Design and visualization are two inseparable disciplines. All design needs to be analyzed and communicated through visual forms. High tech has brought dramatic changes to how we analyze design. However, this does not render low tech an irrelevant method. The goal of this research is (1) to understand the advantages and limitations of Immersive projection and (2) to understand how high tech and low tech methods can complement one another in design communication. This research is being conducted through a series of progressive case studies on redesigning a historical building in Qatar, including several interim student presentations as well as final student presentations involving the client. In addition to the Immersive Visualization facility, this project employs Techviz, Rhino, Autodesk Showcase, HDR (High Dynamic Range) images and manual renderings at various levels. Immersive Projection and Communication The fundamentals of an immersive environment are simple: a system displays two images to mimic what is seen by two eyes and filters out one image through a receiving device, often a pair of 3D glasses, to allow the eyes to see two different images to create depth. At the same time, a tracking system is often employed to respond as the viewer changes position. The case studies show no significant improvement in visual communication among design students and faculty during the interim project presentations. However, a significant improvement is noted in communication between designers and clients. Clients rarely have the same level of comprehension of spaces as designers. For the clients, immersive environments are more engaging and can be understood easily. Immersive technology brings realistic experiences to the viewers. However, it demands expensive equipment and requires sufficient knowledge in software and hardware. The challenges often prohibit wider usage in educational and commercial sectors. High Tech and Low Tech There is a noticeable disconnection between high tech and low tech in design visualization. Designers who immerse themselves with high tech often lack traditional manual rendering skills, and vice versa. However, the manual rendering skills which bring more poetic and emotional experiences deserve to be preserved and brought into the realm of high tech as a meaningful compliment. People often believe what can be seen is realistic; therefore the same environment should be perceived the same by everyone. However, that's often not the case. Human perception is often abstract and therefore differs from person to person. Manual drawings often present "unrealistic" environments with particular emphases chosen to strengthen communication. A simple way to combine immersive environments and manual drawings could be through material mapping, using manual drawings rather than realistic photos as maps. Future Research A survey of a group of interior design students indicated that Immersive technology is effective. One student said, “Seeing them (the models) in a much larger size helps you understand the physical space.” However, ways to combine manual and digital methods in immersive experience could be further investigated.


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