Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA) is one of the most well-known and creative architectural firms in the world. The business was founded by the late famous architect Zaha Hadid, who was known as the “Queen of the Curve” for her iconic futuristic structures made of materials such as steel, concrete, and glass with remarkable curves and geometric patterns.
ZHA has long used Unreal Engine to create VR visualizations as part of its design process. It has also begun to use Twinmotion, a rapid real-time application, to iterate on ideas and disseminate them to stakeholders.
Fast real-time workflows for architectural designers
ZHA works on projects of different sizes and locations all over the world. In line with its eponymous founder’s boundary-pushing mentality, the business has a reputation for creative, experimental design.
When you have an idea that is entirely out of the box, the problem is expressing it in a way that others can grasp. It’s simpler for people to understand the creative vision behind an idea if you can successfully convey it early on.
ZHA investigates new technologies on a regular basis in order to improve its design process and improve communication. It was one of the first companies to invest in computers, and it has a long history of R&D to find new ways to operate. These now include everything from digital manufacturing to artificial intelligence.
Twinmotion, a real-time archviz tool, was developed as a result of the firm’s exploratory attitude. ZHA has gained a quick and easy means to exhibit ideas both inside the company and to clients since implementing the programme, but getting its architectural designers to adopt the new tool was never a foregone conclusion.
Because designers are more comfortable with conventional tools like pen and paper than CG software, simplicity of use is critical if they are to embrace new ways of working enthusiastically.
Designer Marko Margeta adds, “With new tools like Twinmotion, real-time becomes accessible and widespread.” “The ease of the interface, the fun with which you can express your scenes, and not having to worry about all the technical aspects that real-time generally entails, such as light maps, PBR processes, or other technical concerns, are all advantages of utilising Twinmotion for designers.”
Because of these benefits, the tool has rapidly become a firm favourite at the company, allowing designers to spend more time on the final touches that elevate a product from excellent to outstanding. “The designer can work on the design for seven hours a day, and then have just one hour to show and explain his idea to management—and then to the client.”
Twinmotion Cloud, a Twinmotion product that is presently in Early Access, has made those client presentations a lot easier. Twinmotion Cloud allows anyone to access a Twinmotion project from any location using a web browser on any Windows or macOS desktop, without having to download or instal anything, and without requiring high-end hardware—ideal for sharing work for review with clients in remote locations or during the current work-from-home climate. The functionality is being gradually rolled out and is presently only available to business licensees.
“In the past, we’d have to bring a PC to the client’s presentation simply to be able to execute the project in real time,” Margeta explains. “And that’s where Twinmotion Cloud comes in handy, because we no longer have to care about the PC.”
Now, the team can simply submit their product to the cloud for rendering, then stream it back to the local PC to view. “This allows us to be less concerned about hardware limitations,” Margeta continues. “Everything is taking place on the internet. The project manager may access the model, examine it, and provide quick feedback to you from any location.”
Take it further with Unreal Engine
Quixel has partnered with Epic Games to provide an universe of lifelike 3D scanned materials, textures, and objects accessible to Twinmotion and Unreal Engine users for free.
Designers may use this technique to increase the photorealism of Twinmotion scenes significantly. In the most recent Twinmotion version, Quixel Megascans 3D assets and surface categories have been integrated directly into the Twinmotion library, providing quick access to new high-quality assets and materials. Because assets are stored in the cloud and downloaded locally as needed, the programme has no additional file size overhead.
“We’ve always wanted to use Quixel models, and they’ve lately introduced buildings and facades that allow us to create great urban environments,” Margeta adds. “It’s as simple as dragging and dropping using the Quixel integration right into Twinmotion. The immersiveness and realism of the project are greatly enhanced by these high-quality models.”
ZHA has also enthusiastically adopted the Twinmotion Importer for Unreal Engine, which is still in Beta. Teams may now start a project in Twinmotion and finish it in Unreal Engine, thanks to this much-requested feature. Anyone can simply work with Twinmotion to build the basic idea and then send the project over to Unreal Engine to expand it.
“Early design studies always work great with Twinmotion,” Margeta explains, “but once a project reaches a certain level of complexity, where it may require more customized, streamlined data flow or more sophisticated presentation methods, we switch from Twinmotion to Unreal with the Twinmotion Importer.”