What was it like using SYMMETRY for the first time?
At SketchUp 3D Basecamp 2016 in Tokyo I tried SYMMETRY for the first time, and thought This is what I’ve been looking for! The pre-rendered VR viewers that I’d used up until that point placed the user in the center of a sphere of a rendered image. If I wanted to bend down to look under a table I couldn’t because the view was fixed within the scene at a certain point. On the other hand, with SYMMETRY, I could move around freely within the 3D model in real-time, which gave a much greater feeling of being inside the space. I felt immersed within the space like never before. I could crouch and look below tables and look from above to get a bird’s eye view. After my first experience with SYMMETRY, I immediately started using it on company projects. I set it up in the office for the first time, and several designers came around to try it out. The reaction was very positive, and everyone started importing their designs into SYMMETRY to view them in VR, which prompted many design discussions. The experience of immersion in SYMMETRY had everyone convinced. Additionally, everyone else in the room could see what the viewer was seeing within VR, which was great for communication.
In terms of product design, it’s a given that final mockups will be created at 1:1 for review. Of course, not all spaces can be built at 1:1 for review, so the ability to experience spaces at human scale during the design process is an invaluable aspect of SYMMETRY.
Exterior mockup for the Sony Design exhibition at the Salone Internazionale del Mobile 2018
There was an incident that happened before introducing SYMMETRY to the office when we were reviewing the size of the SONY logo that would be installed on the exterior of a new store with the marketing department. We pasted the logo on a building of a similar size to the new store and asked around for suggestions. However, the context of the building was completely different from the new building, which made it difficult to judge. We ended up projecting a 1:1 scale rendered image of the building and its surroundings onto a 400 inch projector screen in the office and used that to make our final decision. With SYMMETRY, it's easy for us to simulate things like signage and event space designs at 1:1 scale, improving understanding between everyone and accelerating the decision process.
As an example, before we found SYMMETRY, we were working on a project to add a large Sony logo to the exterior of a shop and reviewing the size and placement of the logo internally with the marketing director. Naturally, it was difficult to judge because we couldn’t convey the scale of the environment. In the end, I decided to use a large-scale projection on a 400 inch projection screen in a large office space to render the image and review it at full-size. With SYMMETRY, I can avoid the hassle of booking large conference rooms and setting up massive projections by creating a 3D model and viewing it in VR at 1:1 in close proximity to reality.
Exterior photo for the Sony Design exhibition at the Salone Internazionale del Mobile 2018
How are you using SYMMETRY?
We’re currently using SYMMETRY to review and present event space designs, large banners, store signage, and spatial design proposals for various projects utilizing 3D models created in SketchUp.
Initially, we used SYMMETRY as a presentation tool, but as we became more familiar with it we started to use it to review designs on a daily basis, becoming an essential design tool for us. For example, we used SketchUp to create various design patterns saved as Scenes, and in SYMMETRY we could utilize those Scenes to view the different design patterns in VR at 1:1. Using this method, it became possible to instantly compare and review many different design proposals within VR with the freedom of movement we desired and unlimited viewpoints.
I recently worked on the Sony Design event space at The Salone Internazionale del Mobile while utilizing SYMMETRY. My team members had already modeled the venue before I saw the site in person, so we had an understanding of the size and scale of the exhibition space. This made it easy for us to recognize and amend any design-related issues that arose. For example, circulation plans, partitioning spaces, equipment layouts and spacing, partition wall heights, descriptive signage, etc. were all reviewed in VR at 1:1 scale before construction. With this preparation, we only needed to make minor adjustments on site.
Interior mockup for the Sony Design exhibition at the Salone Internazionale del Mobile 2018
Interior photo for the Sony Design exhibition at the Salone Internazionale del Mobile 2018
What sort of capabilities would you like to have access to in future releases?
I’d like to be able to utilize lighting functionality to reproduce a more realistic space. The appearance and atmosphere of a space changes depending on the lighting conditions, and to be able to utilize lighting functionality within VR we could control the lighting within a space without windows, for example, thereby creating a more realistic experience of the space.
In the future it would also be great if we could revise our 3D model on a separate monitor and have those revisions immediately reflected in VR within SYMMETRY.