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T h e s i s P r o j e ct : Realtime 3d Visualization Table



Table of Contents




Interest and Architecture Moving Forward


Advisors and Primary Contacts


Project Brief


Project Methods and Timeline


Research 11

Literary Research


Software Research

11-21 22 23-24

Deliverables 25

Precedent Deliverables


Appendix 28


Thesis Website

Contact Yuriy Sountsov


Revision 6 - 10/21/2013


Fig. 0.1 QR code for the thesis website.

I n t r o d u ct i o n Interest


A r c h i t e ct u r e M o v i n g F o r w a r d

I, Yuriy Sountsov, am interested in this project because

had never been seen before but that they knew what was

I have the opportunity to give something to the field of

available and created what could be possible. The digital world

architecture that it has struggled to have. During my last year

is only the latest arena which is thus untapped. It has been

here at Carnegie Mellon University I have the time, resources,

exponentially growing for decades and the time is nigh for

and commitment necessary to put forth a complete,

architects to seize the tools that await them...on THE GRID.

developed, and forward-thinking project that others can take and use in their lives as designers and practitioners of architectural theory and thought. Fig. 1.1 The eye provides the most powerful sense humans have: vision. Architecture is often a primarily visual profession - while many architects argue the tactile and auditory aspects of architecture are also very important, the experience always comes back to the appearance of a building. Therefore it should be of paramount importance to architects how they communicate the visuality of their designs, yet one of the most powerful tools in an architect’s arsenal, the computer, remains wholly unused.

In the four years and going that I have spent studying architecture at Carnegie Mellon University...I have seen the future. And it is a strange future, indeed. The world, reader, is on the brink of new and terrifying possibilities. But what was made available in my education was severely lacking. Architects spend too long learning tools that are obsolete by the time they find ways to teach those tools to new architects. What if the world could see inside the mind of the architect? What if the architect’s ideas did not travel a maze before becoming visible? Architects are ready to learn. One of the major aspects of an architectural thinker is that they are open to new ideas, new societies of thought. Over the centuries, it has taken radical thinking of the likes of Brunelleschi, Gaudi, and Candela to advance the field of architecture in great leaps and bounds, but it was not because they created things that

Fig. 1.2 Brunelleschi’s dome, a single combination of previously disparate concepts that allowed architecture to take a great leap forward.




P r i m a r y C o n t a ct s

Yuriy Sountsov - Yuriy Sountsov is a fifth year

Dale Clifford - Dale Clifford is an is an Assistant Professor

architecture student at Carnegie Mellon University. He is

in the School of Architecture. He has significant background

dissatisfied with the digital backwardness of the program

finding simple solutions to complex problems using media

he has been exposed to and wonders sometimes whether

not native to the problem. I have had Dale in two previous

architects have become so desensitized to the creative

classes, Materials and Assembly and BioLogic, both of which

world around them that they think they are on the cutting

involved combining disparate systems of assembly to achieve

edge when in fact they are on the cutting block. He has

a goal not easily or impossibly reached by any constituent

experience with various digital design software, various video

system. Dale may also provide many connections into digital

game engines, has seen many films and has explored film

fabrication practices.

technology. He sees a problem in architectural practice and wishes to contribute his time and energy for free to fix it.

Joshua Bard - Joshua Bard is an Assistant Professor in the School of Architecture. He should contribute some

Arthur Lubetz - Arthur Lubetz is an Adjunct Professor in

digital and media expertise. He may be the spring semester

the School of Architecture. He brings a theoretical mindset,

instructor. Joshua is co-teaching a course I am currently

a creative framework, and a rigorous approach. He is also

taking, Parametric Modeling (the other instructor being

the fall semester instructor. I have not collaborated with

Ramesh Krishnamurti) that focuses on integrating a software

Artur before though he once taught a parallel studio. One of

with Rhinoceros, Grasshopper, although that software is

Arthur’s key driving principles is the inclusion of the body in

built inside Rhinoceros as a plugin. While I have the most

architecture. This relates closely to my thesis.

experience using Rhinoceros as a design tool and will try to keep it relevant within my thesis, Joshua may help adapting other software into the design pipeline as I research possibilities with that other software.


Ramesh Krishnamurti - Ramesh Krishnamurti is a Professor in the School of Architecture. He should contextualize my thesis due to his background studying computer visualization and vision. He is teaching a course I am currently taking, Parametric Modeling. I have worked as a Teaching Assistant with him for the class Descriptive Geometry for a few years. He is also a great thinker - he may help me work out the nature of my thesis and any kinks it might have.

Varvara Toulkeridou - Varvara Toulkeridou is a graduate student in the School of Architecture. I have worked with her while being a Teaching Assistant for Descriptive Geometry under Ramesh. As she has a similar background and knowledge to Ramesh, she may be another useful source of advice and critique. She is also currently a Teaching Assistant in the Parametric Modeling course that I am taking, making her available weekly should I have specific questions I need to ask her.

Kai Gutschow - Kai Gutschow is an Associate Professor in the School of Architecture and is the thesis coordinator. He is developing the program as it runs, and manages all of the students time and projects.


P r o j e ct B r i e f The architectural render has long been the pinnacle of drawn design - a constructed image that shows the

consciousness is through video games. While not all video

specific location within the project at a specific time of day.

games involve a 3D virtual environment, the ones that do

Traditionally, the architect’s primary tool for image-making

often go for a highly photo-realistic portrayal of a digital

was a drafting board. Some time in the last few decades

environment. The tools video game designers use are often

architects have adopted the computer to serve the same

made specifically to quickly develop virtual environments.

role yet advance it in many ways. The digital render was an

Students have often tried to use such tools in their projects,

evolution over what was possible with drafting. Yet, despite

but although they tended to gain success architectural firms

the apparent approach towards a visual quality near that

have rarely followed suit. The thesis is a field produced by two axes - the horizontal

power of a computer. The digital render took a horse cart and

axis is that of architectural image-making: how have designers

made it into an automobile but failed to then also make a van,

evolved their tools to match current technological advances;

a truck, or even a race car.

the vertical axis is that of digital interfaces and interaction:

The allure of a digital world has fascinated people ever


Another way the digital world has entered the social

viewer an idealized view of an architectural project from a

of human sight, the digital render failed to fully use the full

Fig. 3.1. Three approaches to my thesis. From top: taking a render, creating many renders from it, then showing them together as an animated sequence under the control of the viewer; the render and the model are combined into a visual system whereby the user can explore the model in a virtual world, allowing her or him to share the model with anyone; with a real-time render the concept of presence comes into play, since a moving realistic image allows the viewer to inhabit the image.

field, but not as fully as they could have.

more and more society is finding ways to interconnect with

since computers were able to create early vector and later

itself - such interaction in architecture, a field entirely involved

raster graphics. The idea has been explored in such films

in the business of being around others, seems largely absent

as Tron (1982) and The Matrix (1999) as well as hundreds

or unused.

of student or collegiate art projects. It has led to the

The first axis, visualization:

development of hardware to augment the human frame,

While many designers in the field have advanced the

extending what the human mind is limited to by the body.

static render into something more dynamic, making videos or

Digitally fabricated films have gradually replaced hand-drawn

flythroughs or virtual habitats, more often than not these cases

films and have even entered the mainstream as a respected

were one-time gimmicks and have not established as a versatile

category of film. Architectural designers have tapped this

aspect of architectural design.

Fig. 3.2 The complete toolset in Rhinoceros 4 for animations.

How can

The second axis, interaction:


The concept of digital interaction has often been explored

Model > Render > Post > Crit > improve >> Model > Virtual Review > improve >> ?

Fig. 3.3 Is there a possibility here?

3: Such a system would provide architects and clients a preview of the visual and aural aspects of a building in

by artists trying to cope with the digital frontier yet the

their entirety before the building is built. Much like how a

possibility of delivering an architectural project with extra-

physical model is a proof of assembly this would be a proof of

sensory exposure does not seem to have gained traction among

experience. So what?

architectural designers, even though technology exists to allow interaction beyond that which is seen or heard. The project, therefore, is to explore and define the

9: Architects traditionally make analog products - visual stimuli that mimic the rays of light that true sight gives. For presentations (renders) and data analysis (orthographics),

extent of such efforts in both directions, identify what was

these products are nearly always static images. Yet, much of

tried, what failed, and how those attempts could be improved,

architectural design requires the input of a user’s movement

identify the best candidates (by an evolving criteria as the

to activate. No static image will ever describe to the designer

project develops) for a concentrated push into versatility, and

the experience of natural movement within a project.

produce a working example of the next evolution of drafting.

Without an interactive experience to iterate from, the final,

The primary deliverable will be a software package which

built, experience cannot be prototyped. Interpreting a static

parallels or replaces the point in design when a designer

image requires a skill called mental rotation that is learned

of architecture would make a static render and, instead of

through studies of descriptive geometry, long exposure to

producing a mere digital render, would create an interactive

architectural orthographics, and CAD. Mental rotation is a

simulation serving as proof of experience much like an

skill not every client has and not every architect develops

architectural model is a proof of assembly.

fully. Without this skill static images become severely lacking

A distinction has to be made between a pre-rendered

Fig. 3.4 An example of a virtual environment that can be explored. It is both dynamic and interactive - it goes beyond what a set of renders could have done and also gives the user something a render could never have - a sense of presence in the project.

because too much of the design process relies on interpreting

animation and a realtime interactive environment. While

these images with the aim of improving the design.

pre-rendered animation is a side-effect of this under-utilized

Opportunities exist to replace or compliment static images

function of computers, it is absolutely a rut of possibility. It is

with real-time renders that closely resemble the built design

a linear evolution of a digital render - why stop there when a

both experientially and conceptually, which would allow a

render can evolve planarly?

more in-depth design pipeline.

A breakdown of the thesis into one sentence, three short sentences, and a short paragraph is a useful tool for understanding the thesis: 1: To Seek a Means and the Benefits of a System to Interact in Rendered Real-Time With Digital Models.




Research - the first step of the thesis is to generate a foundation of knowledge in the field of visualization and architectural visualization in particular. The thesis combines several schools of thought - Representation, Automation through Technology, Simulation, Video Gaming, Interfaces, and, naturally, Architecture. Each field would contain several informative areas: History, Technology, Application


P r o j e ct M e t h o d s

or Practice. These areas would inform what is available in the field as well as dictate possible constraints. For a broad spectrum I would expect at least six established literary sources and six other collateral sources (videos, talks,

the grounds of my thesis - the product, the deliverable, is a tool. The means is often more important than the end because the means is inherently repeatable. The research would mold the form and function of this visualization tool.


