Ever seen the movie Toy Story which became such a classic? Or the game Pokemon Go which lead people to run helter-skelter catching Pokemons?
Toy Story used Virtual Reality (VR) technology to create such immersive experiences while Pokemon Go was created using Augmented Reality (AR) technology to place Pokemons in the real world.
But did you know that rapid advancement in these technologies have resulted in newfound applications in interior design?
Gone are the days when interior designers and architects relied on drawings, renderings and trial and error to show design concepts to their clients.
With Virtual Reality, you can develop 3D tours of spaces for clients to experience the same before it is actually built.
The design process becomes more exciting where you can change colors, background and other elements with the click of a mouse. That's the magic of Augmented Reality (AR).
Companies like IKEA use AR to mount virtual elements into the real world to aid visualization.
In this blog, we will dig deep into VR and AR technologies and how they are revolutionizing the field of interior design.
VR in Interior Design
What is virtual reality?
Virtual Reality is a technology through which the user experiences immersive, but simulated environments using a device called the VR headset.
Though this technology is being perceived as recent, it has been present for a while now and has been extensively used in video games.
With a VR headset, the user can feel as if they are part of the simulated experience.
The goal of interior design is to give its clients an experience which they will cherish.
Designing spaces such as homes, offices also have an emotional connect with the stakeholders involved.
VR greatly helps achieve this objective. Below are some areas where the application of VR in Interior Design could create a positive, unforgettable impact.
It is easy to visualize a design than to create a presentation to explain the same. VR in Interior Design greatly helps achieve design cognizance for all stakeholders i.e., clients, architects, and contractors in real-time.
Quicker Decision Making
The process of revision, feedback and subsequent reiterations are easier with VR in Interior Design. The visualization of the designs aids this profusely.
Tired of guessing how a certain color would look in a room? Not anymore. Experiment with different colors, hues and materials until you find the perfect match.
Your surroundings and environment are as critical as your interior.
With VR, you can easily transport your space to a virtual representation of your actual location. Say goodbye to guesswork and hello to a design that perfectly complements your location.
High quality 3D modelling
Interior designers can create highly accurate 3D models of spaces, including furniture, lighting, textures etc.
Real-time rendering enables designers to see their designs in actions and make changes on the fly.
Key features of a VR design app
Designing a VR app requires investment into giving the end user visible advantages over traditional methods.
When designing a VR app for interior design, the following features are crucial to consider:
The end user should be able to experience a realistic and immersive virtual environment according to the choice of their designs.
Making informed decisions is a critical part of user experience. Interactions with virtual objects achieves this purpose.
Experimentation with different designs and materials is a key part of user experience. Therefore, ability to customize is necessary for the successful implementation of the VR app.
A user-friendly application, accessible from the comfort of one's home should be one of the key features of the app.
Communication and collaboration
The designers and other stakeholders should be able to interact to collaborate on the development of the end designs easily using the app.
For a seamless experience, the app should enable certain problem-solving features which help resolve the design problems before actual construction begins.
The app should provide realistic renderings of virtual spaces to ensure informed decision making.
Different lighting elements catering to the number of lighting objects and intensity of each should be available for the user to experiment with.
Furniture and Accessory Placement
The app should allow physical interaction with furniture and accessories for the user to experience the same and try out different permutations.
Effective and efficient utilization of a physical space should be available for the user to aid in efficient space planning.
Preparing VR models for an interior design app
Designing VR models for an interior design app is an exciting process that requires technical expertise combined with creative vision.
The goal of the same is to not only achieve greatness in the models, but also creating an immersive experience for the users all the while keeping an attention to detail.
Successful models involve high level user understanding of their idea of a perfect space combined with the technical and creative expertise of a designer.
Here are some step-by-step instructions on how to create the perfect VR model for an interior design app.
1. Gather Information
Information about the space and other requirements such as floor plans, elevations, materials and design requirements.
2. Model Creation
3D modelling software like Blender, Maya etc. have features to create a 3D model of the space, including walls, flooring, windows, doors, and any other architectural elements.
Textures consist of elements like materials, patterns and colors which aid in creating a realistic representation of the space.
Addition of natural light sources and artificial lighting and experimentation with different lighting setups could be experimented with to observe how they affect the space.
5. Furniture and Accessories
Furniture and other accessories should be imported and placed in the virtual space to see how they fit within the environment.
6. Space Planning
Experiment with different space planning options to find the best solution for the space, considering the furniture and accessories placed in the VR model.
7. Testing and Optimization
After all the above procedures are followed, the VR model needs to be tested to ensure proper functioning and optimized as per performance requirement and user experience.
