Using Virtual Reality To Display Multiple Home Design Choices

Using Virtual Reality To Display Multiple Home Design Choices

Using virtual reality to up sell design choices and materials and finishes on custom designed residential properties.


One of the many benefits virtual reality offers residential developers is the ability to give buyers an immersive design experience. Homeowners who are spending big money on a custom designed property expect to be given a choice of finishes and materials. In order to give buyers the opportunity to see how their property will look with several different levels of finishes requires some planning on the part of the developer if a photorealistic virtual experience is to be presented to the buyer.

This becomes a matter of process and pre-planning. Typically, the design phase of the project consists of sitting with your client understanding their needs and then presenting samples of the various finishes and fixtures available. This can be a time and labor intensive process. Especially if your client is in a different city.

In a virtual reality presentation, this process is replaced with the customer and developer working closely with an artist to narrow choices down and then the artist going off to render the design elements and program the scenario into a VR presentation. Even with the time spent rendering, virtual reality can significantly speed up the process.

Using Virtual Reality To Up Sell | Good, Better, Best Home Design

While the technology isn't yet advanced enough to allow for real time photorealistic design changes, by pre-rendering elements and creating a design database, we're able to give developers a range of options for their clients. By taking a “good, better, best” approach and creating renderings for three levels of finishes you can give your buyers a range of choices based on both price and aesthetics.

For example, rendering three different kitchen countertops, a solid surface, a soapstone, and a granite or marble, and then combining these elements with three different flooring materials and three different cabinet combinations you are giving your homeowner a wide range of choices across various price points.

While it is possible to offer design details in almost real time, the results are less than accurate and not photorealistic. Pre-rendering design choices allows you to create virtual surfaces that mimic the true quality and characteristics of natural materials. For example, pre-rendering granite countertops allows the artist to incorporate the color reflectivity and veining of natural granite in a photorealistic manner. This level of detail incorporated into an immersive virtual experience can help to create an emotional bond for your buyer making the decision process easier. An immersive experience gives buyers a more accurate representation of what to expect than sample books, cabinet doors and blocks of stone.

Developing Virtual Reality Design Process for Maximum Results

Unlike developments where there may be five or six model designs that are repeated dozens of times, custom homes arerelatively unique and require a unique approach. Virtual reality lends itself to the effective marketing of these homes. From an interior design perspective, while the physical structure of each home is unique, the finishes and fixtures are not. By developing processes for the “finishes and fixtures” design phase of a project you can extend the use of VR beyond the sales phase andinto the interior design phase.

Currently, to achieve a photorealistic experience requires pre-rendering of features like countertops or flooring materials. By developing a standardized process, and a “materials” database of pre-rendered elements, over time you can accelerate the VR creation and design phase of your projects.

As the technology continues to mature, the interface gets more interactive, and computers become more powerful, processes will converge. It will become easier to alter virtual landscapes in real time, for example offering your clients a push button interface within the virtual world to change the marble counter being depicted into a soapstone one for comparison in real time.

Currently, with a developed design process and photorealistic renderings of finishes and fixtures, VR allows you to give clients the ability step into a space and visualize what the finished space will look like, before moving forward and purchasing big ticket items. By taking a “good, better, best” approach, you can present your clients with a wide range of choices in an immersive environment, affording them a truly “custom” home buying experience.

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