Fig. 4.1 Poster #1 shown at the first poster session.


Definition - in the meantime, I would continue to refine


examples of work). That is 72 potential sources.

Sep. 3 - Version 2 of Thesis


Sep. 9 - Version 3 of Thesis, focus on methods


Sep. 16 - Version 4 of Thesis, revision of V.2, expand on all sections Sep. 18 - Version 5 of Thesis, presented as a poster

Oct. 4 - List of deliverables


Oct. 18 - Midsemester break

Oct. 21 - Review of thesis development

October Experimentation and Evaluation - the second step,

exhaustive analysis of existing visualization software (or hardware, if it is available through CMU somehow) for the purpose of design (NOT final product; as another step, or a better step, in an iterative process). This would involve its own research on what tools architecture firms have used in the past (and documented) for time-based deliverables (that may exclude diagrams, like the one Field Operations


which may also happen concurrently as the first, is an

did for the High Line with the trains) and acquire them or versions thereof for purposes of experimentation and

fluid design framework. Following research on what tools practicing architects use, I would perform research on tools students have used, what artists of various caliber have used, and video game engines. The less time each visualization tool takes to render (from hours per frame to frames per second) the more likely I will focus on it, as that is at the root of my thesis - the possibility for the digital real


the exploration of their flexibility as it could apply in a




Nov. 27 - Thanksgiving

Dec. 8 - Review of thesis development

Dec. 13 - Submittal of thesis book Dec. 16 - Last day of first semester

Fig. 4.2 Viewport of Serious Editor 3, a software used by video game developers to create virtual worlds. This could be one of the software packages I end up using as my thesis.

time. Theoretically this research will come across examples of work, but the focus would be on how those were made, not what they are.


Compilation - the two threads of research will combine.

thesis. There may be at least two deliverables, one for each

body of research. The literary deliverable will be an opinion


At this point I would have a steel-hard definition of my

piece drawing from all the sources I compiled that projects the possibility (that I believe is the case) of what architects could embrace in the field of visualization given the power of

computers. This opinion piece should predict the possibility of the second deliverable. The software deliverable will be a proof of concept or a redistributable software package (depending on if the software I end up choosing is licensed

would support the opinion in the first deliverable, ultimately proving architects can evolve the render into something that interacts on a level above the visual or tactile. Much like the architectural model is a proof of assembly, this deliverable would be a proof of experience. There also may be a third


for educational use or distribution). This software package

deliverable, a critical paper, which ties this applied procedure/ tool back to the theoretical foundation that I started with, relating it to the taxonomies of Representation, Automation through Technology, Simulation, Video Gaming, Interfaces,


Jan. 20 - MLK Day, no classes

Mar. 5 - Midsemester thesis review

Mar. 7 - Spring Break starts


and Architecture.


Jan. 13 - First day of second semester



Mar. 17 - Spring Break ends

March Beyond - if there is yet more time I may develop more deliverables to parallel the two main deliverables in the

of the software package and tool. A certain amount of basic

tutorials smoothening the learning curve would already be part of the software deliverable, but, like any software, much


compilation step. One would be a documentation on the use

Apr. 10 - No classes for Carnival Apr. 13 - Carnival ends

of the tool would be shrouded in mystery. If there is time I could develop detailed explanations of various functions

game engine editor then it may grow to have dozens of tutorials. If it is a small utility (perhaps an architectural firm


within the software package. Importantly, this would heavily depend on the nature of the software package. If it is a video


May. 2 - Last day of classes

May. 5 - Thesis due


has developed one), then there may only be a small handful. Fig. 4.3 A potential deliverable on a mobile platform.


Research Literary Research The literature took up the bulk of the work during the first half of the first semester after the thesis program got

could have should have a spot on this mind map. Since my

started. The literature review pulled from over 30 sources

thesis only occupies a small portion of it, my thesis covers only

more than a third that provided valuable insight into the

a small aspect of architects’ interaction with computers. But

context of my thesis. While there are many works left to

one of the points of my thesis is that this should not be so.

research, the foundation that I was able to achieve narrowed

Interactive visualization can be a powerful ally in developing

down my thesis such that the software research that I

a design, and by expanding that field architects could learn

will perform during the second half of the first semester

more powerful, more flexible tools.

will be more fruitful. Alternatively, one other function of

Specialized keys

the literature review was to prove to peers that this is an academic subject and bears worth in the field of architecture. Mental rotation

The very shadowy nature of the subject of my thesis is exactly why I am proposing my thesis - people need to become fully aware of what can be done with modern tools. I also created a mind map. It is open to my advisors to flesh out with information and research fields. I will also Collaboration

Fig. 5.1 Mind Map as of October 21st, 2013. My thesis subject area is in the top left corner.

continue to insert data siblings and children as I continue my thesis. The mind map charts everything in the field of computing that could relate to my thesis - it is an attempt to contextualize my work, to bring it from computing to a position that is understandable by architects. The semantics of my thesis automatically bring various notions in readers or reviewers, so having a way to visually place my thesis among


Ideally, any interaction with computers that architects

various other subjects is important.

Fig. 5.2 QR code for the mind map.

Visual Digital Culture:

hardware input is possible. The point is to separate the

Surface Play and Spectacle in New Media Genres

tangential, relatively, development of software like REVIT and

This book by Andrew Darley explored visuality

AutoCAD from this original thread.

and spectacle in digital media. I drew parallels in it with

to simulate, comes into context, showing how lacking static

“The desire on the part of scientists to model or simulate physical processes and events in space (and time) was a central impulse in the production of the earliest computer graphics and films. Whilst concurrent with the initiation of applied forms, work was under way on computer produced figurative imagery as a research activity in its own right. Even the work conducted in collaboration with artists had a decided leaning towards more figurative kinds of imagery. At the end of the 1960s experimentation began into the production of algorithms for the production and manipulation of still, line-based figurative images.” - pg. 14

renders are. It also showed how video game software could

The notion that early computer graphics were, in a way,

architecture with how early digital modeling was showdriven - digital rendering is often about what a project could be like and not what it is. The greater definition of model,

Fig. 5.3 - Visual Digital Culture: Surface Play and Spectacle in New Media Genres cover.

be photo-realistic, an important point that I must continually

show-driven, relates well to how architects do things with

clarify. The illusion and wanting to be fooled, repetition and

technology. Architects often use computers and rendering

customization, the sense of occupancy and a comparison

to show what a project could be like, as opposed to showing

between video games and virtual environments rounds out

what it actually is. The original scientific drive to model,

the content of the book.

however, encompasses more than just showing the project

Relevant quotes in textual order:

itself, but also showing what the project could do. Here the

“A key example of such research was that into real-time interactive computer graphics. This came to practical fruition in 1963 in a system called Sketchpad, which allowed a user to draw directly on to a cathode display screen with a ‘light-pen’ and then to modify or ‘tidy-up’ the geometrical image possibilities so obtained with a keyboard. Though extremely primitive by today’s standards, Sketchpad is viewed as a crucial breakthrough from which have sprung most of the later technical developments in the areas of so-called ‘paint’ and interactive graphics systems. By the mid -1960s, a similar system involving computer image modification was being used in the design of car bodies - a precursor of current CAD/CAM (Computer Aided Design/Computer Aided Manufacture) systems. And by 1963, computer generated wire-frame animation films -visual simulations of scientific and technical ideas -were being produced using the early vector display technique.” - pg. 12

greater definition of ‘model’ applies, in that ‘to model’ means

This is significant as a historical precedent on the type

‘to simulate’, where various possibilities enter the game and a static representation becomes lacking. “The one that came to discursive prominence within computer image research and practice is perhaps the one with which we are all most familiar. Quite simply it turns upon the notion of the proximate or accurate image: the ‘realisticness’ or resemblance of an image to the phenomenal everyday world that we perceive and experience (partially) through sight. For the majority of those involved with digital imaging at the time, the yardstick of such verisimilitude was photographic and cinematographic imagery.” - pg. 17

This is another thing to keep in mind, while my thesis may

of interactive software that my thesis belongs to. Sketchpad,

include video game software an important benchmark is that

Ivan Sutherland’s own thesis, was the grandfather of CAD

I do not sacrifice photo-realism. I am mentioning this because

modeling. While it crucially combined hardware and software,

one aspect of my thesis is that it takes several steps forward,

within the realm of modern software and interface systems

and very few, if any, back.

my thesis does not have to have the same intertwined nature. Ideally my thesis should be able to do everything with a keyboard and mouse, however exploration into alternative

“In this case, of course, the set is virtual or latent - itself a simulation created and existing in the program of a computer. Such programs are now able to simulate three dimensional spatial and temporal conditions, natural and artificial lighting conditions and effects, surface textures, the full spectrum of colours, solidity and weight, the movement of objects and,


as well, the complete range of movements of a camera within and around their virtual space. When cartoon characters - and, just as important, cartoon tropes such as anthropomorphism - are imaged through this studio simulacrum, then new registers of mimetic imagery are achieved within the cartoon: a consequence of this peculiar crossing or fusing of traditionally distinct forms of film.” - pg. 85

A parallel discipline to my thesis is digital film animation. With digital film animation, the software technology is, by necessity, highly configurable and allows total control of a virtual scene. While such control is not applicable to architectural design because the digital in architecture is merely a step in the development, seeing what is possible in the field will allow me to find an upper bound in software capabilities. “A technical problem - the concrete possibility of achieving ‘photography’ by digital means - begins to take over, and to determine the aesthetics of certain modes of contemporary visual culture. Attempts - such as those focused upon here - to imitate and simulate, are at the farthest remove from traditional notions of representation. They displace and demote questions of reference and meaning (or signification) substituting instead a preoccupation with means and the image (the signifier itself) as a site or object of fascination: a kind of collapsing of aesthetic concerns into the search for a solution to a technical problem.” - pg. 88

This is the other side of the problem. Attempting to focus too much on the signified versus the signifier may break the relation of the image to the model or what it is modeling. The effort to produce a visually realistic image moves too far from the ideal that the task of creating the image in the first place started off from - in visual representation that ideal is to show truthfully what the virtual environment looks like, and in architecture and my thesis that ideal is to show a model experientially - through space and time.


