DiMella Shaffer, a company based out of Boston, began using virtual and augmented reality in early 2015, just a year ago. So far they have already seen a drastic change it their business. Some homes have amenities and additions that are hard to see in photographic or panoramic formats, but using virtual reality has changed that.
Construction and remodeling projects typically have a standard flow to them. Usually the designs are done on paper or are built into small scale models to show the client the expected outcome. Virtual reality is steadily replacing these practices, and saving a lot of time and money in the process.
Utilizing a combination of Rhino 3D and Revitt, along with some photos of the building site the design is born. The Unreal Engine, a powerful virtual reality tool, adds textures, scenery, and lighting to give a realistic feel to the virtual canvas. By using virtual reality, the client is able to put on a virtual reality headset and see what they are paying for. Once the design finishes rendering, the client will be completely immersed in a virtual model of their proposed project. DiMella Shaffer has noted that clients seem much more inclined to pay for these remodels and new construction projects after having seen a virtual rendering of the project.
Virtual reality also gains bonus points from the architects involved. Competing in an ever evolving marketplace where time is precious, architects are able to present a spectrum of possible ideas to the clients one at a time. In the past separate renderings, models, and blueprints would have to be drafted for each iteration, and small change. Through using a digital canvas, clients are able to try out new ideas on-the-fly. If they want the lights in a different location, a few clicks and a brief loading period later the lights are now in the new location.
This technology goes even further if used properly. DiMella Shaffer has attended large scale expos to showcase their use of virtual reality. What they’re doing with the technology is nothing short of digital pioneering. Custom software options are available for out-of-state clients to use with their provided Google Cardboard headsets, DiMella Shaffer is able to reach out to clients regardless of their geographical location.