Behind the scenes with Mike Turner series 03, episode 02: Interior rendering & VR set-up in VRED

Brandy Ryan Brandy Ryan November 8, 2022

3 min read

In episode 01 of his third VRED series, Mike Turner gives us an overview of DGDesign’s history with public transportation design and shares some of the work they’ve done.

In episode 02, Mike turns to interior rendering and VR set-up. He discusses his experiences with interior design visualization in VRED and has some great tips for optimizing scenes to perform well with less than less-than-state-of-the-art hardware.

Check out the highlights below or scroll down for the full video.

Overview: VRED Interior Rendering & VR Set-up

0:34: VRED Open GL imaging offers very quick imaging results without the need for raytracing – and for DGDesign, it forms the basis for real-time design assessment in VR.

Mike’s team typically reviews designs at a client’s premises, so they chose to run their VR set-up on a portable workstation because it’s easier to transport.

This setup provides a lot of flexibility for clients. It does mean taking care of your VRED Open GL file setup to ensure the scene is set up to run smoothly in VR. And it’s important to be careful to balance overall image quality with frame-rate speed.

Highlights: VRED Interior Rendering & VR Set-up

2:11: Meshing 
– Low or even coarse works fine for most
– Keep tessellation quality as low as you dare
– Fewer polys will be faster in complex VR
scenes (seats, etc.)

2:48: General shader setup assignment
– As per exterior work
– There are good libraries within VRED
– But substance materials can be heavy and
slow in VR

3:16: Lighting
– Mike often works with rectangular lights
– To simulate longitudinal runs, you can
adjust in real time (day to night, ambient
mood, client color options, etc.)
– You can bake lights in, but there’s no easy
adjustment in VRED Design once baked

In VRED Pro, there’s the option for texture-based baking which shows lighting options via variant sets with Python scripts.

DGDesign hasn’t tried this yet but thinks it sounds interesting and offers flexibility.

4:13: Interior layout work 
– Mike recommends laying out interior work
in VRED using instances
– That keeps it easy to ripple changes in
interior, especially when dealing with
spaces with sometimes 65-70 seats

4:45: Exterior environment
– You can apply motion blur to dome to
simulate vehicle movement in OGL renders

Tips for VR Optimization in VRED

5:04: How to best balance balance image fidelity with framerate while navigating hardware limitations:

  1. Use the statistics tab (top menu bar) when road-testing the file to assess frame rate. Keep the Frames Per Second as high as possible. Lower frame rates can be unsettling and disorienting.
  2. Avoid bump and displacement maps. Assign them only to diffuse the (colour) channel, but if you can, do without any maps where possible.
  3. Avoid calculating shadows in real-time. You can use minimal baked-in shadows, but again, do without these where possible. A heavily shadow-baked model will run with lower frame rates in VR.
  4. Avoid multiple light sources – aim for as few as possible.
  5. For data optimization, have as few nodes in the scene as possible. Prior data optimization is key.
  6. Skylight environment and some HDRI maps seems to slow down the frame rate in VR. If your machine is struggling, consider switching back to the default black / grey VRED studio environment.

7:00: If you’re still experience slow visualization:

Access the full Interior Rendering and VR Set-up in VRED video:

You can get started by downloading the new Alias & VRED Learning Editions:

For Alias, click here.
For VRED, click here.

Stay tuned for more learning resources by subscribing to the Design Studio Blog or bookmarking it for future posts.

You can also check us out on LinkedIn, subscribe to our Alias and VRED YouTube channels and follow us on Facebook.

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