“This involves surface or descriptive accuracy: naturalism. At the same time as distinguishing itself as other (alien) in relation to the human characters and the fictional world, the pseudopod must appear as indistinguishable at the level of representation, that is to say in its representational effect. It had to appear to occupy - to be ontologically coextensive with - the same profilmic space as the human actors. This involved the seamless combining of two differently realised sets of realistic imagery: of which one is properly analogical, i.e. photographic, the other seemingly photographic, i.e. digital simulation. Additionally however, it must also integrate, again in a perfectly

seamless manner, into the diegetic dimension: the story space. In order for this to occur an exceptional amount of pre-planning had to enter into the carefully orchestrated decoupage that eventually stitches the shots together. Here, finally, surface accuracy is subordinated to the rather different codes of narrative illusionism.” - pg. 108

Here the author was analyzing a scene from the film The Abyss (1989) where a computer generated tentacle is made to coexist within the filmic space with the real characters and setting and also within the presentational space, where the story as shot has to make room for this element which will be added later in the production of the film. The importance of this is again that the purpose of a render, or real-time interaction, is not the pretty image itself but what the image does, its performative element. The quality and the believability of the frame in a film example has to kneel to the frame as a narrative element - this tentacle in The Abyss has to make sense as a tentacle first, the image of a tentacle later. Likewise in architectural representation, an image of a project has to come after what the image will do, which is a proof of experience. “The contradiction - ever present in special effects - between knowing that one is being tricked and still submitting to the illusory effect is operative here. Yet, particularly (though certainly not solely) in those scenes involving computer imaging discussed here, the more photographically perfect or convincing the images, the more - paradoxically - does their sutured and suturing aspect seem to recede and their fabricated character come to the fore.” - pg. 113

This pertains to the effect of illusion and wanting to be fooled. Sometimes a fabricated image, a computer generated mosaic, becomes too artificial. This is important to note because it is possible that so much effort can be spent on making an architectural image perfect photographically that its photorealism eclipses its narrative - its experiential conduit. Just like there are technological functionality bounds software exists that can do many, perhaps too many, things in

a virtual environment - there are aesthetic bounds - software

to the phenomenon of television shows, comic strips, and

cannot be so focused on being realistic that the realism gets in

serial novels where only small changes are made between

the way of the representation.

versions, only enough so that a new installment is different

“It is both the bizarre and impossible nature of that which is represented and its thoroughly analogical character (simulation of the photographic), that fascinates, produces in the viewer a ‘double-take’ and makes him or her want to see it again, both to wonder at its portrayal and to wonder about ‘just how it was done’.” - pg. 115

from the last. Theoretically the proliferation of architectural

This, on the other hand, produces a lower bound on

simulation or a few, and a client modifies it only slightly.

the aesthetics of the image. It is likewise cautionary to make an image too experiential, too generative of wonder. The combination of seemingly impossible imagery rendered (by computer) with accurate realism, so to say, produces a kind of inquisitiveness that places the generation of the image itself before what the image represents. The way the image was made becomes more interesting than what the image is about. “Thus the fact that we can make many identical copies (prints) of a particular film, means not only that more people get to see it but also that as a work it is thereby made less precious.” - pg. 125

This passage refers to Walter Benjamin’s theories on mechanical reproduction. It is always a good idea to keep in mind the fact that quantity, even if it maintains quality, does not necessarily increase the popularity of a work. Since a part of my thesis is to explore if architectural simulations can become portable, it will be important to see what effects such mobile qualities have on architectural design. “today it is not what is repeated between given tokens of a series that counts for spectators, so much as the increasingly minimal differences in the way this is achieved. Burgeoning ‘replication’, the repetition at the heart of commodity culture, forestalls the threat of saturation and exhaustion by nurturing a homeopathic-like principle of formal variation (i.e. based on infinitesimal modifications and changes).” - pg. 127

The issue of repetition versus customization further explores what architectural representation could become in a mass mobile environment. This particular passage refers

representation into the mainstream could go this way - an architectural firm produces an interactive architectural

Perhaps that is an unideal future. “Even fields such as computer games and simulation rides, which are the most recent and appear to depend more on the novelty of the technology itself, are - as we shall see in coming pages- just as much subject to this aesthetic of repetition. They may involve new formal elements - the much vaunted ‘interactivity’ and ‘immersion’, for example - and these may well affect their individual aesthetics. However, just as much as the more established forms, they also seem destined to operate within the logic of self-referentiality and the preponderance of the ‘depthless image’. All are manifestations of an altogether new dimension of formal concerns that established itself within the mass cultural domain of the late twentieth century, helping to constitute both cultural forms and practices of production and aesthetic sensibilities.” - pg. 129

Here the author combined the two threads of thought - repetition of the image in culture and a focus on the image itself over the substance of the image. The idea here is that as an image spreads it does not necessarily mean that people see it more, or see through it more. The proliferation of an image may shift the audience’s concern towards the formal quality of the image, put another way, more people see less. Being able to have a large audience for an image may be a large factor - in an architectural firm and with a client only a small number of people see the image and can control it - once such limitations are lifted, if they can be lifted, the image may be diluted even if it gains other properties, like interactivity. “Living in cultures in which we are surrounded on all sides by moving images, we are now particularly accustomed to the kind of montage that strives to hide its artifice.” - pg. 131

Architecture is, independent of what some architects think, part of the global digital stage and as such has to


compete with other visual fields. The more graphically

this effect by the visual representation of architectural models

advanced the rest of our culture becomes, the more

could already be a huge step towards interaction. Of course,

certain qualities will be expected of the visual elements of

such an effect cannot last once the true interactivity remains

architecture. This means that fleshing out this aspect of

lacking in a virtual environment.

architecture, or at least exploring it in my thesis, will also require me to know what is expected of real-time interaction as well as what it can do.

Another aspect of video games that can be transferred

“The sheer sense of presence, however, conveyed in the best of them and here Quake is a key example - compensates for such defeats. In other words, it is the experience of vicarious kinaesthesia itself that counts here: the impression of controlling events that are taking place in the present.” - pg. 157

to interactive architectural simulation is the sense of

Here the author brings in the experience of video games,

realistic depth (material effects and believability of presence),

occupancy. Through a combination of realistic imagery,

saying how, in the interaction with the game, the fact that the

and a simulation of what it would be like as if one was there,

player may sometimes need to repeat areas in a video game

occupancy can be achieved. Since occupancy is a major aspect

is overshadowed by the fundamental fact that the player

of experience, such a conceptual framework is important for

is actually controlling something in the virtual realm. This is

the field of my thesis.

an aspect of real-time interactive simulations that needs to be put in the forefront because it simply does not exist in renders or even CAD programs. There is no sense of time in Revit or Sketchup, and watching an animation gives the user no control. While substance is key in the image, presence is important outside it. “interactive representation involves a mode of representing that is ‘inside the time of the situation being described’. That is to say, time is represented as viewed from a first person perspective - literally as if one were really there, thereby, producing the impression that things are continually open to any possibility...Indeed, it becomes difficult to untangle space from time in this respect so intimate is their relation. We might say that the illusion of experiencing events as if they are taking place in present time in computer games is largely dependent upon visual simulation.” - pg. 158

Here the author points out that the mere introduction of time to a virtual environment already creates the impression of interaction by the simple virtue of providing limitless


“given the increasing surface realism of the moving imagery, the sophistication of real-time graphic representation and the use of firstperson perspective, the impression of actual occupancy and agency within the space of the game’s fictional world can be extremely convincing.” - pg. 163

possibilities on ‘what could happen next.’ In video games, the visual alone can do this. Likewise in my thesis, establishing

“However, such ‘active participation’ should not be confused with increased semantic engagement. On the contrary, the kinds of mental processes that games solicit are largely instrumental and/or reactive in character. As I suggest above, the space for reading or meaning-making in the traditional sense is radically reduced in computer games and simulation rides.” - pg. 164

Here the author steps back and concedes that the actual interaction with a video game is not the same thing as interaction with the virtual environment. The user is still fundamentally looking at an image. This is also very important to keep in mind because my thesis does not seek to redefine how architecture is made - it seeks to augment or improve only the computer representation aspect of architecture. Where architects almost exclusively made renders, they would make interactive simulations.

Generating Three-dimensional Building Models

Visuality for Architects: Architectural Creativity and

From Two-dimensional Architectural Plans

Modern Theories of Perception and Imagination

The only relevant quote:

This book by Branko Mitrović introduced an idea

“The building model used to develop and demonstrate the system was produced by iteratively applying “clean-up” algorithms and user interaction to convert a grossly inadequate 3D AutoCAD wire-frame model of Soda Hall (then in the design stages) into a complete polyhedral model with correct face intersections and orientations. The Berkeley UniGrafix format was used to describe the geometry of the building, because of its compatibility with the modeling and rendering tools available within the group. The interior of the building, including furniture and light fixtures, was modeled by hand, through instancing of 3D models of those objects. In all, the creation of the detailed Soda Hall model required two person-years of effort. It became clear that better modeling systems were needed.” pg. 3

While the research report, by Rick Lewis, was written Fig. 5.4 Generating Three-dimensional Building Models From Two-dimensional Architectural Plans cover.

in 1996, before significant advances in CAD had taken root among the designing audience, the general gist of what this quote refers to remains true today. With my thesis this argument would more pertain to having to customize every render for a flawless end result (presumably), the notion

to my thesis: mental rotation, the ability to rotate a 2D representation in the mind. It bashed architects for blindly relying on narrative as the prime way of communicating projects and designs. It proposes that architecture evolve into a visual profession. Generally, it noted a behavior in architects to avoid or ignore architecture’s purely visual aspects. The idea of ideological bias versus the opportunity to see architecture visually is critical to expanding the use of interactive media in architecture, yet architects first need to open their mind to the notion that architecture is not

Fig. 5.5 Visuality for Architects: Architectural Creativity and Modern Theories of Perception and Imagination cover.

narrative by default. Relevant quotes in textual order:

that accurately modeling an entire building in a computer is

“What psychologists describe as mental rotation is the same kind of task that is performed by computers in modern architectural practice.” - pg. 6

manually labor intensive is true - partly because many designs

This book argued that what CAD does is not

are so unique, there are no tools for efficiently spreading

fundamentally different from what a human brain does when

geometric complexity within a model without resorting to

it views a plan or a perspectival image - though the separation

grids or simple patterns. With rendering and interaction, the

of conceptual thinking from visual thinking becomes easier

manual difficulty lies in preparing a render scene and then

in a computer. Thus relying on creating static images just

setting lighting and material properties, all of which take a

so the brain can be forced to have visual and conceptual

large percentage of the total time it takes to develop a render.

thinking near each other, forcing connections, is a fairly

Perhaps there is a way to develop a pipeline where materials

outdated concept - the process can be separated, CAD can

and lighting can be more easily established without thinking

give the full visual stimulus that real experience provides with

of it as a necessary preparation for each render scene.

a real building and the brain can be fully used for conceptual thinking. “The same tendency to base design on stories that can be told about architectural works is common in contemporary architectural practice as well. Here it is strengthened by the fact that in order to get commissions, architects often have to explain in words their design decisions to their clients. Sometimes they (are expected to) invent stories about what the


building represents.” - pg. 11

reliance on interactive visualizations, being that those are

Another key theme the book brought up was the

closer to said experience, would promote a truer review of

stubborn reliance of contemporary architects on narrative and having, or thinking that it is the only way to, describe a building’s ‘concept.’ Why rely on speaking about an almost inherently visual idea (while architecture is tactile, people rarely say “Hey, have you touched that building Front Studio Architects designed?”) when you can communicate it... visually? Perhaps as an interactive render?

