Creating 3D models is an investment, but by getting an early concept into the hands of clients – or, more accurately, allowing clients to step into the design – his company saves time and money in the long run, says Greg Teague, President of Marietta-based Croy Engineering. “We have highly technical projects that we are trying to communicate to the general public and to clients that don’t have a technical background,” says Teague. “Through different projects and different methods, we have found if we give the client a 3D visualization, it cuts the number of iterations that we have to go through and increases our efficiency in achieving the product the client wants.”
Croy Engineering uses a combination of video and virtual reality to allow clients to put themselves into a finished project. “We can immerse people into that world so they can see what a project will look like once it’s done. When you put them in that virtual reality environment, it really gives them the full picture,” he says.
Young engineers at the firm, such as Eric Brisse, developed the first stage of the visualizations by taking 3D models from AutoCAD and making a video. For one particularly detailed design, the Windy Hill Boulevard project, Brisse made a 3D video from the design, then posted the video to the company’s YouTube channel and shared it with the client, the City of Smyrna. The City shared the video with the public, and the response was positive.
With the video done, Brisse adapted it for VR. Teague explains: “He took that video that everyone had seen on the flat screen and put it into the VR headset. It stepped up the experience to a whole new level. Once you put that headset on, you are inside the project. It’s like you stepped into a video game.”
Creating the 3D model was time consuming, Teague says, but as with the Parsons’ project at Akers Mill, the Windy Hill Boulevard project was large, the finished project difficult to imagine and client communications with many stakeholders imperative. “It’s a trust factor, and we found good communication builds trust,” Teague says.
Excerpted from Life in 3D, Engineering Georgia Magazine, September/October 2017