Based near Loughborough in Leicestershire, Visivo is a 3D animation company specialising in 3D visualisations, fly-through animations, and virtual reality (VR) representations of gyms. Visivo’s work enables gym owners or franchisees to visualise their gym designs more clearly, especially during the pre-sale period of a new franchise opening. It also enables them to promote their gyms to members of the public, helping them to secure gym memberships.
Visivo works with many leading gym companies, including énergie Fitness, Anytime Fitness and Everlast. The company uses 3D computer graphics software from Autodesk to carry out this work. In doing so, it draws on training and support provided by Autodesk platinum partner, Graitec.
To be successful, Visivo needs to showcase to gym owners and franchisees how their gym might look in the event that various design options are taken. That process of experimentation is key in the earliest stages of design as a new gym takes shape, and it will also be instrumental in how the gym looks in the future. Autodesk design software and Autodesk® 3ds Max®, in particular, is well suited to helping it achieve these goals.
Finding a Solution
Typically, Visivo receives a plan of the layout of the facilities from the gym company it is working with. This might simply be a PDF file that needs to be converted. Generally, however, it will be a 2D CAD plan, created either in created in Autodesk® AutoCAD® or another vector-based 2D package. Visivo then typically uses AutoCAD to edit the plans and simplify them, reducing file sizes before importing them straight into Autodesk 3ds Max.
It can then use 3ds Max to extrude the design up from the base plan that it has received from the customer and create 3D data, 3D models, and visualisations from the gym plan. When it comes to rendering, Visivo uses V-Ray® for 3ds Max, a production-proven rendering software, as a plug-in.
While Visivo uses AutoCAD extensively, on one recent project, it generated design models using Autodesk Revit before importing them into 3ds Max. It has even set up a live link to Revit through the 3D visualisation software.
Graitec has played a crucial role in selling this software to Visivo and running basic training on 3ds Max, AutoCAD and other Autodesk software for the Visivo design team. Graitec also provides Visivo with support on the Autodesk solutions as and when required.
Visivo has helped gym customers showcase their products through VR. One client even set up a pop-up stand with a banner and a laptop at a shopping centre and connected up a VR headset, allowing passers-by to experience the look and feel of a gym and try out gym equipment through an immersive VR experience. While Visivo utilised the advanced real-time 3D creation tool, Unreal Engine, to help deliver this, it used 3ds Max to create 3D data and 3D models.
Reaping the rewards
Being able to leverage Autodesk 3ds Max has brought multiple benefits to Visivo. Many of the existing design and planning packages that gym companies use are limited in their capability. Many contain a visual element, but Autodesk 3ds Max delivers a much higher level of visualisation.
James Wood, Visual and Creative Director, Visivo, said: “For us, the main benefits of Autodesk software are around helping the gym owner, or franchisee, to showcase the concept of what they are trying to achieve. For them, the key is making sure they get approval before anything starts.
“It might be easy to say we can put 15 running machines, 15 treadmills and 15 bikes in there, but the question is how does that lay out – how does it feel to the client? Are they able to walk around that gym? Are there sectioned areas that people can get to? The key is understanding what all that looks like.” Even though Visivo is extremely competent with design software, Graitec provides comprehensive support. Visivo is happy to approach Graitec whenever it needs help or advice.
Chris Hobbs, Technical Excellence Director at Graitec, said: “Our team has always found the relationship with Visivo fulfilling and rewarding because Visivo has an in-depth understanding of 3ds Max software and is eager to work with us to experiment with the product and push the boundaries of what it can do.”
Visivo’s Wood added: “Graitec has proved to be the ideal design and systems partner for us. They provide extensive training, and they are responsive whenever we need help. If we have any issue at all, we can just pick up the phone and quickly have the problem resolved.
“Their help with the software renewal process is invaluable too,” Wood continued. “They remind us in good time when the renewal is due, which ensures we can budget for it within our business plan. We know we can trust the price they offer us. And they never hard sell or try to upsell licences we don’t need.”
Moving forward, Graitec is focused on helping to further enhance and push the boundaries of the work it does in partnership with Visivo. Visivo is currently looking at how to extend its VR and augmented reality (AR) capability. As Wood commented: “Rather than just getting the client to view a walkthrough of the gym, it would be great to put them inside the gym and interact with it directly. That’s the essence of the VR experience.”
In addition to this, Visivo is also always interested in new ways of working and of conducting processes. While it uses the V-Ray plug-in currently, in the future, it may consider making use of the Arnold Render 3D engine, which comes with 3ds Max and Visivo would be open to training from Graitec on Arnold.
Graitec keeps Visivo continuously updated with new developments with Autodesk software and a more general market for 3D rendering and virtual and augmented reality. It is evidence of the added value that Graitec continues to deliver to its partner and its commitment to helping Visivo stretch the boundaries of what is possible in 3D gym visualisation.
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