01 Jul 2022

The Best Software for a 3D Architectural Walkthrough (That Aren’t Revit or ArchiCAD)

Still from architectural walkthrough by BluEntCAD

Need to impress your clients for an architectural project but not sure how to do it? A photorealistic, detailed architectural walkthrough might just be what you need. Depending on your project requirements, there are several great software for developing a 3D architectural walkthrough.

But which one should you choose? We’ll cover our top picks for the best rendering software for walkthroughs so you can come to a more informed decision.

Introduction

A 3D architectural walkthrough is a type of architectural animation, and, when done properly by professionals, can boost sales.

There are many types of software available to create 3D walkthroughs and fly-throughs. Some of the most popular rendering software for such purposes include Revit, ArchiCAD, 3Ds Max and SketchUp.

You can use these packages for walkthrough animations and then complete the process with other software such as Twinmotion and Lumion.

Usually, creating a 3D architectural walkthrough with these legacy software is daunting and time-consuming, so many companies prefer to hire 3D walkthrough services rather than create walkthroughs in-house.

Top Software for 3D Architectural Walkthroughs

We have already written about several of the best software for various types of rendering, including Revit, ArchiCAD, Lumion, Rhino 3D, SolidWorks, and many more. Make sure you check those out first!

Today, we will focus on architectural walkthrough software that we have not previously covered.

1. Unreal Engine

Unreal Engine markets itself as a powerful 3D creation tool primarily meant for game development. (It has been used to create games such as Fortnite, Street Fighter 5, and Ashes of Creation).

However, Unreal Engine can also be used to make dynamic architectural walkthroughs and VR and AR experiences. It is primarily used for PC-based walkthroughs.

  • The wide range of features allows you to create immersive and engaging environments.

  • Unreal editor can be utilized simultaneously by multiple collaborators. It can also run in full virtual reality (VR) mode.

  • Capacity to create and use various materials.

  • Mesh editing tool permits fine-grain editing for each element.

  • Includes terrain and landscape building tools for outdoor scene rendering, as well as scalable foliage for panoramas.

  • Sophisticated lighting models allow for perfect views of both indoor and outdoor locations.

Recently, the first public version of Unreal Engine 5 was released. This was followed almost immediately by a 2 billion USD investment by Sony and KIRKBI (Lego). That should tell you enough about how much of a splash Unreal Engine is making!

Pros

  • High-quality realism and effects

  • Videos can be post-processed

  • Real-time rendering

  • Vast marketplace ecosystem with HQ plugins, add-ons, textures and more

  • Interactive walkthrough/Animation walkthrough export types available

Cons

  • Clients require dedicated application or file download to view interactive walkthroughs

  • Steep learning curve

2. My360

My360 allows you to create interactive virtual tours with 360 views in a fast and easy manner. It even has specific software for real estate agents, architects, photographers, and more.

You can develop virtual tours using panorama images captured on any 360-degree camera, or even DLSR panorama shots that have been manually stitched.

  • Virtual tours are created in four steps: upload images, arrange images, customize, and publish on your website or social media.

  • Buttons can be added for easier navigation.

  • Images can be added with tour description and your company brand logo.

  • The tour can be added to Google Street View at no additional cost.

  • Includes email marketing features plus the ability to add video intro, quick menu, and contact forms.

  • Analytics support and multiple account support.

Pros

  • Straightforward and user-friendly

  • Single plan

  • 2 weeks free trial

Cons

  • Only one premium plan in which everything is available

3. Shapespark

Do you want a fully interactive, browser-based walkthrough? Shapespark might be for you. With a three-step process, you can turn 3D models into live walkthroughs.

You begin by importing a 3D model into the desktop editor. This is used to configure materials and set up high-quality, realistic lighting.

  • HTML5 and WebGL are used for renderings. Hence, users do not have to install plugins or software to interact with walkthroughs. They can be experienced within the browser.

  • Allows users to “enter” spaces and “walk around” freely. This is closer to a real-life tour experience than a “regular” 360 tour or animated video.

  • Easy integration with Revit, 3ds Max, SketchUp and other popular 3D rendering tools.

  • Easy to share walkthroughs: can be done with a URL or by embedding on a website. Walkthroughs can be accessed from mobiles, laptops, and even VR devices such as Oculus Go.

  • Since Shapespark editor is a desktop app, you can create walkthroughs even without an Internet connection.

Pros

  • Excellent simulation of lighting

  • Simple to learn

  • Walkthroughs can be viewed on both browser and mobile devices.

  • Real-time rendering

  • Compatible with VR headsets

  • Real time rendering

Cons

  • No object library

  • Baking required for light map

4. Sentio VR

Sentio VR is one of the best architectural rendering software. This powerful tool is available as a plugin that is compatible with both SketchUp and Revit, and allows fast creation of immersive walkthroughs that can be viewed with VR headsets.

Simply upload 3D models and 360-degree renders from any modeling tool. After that, add images, hotspots, and floor plans to develop your walkthrough.

  • Simple presentation. Can be achieved with VR devices.

  • Great for 360 tours.

  • View what customers see on 2D screens.

Pros

  • User friendly

  • Tours can be viewed on both web browsers and mobile devices

  • Compatible with VR headsets

Cons

  • Only 360-degree panorama images, based on export type

  • No actual rendering capacity

Conclusion

We hope this article has given you an insight into the best 3D rendering software for your particular needs.

If you feel that creating 3D architectural walkthroughs in-house would be too time-consuming and expensive, BluEntCAD is just a click away.

We provide 3D animation services to home builders, real estate developers, interior designers, architects, home renovators, design build contractors and remodelers. Browse our portfolio to see how we’ve helped companies like yours.

Ready to create new business opportunities and retain old clients with 3D walkthrough services? Contact us now!

Maximum Value. Achieved.

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CAD Evangelist. "The Best Software for a 3D Architectural Walkthrough (That Aren’t Revit or ArchiCAD)" CAD Evangelist, Jul. 01, 2022, https://www.bluentcad.com/blog/best-3d-architectural-walkthrough-software/the-great-wall-of-china.

CAD Evangelist. (2022, July 01). The Best Software for a 3D Architectural Walkthrough (That Aren’t Revit or ArchiCAD). Retrieved from https://www.bluentcad.com/blog/best-3d-architectural-walkthrough-software/

CAD Evangelist. "The Best Software for a 3D Architectural Walkthrough (That Aren’t Revit or ArchiCAD)" CAD Evangelist https://www.bluentcad.com/blog/best-3d-architectural-walkthrough-software/ (accessed July 01, 2022 ).

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