8. User Interaction
User interaction within the VR model enables them to physically manipulate objects and spaces.
Users can explore and experiment with the VR model after deploying the same to the interior design app.
How to view a VR model on a VR headset
A VR Headset is a device with a head-mounted display and controllers that help the user visualize and create a sense of physical presence.
For interior designers, a seamless 3D walkthrough of the design is beneficial as it can show their clients a virtual prototype of the real space.
Below are the steps to follow to view a VR model on a VR headset.
Impressing clients with the full VR interior design experience
VR in Interior Design has the potential to increase the conversion rates of clients by an exponential rate. This is due to the multitude of advantages it provides in enhancing the user experience.
The experience is constructed by combining various technologies.
3D Modelling Software
To create 3D models of the environment, objects and characters. This is done using modeling software such as Blender, Maya, 3D Studio Max.
To bring the 3D models to life. Examples include Unity and Unreal Engine.
To immerse the user in VR experience. Examples include HTC Vive, Oculus Quest and Playstation VR.
Motion Tracking Systems
To track the user's movements to enrich the immersive experience. Examples include Oculus Touch and HTC Vive.
To create realistic 3D soundscape using 3D audio systems by simulating sounds in 3D space.
Examples of sound systems include Oculus Audio SDK, Steam Audio, Wwise and Google Resonance Audio.
To program the interactions and logic in the VR experience. Common language which are used include C# and C++.
Augmented Reality (AR) Tools
To blend virtual objects in the real world. Common tools include Vuforia and ARKit.
AR in Interior Design
What is Augmented Reality (AR)?
Augmented Reality (AR) is a technology through which one can overlay virtual objects on to real spaces. This process is achieved through an AR device.
The goal of this interaction between the real space and virtual objects is to create the intended meaning.
For example, IKEA uses this technology where the user can scan their spaces and overlay furniture and accessories in their application. This allows the user to visualize how the furniture, or any other element would enhance the look and feel of the particular space.
Now you may wonder, what is the difference between Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR)?
VR recreates and replaces the entire real-world environment with a virtual one, while AR enhances the real-world environment with some virtual elements.
Adding to the above, the VR headsets/ devices create a virtual environment but with an AR device, users can see the real world along with the added virtual elements.
Ever found it difficult in visualizing how a particular color or texture would look on your drawing room's wall?
That's because analyzing the look and feel of a particular space is difficult for a person. With the changing times, people want customized and personalized solutions which strive to solve this problem.
AR in Interior Design is creating revolution in terms of visualizing objects like furniture and other accessories on to real spaces.
Here are the benefits it offers to users.
Improved Decision Making.
Imagine how easy it would be to visualize designs in the real-world environment on one's smartphone.
Accurate and realistic representation of the same helps ease decision making about potential design changes.
AR allows users to see additions and enhancements in their personal spaces which aids personalization. One can now make adjustments and changes to design in their specific space easily.
It is always better to have a clear picture of one's end design. AR helps achieve that by giving a clear and accurate understanding of the design before completion.
Improved interaction and collaboration.
Designers can present their designs in an interactive and immersive way to clients. This creates better understanding between the client and the designer allowing for a healthy collaboration and feedback.
Now there's no need for expensive mockups and physical prototypes. Also, the travel expenses associated with traditional designs are minimized when you can experience designs from the comfort of your home.
User Experience Improved.
Everything boils down to creating immersive user experiences. With AR in Interior Design, more user-friendly spaces can be created. This benefits the user of the space greatly whose needs and preferences are met.
AR in interior design marketing and sales
AR can be a very powerful tool for interior designers to market their offerings to potential clients.
Interactive and immersive experiences can help designers effectively market their product and increase sales numbers.
One of the key benefits of AR in interior design in increased engagement. Potential clients look for ways to visualize designs realistically. AR enables them to experience the same leading to greater engagement.
AR also allows enhanced personalization. Clients see designs in their own personal space and make the required adjustments to fit their needs and preferences. This level of personalization results in a stronger relationship with the clients, increasing the repeat rate.
Compelling AR visuals as marketing tools can generate brand awareness which can further help differentiation from potential customers. This helps generate greater demand for their products and services.
Realistic and accurate representations also decrease uncertainty in the final designs. This helps create trust in the minds of consumers, increasing sales conversion rates by increasing confidence in client's decision.
AR interior design applications in the market
There are several AR interior design applications in the market that offer a range of features and capabilities. Here are some popular AR interior design apps:
Houzz provides users with access to millions of home interior design and decoration products.
