3D TO VR: EXPERIENCE DESIGN WITH VIRTUAL REALITY

Cape Town tech start-up, Tenebris Lab, have launched VR design software for designers, architects, and people who work with 3D data, to bring their vision to life.

LUX Walker enables multiple people to walk through the same design model in virtual reality, from anywhere in the world.

LUX Walker is a desktop app that instantly converts a 3D model to virtual reality, allowing multiple people to join a virtual meeting, walk-through and interact with each other in the same virtual space, from anywhere in the world.

An extensive library of in-built materials and interactive tools enables real-time collaboration in VR. Users are able to switch between design layers to showcase design development; create annotations for design improvements; measure the height and distance of, or between, objects; change materials, such as walls and flooring; plant vegetation and adjust lighting to review accurate light refractions according to season, location, or time of day. Throughout a walk-through, users can make use of the Capture Tool to export highly realistic 3D stills of their project, rendered in seconds.

Founder and architect, Gerard Slee, was motivated to develop LUX Walker as a result of first-hand experience with the limitations of trying to effectively communicate 3D designs using standard 2D representations when presenting to his lecturers at UCT. His own frustration propelled him to devise a concept for creating a tool which renders a true-to-life scale model, for the most accurate representation of design.

As the concept for LUX Walker developed, so did its strength as an interactive workflow tool. Adding multi-user collaboration and in-built tools produced a product on the next level. In just over a year, with a very small team, Tenebris Lab have managed to create an exceptional piece of software that rivals long established power-house visualisation software. In addition to being one of few design tools offering a virtual reality experience.

For designers virtual walk-throughs are an invaluable tool to reduce communication errors between disciplines, make faster design decisions, reduce project management costs and bridge the gap between traditional and modern methods of design.

Firms with multiple offices and international clients realise the value of being able to walk-through and discuss a project in real-time, across borders. SAOTA, International architecture and design firm based in Cape Town, have been early adopters of LUX Walker, using virtual reality to present architecture to their clients and teams in LA. “We have been using an early version of LUX Walker for a few months and it has opened up a great deal of opportunities for us – as a tool to review the design process, as well as providing that wow factor during presentations”, comments Director, Stefan Antoni. While Jon Case, Director at Interior Design Studio, ARRCC, reveals that VR has been instrumental to review the formation of a space, and in presenting their vision to clients. “Suddenly our vision is brought to life and we can spot any improvements as we go along. Clients are always impressed and re-assured, it gives us that extra edge.”

Compatibility and Requirements

LUX Walker is compatible with .obj files and most 3D modelling programs; Revit, SketchUp, 3Ds Studio Max, Rhino, and Blender.

Users can view and edit designs in desktop or VR mode. To view and edit designs in VR mode, users require the Oculus Rift or HTC Vive headset, along with a PC that follows the recommended specs for the Rift and Vive.

Pricing

LUX Walker is competitively priced at $100 per month, on a month to month subscription. Users can also sign up for a FREE 60 DAY trial www.luxwalker.com

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