“If we are going to talk about the aesthetic qualities of architectural works, we need to be aware that these works are going to be thought about not only as perceived from a single point in space but as threedimensional objects. We perceive a building from one side, from another, from inside, we observe the composition of spaces, and after some time we have formed a comprehensive understanding of the building’s threedimensionality. Or, we don’t have to be dealing with a built building at all; we can grasp its spatial qualities by studying its plans, sections, and elevations. By analogy with 3-D computer modeling, one could say that we have formulated a 3-D mental model of the building in our minds” - pg. 7172

Again with mental rotation. Much of architectural

“In fact, much bigger issues are at stake. Architecture does not live in isolation from its intellectual and cultural environment. If antivisual biases are going to be credible among architects, architectural academics, or theorists, this can happen only if such views are based on and derive from assumptions that are credible in the society in which they live.” - pg. 13

experience revolves around understanding the visual

Socially, one can argue that the visual has grown faster

possible from a human vantage point with a built building,

composition and relationships of a design or building. This is

and faster in modern, rich after a percentile, society. Take the

but with design products, the composition has to happen

internet - experienced almost exclusively visually: computer

within the mind of the observer. It would only accelerate the

screens, smartphones, tablets, even printouts of web content

understanding if the observer could interpret something only

are visual objects. Film, video games, advertising, it is all visual.

a step away from actual experience that provides a viewpoint

Perhaps even literature financially is falling behind visual

inside a building. Except, the observer would not have to

storytelling through film, TV, Netflix, and so on. Therefore

effectively rebuild the model inside their mind.

architecture must develop, somehow paradoxically, into a visual profession. That is nearly at the core of my thesis. “Applied to architecture, this means that there are no visual properties of architectural works that are not ultimately derived from the ideas we associate with these works. Visual perception of buildings is merely a result of the knowledge and beliefs we already have about them.” - pg. 14

A bit of theory here. The more the brain is forced to



“In a situation where it is recognized that architectural works can be perceived, imagined, thought about, mentally rotated, and that their geometries can be studied, their colors discussed, and so on, independently of any concepts or meanings we associate with these works, only an ideologically biased professor can insist on evaluating the work exclusively on the basis of the story that can be told about it.” - pg. 85

This pertains to the general issue where architects are not grasping the full breadth of the tools that are available to

draw from its reservoir of constructible memories, when

them. The somewhat hesitant reliance of architectural reviews

exposed to a single image of a piece of architecture, the more

to generalize renders to drawings paired with a reliance on

the brain will generalize to the archetype. Thus it is in fact

printed material is stifling architectural design flexibility.

detrimental to the review or design of architecture if people

Thus, in an effort to justify their views (ironic), review boards

view it in a reduced manner, that is, in a manner far from the

pretend that they are in fact not interested in the visual

actual experience of architecture. I propose that a greater

and are looking for (inescapable irony) a more narrative

description of the project. The idea of ideological bias versus

Touchable 3D Video System

the opportunity to see architecture visually is critical to

This research report by Jongeun Cha, Mohamad Eid, and

expanding the use of interactive media in architecture.

Abdulmotaleb El Saddik introduces the idea of presence - the immersive feeling of being inside a virtual environment.

International Conference on Computer Systems and Technologies - CompSysTech’10

One Approach for Creation of Images and Video for a Multiview Autostereoscopic 3D Display

One Approach for Creation of Images and Video

Relevant quotes in textual order:

for a Multiview Autostereoscopic 3D Display

of transferring the design process from flat displays to 3D

“Recent advances in multimedia contents generation and distribution have led to the creation and widespread deployment of more realistic and immersive display technologies. A central theme of these advances is the eagerness of consumers to experience engrossing contents capable of blurring the boundaries between the synthetic contents and reality; they actively seek an engaging feeling of ‘being there,’ usually referred to as presence.” - pg. 29:2

displays, it would benefit my thesis.

In the entertainment industry, displays are getting larger

Emiliyan Petkov Abstract: Nowadays computer 3D technologies are topic of present and are field of state-of-the-art research and dynamical development. Their main goal is to provide the observers of computer simulated environments with 3D perception. 3D computer display technologies play base role in this three-dimensional visualization. This report presents the results from the investigations into a multiview autostereoscopic 3D display technology developed by Philips 3D Solutions with the purpose of creating images and video for these kind devices. This paper is financed by project: Creative Development Support of Doctoral Students, Post-Doctoral and Young Researches in the Field of Computer Science, BG 051PO001-3.3.04/13, European Social Fund 2007–2013, Operational Programme “Human Resources Development”. Keywords: 3D, graphics, display, autostereoscopic, multiview, images, video, WOWvx, 2D-plusDepth, Declipse.

INTRODUCTION 3D displays are the devices capable of conveying three-dimensional images to the viewers. There are generally four types of 3D displays: stereoscopic, autostereoscopic, computer-generated holography and volumetric displays [8]. These devices together with the methods for creation of three-dimensional scenes allow the reproduction of a virtual reality under the observer’s eyes. This vastly enriches the experience and contributes to the best perception of the presented reality. Each of these display technologies has comparatively great cost. Even though stereoscopic and autostereoscopic 3D displays have lower prices than the displays developed under the other two technologies. This allows investigations over the stereoscopic and autostereoscopic displays to be made from wider circle of researches.

Figure 1. Philips Multiview Autostereoscopic 3D display. The set task in this research is a part of a bigger project of the University of Veliko Turnovo, titled «Virtual Reality in Education». The project aims to investigate the application of virtual reality technologies, in particular 3D displays, in the process of teaching students at university and to equip a laboratory for 3D technologies. In the last few years a number of companies among which Philips 3D Solutions [10] have introduced multiview autostereoscopic 3D displays. A multiview autostereoscopic 3D display from Philips 3D Solutions (fig. 1) has been chosen for the equipment of an auditorium. Permission to make digital or hard copies of all or part of this work for personal or classroom use is granted without fee provided that copies are not made or distributed for profit or commercial advantage and that copies bear this notice and the full citation on the first page. To copy otherwise, or republish, to post on servers or to redistribute to lists, requires prior specific permission and/or a fee. CompSysTech'10, June 17–18, 2010, Sofia, Bulgaria. Copyright©2010 ACM 978-1-4503-0243-2/10/06...$10.00.


Fig. 5.6 One Approach for Creation of Images and Video for a Multiview Autostereoscopic 3D Display cover.

This research report by Emiliyan Petkov outlines a method for creating images for 3D screens. If a way exists

A relevant quote:

and larger, with more accurate color rendition and higher

“A matter of interest is exploring the possibility for developing interactive applications for 3D displays. This kind of applications gives users the opportunity to interact with objects in a computer simulated world in real time. Thus the time for remaining in this virtual environment is not limited and decisions what to do and where to go are made by the user. These applications will offer an opportunity for creation of virtual worlds through the multiview autostereoscopic 3D displays.” - pg. 322

contrast ratios - this is driven by consumers - people are

Somewhat tangential, part of my thesis is exploring

another part of it is that the more powerful the display the


Multimedia technologies are reaching the limits of providing audio-visual media that viewers consume passively. An important factor, which will ultimately enhance the user’s experience in terms of impressiveness and immersion, is interaction. Among daily life interactions, haptic interaction plays a prominent role in enhancing the quality of experience of users, and in promoting physical and emotional development. Therefore, a critical step in multimedia research is expected to bring the sense of touch, or haptics, into multimedia systems and applications. This article proposes a touchable 3D video system where viewers can actively touch a video scene through a force-feedback device, and presents the underlying technologies in three functional components: (1) contents generation, (2) contents transmission, and (3) viewing and interaction. First of all, we introduce a depth image-based haptic representation (DIBHR) method that adds haptic and heightmap images, in addition to the traditional depth imagebased representation (DIBR), to encode the haptic surface properties of the video media. In this representation, the haptic image contains the stiffness, static friction, and dynamic friction, whereas the heightmap image contains roughness of the video contents. Based on this representation method, we discuss how to generate synthetic and natural (real) video media through a 3D modeling tool and a depth camera, respectively. Next, we introduce a transmission mechanism based on the MPEG-4 framework where new MPEG-4 BIFS nodes are designed to describe the haptic scene. Finally, a haptic rendering algorithm to compute the interaction force between the scene and the viewer is described. As a result, the performance of the haptic rendering algorithm is evaluated in terms of computational time and smooth contact force. It operates marginally within a 1 kHz update rate that is required to provide stable interaction force and provide smoother contact force with the depth image that has high frequency geometrical noise using a median filter. Categories and Subject Descriptors: H.5.1 [Information Interfaces and Presentation]: Multimedia Information Systems— Video; H.5.2 [Information Interfaces and Presentation]: User Interfaces—Haptic I/O; I.4.10 [Image Processing and Computer Vision]: Image Representation—Multidimensional General Terms: Design, Algorithms Additional Key Words and Phrases: Haptic surface properties, haptic rendering algorithm, video representation ACM Reference Format: Cha, J., Eid, M., and El Saddik, A. 2009. Touchable 3D video system. ACM Trans. Multimedia Comput. Commun. Appl. 5, 4, Article 29 (October 2009), 25 pages. DOI = 10.1145/1596990.1596993



