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There are plenty of movies and novels where people are able to travel anywhere they want and do anything they wish using virtual reality. The recent hit Ready Player One is just one example of such a reality-altering world. But this isn’t only the stuff of science fiction anymore.

It’s very real, and it’s here to stay.

Virtual reality (VR for short) is all over the place. Some of the biggest tech companies in the world have championed its rise – from Google and Qualcomm to Samsung and Facebook – whose Oculus VR technology is turning heads (pun very much intended) everywhere it goes. VR is becoming so mainstream it can even be found in mall kiosks, where for a few bucks people can ride a virtual roller coaster or hunt virtual Stormtroopers.

Even if it isn’t affordable enough for every living room to have one next to the TV, it’s gaining both popularity while becoming cheaper. There’s even a VR headset from Google called “Google Cardboard,” Just slide a smartphone into the pasteboard pocket and voila, you have a VR headset.

With the advent of newer and cheaper technologies, it’s only a matter of time before VR gadgets become as common as laptop computers and Xbox consoles. In the meantime, there are enormous uses for virtual reality in an ever-expanding range of fields, many of them in CAD service and design space.

How reality works (augmented and virtual, at least)

Though its technological capabilities and actual manifestation took some time to develop, the potential capacity for virtual reality has been in the zeitgeist for some time. As far back as the 1950s, people who were a born a few decades too early had conceptions for an ongoing and immersive experience by means of a continuous screen of sorts. Fast-forward to the 1980’s when a similar crop of technologists sought to bring a new kind of reality to the masses via the personal computer. These forebears – those still on this side of eternity – must have thought it was their collective birthday when, in the year 2016, the Oculus Rift arrived on the scene.

So, what is virtual reality, and why have so many leading technological thinkers and investors bet their entire careers and livelihoods on its promise? Not without good reason, that much is certain.

In a rather dry, academic nutshell, virtual reality is the experience of an individual interfacing with an artificial environment. The use of three-dimensional landscapes is not a requirement of VR, per se, but it has become somewhat synonymous in recent years and lends to it another degree of impact on the user. 

The goal is to experience a lifelike interaction within simulated locations. The user (or users) immerse themselves inside the world, virtual though it may be, and perceive it just as they would the physical world they interact with on a daily basis. Depending on the nature of the virtual reality itself, they might be enabled to reposition elements of the environment and change it to meet their needs and desires at will.

People often wonder about augmented reality as well, and the ways in which it differs from virtual reality. The primary difference between the two platforms is primarily one of scope. AR simply complements the existing world with “add-ons” or “layers,” each of which provides a different, often simpler, way to interact with the environment. 

Brands like IKEA and Amazon are implementing a version of this within their mobile apps for iPhone and Android. With this capability, shoppers can see what an item might look like in their home without having to go to the store (or order it), lug it home, and assemble it first. It saves an enormous amount of time and energy in the consumer shopping process (and returns if necessary), time which can be spent for more shopping.

Sure, VR is, by comparison, the extrapolation of 3D renderings to an interactive environment, but those are just textbook terms. More excitingly, virtual reality is a brand-new world that does not augment, but substitutes for the “actual” world. One might even think of VR as SR, or substitute reality. That is the power and the essence of the technology. A person slides on the headset and can be dropped off anywhere in the world or be ferried to a new world altogether.

People can actually go where no man has gone before because the place itself did not exist before the advent of virtual reality. The aim of VR is to engender an organic, participatory experience that might otherwise be either impossible, intractable, or at the very least impractical. There’s nothing textbook about that.

For VR design companies, video games are just the beginning

While most people focus on (or are only aware of) the consumer gaming applications of virtual reality, there are far more uses than that. Beyond the entertainment sector, there is a burgeoning industry for VR to be used in commercial applications of 3D graphics, and where else should one expect this inventive renaissance to find its footing than in the world of interior design and architecture?

As of late, newer and more exciting technologies have furnished many in design-related fields the ability to exhibit their creations – from sample renderings and mockups to fully completed designs – with increasing plausibility. When an architect can present a three-dimensional walkthrough tour of a home, condo, or commercial building, rather than a simple blueprint or artistic sketch, a professional demonstration can go from being simply informational to one that is fully transformational.

This is where virtual reality takes the reins and charges ahead into a bold, transfigured future. The presentation that is transformational is certainly great, but there is yet another level to achieving a transporting exhibition of one’s work. Imagine not simply seeing a 3D rendering but being in a 3D world. This is the power (if not the magic) of virtual reality.

VR has the capacity to take clients and put them right in the middle of the action itself. Architects don’t need to ask potential customers to “imagine” anything anymore because with VR, the image is lifelike, present, and, for all intents and purposes, real. Take those painstakingly designed renderings from Blender, SketchUp, Maya, AutoCAD, 3ds Max, or any other favorite 3D software and then put a headset on top of it. 

The headset goes on the client, of course, who then sees the renderings not in a flat approximation of three dimensions, but in a tangible, authentic, real world where they can move around, go through doors, and see themselves in the space.

Exciting examples of VR at work (literally)

Toms, a shoe company, has used virtual reality to transport people to a Peruvian village to show off one of their many charity trips where they give out shoes to locals in need. The impact goes beyond photos or even video to something immersive and deeply emotional. 

In order to advertise one of their latest cookie creations, Nabisco and Oreo designed and animated a fantastical environment replete with streams made of milk and hills of chocolate. And the cable company XFINITY was able to reproduce the thrill of NASCAR by situating viewers in the virtual seat of a race car. All of this is possible thanks to the wizardry of VR.

But it doesn’t stop there. As mentioned above, architecture and design firms are able to implement this technology as well to great effect. WHA Architecture in California, to cite just one example, uses AutoDesk CAD, SketchUp, Lumion, and V-Ray to help their clients envision proposals before they are constructed. In addition to giving customers the chance to see something before it exists in the real world, VR has several additional cost-effective benefits, the firm points out, such as the ability to spot (and fix) errors in design or function before the foundation is even laid. With virtual reality, physical models also go the way of the historical dustbin, saving even more company costs on time and resources.

With virtual reality, any architect or designer can provide anyone in the homebuilding (or home selling) fields with the opportunity to take a virtual tour of floor plans, check out each individual room of the home, alter the paint color of the walls or material for the cabinets, switch out the floors or carpets, or even take a glance at how the rooms might look differently during day and night, all from the comfort of a simple VR headset.

How Cad Crowd can help

Bringing Cad Crowd on board means that you can work with an exclusive group of the world’s greatest freelancers in 3D virtual reality modeling, design, and 3D rendering. We have a community of engineers and designers all over the globe with years of experience working across a wide range of software within a diverse spectrum of businesses. Whatever your modeling needs, Cad Crowd can help you get exactly where you need to go. We can meet every design solution, regardless of the project field or scope.

We have the ability to help you by utilizing a range of rendering programs. Our network is made up of the best experts using the highest quality current design software. Just let us know if there is a particular software you need us to use and we will locate the perfect designer or engineer for your project.

If you are at the modeling phase, take a look at all of our virtual reality 3D modeling services for help to begin with the process. That said, Cad Crowd’s 3D VR services are also at the disposal of clients who currently have models in-hand and need further help with the task of rendering.

Cad Crowd is simply the best place to get everything your company needs designed, drafted, engineered, or rendered. Start working with us today and get your free quote!

Freelance VR design for any project

Regardless of what type of project you have, our VR design companies and freelancers can satisfy your requirements. They're pre-vetted experts with years of experience working on all sorts of 3D modeling, rendering, and VR assignments. If you're interested, contact us today for a free quote!

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