Sketching Techniques in Virtual Reality: Evaluation of Texturing in an Urban Planning Model
Paper in proceedings, 2008
Today’s design processes involve many participants and demand new methods of communication for designers, developers and users. Using Virtual Reality (VR) as a design tool has become increasingly common. Regarding visual expression, photorealism is often strived for, even though this might not always be in accordance with the main purpose of the visualization-project. The research behind this paper regards the development of VR as an architectural design tool that can be used throughout the entire design process, from sketch to final presentation. Here we present results from a comparison between different sketching styles and photorealism in the texturing of an urban planning model. The aim is to show how sketch-like expressions in the texturing of a model can clarify and simplify the understanding of a building project (area plan, housing area, road design). The target group is located within municipalities (architects, planners) and the consultant industry (road designers/engineers, landscape architects). Data was collected from questionnaires answered by 20 participants, all of them professional users of VR. They assessed the experience of the texturing styles in the test model on desktop-PCs. The results revealed important differences and similarities in the perception of the sketching styles vs. the photorealistic style. The evaluation revealed a desire for more sketch-like expressions supporting conceptual design thinking. Even so, models should provide a high level of detail and good spatial experience. Aesthetic factors are considered important. The results contribute to a better understanding of technical and aesthetic limitations of photo-realism in VR.