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ARCH 409 – Virtual Realities: Rendering Real-Time Environments


Virtual Reality has become an important tool to many fields, from health care to engineering to construction.  This course aims to arm architecture students with the necessary concepts and practical skills to employ virtual reality technologies for both design and visualization. Virtual Reality (VR) is one of many so-called "XR" technologies that include Augmented Reality (AR) and Mixed Reality (MR). What supports them all are real-time rendering engines, the software that video games are built with. While conventional rendering technology like ray-tracing slowly renders each image, which can take hours or even days, real-time technology renders images at the speed of human vision, allowing fluid experience of virtual content.

Accordingly, while the course will focus on VR, more importantly, it will introduce real-time rendering concepts and workflows, preparing students to work with VR, AR and MR, but also future visualization technologies. The course will be structured around weekly software tutorials that will introduce workflows for importing assets from modeling and image editing software, designing motion and interaction, creating atmospheric and visual effects, lighting, creating and applying materials, and exporting to still images, videos, video games and VR experiences. Students will leave the course with a realtime environment that can be experienced with VR technology. Some experience with 3D modeling and image editing is required. Enrollment by instructor approval.


Thu 1:00-4:00pm East Review


Thomas Moran


Course Brief