting, and your clients will love it.
As Unreal Engine has been around for almost 25 years, it has seen a ton of updates over several of its newer versions, which have all greatly improved its functionality. Today, it provides a vast range of tools. You can use these tools to create 3D models, materials, lighting, and even the interactive experiences we mentioned above. That’s why it might be a good choice for 3D visualizations, as it is a very powerful and versatile tool for architects and designers.
Unreal even has built-in tools for collaboration and review. These can come in handy and are useful when working with a whole team of architects and designers. In essence, it allows your team to give you immediate feedback on your designs, and you can improve as you create the project.
Because Unreal Engine is a free-to-use game development engine, it is used by many people. This community of users and developers means you can easily find guides and tutorials. Not only is there a wealth of online resources, but this lovely community can also help you get started, teach you new skills, and improve your existing ones.
On top of that, it is incredibly easy to learn as it has a user-friendly interface and a lot of documentation. However, if you are struggling with it, remember that it is already widely used in architecture and design, gaming, and the movie industry. This large community of users will be glad to help you with anything you need and can give you pointers and tips on just about any subject related to the engine.
Just because the product is free to use doesn’t make it the right choice for everyone. As much as there are advantages to using Unreal Engine, there are also drawbacks to using it for architecture and design. For some, these drawbacks will have little to no consequence, but for others, they can be a deal breaker. That will mostly depend on what you do as an architect or a designer and how willing you are to learn.
Below is a list of some of the cons of using this engine. Take a good look at the items on the list before deciding whether you should switch to this engine. We also encourage you to do more research of your own and find precisely how capable it is and whether or not it would be a good option for you.
Although Unreal Engine is made very easy to use and has an intuitive interface that is beginner friendly, there are better tools. If you are only just learning about it now, it may be pretty overwhelming when you first try to use the tool.
The reason for that is an extensive range of features and tools created with the gaming industry in mind. They can make Unreal Engine more complex than it needs to be, especially if you consider that architects and designers won’t use most of these tools.
Unreal Engine may not have the same level of integration as other architecture and design software. It may also not support all file formats. It is not the best choice for people requiring specific file formats.
The best thing to do would be to check precisely what is supported and what isn’t. If the file format you work with is not on the list, you are out of luck. In that case, more specialized 3D modeling software and other visualization tools might be better for you.
Although it has an extensive set of tools that people can use in many different sectors as well, the simple truth is these tools are gaming-oriented, and Unreal Engine wasn’t made with architecture in mind.
There may be a massive set of tools for game creation, but when it comes to architecture, these tools might not be enough for you. You might be better off going with another, more specialized 3D modeling software that will have the tools you will need and use daily.
Unreal Engine’s tools are powerful, but they also require a very powerful computer to run them – as you would expect from a game engine geared towards highly advanced PC builds.
Depending on your models’ scale and complexity, your computer hardware might not be enough to run Unreal Engine smoothly. That can be a disadvantage if you don’t already have a powerful machine to run things without any hiccups.
However, if you are an architect or a designer, chances are your computer is equipped with enough RAM and processing power, both CPU and GPU, to run the engine smoothly and ensure an uninterrupted workflow.
Whether Unreal Engine is a good choice for your architecture project depends mainly on your work. Your specific needs and requirements will dictate whether you should use this engine or something else.
It may be a great choice if you need to create high-quality 3D models and visualizations or interactive presentations or if you require real-time rendering. However, Unreal might not be the best choice if you need more specialized architecture features or only work with certain file formats.