Epic Games showcases the potential of Twinmotion and Unreal Engine and unveils incentives for architects to trial the visualisation products free of charge.

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Aerial view of BIG’s Terminus Technologies HQ, Chongqing, created in Twinmotion (image courtesy of BIG / Terminus Group)

Epic Games, the creator of Twinmotion and Unreal Engine, offered inspiration, practical guidance – and special offers – to architects at Build: Architecture 2021, a virtual conference held on November 2nd and available to view here.

Belinda Ercan, Product Marketing Manager at Epic Games, commented, “The support we have seen for Twinmotion this year has been tremendous, and I was so proud that we shared so many great stories from our customers and community at Build: Architecture. It was strange presenting to a camera rather than a live audience, but I think the response speaks for itself. We now have over 1 million users of Twinmotion, and I love how everything feeds out and then back into the work we are all doing, and that all this incredible content is now out there for even more people to discover and hopefully be inspired by.”

David Weir-McCall, AEC Business Development Manager at Epic Games reflected “Our Build events have always been special as it’s our chance to put our amazing customers in the spotlight with their inspirational stories, but it’s also a great way to meet new people, and network with close friends and customers. We worked really hard to try and still give that same feeling of connection this year even though we were completely online. I was blown away by the hundreds of positive messages from people online all over the world, and the range of stories we were still able to share even though everything, including the virtual set myself and Belinda presented on, was recorded remotely. I think it shows the strength of the architect community around Unreal Engine that we all came together for this, and the debate around ‘was the handrail on screen real or rendered?’ continues!”


Epic Games’ Unreal Engine software is playing a key role in the development of Zaha Hadid Architects’ Beyabu residential development on Roatan, an island off the coast of Honduras (image courtesy of Zaha Hadid Architects)

The event demonstrated how Twinmotion and Unreal Engine – the two most popular real-time rendering tools for architectural visualisation – are transforming the way architects and other professionals create and present their work.

Initially developed for video games, Unreal Engine has been increasingly adopted by architecture firms for 3D visualisation in recent years, with high-end features including real-time ray tracing, high-resolution textures and automatable optimisation. Twinmotion, which has always been used for fast, easy architectural visualisation, leverages an intuitive user interface to produce Unreal Engine real-time rendered scenes in minutes.

Whilst the event offered an astonishing insight into futuristic projects being carried out by pioneering practices, it also conveyed a clear message that real time technology is no longer the preserve of the technologically minded or the super-powerful players in the market, but offers a viable, affordable opportunity for small practices and sole practitioners to transform the way they work.

Zaha Hadid Architects explained how the practice has combined design and gaming engines to develop a photorealistic, real-time design configurator that demystifies and de-risks the process of building, selling and purchasing custom-build homes at its Beyabu development on the new island city state of Roatan, off the coast of Honduras. BIG (Bjarke Ingels Group) explained how it is using Twinmotion in its designs for AI City, a centre for artificial intelligence, robotics, networking and big data and Terminus Group’s HQ in Chongqing, southwest China. HOK shared its use of RealityCapture in its work to conserve and reconfigure the Canadian Parliament Precinct.

Greg Schleusner, Director of Design Technology at HOK, shared some of the opportunities that these tools provide on HOK’s ongoing projects “We think that Unreal Engine’s integration of external data into real time technologies like laser scanning, photogrammetry and BIM information is the future, and frankly, the way you must do heritage projects.”

“What we particularly like about Twinmotion is the animated part and really being able to tell a story. It’s a fantastic way to be able to utilise real-time rendering to walk the project, even in the early stages,” commented Jens Kaarsholm, BIM director at BIG. “With real-time rendering, you can really explore and utilise different options, play around with things, and still get a really good result out in a very short timeframe.

Henry Louth of Zaha Hadid Architects explored how game technologies are particularly well suited to negotiate some of the constraints often faced in architectural and construction industries;  “Unreal Engine offers ways to configure properties to suit individual preferences and configure space layout in real time.”


HOK is reworking the main facility of the Canadian Parliamentary complex (Centre Block) in Ottawa using Twinmotion and Unreal Engine (image courtesy of CENTRUS)

At the other end of the scale, sole practitioner Pawel Rymsza explained how he first used Twinmotion to share his plans for his own home with his family. The overarching message is that the technology is affordable, intuitive and easy to learn. It took Rymsza a few days from discovering Twinmotion to developing a walkthrough simulation of his proposed designs – which led to developing his skills and establishing a whole new career in the field.

As a design tool, designers at both ends of the scale cited the key advantages of Twinmotion and Unreal Engine as speed, ease of use, versatility, the fact that it is easy to learn and to integrate into existing workflows and their ability to facilitate real time collaborative design. They also allow for unprecedented levels of accuracy in modelling and testing predicted data and behaviour patterns by allowing for the creation of digital twins– virtual representations of real-world buildings and even entire cities. Data from sensors in the real world provides a way to analyse elements such as traffic flow, movement patterns and comfortable environments via the virtual model.


Twinmotion combines an intuitive icon-driven interface with the power of Unreal Engine (image courtesy of BIG)

Just as importantly, it is seen as an invaluable tool for consultation and for communication, marketing and sales. Its realistic immersive environments allow collaborators, stakeholders, clients and potential purchasers to review and test every aspect of the design. The fact that newly visible areas of 3D models can be rendered in milliseconds makes it possible to create virtual-reality experiences allowing clients to visit buildings in virtual reality during the design phase. Crucially, it’s now possible for anyone with an invite link to access a presentation on their desktop or tablet devices through their browsers regardless of software, hardware or location.

An overarching message from the conference is that Epic Games is on a mission to maintain, and to grow its market leader position and to share its can-do evangelism with the architectural profession. To underline the point, it used the conference as a platform to offer incentives for architects to trial their wares. Until March 31 2022, owners of Vectorworks can get a perpetual license of Twinmotion free of charge, allowing them to turn Vectorworks designs into high-quality images, panoramas and standard of 360° VR videos in seconds. Click here to find out more. All architects are invited to take advantage of a free trial of the latest version of Twinmotion. Click here to get started.