Recent advances in multimedia contents generation and distribution have led to the creation and widespread deployment of more realistic and immersive display technologies. A central theme of these advances is the eagerness of consumers to experience engrossing contents capable of blurring the

Authors’ address: Multimedia Communications Research Lab., School of Information Technology and Engineering, University of Ottawa, 800 King Edward, Ottawa, CA, KIN 6N5. Permission to make digital or hard copies of part or all of this work for personal or classroom use is granted without fee provided that copies are not made or distributed for profit or commercial advantage and that copies show this notice on the first page or initial screen of a display along with the full citation. Copyrights for components of this work owned by others than ACM must be honored. Abstracting with credit is permitted. To copy otherwise, to republish, to post on servers, to redistribute to lists, or to use any component of this work in other works requires prior specific permission and/or a fee. Permissions may be requested from Publications Dept., ACM, Inc., 2 Penn Plaza, Suite 701, New York, NY 10121-0701 USA, fax +1 (212) 869-0481, or c 2009 ACM 1551-6857/2009/10-ART29 $10.00 DOI 10.1145/1596990.1596993  ACM Transactions on Multimedia Computing, Communications and Applications, Vol. 5, No. 4, Article 29, Publication date: October 2009.

Fig. 5.7 Touchable 3D Video System cover.

members of the population set that are not selected. Part of that drive is, naturally, the need to be entertained, but

more data it can deliver. This can and should be harnessed by

Displays or Monitors or Screens. A strong aspect of that would


create it, potentially collaboratively.


buying what they like more and natural selection kills off the

possible hardware for interaction, one of which would be 3D

be, not just review the design using this hardware, but also

Touchable 3D Video System

“When viewers have the ability to naturally interact with an environment, or are able to affect and be affected by environmental stimuli, they tend to become more immersed and engaged in that environment.” - pg. 29:2

There is an argument for critical distance - maintaining a distance from a design being reviewed so that the design does not influence the review itself. However, architecture cannot be reduced to a set of images as it often is in design reviews. When a film production team looks at a cut of a film they do so in a dark room - much like the audience would view the film when it comes out. Likewise in architecture, being able to experience a design while it is being made like it would be experienced by its users after it is built seems like a useful ability to have.


Computer Games and Scientific Visualization

real-time gains little for the designer. At that point one has to

This article by Theresa-Marie Rhyne examines the use

be a little professional on when to use a certain tool and when

of computer game technology in scientific visualization. The article points out how video game technology is having an impact on scientific visualization. Relevant quotes in textual order: “The market dynamics of computer game applications are thus influencing computer architectures historically associated with scientific visualization.” - pg. 42

Here the author is pointing out how video game technology is having an impact on scientific visualization. While scientific visualization does not sound like it relates Fig. 5.8 Computer Games and Scientific Visualization cover.

to architectural visualization, one can make poignant comparisons. Both are data-driven. Both are group-reviewed. Both develop diagrammatic visual products. Both require iterative or prototype design stages. Both are model-based, forgoing an exhaustive translation of the entire product, instead focusing on a simplified representation. If scientific visualization can learn from video games, architecture can too. “Shortcuts in the rendering software to produce a more engaging experience tor the user might work well in a game, but geologists using the same digital terrain data in a visual simulation of fault structures are unlikely to trust what they’re seeing or be able to apply it on a real-life scientific mission.” - pg. 42

A point against interactive visualization - sometimes simplification of data renders it too unreliable. This works in a purely scientific framework. However in architecture, the simplification happens from an impossible ideal - no architectural render has ever become reality. Ever. Thus simplifying from a pretty picture to a less pretty picture but gaining real-time interaction works in architecture. At the same time, there are still moments in design where data is


crucial, but in those moments making the design interactive in

not to. “Games now represent the leading force in the market for interactive consumer graphics. Not surprisingly, the graphics hardware vendors tend to anticipate the needs of game developers first, expecting scientific visualization requirements to be addressed in the process.” - pg. 43

Here is an interesting observation - hardware development occurs for the lucrative business - video games - first, and the data analysis, less popular, business, second, even though the data analysis business should have a closer contact with hardware development as they have more specific requirements for hardware. This is to point out that architecture should still piggy-back on something else when it comes to visualization and interaction tools - until, or if ever, it is a powerful business, tools will not be made for it. It will have to find them itself.

Component-Based Modeling of Complete Buildings

Component-Based Modeling of Complete Buildings

This research report by Luc Leblanc, Jocelyn Houle,

Luc Leblanc ∗

Jocelyn Houle

Pierre Poulin

´ LIGUM, Dept. I.R.O., Universite´ de Montreal

and Pierre Poulin examines another system for automatically generating architecture. While this is not fully near my thesis, it is important to be aware of what else computer technology

Figure 1: Variations on a building. Top: Random variations on the distribution of apartments, secondary corridors, rooms, and furniture for one randomly generated configuration of wings in a multi-storey building. Bottom: Random variations on the wing shapes and their content.


is capable of that architects have not harnessed yet. The only relevant quote:

We present a system to procedurally generate complex models with interdependent elements. Our system relies on the concept of components to spatially and semantically define various elements. Through a series of successive statements executed on a subset of components selected with queries, we grow a tree of components ultimately defining a model. We apply our concept and representation of components to the generation of complete buildings, with coherent interior and exterior. It proves general and well adapted to support subdivision of volumes, insertion of openings, embedding of staircases, decoration of fac¸ades and walls, layout of furniture, and various other operations required when constructing a complete building. Keywords: Procedural Modeling, Architecture, Shape Grammar, Boolean Operation

“Shape grammars constitute the state-of-the-art in procedural modeling of building exteriors, and have produced high-quality results. However, even though modeling building interiors and exteriors appears similar, shape grammars have not yet proven to be a good solution for modeling complete buildings. In fact, since their creation, only a small number of grammars, such as the palladian, have been produced for 2D floor plan generation, and better solutions have been provided by optimization techniques. Moreover, despite 10 years of development, shape grammars have seemingly yet to be used to model complete buildings. ” - pg. 87

While tools exist to parametrically generate exteriors, or otherwise surfaces, those tools are not being applied

Index Terms: Computer Graphics [I.3.5]: Computational Geometry and Object Modeling 1


Buildings host a great deal of modern human activity. As such, every immersive computer graphics (CG) project, whether it be movie special effects, virtual reality systems, or video games, is bound to eventually require buildings. Our familiarity with buildings mandates a high degree of fidelity, and therefore, many adopted solutions rely mainly on manual labor from artists. Consequently, creating an entire building, or worse, all the buildings of a city, quickly becomes a daunting endeavor. Procedural modeling is an excellent method to tackle the complexity of reality. Instead of relying on long and sustained human ∗ e-mail: { leblanc, houlejo, poulin } Graphics Interface Conference 2011 25-27 May, St. John's, Newfoundland, Canada Copyright held by authors. Permission granted to CHCCS/SCDHM to publish in print form, and ACM to publish electronically.

involvement, arbitrarily complex objects can be generated with little input from a user. This approach forgoes defining every little manual detail in favor of a succinct set of automatic rules able to satisfy most cases reasonably well. Various procedural techniques have been fairly popular in specialized modeling domains of CG, such as fractals for landscapes, L-systems for plants, particle systems for fluids, and shape grammars for building exteriors. Shape grammars constitute the state-of-the-art in procedural modeling of building exteriors, and have produced high-quality results [4]. However, even though modeling building interiors and exteriors appears similar, shape grammars have not yet proven to be a good solution for modeling complete buildings. In fact, since their creation, only a small number of grammars, such as the palladian [30], have been produced for 2D floor plan generation, and better solutions have been provided by optimization techniques. Moreover, despite 10 years of development, shape grammars have seemingly yet to be used to model complete buildings. This paper presents our solution to generate procedural buildings with coherent interiors and exteriors. We introduce a system capable of simulating split grammars and executing CSG (Constructive Solid Geometry) operations within a unified context. Our technique consists of executing a series of operations (i.e., a program) on a set of shapes selected by a query mechanism. These operations and queries are implemented as a programming language, and consequently, our system retains the flexibility and generality of programming languages, which is an asset in procedural modeling. The language is devoted to modeling with components, which is different than a library of tools on top of a regular programming language. Our system is currently not intended for general artists, but rather for designers with some programming skills. Moreover, our goal is to generate believable and coherent buildings for game and special effects environments, similar to those from recent CG shape grammars. While we hope to explore more advanced architectural issues in the future, we are not architects, and our system first addresses the basic needs for building design. It provides tools, but intelligence is still in the designer’s hands. However, with careful design, the procedural modeling aspect in our system allows for


Fig. 5.9 Component-Based Modeling of Complete Buildings cover.


to spaces or are otherwise only being applied in a limited

trailblazers - this article claims over a decade has been spent

“Because ray tracing computes visibility and simulates lighting on the fly the pre-computed data structures needed for rasterization are unnecessary. Thus dynamic ray tracing would most likely allow for simulation-based games with fully dynamic environments as sketched above, leading to a new level of immersion and game experience.” - pg. 47

on developing procedural shape grammars, yet none of

Here the technology of ray tracing is advertised on the

manner. Architects spend too long marginalizing their own

those years yielded a complete procedural building. Is this

fact that, since it does not need pre-computation (like having

an unimportant field in architecture? Perhaps, but why has it

to wait for a render), it would provide the opportunity for

been in development for so long if so?

immersive interaction. This makes sense, as the faster the experience is accessed from when it was designed the more

Exploring the Use of Ray Tracing for Future Games

responsive the user would be as the conceptual thread in the

This research report by Heiko Friedrich, Johannes

mind would simply continue from one medium to another.