It also includes an AR feature that allows users to see how products would look in their space before they make a purchase.
IKEA Place is an AR app that allows users to place 3D models of IKEA furniture in their home to see how it would look before making a purchase.
The app provides realistic experience using options for accurate lighting, shadows, and reflections.
Roomle allows users to create and visualize designs in 3D.
The app includes an AR feature that allows users to see how furniture would look in their space.
Amikasa allows users to design and decorate their living spaces in 3D.
The app includes a catalog of furniture and décor items, and users can see how products would look in their space through the AR feature.
HomeAR allows users to see how furniture and décor would look in their space before making a purchase.
The app includes a wide range of furniture and décor items, and users can visualize designs in 3D through the AR feature.
The benefits of using these apps include,
1. increased personalization,
2. improved visualization, and
3. enhanced user engagement.
What’s next for AR in Interior Design and Property Development?
AR has already created strides in the field of interior design. The future of AR could focus on improved accuracy and personalization.
More accurate and realistic representations of designs and products would make it easier for customers and other stakeholders to visualize designs and make informed purchasing decisions.
In the race towards personalization, integration of AR with AI and Machine Learning could lead to offerings such as recommendations for furniture and decor based on past user behavior.
AR could also be used for staging virtual properties where the clients can see the finished designs which are furnished and decorated. This helps increase sales and reduce the need for physical presence.
Companies like Tooliqa, Marxent and Morpholio have already started their journey towards innovation in the above aspects.
Benefits of Virtual and Augmented Reality in Interior Design
Portability and customization
Portability is a key feature of AR/VR in Interior Design. The models can be viewed on individual smartphones and tablets or any other devices. This makes the process of refinement and changes easier, especially for large projects.
Imagine running a large team for a project and every team member is aware of the vision and is on the same page!
Customization is another key benefit of AR/VR in Interior Design. The designers can create custom, interactive 3D models that allow clients to visualize various design choices.
Virtual walkthroughs of a design also create a personalized experience for clients. This allows them to see the space in a realistic and immersive way.
How VR and AR will be the future of interior design
The future of VR/AR will consist of breakthroughs and innovations through the integration of various other AI technologies like machine learning, NLP to give the user a truly seamless and immersive experience.
Here are some potential breakthroughs which are foreseeable in the future.
Advanced real-time rendering
Highly realistic environments which respond to user input in real-time are a challenge now.
Rendering algorithms which could generate complex 3D models and textures on the fly would enable designers to create detailed and realistic virtual environments that are nearly indistinguishable from reality.
Haptic feedback and sensory immersion
Till now, the VR and AR technologies engage only the two human senses - sight and sound.
Breakthroughs in sensory technologies which could simulate touch, movement and gravity could lead to creating a truly immersive experience.
Natural language processing and AI
A step towards making VR/AR applications more user-friendly could be done using NLP. Integrating voice commands along with the immersive experience could potentially change UX in Interior Design.
Cloud computing and remote rendering
The high computational requirements to generate and render complex virtual environments could be decreased by using cloud computing.
Offloading processing to remote servers can help make VR/AR accessible to a wide range of users, even those with devices with less computing power.
Benefits to interior designers and architects
The fruition of the above breakthroughs could result in a multitude of benefits for interior designers and architects.
Apart from enhanced visualization, a streamlined design process and improved client satisfaction, AR/VR in interior design could also bring about a change in sustainable design.
Designers can evaluate the energy efficiency, thermal comfort, and lighting performance of a design, and identify areas for improvement. This, in turn, results in energy-efficient designs which reduce the environmental impact on buildings.
Improving the functionality and usability of a design could be easier using AR/VR in Interior Design. Designers can optimize the space and plan the layout accordingly.
Design creativity would be greatly enhanced as interior designers can now experiment with various design concepts and push the boundaries of traditional design approaches. Say hello to authenticity!
A critical aspect of increased safety would be possible with AR/VR in interior design, where the designers can be in a safe environment to refine their designs for under construction high-rises or other inaccessible environments.
In this blog, we have explored the impact of VR and AR on interior design, as well as the benefits that these technologies can bring to designers and their clients.
We discussed the use of VR and AR in creating immersive user experiences, as well as the technical considerations and design features that are important for creating effective VR and AR applications.
We also touched on the potential future developments in this field, as well as the opportunities for increased safety, sustainability, and creativity that these technologies can bring to the design process.
Overall, it is clear that VR and AR are transforming the field of interior design and are poised to continue to play an important role in the industry in the years to come.
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