First Look at Unreal 5 Engine

Epic just announced a first look at the Unreal 5 Engine that is scheduled for release in 2021. The current major version 4 is free for use, and has gained popularity for architectural visualization, games, and real-time graphics. Nanite and Lumen are two key technologies allowing billions of polygons to be imported directly into the engine.

Nanite virtualized micropolygon geometry frees artists to create as much geometric detail as the eye can see. Nanite virtualized geometry means that film-quality source art comprising hundreds of millions or billions of polygons can be imported directly into Unreal Engine—anything from ZBrush sculpts to photogrammetry scans to CAD data—and it just works. Nanite geometry is streamed and scaled in real time so there are no more polygon count budgets, polygon memory budgets, or draw count budgets; there is no need to bake details to normal maps or manually author LODs; and there is no loss in quality.

Lumen is a fully dynamic global illumination solution that immediately reacts to scene and light changes. The system renders diffuse interreflection with infinite bounces and indirect specular reflections in huge, detailed environments, at scales ranging from kilometers to millimeters. Artists and designers can create more dynamic scenes using Lumen, for example, changing the sun angle for time of day, turning on a flashlight, or blowing a hole in the ceiling, and indirect lighting will adapt accordingly. Lumen erases the need to wait for lightmap bakes to finish and to author light map UVs—a huge time savings when an artist can move a light inside the Unreal Editor and lighting looks the same as when the game is run on console.

Screenshot: Courtesy of Epic

Unreal Engine 5 will be available in preview in early 2021, and in full release late in 2021, supporting next-generation consoles, current-generation consoles, PC, Mac, iOS, and Android. Epic is designing for forward compatibility, so you can get started with next-gen development now in UE4 and move your projects to UE5 when ready. 

https://www.unrealengine.com/en-US/blog/a-first-look-at-unreal-engine-5

Twinmotion Uses Unreal Engine for Visualization

If you want realtime visualization of your architecture in the Unreal Engine, take a look at Twinmotion.

Easily produce high-quality images, panoramas, and standard or 360° VR videos in seconds! For architecture, construction, urban planning, and landscaping professionals, Twinmotion combines an intuitive icon-driven interface with the power of Unreal Engine.

Twinmotion

Their software allows you to transform your BIM or CAD model into a compelling real-time experience with just a few clicks. Your scene can be viewed and edited in real time at the same high quality as the final rendering. Twinmotion features realistic physically based lighting and shadowing and includes over 600 PBR materials that react to your environment, making it easy to get the look you need.

It has a simple and intuitive interface with drag and drop lights, materials, and props. You can change the season, the weather, or even the growth of trees by simply dragging a slider. The software allows you to create simple images, panoramas, standard and immersive 360° videos, and shareable lightweight interactive presentations in seconds—all from the same Twinmotion scene. They support for all of the most popular VR headsets allowing you to go from BIM to VR in seconds.

It is available for both Windows and macOS. Twinmotion is compatible with all BIM software, and offers direct one-click synchronization with ARCHICAD, Revit, SketchUp Pro, RIKCAD, and Rhino, including Grasshopper. Import assets from almost every 3D modeling solution via support for FBX, C4D, and OBJ formats.

Twinmotion’s library includes not only static props like furniture and rocks, but you can also breathe life into your scene with ambient sounds, photo-scanned human characters with motion-captured animation, animal characters, and even high-resolution plants that blow in the wind—all just by dragging and dropping!

Real-time archviz helps Scenario Architecture win clients and speed up sign-offs
Architectural design studio Scenario Architecture can now go from ARCHICAD designs to real-time, immersive visualizations faster and more easily than they ever could have imagined thanks to Twinmotion, an intuitive archviz tool.

Twinmotion

Head over to their website for some amazing videos and stills!

Google Colab – Python notebooks

Google’s Colaboratory, or “Colab” for short, allows you to write and execute Python in your browser, with

  • Zero configuration required
  • Free access to GPUs
  • Easy sharing

Whether you’re a student, a data scientist or an AI researcher, Colab can make your work easier. Watch Introduction to Colab to learn more, or just get started below!

The platform allows quick testing of python code and fast execution in your browser. They have tutorials for machine learning, pandas, tensor flow, and other programming goodies.

The format is very similar to the Jupyter site where you can run a python notebook online to try your code. You can also install the Jupyter notebook or Jupyter Lab on your computer. Python notebooks allow documentation of code to teach other’s usage.

You can also use Colab to document and share interactive engineering calculations without requiring the recipient to install software.

ATC Hazards

The Applied Technology Council (ATC) has made a web tool for determining structural hazards by location. This is a useful tool to document code specified design values for snow, wind, seismic loading criteria. You can find their tool at https://hazards.atcouncil.org/#/ .

About the ATC:

The Applied Technology Council (ATC) is a nonprofit, tax-exempt corporation established in 1973 through the efforts of the Structural Engineers Association of California. ATC’s mission is to develop and promote state-of-the-art, user-friendly engineering resources and applications for use in mitigating the effects of natural and other hazards on the built environment. ATC also identifies and encourages needed research and develops consensus opinions on structural engineering issues in a nonproprietary format. ATC thereby fulfills a unique role in funded information transfer.

ATC is guided by a Board of Directors consisting of representatives appointed by the American Society of Civil Engineers, the National Council of Structural Engineers Associations, the Structural Engineers Association of California, the Structural Engineers Association of New York, the Western Council of Structural Engineers Associations, and four at-large representatives concerned with the practice of structural engineering. Each director serves a three-year term.

Project management and administration are carried out by a full-time Executive Director and support staff. Project work is conducted by a wide range of highly qualified consulting professionals, thus incorporating the experience of many individuals from academia, research, and professional practice who would not be available from any single organization. Funding for ATC projects is obtained from government agencies and from the private sector in the form of tax-deductible contributions.

The corporate headquarters for ATC is located in Redwood City, California, with a satellite office in Arlington, Virginia.

Their sponsors include

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
www.fema.gov

Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS)
disastersafety.org

Metal Building Manufacturers Association (MBMA)
www.mbma.com

Carport Central
www.carportcentral.com

American Iron and Steel Institute
www.steel.org