Exploring the Use of Ray Tracing for Future Games Heiko Friedrich∗

Johannes G¨unther†

Andreas Dietrich∗

Michael Scherbaum‡

Hans-Peter Seidel†

Philipp Slusallek∗

Saarland University

MPI Informatik

Saarland University

inTrace GmbH

MPI Informatik

Saarland University

Günther, Andreas Dietrich, Michael Scherbaum, Hans-Peter Figure 1: Screenshots from fully interactive, ray traced game prototypes featuring highly realistic images together with richness in scene details. Ray tracing greatly simplifies the creation of games with advanced shading effects including accurate shadows and reflections even for complex geometry and realistic material appearance in combination with sophisticated illumination. Interactive ray tracing performance is already possible using software-only solutions (left three images) but dedicated hardware support is also becoming available (right).



Rasterization hardware and computer games have always been tightly connected: The hardware implementation of rasterization has made complex interactive 3D games possible while requirements for future games drive the development of increasingly parallel GPUs and CPUs. Interestingly, this development – together with important algorithmic improvements – also enabled ray tracing to achieve realtime performance recently.

Computer games are the single most important force pushing the development of parallel, faster, and more capable hardware. Some of the recent 3D games (e.g. Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion [Bethesda Softworks LLC 2005]) require an enormous throughput of geometry, texture, and fragment data to achieve high realism. They increasingly use advanced and computationally costly graphics effects like shadows, reflections, multi-pass lighting, and complex shaders. However, these advanced effects become increasingly difficult to implement due to some fundamental limitations of the rasterization algorithm. One major limitation is its inability to perform recursive visibility queries from within the rendering pipeline, which results in a number of significant problems when trying to implement advanced rendering effects. We analyze these limitations in more detail in Section 2.

In this paper we explore the opportunities offered by ray tracing based game technology in the context of current and expected future performance levels. In particular, we are interested in simulationbased graphics that avoids pre-computations and thus enables the interactive production of advanced visual effects and increased realism necessary for future games. In this context we analyze the advantages of ray tracing and demonstrate first results from several ray tracing based game projects. We also discuss ray tracing API issues and present recent developments that support interactions and dynamic scene content. We end with an outlook on the different options for hardware acceleration of ray tracing.

Ray tracing, on the other hand, has several advantages and avoids many of these limitations (also discussed in Section 2). It is, for example, specifically designed to efficiently answer exactly these recursive visibility queries, which enables it to accurately simulate the light transport and the appearance of objects in a scene. However, ray tracing had been much too slow for interactive use in the past.

CR Categories: I.3.1 [Hardware Architecture]: Graphics processors— [I.3.4]: Graphics Utilities—Software support I.3.6 [Methodology and Techniques]: Graphics data structures and data types— [I.3.7]: Computer Graphics—Ray tracing

Due to significant research efforts in recent years, ray tracing has achieved tremendous progress in software ray tracing performance [Wald et al. 2001; Reshetov et al. 2005; Wald et al. 2006a; Wald et al. 2006b] to the point where realtime frame rates can already be achieved for non-trivial scenes on standard CPUs and at full screen resolution (see Table 1).

Keywords: Games development, realtime ray tracing, simulation, dynamic scenes, global illumination, graphics hardware ∗ e-mail: † e-mail: ‡ e-mail:


{friedrich,dietrich,slusallek} {guenther,hpseidel}

Table 1 compares the rendering performance of several realtime ray tracing implementations, namely the original OpenRT system [Wald et al. 2002a], multi level ray tracing (MLRT) [Reshetov et al. 2005] both using kd-trees as spatial index structures, and very recent implementations with Bounding Volume Hierarchies (BVH) [Wald et al. 2006a] and Grids [Wald et al. 2006b]. These numbers give an overview of the ray tracing performance that can be achieved in software, but it is important to note that these systems vary significantly in their feature set and thus are not directly comparable. Images of the used test scenes are shown in Figure 2.

Copyright © 2006 by the Association for Computing Machinery, Inc. Permission to make digital or hard copies of part or all of this work for personal or classroom use is granted without fee provided that copies are not made or distributed for commercial advantage and that copies bear this notice and the full citation on the first page. Copyrights for components of this work owned by others than ACM must be honored. Abstracting with credit is permitted. To copy otherwise, to republish, to post on servers, or to redistribute to lists, requires prior specific permission and/or a fee. Request permissions from Permissions Dept, ACM Inc., fax +1 (212) 869-0481 or e-mail Sandbox Symposium 2006, Boston, Massachusetts, July 29–30, 2006. © 2006 ACM 1-59593-386-7/06/0007 $5.00

Seidel, and Philipp Slusallek introduces a software technique

Adding a Fourth Dimension to

called ray tracing and applies it to full virtual scene generation,

Three Dimensional Virtual Spaces

including shadows, reflection, refraction, caustics and other

The only relevant quote:

complex effects. The report proposes that computers are now

“This paper first outlines the capabilities of X3D to show buildings at different times or states. It then examines how temporal data can be stored within XML and combined with model data in the form of X3D. This data is then extracted and filtered on the client computer through the use of XML technologies. The way in which buildings can be displayed at different times or states along with associated descriptive text is demonstrated.” - pg. 164

powerful enough that this is possible. Relevant quotes in textual order: “Computer games are the single most important force pushing the development of parallel, faster, and more capable hardware.” - pg. 41


Fig. 5.10 Exploring the Use of Ray Tracing for Future Games cover.

One more reason to look to video games for cuttingedge visualization in a field that is almost primarily...visual. Architects can spend all the time they want making window schedules but at the end of the day the product will be something that is seen. “Some features of this engine are realistic glass with reflection and refraction, correct mirrors, per-pixel shadows, colored lights, fogging, and Bézier patches with high tessellation. All of these effects are simple to implement with rudimentary ray tracing techniques” - pg. 45

This quote is useful because, on the off chance that I

The general gist of the research report, by Robina

Adding a Fourth Dimension to Three Dimensional Virtual Spaces John P Scott University College Chester

Robina E Hetherington Liverpool Hope University College



The development of new standards for distributed data offer new possibilities to combine and display multiple types of information. This paper is concerned with an architectural and historical application of X3D and XML to objects, such as buildings, which have an organic quality and tend to evolve over time. The display of a 3D computer model does not always adequately describe the building or artifact and additional data are often required.

The last decade has seen a phenomenal growth in the use of the World Wide Web as a communications medium. This has been mainly through the use of HTML, an open source mark up language. However, the limitations of HTML have led to the development of eXtensible Markup Language (XML), which is a data formatting specification language based on the Standard Generalised Markup Language (SGML). XML is a markup language, like HTML, but the tags in XML are not predefined. Authors have to define their own through either a Document Type Definition (DTD) or an XML Schema. XML was created to store, structure and to exchange information. HTML may well be used for many years to come and it will work with XML to display data in Webpages. However, with an XML data file, the same information will be available for display on many other platforms. Because an XML document is a plain text file, it provides a software and platform independent way of sharing data.

This paper describes and evaluates techniques for the integration of three-dimensional data in the form of X3D and other data contained in XML format, such as temporal data. The capabilities of X3D to display a model with associated temporal data in different states or times are outlined. The relationship of X3D to XML is considered and methods described to enable 3D models and temporal data to be meaningfully combined. The use of XML to represent temporal data is outlined along with the use of XSLT (eXtensible Stylesheet Language Transformations) and DOM (Document Object Method) to filter both model and temporal data. The use of an API (Application Programming Interface) to alter the state of an X3D model is described. These methods are applied to a simple model and data file to display temporal data along with a 3D model at different points in time. Conclusions are drawn as to the appropriate method to employ for client-side manipulation of different types of 3D models and related data.

In parallel with the development of the World Wide Web there has been a growth in the ability to model three-dimensional objects on computers. In the main this has been using propriety software, both to develop and to display the three-dimensional models. Exchange of data relating to models produced using modelling software has typically involved the use of DXF files. In the early 1990s the Virtual Reality Modelling Language (VRML) was developed to enable three-dimensional models to be displayed over the WWW, with the first official version released in May 1995. However, it has not seen comparable uptake to that of HTML and a new standard has been proposed, in the form of X3D (eXtensible 3D), which is an XML application.

CR Categories: C.2.4 [Distributed Systems] Distributed Systems – Client/Server, H.5.3 [Information Interfaces and Presentation] Group and Organization Interfaces – Web-based interaction, I.3.7 [Computer Graphics]Three-Dimensional Graphics and Realism – Virtual Reality.

Technological problems such as slow connections and the limited power of computers have, until recently, inhibited the widespread use of Web3D. (Web3D is a generic term for the delivery of any 3D model over the World Wide Web). The growth of broadband Internet connections and a significant rise in the number of relatively low-priced computers readily available, which can handle both the file size and rendering requirements of 3D models, means that the time is now right for wider applications of Web3D graphics.

Keywords: Information Visualization, Interactive 3D Graphics, Architecture, X3D, XML, Cultural Heritage

E. Hetherington and John P. Scott, is the apparent simplicity of encoding time data into a model on the pseudocode level. That is, it is not fundamentally difficult to store temporal


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Although there is a significant body of work on both VRML and XML, there is very little work in the application of X3D combined with XML. Polys (2003) has demonstrated how chemical structures can be displayed through a combination of CML (Chemical Modelling Language) and X3D. Kim and Fishwick (2002) have examined the concept of creating dynamic models with X3D. According to Polys (2003) the potential impact of convergence between W3D and XML has yet to be understood or explored.


versions of a design within the files of the design. This is significant because, again, it is so simple for architects to use these tools, or to develop them, that it boggles the mind

Fig. 5.11 Adding a Fourth Dimension to Three Dimensional Virtual Spaces cover.

that they have not used them yet, or frown on their use. The ability to encode time data within the design, separate from

attempt to develop a visualization software, I know that it

animation, could show clients, or a review board, what the

may not require a high-end graphics engine with hundreds of

design would appear like during different times of the year,

shaders and visual tricks - it all can be done with one system.

which sounds like a powerful tool.


Service-Oriented Interactive 3D Visualization of Service-Oriented Interactive 3D Visualization of Massive 3D City Models on Thin Clients Dieter Hildebrandt, Jan Klimke, Benjamin Hagedorn, Jürgen Döllner Hasso-Plattner-Institut University of Potsdam, Germany

{dieter.hildebrandt|jan.klimke|benjamin.hagedorn|doellner} ABSTRACT Virtual 3D city models serve as integration platforms for complex geospatial and georeferenced information and as medium for effective communication of spatial information. In this paper, we present a system architecture for serviceoriented, interactive 3D visualization of massive 3D city models on thin clients such as mobile phones and tablets. It is based on high performance, server-side 3D rendering of extended cube maps, which are interactively visualized by corresponding 3D thin clients. As key property, the complexity of the cube map data transmitted between server and client does not depend on the model’s complexity. In addition, the system allows the integration of thematic raster and vector geodata into the visualization process. Users have extensive control over the contents and styling of the visual representations. The approach provides a solution for safely, robustly distributing and interactively presenting massive 3D city models. A case study related to city marketing based on our prototype implementation shows the potentials of both server-side 3D rendering and fully interactive 3D thin clients on mobile phones.

