Inside the world of Twinmotion and Unreal Engine

We caught up with Laurent Vidal, Technical Marketing Manager at Epic Games and one of the original creators of real-time immersive 3D archviz tool Twinmotion, to find out more about the session he’ll be presenting at this year’s BILT Europe in Edinburgh on 10-12 October.

What’s your background and relationship to Twinmotion? How was the tool created?

I have a background in architecture and have always had a taste for the more innovative side of the field. I graduated as an architect in 2000—a year that felt futuristic long ago. During this time I met people I still work with today and we started to develop an early version of Twinmotion. I’ve worked with some great architecture firms on lots of projects. Many of these were really experimental, in the true sense of the word. Computers back then were far from the powerful machines of today but even then my ambition was the same: to explore different ways of using a computer to achieve space representation.

What’s interesting to you outside of your work?

Architecture is something that’s hard to avoid—you can’t call it ‘work’ and separate it from your personal life. You always have to deal with space and perception. But I would say that everything related to visual culture interests me. Photography, alternative photographic printing processes, and landscape representation are all things that captivate my attention. I try to practice them whenever possible.

Tell us a little bit about your day-to-day workload.

I work in the Twinmotion team as a technical marketing specialist. I’m in charge of planning and creating architectural demonstration files, and I’m also in regular contact with architects and software developers working on architectural software. Delivering the best possible results requires a continual exchange with users to better understand their needs and apply those learnings to Twinmotion’s philosophy.

Tell us a little about your session – what’s the motivation behind it and why should delegates attend?

Participating in this event is important to me because it allows us to connect with Twinmotion users. By taking part in a session I hope to better understand their needs and explain how we can help them. Twinmotion is a new breed of real-time visualization tool that has a radically simplified, yet powerful interface to help architects, designers and landscapers share the story of their design with stakeholders. In this session, you’ll understand how you can download and use Twinmotion (it’s free) to pursue your own story-telling with your data. We’ll show how our Dynamic Link feature makes it simple to go from your 3D design software to a real-time experience instantly and how our large library of materials and 3D content can bring your design to life. It’s this process I will share with attendees.

Your presence in the AEC industry is fairly new in comparison to your other markets. What was the motivation for making this one of your more direct markets and how do you see the future of the AEC industry?

In fact, Twinmotion has been around for ten years and Unreal Engine for twenty.  Both have a reputation for being well adapted to the AEC industry with proven results. By making UE4 more accessible, Twinmotion uncovers the existing technical power Unreal Engine can bring to the architectural field. In return, Unreal Engine provides immediate feedback on designs far beyond the technical representation offered by traditional AEC software. In our vision, immersion and direct feedback are key for the development of the AEC industry.

Question: There’s a lot of rendering and VR software on the market currently. In what way is Twinmotion different? 

The main ideas behind the development of Twinmotion are visceral immersion and intuitive modification. This was the origin of the name: you work on your design and see it in a complementary back and forth motion. Lots of products only offer one of these aspects.

Some are built for high-quality presentations but these require long rendering times. They may be suitable for final rendering or real estate presentation but not for architecture. Architecture is a world of hypothesis, requiring fast work on different versions of your design. You need to work in real time.

On the other side, some software is emerging from the construction industry offering a very technical approach. You can see construction details, detect errors with 3D viewers connected to a VR headset… but this is not a visceral approach. When you have something that feels more real, people can understand the space better. This means using realistic sound, light, and materials.

In the past, we thought about basing our marketing on ‘fun’ because it’s always incredible to see how people enjoy seeing their project in Twinmotion. They can visualize it in the rain, in the snow, populated by crowds, or simply built in other materials with the click of a mouse. I think this is only possible with Twinmotion

Laurent will be leading a class at this year’s BILT Europe in Edinburgh on Friday 11 October on how to take your architectural design from static to stunning in seconds with Twinmotion. See the full schedule here

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