5,700 AEC Professionals Weigh in on Future of the Industry in New Chaos Group Technology Report

Architects and Architectural Visualization Experts from Over 70 Countries Respond to Questions about Virtual Reality, Cloud Rendering and Other Industry Changes

December 17, 2017

2018 will be a big year for VR and cloud rendering, according to a new report released by Chaos Group today. Featuring insights from 5,769 industry professionals, this free report looks at how technology trends like VR, cloud rendering and an increased need for 3D visuals are affecting architects and visualization teams in 2017, with new data on potential changes in the year to come.


Changes & Challenges

The most noticeable change in the last few years, for employees working at companies of all sizes, is the increased reliance on recently introduced technologies like BIM and VR. 70% confirmed this feeling, overtaking sustainable design – another hot topic – by nearly 2:1.


While tight deadlines and limited budgets are always top concerns, 43% of participants noted that the increased demand for high-end and photorealistic content is a major challenge. This corresponds with other responses that suggest that 85% felt that 3D rendered imagery was either “very important” or “critical” to winning projects.


Virtual Reality

Over two-thirds of architecture and architectural visualization professionals plan to use VR in 2018. 28% already are, with another 28% currently experimenting. This lends credence to the idea that while 3D tools have been mainstream for architects and visualization artists for some time, the introduction of virtual reality offers new ways for them experience and communicate unbuilt designs, leading to increased use and interest.


Of the adopters, 80% are using it on multiple projects, suggesting that VR is beginning to play a more significant role in architectural design and visualization workflows. Large architecture firms (classified as companies with over 100 architects) have embraced VR at a much higher rate than smaller firms and freelancers. 62% of large firms are currently using VR, and more than half of those have already used VR on five or more projects.


In terms of toolsets, V-Ray is the most used software for VR creation in architecture and architectural visualization, followed by the Unreal and Unity game engines.

Cloud Rendering

According to the survey, cloud rendering demand could increase significantly in 2018, with the potential for 233% growth by mid-year, and up to 367% growth by the end of 2018. These numbers could grow even further if any undecided participants try cloud rendering in 2018.


Right now, the majority of the rendering workflow remains in-house, though 34% of participants currently use external render farms and cloud services to complete their projects. While security is a discussion point for firms, it is not perceived as a barrier for cloud rendering adoption at this point. Cost is. Based on industry trends and more cloud companies entering the marketplace, Chaos Group projects that prices will fall in upcoming years, opening up more avenues for cost-conscious firms.


In general, most AEC cloud rendering applications are currently being budgeted on a per project basis. A third, however, consist of the unplanned, ad-hoc usage that often coincides with rush orders and/or hardware limitations. For considering firms, the increased speed and the ability to do more iterations on a project are the most appealing aspects of cloud rendering.


These findings come from a survey conducted in September of 2017. Architecture and architectural visualization professionals responded from over 70 countries, with backgrounds ranging from individual freelancers to employees in large multinational firms.


To see the full report, please visit: https://www.chaosgroup.com/arch-viz-survey.