There was a time when I thought optimizing my archviz scenes is not that necessary.
Then I tried one of them with an Oculus Rift. After spending 2 minutes in VR, at a frame rate of barely 45, my head started aching and I was feeling nauseous.
Studying peformance optimization has a little background story for me. I had the privilege to work on an archviz project earlier this year. It was created with the Unreal Engine of course, and I had to provide my client with a flawless virtual reality experience on the HTC Vive.
It was the first time “life” introduced me to the concept of VR sickness. To be honest, up until that occasion, I thought VR sickness was just some kind of hype. Well, it wasn’t, and from that on, I’ve been taken performance optimization much more seriously. I felt that it’s time to dig deep into the wonderful and exciting world of performance optimization.
Actually, it was a boring journey. VERY boring (at least for me, as a creative type of 3D artist). But I had to do it for a greater purpose.
Why you should optimize your archviz scenes
As you might noticed, performance optimization and VR goes hand in hand. There’s a reason for that. In order to achieve a flawless virtual reality experience, you have to reach 90 fps. For traditional scenes, where you navigate around using your keyboard and mouse, 60 fps is enough in general.
Well, the bottleneck here is virtual reality. If you can’t reach 90 fps, it will probably lead to VR sickness. I think you also agree that’s the last thing you want for your clients to have.
So the less powerful computer you have, the more effort you have to make to optimize your archviz scenes.
You might say „yeah, but RTX 2080 Ti and the latest Quadro graphics cards are right around the corner, they will take care of performance issues”. Well, it might be true, but don’t forget that displays and VR headsets will definitely evolve in time – by evolving I mean their resolution will get higher, so the GPU will need heavier calculations to render each frame out.
Ultimately, we’ll get back to this issue again: performance optimization will be here with us for probably a long time.
So I think it’s a good idea to learn how to do it well. And that’s the reason I wrote this article for you.
3 great resources to learn from
Let’s see three cool resources: I learnt how to optimize my archviz scenes from these videos and articles.
First: Gnomon Masterclass
This is the best video series for archviz 3D artists to learn performance optimization from. Period. (But let me know if you have different videos in mind – I’m open to them!)
Here’s part 1:
And here’s part 2:
Why do I recommend them?
Because it’s relatively easy to grasp what the instructors are talking about. Both of them dig deep enough, and their presentation is full of practical advice that you can put into action almost immediately.
Second: a tech-article from Keith O’Conor
I’m pretty sure Keith’s article will be extremely helpful if you want to dig deeper. After reading his post, you will understand how the CPU and graphics card work in order to render out each frame on your screen – and how to use this knowledge to optimize the performance of your archviz scenes.
Performance optimization a pretty boring topic to me but Keith did an excellent job to make it simple and easy to follow. It’s well worth investing your time and energy reading this article over as you learn a LOT from it.
Third: Intel’s Developer Zone
It was quite a surprise to me that Intel has tons of articles about performance optimization:
To be honest, I just read 3 articles from this content hub because after processing the first two resources I managed to nail my project in terms of performance. But I wanted to include this platform anyway.
For the keyword unreal optimization, the site lists almost 600 (!) articles overall. Pretty insane! You will find different kind of articles here: from brief writings that are easy to understand, to articles that go really deep and introduce the tech side of performance optimization.
To wrap it up
No matter how powerful GPUs will be out there in the forthcoming years, it will always be an essential task to optimize your archviz scenes in the Unreal Engine. Displays will also evolve, no doubts about it, so their resolutions will go higher, which will require heavier calculations from the graphics card.
I’ll publish my latest archviz project in Unreal soon (watch the teaser here), and I plan to write a very practical article about how I managed to optimize the performance for it. But my schedule is pretty tight these days, so I can’t really tell you anything about when exactly I’ll do that.
Well, this is what I wanted to share with you. Hope you’ll find this short article useful, and if you do, please don’t hesitate to share it with others!
What are your thoughts?
If you have something to say, feel free to drop a message in the comment section below. Let’s make this article much more informative for fellow 3D artists!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR, ANDRAS RONAI
Architect, 3d artist and Unreal Engine specialist. I help architects and archviz studios with creating high-end quality architectural visuals using the Unreal Engine, from engine compatible modeling to walkthrough scenes and cinematics.