Categories and Subject Descriptors C.2.4 [Computer-Communication Networks]: Distributed Systems—Client/server, distributed applications; C.5.5 [Computer System Implementation]: Servers; D.2.11 [Software Engineering]: Software Architectures—Service-oriented architecture (SOA); D.2.1 [Software Engineering]: Requirements/Specifications; I.3.2 [Computer Graphics]: Graphics Systems—Distributed/network graphics

General Terms Algorithms, Design, Performance, Standardization

Keywords Service-oriented architecture, mobile device, distributed geovisualization, 3D geovirtual environment, virtual 3D city

model, 3D computer graphics



3D geovirtual environments (3DGeoVEs) are a conceptual and technical framework for the integration, management, editing, analysis, and visualization of complex 3D geospatial information. Virtual 3D city models as a specialized and frequent type of 3DGeoVE serve as integration platforms for complex geospatial and georeferenced information. For application areas such as city planning and marketing, virtual 3D city models turned out to be effective means for the communication of planning related information, e.g., about land usage, transportation networks, public facilities, and real estate markets. Such systems have to provide up-to-date data, most efficient interaction capabilities, as well as effective, high-quality visual representations. Typically, the geodata required for representing virtual 3D city models in real world software applications have massive storage requirements. To give users interactive access to high-quality virtual 3D city models, the resources required by a 3D geovisualization system in terms of storage and computing capacity can be significant. This currently restricts the applicability of 3D geovisualization especially on mobile devices and for service-based and web-based systems. Until today only “monolithic” geovisualization systems can cope with all these challenges of providing high-quality, interactive 3D visualization of massive 3D city models, but still have a number of limitations. Such systems typically consist of a workstation that is equipped with large storage and processing capabilities, as well as specialized rendering hardware and software, and is controlled by an expert who controls the virtual camera and decides which information to integrate into the visualization through a graphical user interface. Typically, only a single view is available on a single screen or projection; multi-user access and collaboration is usually not supported; and these systems mostly lack the emotional factor that is immanent to today’s presentation and interaction devices such as smartphones and tablets. Often, such a system does not allow for easy and seamless integration of new or updated information, as data needs to be preprocessed to fit a specific internal format for enabling high-performance rendering. Furthermore, it may be difficult to adapt such an encapsulated visualization system to specific data and usages that require new, advanced visualization techniques. Even for today’s high-performance visualization systems, it is a challenging task to combine the visualization of massive, large-scale 3D data with the visu-

Fig. 5.12 Service-Oriented Interactive 3D Visualization of Massive 3D City Models on Thin Clients cover.

Massive 3D City Models on Thin Clients This this research report, by Dieter Hildebrandt, Jan Klimke, Benjamin Hagedorn, and Jürgen Döllner, points out how cumbersome specialized hardware and software can become. In a system designed to visualize massive models of cities, specialized hardware was developed with specialized software and an expert was trained to operate all of that...just to make a moving picture of a city. This is a point against the tendency with architects to make tools that are highly specific to one purpose or, worse, one project. “Until today only “monolithic” geovisualization systems can cope with all these challenges of providing high-quality, interactive 3D visualization of massive 3D city models, but still have a number of limitations. Such systems typically consist of a workstation that is equipped with large storage and processing capabilities, as well as specialized rendering hardware and software, and is controlled by an expert who controls the virtual camera and decides which information to integrate into the visualization through a graphical user interface.” - pg. 1

Generally, tools need to be general. A hammer that works on only one type of nail is not a very good hammer. A rendering setup that only works during day scenes is not very useful in the large scheme of things. Likewise, a system for interactively visualizing designs should remain flexible so that all architects can use it. “these systems mostly lack the emotional factor that is immanent to today’s presentation and interaction devices such as smartphones and tablets” - pg. 1

This is an aspect I have strangely ignored - the emotional factor of being immersed in a design. There is zero emotion, except despair, in an architectural review. Let the building speak for itself, let it inspire, motivate, drive the review. Such are the fruits of an interactive visualization system.



On Tuesday the 10/8th I met with Kayvon Fatahalian,

Assistant Professor of Computer Science in the Smith Hall. Here are important points from the meeting: • Simple lighting can be done up to any arbitrary geometric complexity, but baking complex shadows becomes tricky, and is the area where graphics systems start taking Fig. 6.1 Kayvon Fatahalian.

shortcuts. • One aspect of thesis is making this statement: “I believe it is possible...” Where are the situations where existing tools do not meet the needs of architects, what is not good enough? And from that, a solution can be planned. • If I asked about what architects want, the deliverable would be a proposed solution. Perhaps conducting a survey of the efficacy of visualization software in the field would be fruitful. • How to assess the value of an interactive render versus a static one? There is an aesthetic trade-off - one is interactive,

Fig. 6.2 Near-exhaustive computation brought up during the interview.

but looks worse, the other is static, but looks very good. What particular things do architects want to do? • The idea of how prerendered videos can account for every possible scenario in a virtual space. • Or, everything but the interactive parts is high-quality. How does that apply to architecture?


Software Research The second half of the semester will focus on engaging software research with the literary research I did during the first half of the semester. That will involve an extensive analysis of various software packages I have come in brief contact with during my investigation. These software packages are UDK, Unity3D, CryEngine3, Lumion3D and Rhino 5 and Blender for the sake of comparison with design software. The analysis steps from all of them will follow the same thorough path outlined below. The main purpose of this part of my thesis is, within the general context that my literary research created, to find a place for visualization software in architectural practice. This is a two-pronged development: the first prong is to actually find a capable software package that can perform baseline photo-realistic rendering and is flexible enough for a variety of applications. The second prong is to approach the problem from the side of architects: if one of these softwares is capable of these basic tasks, what advanced, architecturespecific, techniques should they be able to do? For example, should this software be able to simulate people mingling in a project? Water collecting on roofs after a heavy rain? Structural fatigue? Such questions and more will be explored in the second half of the first semester.


Experimentation Experiment with all available software and/or hardware, benchmarking features, learning curve, and time per step of design.

Other Hardware Other hardware may be discovered. Is it available as an educational or free license?

Google Glass

3D Glasses and Monitor


Oculus Rift

Is it available as an educational or free license?

Is it available as an educational or free license?

Is it available as an educational or free license?

Is it available as an educational or free license?

Other Software

Lumion 3D

Other software may be discovered. Is it available as an educational or free license?

Is it available as an educational or free license?


CryEngine 3

Rhinoceros 5 3D


Is it available as an educational or free license?

Is it available as an educational or free license?

Is it available as an educational or free license?

Is it available as an educational or free license?

Discard No








No Yes











No Yes

Interface options?

Import options?



Is it capable of design?

How does it interact with software?

What filetypes does it import? Does it support NURBS?

Does it allow visual and interactive editing?

What kind of visualization can it do?

Can the project be (re)designed within this software? Does it make plans as a step in design obsolete?

Does a middleman importer exist?



Does it use proprietary software?


Does it use DVI or VGA ports?


Does it require a standard monitor?





Does this support a filetype that can be exported through a third-party converter?

Wavefront (.OBJ)?


Does it support wavefront files?


Does it support Rhinoceros’ files?




Does it support editing the mesh?

Virtual Exploration?



Does it support virtual walkthroughs?



Can it generate near real time rendering?

Caution Yes



Replace Monitor?

Require Monitor?

Require Other Hardware? Does it need other hardware?

Supporting one of these filetypes is crucial for rapid development on a software platform.



No Caution


While supporting these formats is not a damnable issue, it may hamper moving from one design software to another.

Rhinoceros (.3dm)?

3D Studio (.3ds, .max)? Does it support 3D studio files?

COLLADA (.dae)?


Does it support COLLADA files?


Does it support SketchUp files?


Texture or Material?

Does it import material data?

Does it support applying materials?





Not an Issue


Materials can be redefined in-program.

Does it support adding interaction?

Does it support setting up lighting?

Not an Issue The presence of a monitor is given.

Caution The more extra hardware that is needed the more cumbersome the setup becomes. Ideally the hardware more than pays off the added expense.

Not an Issue Most software simplifies to a mesh.


SketchUp (.skp)?

NURBS? Does it support NURBS geometry?

Fig. 7.1 Software research path.

Does it allow many users to collaborate?


Does it allow export to a mobile platform?

Mobile Export?

One or the other of these is almost required for the software goal. However, neither in conjunction with specialized hardware may work.


Not an Issue This can be useful, but isn’t required.


This(ese) is(are) the hardware of choice for the thesis.

Multi User Experience?




This is the last step and may define the software’s true usefulness. It may not be enough that the software merely shows the project before it is complete.




Caution Yes

While mesh editing within the program is not yet a major issue, having to reimport every time there is a change in geometry may become cumbersome.


Rapid Animation?

While commercial software may still be viable, an important aspect of this thesis is that the software be available to students of architecture too.




Advanced Shaders? Does it support water, refraction, etc.?


Not an Issue



At this point interaction is not prioritized.

Advanced shaders go a long way towards making something virtual appear photo-realistic. Without them things look flat and fake.

Discard Texture (or material) and lighting setup is crucial to delivering a photo-realistic appearance - and therefore immersive environment.



Not an Issue This can be useful, but isn’t required.

????????????? This(ese) is(are) the software of choice for the thesis.


Precedent Deliverables

Fig. 8.1 Fallingwater in Half-Life 2 by Kasperg; January 23 2006. This is a demonstration of modeling a real building in a video game environment.

Fig. 8.2 Serious Editor 3.5 by Croteam; November 22, 2011. This kind of software is used by video game developers to create virtual worlds - much like architects do with CAD software, except with materiality and lighting as part of the toolset.


Fig. 8.3 House in UDK by Luigi Russo; 2012. This is a demonstration of a student project modeled in video game software, showing that the same goals that students use CAD software for can be applied to video game engines.

