Traditional 2D renderings oftentimes fail to paint a comprehensive picture. Luckily, in today’s virtual world, there are many alternatives to share your designs thanks to real-time rendering. It’s never been easier to virtually walk your clients through all aspects of your design.
The below list explores a range of virtual client-sharing options and tools. Most of them include screen sharing to some extent, but each has its own pros and cons. Which one works best for your process & client needs?
Vectorworks Walk-Through Animations
Use the live walk-through tool to navigate around your 3d model while screen sharing with your client over Zoom. Or you can create a walk-through animation to share with the client at any time. It’s the little icon that looks like footsteps. This solution is so simple and has been hiding under your nose all along!
360 Virtual Tours
The second option involves exporting one or more Vectorworks Panoramas and sharing them with your client via a browser link. Or better yet, combine them together into a single virtual tour using Vectorworks Cloud Presentations. You can even link to floor plans or other key documents to ensure your clients are crystal clear on what their getting.
Vectorworks Cloud Services is amazing and handles pretty much anything you’d need. However, if for some reason you’re looking for more customization options, check out Theasys or some of the other other 360 Virtual Tour builders out there these days, many of which are free. I break down the pros and cons of 5 of them in my post on the 5 Best FREE 360 Virtual Tour Platforms.
Interactive Web App
What I’m calling a web app is a website where your client can view your design in 360 degrees within a browser on desktop, tablet, or mobile device. You send them a link and they can explore it on their own. No screen sharing required.
One way to build a web app is using the Vectorworks Export to WebView. You can export your 3d model from Vectorworks as webGL and obtain a shareable URL. In my opinion, this tool is best for internal team reviews and users who are more comfortable navigating around a 3D model.
Alternatively, if you want a more customized experience or a particular user interface, you can make your own interactive WebGL app using Unity. You’re basically creating a little mini-video game to fit your exact needs. For example, I create webGL apps to better communicate multiple design options. Here’s a post explaining my process for showcasing 360 Design Options in a Browser with Unity.
VR Live Screencasting
If you’ve built a VR experience but aren’t able to present an in-person demo, screencasting is the obvious solution. Depending on your headset brand, there are different ways to cast what you’re seeing in VR to a computer or monitor. For example, Oculus headsets can cast to PC with chromecast, via the Oculus Developer Hub, or manually with Android Debug Bridge command line tool.
Screen Record Video
If you want to be able to give the client something they can refer to before or after the live virtual meeting, you can screen record yourself manually walking around your 3D model, navigating a 360 panorama or Virtual Tour, or even capture the screen cast of you exploring the design in VR.
If you’re on Mac, use the screen record tool within Quicktime app. Otherwise, there’s a bunch of free web-based screen recording options out there. Two recommendations to get you started include Vimeo Record or Loom.
Build a Desktop App
Unity can also be used to build desktop apps. Share the final build folder with the client (via dropbox or similar). They can download and manually install the app on their PC like any other application. This experience most resembles a video game experience. They can choose their own adventure as they explore your design using their mouse and WSAD keys. Read about how Tim Smart of InVision Communications uses this approach in his client approvals process.
PS. Don’t zip files when you share, it causes issues.
Oculus App Lab
You can publish your VR App to the Oculus App Lab for clients who own and can operate a compatible VR headset. If you’re interested, check out the video below by Dilmer Valecillos. Consider subscribing to him on youtube. He’s amazing and I learn so much from him!
I hope these tips speed up your client approvals process. Know of any other client-sharing solutions? Drop me a line and I’ll add it to the list.
Featured image icon made by from flaticon.com