For more than a decade, Twinmotion has been offering an easy-to-learn and use solution for real-time architectural visualization. Two years ago, they switched their underlying engine to Unreal Engine. “When we decided to change our engine, we quickly saw that Unreal Engine was the most suitable solution on the market,” Twinmotion Product Manager Martin Krasemann tells us.
“Unreal Engine is the most popular real-time engine in non-gaming industries, from car manufacturing to technology innovation in movies. It’s an amazing tool, capable of handling huge datasets and offering users unlimited possibilities, high-quality rendering, and—especially—a real-time environment,” he explains.
Lead Developer Manuel Veit agrees: “The Unreal Engine is a game changer,” he says. “With the engine, we have access to all the cutting-edge rendering technologies alongside a very solid development framework. Now we can bring Twinmotion to a higher level both in terms of performance and image quality.”
“Unreal also introduced us to a PBR (physically-based rendering) workflow which considerably enhanced the quality of our materials,” adds Lead Artist Fabrice Picou. “It’s the first time that I can work with a real-time gaming engine and produce photorealistic renders or real-time immersive VR experiences for architecture.”
Twinmotion leverages the power of Unreal Engine while adding a user-friendly UI, an integrated library containing thousands of assets, and specially designed architecture-related features—such as a weather system that lets you switch from a beautiful summer day to a winter snowstorm in two clicks, and the ability to easily add digital humans that will travel along specified paths.
A dynamic link with Revit and ARCHICAD drastically simplifies the architect’s workflow by retrieving all of the BIM information from the source software, and automatically replacing the basic billboards with Twinmotion 3D animated objects. Users can make changes to the model or materials in the source software, and see those changes immediately in Twinmotion.
The simplicity of the interface means that architects can get high-quality results very quickly, and with a low investment in learning. However, if they want to take their designs further into more complex simulations and visualizations, they were previously stuck.
At this year’s Autodesk University held in Las Vegas (November 19–21, 2018), Twinmotion demonstrated a technology preview of a bridge to UE4, an initiative they’d first announced at SIGGRAPH 2017. The bridge will enable architects to use Twinmotion as a quick prototyping tool, and then continue working on their designs in Unreal Engine or Unreal Studio, moving beyond the limits of Twinmotion.
Unique in Twinmotion’s market space, this feature removes the frustrating “black-box” nature of competitive solutions, which blocks users from moving beyond the restricted range of features provided in the software. With the whole universe of possibilities of Unreal Engine to explore, Twinmotion customers can now truly differentiate their interactive or VR experience.
“Having Unreal running on the back is an amazing plus,” says Krasemann. “Users will have access to options that Twinmotion doesn’t have, such as baking lights or adding interactions, such as an opening door,” says Krasemann. “They can tell a different story inside Unreal.”
When asked about availability, Twinmotion told us that the feature is still under development and is planned to be released next summer. We look forward to it!
Want to see where your Twinmotion projects could end up after they cross the bridge? Find out about the free beta of Unreal Studio, our suite of tools and services packaged around Unreal Engine with a focus on non-games industries like architecture, product design, manufacturing, and film and video.