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How to visualize an architectural project online with virtual reality

How to visualize an architectural project online with virtual reality

Immersive virtual reality: a new and innovative way to visualize your architectural projects and amaze customers with effective presentations

With the introduction of new tools and new technologies, the construction industry is undergoing strong changes. In fact these changes represent great opportunities for technicians in the sector. However new technologies such as immersive virtual reality (iVR) have given a significant creative breakthrough to the design process and communication of project choices. Just think that until a few years ago, projects were presented through simple 2D drawings (floor plans, elevation views and cross-sections); more rarely two-dimensional graphs were supported by axonometries, perspectives and photorealistic renderings.

However, now it is also possible to virtually enter the project together with the customer and explain every detail and every solution as if you had the work already done in front of you. The advantage? To show clearly and without misunderstandings, even to those who are not technicians, all the design choices and have full control of the project, avoiding errors on site. All this is possible directly from your browser, using a simple online BIM metaverse application. Let’s find out how!

Virtual Reality for Architecture and Design

View the architectural project online with virtual reality

Features and advantages of online viewing

The online visualization of 3D models and navigation with virtual reality represent some of the aspects that best underline the technological evolution in the AEC world. With these technologies you have the possibility to visualize and present your architectural project in a clear and realistic manner using a simple browser. It is possible to see  in an extraordinarily true way the 3D model you have designed, observe the effect of the materials, walk in the spaces you have imagined and immediately verify the effectiveness of your choices and any errors, in an extremely advanced mode.

You can navigate the 3D model (in different IFC, DWG, Revit, DXF formats, etc.) in immersive virtual reality by using online BIM metaverse tools with no need of any particular BIM authoring softwares. You just need:

  • a head-mounted VR visor;
  • a browser (Google Chrome).

The benefits are many:

  • ease of use directly online;
  • you don’t need to own specific software;
  • navigation of models generated by any BIM software;
  • sharing of the model with colleagues and clients and carrying out virtual tours from any PC;
  • better quality of the project;
  • less risk of error during the realization of the work;
  • greater clarity with the customer regarding all project choices;
  • increased professional competitiveness.

For more information, also see:

How to take a virtual tour of your project

View the project in first person with usBIM.reality

VR system requirements for project visualization

To take full advantage of the features of usBIM.reality, you need to check the hardware requirements of your system.

Here are the recommended features:

  • operating system
    • Microsoft® Windows® 7 SP1 64 bit
    • Microsoft®Windows® 8 64 bit
    • Microsoft® Windows® 8.1 64 bit
    • Microsoft® Windows® 10 64 bit
    • with all updates installed
  • processor (CPU)
    • intel® Xeon®, i-Series or AMD® equivalent multi-core processor
    • recommended: AMD Ryzen 5 or 7, Intel Core i5 or i7 3.0Ghz or higher
  • memory
    • 16 GB RAM
  • videocard (GPU)
    • NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070
    • AMD Radeon RX 6700
    • DisplayPort 1.2 video output or newer or HDMI 1.4 or higher
  • compatible viewers
    • HTC VIVA (Room-Scale VR): 360° gaming area, wired or wireless version
    • HTC VIVE PRO: 360° gaming area, wired or wireless version
    • HTC VIVE PRO 2: 360° gaming area, wired or wireless version
    • HTC VIVE COSMOS: 360° gaming area, wired or wireless version
    • Oculus Rift: play area in front of the screen, possibility of an experimental 360° play area
    • Oculus Rift S: play area in front of the screen, possibility of an experimental 360° play area
    • META Quest 2 (Oculus): 360° play area
  • screen
    • resolution: 1920×1080 pixel
    • DPI settings: 100% (96 DPI)
  • hard drive
    • 2 GB of free space (recommended 5 GB)
  • sound card
    •  any sound card supported by Windows
  • mouse
    • 3-buttonmouse with scroll wheel
  • devices
    • DVD-ROM and USB port.

Visualize projects online with virtual reality

Let’s take a look at how to view and navigate your model directly online. Below you will find the steps to follow to make the most of usBIM.reality.

  1. register on myACCA (if you are already registered, skip this step)
    1. go to the MyACCA personal area
    2. click on “Don’t have an account yet?”
    3. fill in the form with your personal data and confirm and you will receive an email with all the instructions for access
  2. log in to usBIM and upload a 3D model
    1. from the login page enter your credentials (username and password)
    2. create a new folder on the homepage by clicking on the corresponding icon at the bottom right
    3. open the folder and upload the files from your PC, clicking on the “Upload file" command (at the bottom right) or upload with simple drag&drop. Compatible formats are: DWG, DXF, OBJ, IFC, RVT, RFA, LAS, LAZ, E57, PLY, pts, XYZ, etc.
  3. view your model with usBIM.reality
    1. click on the monitor icon on the right-hand side to view the model in usBIM.browser
    2. select the command usBIM.reality/Real-time rendering & VR
    3. choose whether you want to view your model via the “RTBIM” module or the “VRiBIM” module:
      1. the RTBIM module allows you to navigate the model with the mouse and keyboard keys
      2. the VRiBIM module allows you to use the great advantages of VR headsets and therefore be able to “enter” the model.