Chaos Group, CL3VER and IrisVR
At this year’s AIA in Philly, four companies, Chaos Group, CL3VER, IrisVR and ArchVision all formed together in one large booth with the IrisVR station located at the middle. Each company took up the corners of the booth with demo gods showing attendee architects what the future of technology in practice can look like. Not just the future—the present!
This was the fifth time the four companies have trade-showed together like this and as CL3VER chief creative officer, Nimrod Friedmann told me, the synergy of the larger presence and IT offerings that are compatible drive cross traffic and energy to each company. From a show perspective, the combination of these four companies parking themselves next to the large Trimble SketchUp booth essentially created a second “software pavilion” area amongst the vast trade show floor.
IrisVR Intros New IrisVR SCOPE
This year there were slightly less virtual reality (VR) companies at the AIA National Convention. IrisVR, which received an Architosh AIA BEST of SHOW nod last year, drove the most energy in the VR space this year (see image). People couldn’t wait to try on the HTC Vive headset, which the folks at IrisVR admitted they were very enthusiastic about.
Both myself and colleague, senior associate editor, Pete Evans, AIA, tried on the new Vive and held the two wands and navigated through those controls. What we were looking at were the IrisVR PROSPECT beta application and the results were phenomenal. IrisVR PROSPECT is currently supporting Revit, SketchUp, and Rhino files on both Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, but also supports OBJ files too.
The other news this year from IrisVR was the SCOPE app for mobile devices, bringing the power of VR panoramas to your Google Cardboard-based handheld device. You put your smartphone inside these devices. The difference with SCOPE is it powers what are known as 12×1 panoramas rendered by a variety of leading rendering tools, including: V-Ray for 3ds Max, OTOY’s Octane Render, and Lumion.
IrisVR SCOPE is a mobile first, bringing high-quality 12×1 panorama renders from leading rendering solutions to both iOS and Android devices. Images are organized and loaded from the cloud but stored on your mobile phone. Both SCOPE and PROSPECT are available for use in beta form today.
One final note. For those architects using other BIM solutions, such as ArchiCAD and Vectorworks, the IrisVR team told us they are planning on implementing support (for PROSPECT) for those systems very soon, with ArchiCAD coming first.
Chaos Group & CL3VER Team Up
Chaos Group teamed with CL3VER and made a big announcement at the show. The two companies introduced a new interactive product catalog at AIA 2016. Essentially, their solution demonstrates how architects can turn Autodesk Revit models into interactive 3D presentations for the web and VR.
The demo of the solution brings a Revit-depiction of the GKD Metal Fabrics office online. Since the company uses its own materials in their building, the models turns itself into a virtual product showcase, allowing potential customers visualize how GKD products look in an actual office space from anywhere in the world. Using the newly improved V-Ray for Revit, and CL3VER, architects can now create “microsites” that are experienced online to help stakeholders visualize buildings and make design and material decisions faster with more information than a dramatic rendered still or fly-through animation.
CL3VER’s technology, which last year won an Architosh AIA BEST of SHOW award in the Innovation category, continues to show its power and utility, serving to merge multiple milestones in the design process into a single delivery medium: delivery of aesthetic vision and delivery and review of material choices. The demo itself can be experience here and we encourage folks to give it a try.
And Talking of V-Ray
Last year, we got a sneak peak discussion of the upcoming V-Ray 3.x for SketchUp. At that time, the emphasis laid out for us was on the UI, making the program much easier to understand and quicker for rendering novices to get great results.
This year, this programming work has progressed greatly and the solution is nearly ready. V-Ray 3.x’s tech—which is already out in its products for other apps—is making its way into V-Ray 3.0 for SketchUp, Revit and Rhino.
Brian Russell, AEC Product Manager at Chaos Group, told us that especially in regards to SketchUp, “rendering is a byproduct of the design process” and thus the goal with the next release for the world’s most popular modeling tool (by far…there are 35 million downloads of the app) is to streamline the path to very high-quality rendering results for the average SketchUp user, who is not a visualization professional.
V-Ray 3.0 for SketchUp will have an interface that is dark themed (possibly by default) with a light themed option, will provide all the raw pro power of V-Ray as in other viz apps, but will offer three stops, if you will, in quality, “draft,” “medium” and “very good” and a one-button click into quick high-quality results.
V-Ray for Revit is in public beta. The app is integrated directly into Autodesk Revit and works with versions 2015 – 2016 for Revit Architecture, MEP, Structure and Building Design Suite. It will feature overrides (aka, graphical or visual overrides for diagrammatic renderings, V-Ray’s stereoscopic camera for VR output and more.
Finally, we asked about support for other programs and Brian spoke about the openness of APPSDK, Chaos Group’s software development kit for third-party support. With V-Ray’s proven quality and popularity, this kit should be seriously looked over by all major BIM providers and modeling apps.
ArchVision was at AIA to talk about all there products but particularly Avail, their advanced content management system. Avail is new. The company demoed the solution at the RTC Europe conference in Budapest late last year. As for a content management system, the position of the company is Avail is designed for the realities of a “blended” environment, where data is stored both locally on the LAN (company network) and in the cloud. Avail is said to be a contextual content management system (CMS) for AEC firms.
Avail aims to organize a firm’s content smartly and this content means things like Revit libraries, manufacturer content, SketchUp libraries, visualization assets (models, materials, etc), texture libraries, photo libraries, construction documents archives, PDF documents, Autodesk blocks and so on.
Avail is a product just for Windows but a Twitter post by ArchVision from the 23rd and it says, “Got back from #AIACon16 and found Avail is now in Russian! Now we just need it for Mac ;)”
We will need to track and follow that development. A Mac version would be very handy for AEC firms in mixed platform settings and for all Mac shops. Let’s look at Avail in more detail.
Avail in Detail
Avail’s product description asks, “tired of fighting Windows File folders?” Of course. Who wouldn’t be? Avail is definitely addressing a real pain point in enterprises in particular. Avail indexes all content and file types on a network and then presents that content in compelling and novel ways, meaningful to AEC industry professionals.
Avail has been in the works for several years. The app features patent-pending “Panoply” technology that lets you filter through thousands of files with just a few clicks. Avail is currently in beta and its public. You can get a good understanding of how it works from this video below.