Modern architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) professionals are no strangers to using 3D modeling to help bring their imaginative visions to life. The technology offers creatives a way of crafting an immersive, easily navigable and interactive experience that can be used to explore various design concepts. Recent advancements in optical systems even allow users to strap on a virtual reality headset and perform next-level walkthroughs so that clients get a better feel for what the final product will look like. AEC professionals embracing 3D modeling have likely come across the terms BIM and VIM in their work. So what is the difference between BIM and VIM?
BIM (Building Information Modeling) is a process of using the digital information about a building project to create a 3D model that can be used in planning, designing, and managing an infrastructure. BIM systems encompass more than just the physical dimensions of a project, and also include important information about time, costs, as-built operation, sustainability, and safety. BIM presents better information, so, in theory, building professionals and healthcare administrators looking to construct a new hospital can peek inside a virtual room, see how equipment is placed within the space, and learn about all of its detail (manufacturer, warranties, etc). This information enables better decision-making, and an optimized workflow throughout every project phase.
VIM (Virtual Information Modeling) is a visualization tool that allows users to free roam a structure in virtual reality. A powerful game engine called Unity leverages BIM data and converts Revit® files into a virtual reality environment. This visualization retains and displays all BIM data from the original Revit® files, and users can upload models from Autodesk Revit® files into the VIM. The walk through environment allows users to interact with spaces and products before physical construction begins. VIM can be used to make design modifications, decreasing the likelihood of expensive and time-consuming change orders, making the construction phase more efficient.
The applications of BIM are constantly expanding as a greater number of projects rely on it in estimating, planning, scheduling, communication, visualization, and to evaluate constructability. When it comes to developing visualizations, VIM incorporates BIM data to generate a 3D, virtual real-view environment that creators and clients can tour. The interactive, life-like experience is fully navigable and customizable, helping to drive collaboration and client buy-in. VIM technology is revolutionizing how AEC professionals design, plan, and build structures as virtual modeling improves efficiency, reduces costs, and enables faster physical construction with fewer changes. It has been used in the construction of all types of projects, from a next-generation exhibit at Epcot Center, to a state-of-the-art, full-service production studio.
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