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Unity Reflect: BIM to real-time 3D in one click for better design decisions

June 5, 2019 in AEC | 5 min. read
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Announcing Unity Reflect, a new product for architects, building designers, and engineers to transfer multiple BIM models into real-time 3D in one click. Unity Reflect improves design review and construction planning processes by seamlessly syncing changes made in Autodesk Revit to any Unity Reflect-supported platform, from mobile and desktop to virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR). With Unity Reflect, create real-time 3D experiences…in real-time.

It takes multiple teams to turn buildings from vision to reality. But as clients’ timelines become tighter and project requirements get more complex, it is imperative for stakeholders across the Architecture, Engineering, and Construction (AEC) industry to quickly iterate and make the right design decisions.

Today, we unveiled Unity Reflect: a new product designed to make it easy to create immersive and interactive experiences. With Unity Reflect, BIM/CAD models from multiple designers are live-linked to a federated real-time 3D view, enabling your project stakeholders to review and make smart design decisions in real-time. See how:

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Unity Reflect accelerates the project lifecycle for buildings and infrastructure by bringing real-time 3D to anyone. Being able to visualize projects clearly (both during design and in the field), identify mistakes before they become downstream problems, and drive consensus keeps projects on track and on budget.

Unity Reflect is accessible to all project stakeholders, regardless of their level of technical expertise. In fact, to use the product, you don’t need to be a Unity developer or know how to write a single line of code. But if you are a developer, you can customize and build upon Unity Reflect to create the best experience for your end users.


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Unity’s commitment to AEC

Unity Reflect underscores our commitment to and continued investment in the AEC industry.

Our collaboration with Autodesk is pivotal to streamlining AEC workflows. With Autodesk, we’re making it easier to turn 3D data into immersive, interactive experiences on any platform.

Unity Reflect’s native integration with Revit is part of our ongoing collaboration to provide seamless integrations and full data interoperability between our platform and Autodesk’s design tools.

“Our collaboration with Unity is important because visualization has become a vital part of the design process, particularly in the AEC industry where time is money,” said Andrew Anagnost, Autodesk president and CEO. “Real-time, immersive experiences are becoming the norm, and this integration with Autodesk Revit cuts down on dead time between revisions and meetings, which is critical to giving our shared customers a competitive edge.”

How Unity Reflect works

First, Revit users install the Unity Reflect plugin, enabling them to easily transfer and prepare data for real-time 3D experiences without leaving their design tools.

Then, with one click, Revit users start the sync of BIM/CAD data to Unity Reflect and create a real-time 3D experience. Every time you make a change in Revit, it is displayed in Unity Reflect. It’s that simple.

There’s a lot of complexity behind the scenes though. Through a seamless data federation process hosted on a local machine or a network server, Unity Reflect brings together BIM and/or CAD data from multiple designers and engineers working on different systems in one model. It automatically optimizes this data for real-time 3D, including preserving BIM metadata.

Preparing and optimizing data from design tools for real-time 3D has historically been a painful, time-consuming process. Not with Unity Reflect.

“The transfer of information and flexibility of linking into other programs has been impressive, and we’re excited to see how this can augment our existing capabilities,” said Kai Duebbert, managing director at Murphy Surveys.

Once all models are federated, Unity Reflect creates an interactive 3D experience that 1) can be distributed to any platform supported by Unity and 2) is live-linked to the original design applications, allowing simple customization and multiple reviewers.

Stakeholders can review the rendering on the platform of their choice: iOS, Android, Mac, PC, AR/VR devices, and more. That means you don’t need to be in the same room — or on the same device – to get on the same page. For instance, one participant can review on a VR headset, another can use a tablet to create an AR tabletop experience, and others can access the real-time 3D experience on their laptops.

Unity Reflect supports multiple concurrent viewers, allowing various project stakeholders, from clients to field construction teams, to access this unified view simultaneously. This unlocks the ability for teams to collaborate in real-time and for decision-makers to review and approve a project without requiring access to design applications. Unity Reflect even has BIM/CAD filtering capabilities, allowing you to isolate ceilings, structural columns, walls, and other data in real-time 3D.

The live link means that as stakeholders share ideas and provide instant feedback, designers can make changes in their design applications (e.g., relocating doors, adding windows, and adjusting lighting, materials, and textures) and Unity Reflect will update the rendering in real-time for all viewers.

“Visualizing projects in the HoloLens and other augmented reality platforms is becoming increasingly important in our industry,” said Adam Chernick, associate, interactive visualization at SHoP Architects. “Unity Reflect is great because it gives design teams the ability to make changes and see those reflected instantly onsite in AR.”

Learn more about Unity Reflect

Unity Reflect is currently available in limited private release and will be generally available in fall 2019.

You can check out an instructional demo of the product at two upcoming events: the AIA Conference on Architecture 2019 in Las Vegas, June 6–8, and AU London 2019, June 17–19. If you’ll be there, book an appointment with our onsite AEC teams at A’19 and AU London.


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June 5, 2019 in AEC | 5 min. read
Topics covered