Fig. 8.4 Las Vegas Bellagio Comparison in CryEngine2 by IMAGTP; May 2007. This is a photo-realistic demonstration of a real building compared to a photograph taken at the same location.


Fig. 8.5 Path tracing method, sample image. This shows an exhaustively detailed physical environment rendered with full lighting and materiality at interactive speeds.


Fig. 8.6 Path tracing method, sample image. Here water effects are also simulated.

A pp e n d i x Sources ***WITHOUT CONSISTENT FORMATTING BOOKS AND RESEARCH REPORTS Heiko Friedrich, Johannes Günther, Andreas Dietrich, Michael Scherbaum, Hans-Peter Seidel, and Philipp Slusallek. 2006. Exploring the use of ray tracing for future games. In Proceedings of the 2006 ACM SIGGRAPH symposium on Videogames (Sandbox ‘06). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 41-50. DOI=10.1145/1183316.1183323 Darley, Andrew. Visual Digital Culture: Surface Play and Spectacle in New Media Genres. London ; New York: Routledge, 2000. Rhyne, Theresa-Marie. “Computer Games and Scientific Visualization.” Association for Computing Machinery. Communications of the ACM 45.7 (2002): 40-4. ProQuest. Web. 24 Sep. 2013. Mitrovic, Branko. Visuality for Architects: Architectural Creativity and Modern Theories of Perception and Imagination. University of Virginia Press, 2013. Lewis, Rick. Generating Three-dimensional Building Models From Two-dimensional Architectural Plans. Berkeley, Calif.: University of California, Berkeley, Computer Science Division, 1996. Luc Leblanc, Jocelyn Houle, and Pierre Poulin. 2011. Component-based modeling of complete buildings. In Proceedings of Graphics Interface 2011 (GI ‘11). Canadian Human-Computer Communications Society, School of Computer Science, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, 87-94. Jongeun Cha, Mohamad Eid, and Abdulmotaleb El Saddik. 2009. Touchable 3D video system. ACM Trans. Multimedia Comput. Commun. Appl. 5, 4, Article 29 (November 2009), 25 pages. DOI=10.1145/1596990.1596993 http://doi.acm. org/10.1145/1596990.1596993 Emiliyan Petkov. 2010. One approach for creation of images and video for a multiview autostereoscopic 3D display. In Proceedings of the 11th International Conference on Computer Systems and Technologies and Workshop for PhD Students in Computing on International Conference on Computer Systems and Technologies (CompSysTech ‘10), Boris Rachev and Angel Smrikarov (Eds.). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 317-322. DOI=10.1145/1839379.1839435 Dieter Hildebrandt, Jan Klimke, Benjamin Hagedorn, and Jürgen Döllner. 2011. Service-oriented interactive 3D visualization


of massive 3D city models on thin clients. In Proceedings of the 2nd International Conference on Computing for Geospatial Research & Applications (COM.Geo ‘11). ACM, New York, NY, USA, , Article 6 , 1 pages. DOI=10.1145/1999320.1999326 http://doi. Robina E. Hetherington and John P. Scott. 2004. Adding a fourth dimension to three dimensional virtual spaces. In Proceedings of the ninth international conference on 3D Web technology (Web3D ‘04). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 163-172. DOI=10.1145/985040.985064 YOUTUBE AND VIMEO Timeshroom. (2013, July 30). Architectural Visualisation - Oculus Rift Demo [Video file]. Retrieved from com/watch?v=gaFZH8Z70vk

-Oculus RIFT demo showing the views provided by the headset. Note how they are slightly offset, this would produce the illusion of 3D.

Naing, Yan. [MegaMedia9]. (2013, May 31). Realtime 3D Architectural Visualization With Game Engines [Video file]. Retrieved from

-CryEngine3 demonstration in a sandbox environment.

Visual, Real. [RealVisual3D]. (2012, October 23). iPad 4th Generation: Unity 3d Realtime Architectural Visualisation [Video file]. Retrieved from

-iPad demonstration of Unity3D and how it is cross platform.

Lumion3D. (2010, November 1). Architectural visualization: Lumion 3D software is easy to use [Video file]. Retrieved from

-Demonstration of Lumion 3D.

bigkif. (2007, November 17). Ivan Sutherland : Sketchpad Demo (1/2) [Video file]. Retrieved from watch?v=USyoT_Ha_bA bigkif. (2007, November 17). Ivan Sutherland : Sketchpad Demo (2/2) [Video file]. Retrieved from watch?v=BKM3CmRqK2o

- Ivan Sutherland’s 1963 Sketchpad thesis, archival footage.

Storus, Matt. (2011, February 9). Video Game Engine Architectural Visualization Test [Video File]. Retrieved from http://vimeo. com/19774547

-Another CryEngine3 demonstration.

alvaroignc. (2010, March 17). Zumthor’s Thermae of Stone in Source SDK part 5: Props. [Video File]. Retrieved from http://


- Zumthor’s Therme Vals rendered in Source.

Lapere, Samuel. [SuperGastrocnemius]. (2012, April 6). Real-time photorealistic GPU path tracing: Streets of Asia [Video File]. Retrieved from Lapere, Samuel. [SuperGastrocnemius]. (2013, August 13). Real-time path tracing: 4968 dancing dudes on Stanford bunny [Video File]. Retrieved from Lapere, Samuel. [SuperGastrocnemius]. (2012, May 29). Real-time photorealistic GPU path tracing at 720p: street scene [Video File]. Retrieved from

-GPU path trace method demonstrations. This is a highly realistic rendering method, short of the grainy appearance.

T.V., Arocena. [arocenaTM]. (2011, February 17). Presenting Architecture through Video Game Engine [Video File]. Retrieved from

- Demo by Max Arocena with CryEngine showing interactive lighting.

lxiguis. (2012, August 28). Real time Architectural Visualization - After Image Studios [Video File]. Retrieved from http://www.

- UDK demonstration. It is not that great and a little old, but is a capable engine.

Skiz076. (2012, January 3). FallingWater in Realtime 3d (UDK) [Video File]. Retrieved from watch?v=QdF4rvw64rg

- A model of Fallingwater in UDK.

Archimmersion. (2010, June 25). UDK - Family House in Realtime 3D [Video File]. Retrieved from watch?v=AV802r_Pr0k&

- More UDK - again, note the cheap quality.

Hammack, David. [hammack710]. (2013 January 3). Unity 3D Simulation Project [Video File]. Retrieved from https://www.

- A demo of Unity3D , looks very cheap and old.

Autodesk. (2011, April 12). Autodesk Showcase 2012 for Architectural, Construction, and Engineering Users - YouTube [Video File]. Retrieved from - This is for reference - this is a very bad implementation of the subject of my thesis as it provides no presence, no true interactivity and is not at all designed for the user.

spacexchannel. (2013, September 5). The Future of Design [Video File]. Retrieved from watch?v=xNqs_S-zEBY#t=134

- Video showcasing tactile hardware interaction. This is the future, but we are not then yet.


ARTICLES Vella, Matt. (2007, December 21). Unreal Architecture. Bloomberg Businessweek. Retrieved from http://www.businessweek. com/stories/2007-12-21/unreal-architecturebusinessweek-business-news-stock-market-and-financial-advice

- Article detailing the use of UDK for architectural purposes.

(2013, August 20). Arch Virtual releases architectural visualization application built with Unity3D game engine, including Oculus Rift compatibility. Arch Virtual. Retrieved from (2013, August 20). Arch Virtual. Retrieved from

- Premade realtime visualization demo by Arch Virtual. It is interactive within a web browser. This is a very good example of the subject of my thesis.

Hudson-Smith, Andrew. digital urban. Retrieved September 2, 2013, from (deprecated page:

- Blogging platform that publishes research about connecting digital modeling and the real world with an emphasis on the profession of architecture.

Kasperg. “Kaufmann House.” The Whole Half-Life. 1/23/2006, Retrieved September 2, 2013, from php?map=3657

- Website of the Fallingwater digital recreation. This establishes a kind of benchmark for the possibilities of the area.

Russo, Luigi. Architectural Visualization. Unreal Engine. Retrieved September 3, 2013, from showcase/visualization/architectural_visualization_1/

- Website of a project done in UDK. This is in place to be licensed (educational use included).

Varney, Allen. “London in Oblivion.” The Escapist. 7/8/2007, Retrieved September 2, 2013, from http://www. - Article that mentions several attempts to visualize architectural work in video game engines. This could be a good springboard on collating past efforts in this area.

simulation. (n.d.) Random House Kernerman Webster’s College Dictionary. (2010). Retrieved October 20, 2013, from http://

- Definition of simulation.

Jobson, Christopher. (2013 September 22). Full Turn: 3D Light Sculptures Created from Rotating Flat Screen Monitors at High Speed. Colossal. Retrieved from

- A project using alternate projection - this is useful because hardware exploration is part of my thesis, though here the technology is very artsy.

Elkins, James. (2010, November 6). How Long Does it Take To Look at a Painting? Huffpost Arts & Culture. Retrieved from


- Article showing how Mona Lisa visitors spend 15 seconds looking at it.

IMAGES The History Blog. n. d. Dome design. [drawing]. Retrieved from uploads/2013/01/Dome-design.jpg

- Brunelleschi’s dome image.

IGX n.d. Mario 64. [screenshot]. Retrieved from

-Mario64, an old 3D video game.

PcGamesHardware. n.d. Crysis 2 screenshot 5. [screenshot]. Retrieved from screenshots/original/2010/03/crysis-2-screenshots-gdc-2010__5_.jpg

-Crysis 2 image.

Fatahalian, Kayvon, et al. July 2013. Visualization graph. [graph]. Retrieved from exhaustivecloth/

- Kayvon’s face.

MISCELLANEOUS Crydev. (2013, October 18). CRYENGINE® Free SDK (3.5.4) [Computer software]. Retrieved from dm_eds/download_detail.php?id=4

- CryEngine3 SDK.

Lumion. (2013). Lumion 3D () [Computer software]. Retrieved from

- Lumion3D website, note how a new version is set to come out soon.

Schroeder, Scott A. (2011, January 1). Adopting Game Technology for Architectural Visualization. Purdue e-Pubs. Retrieved from

- Possible precedent thesis. Must READ!!!


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