At first glance, there are many similarities to Beyond CAD and the popular visualization engine Twinmotion owned by Epic. Both offer similar processes for taking design models, texturing them, adding assets, setting up cameras and producing visualization. They are also both built on Unreal Engine and, as such, have some of the same textures and 3D assets.
To be clear, if you are using Twinmotion for your visualization work and it is doing what you need it to, our advice would be to continue using it. Twinmotion is a powerful visualizer with incredible visual fidelity and solid features. And, as Beyond CAD is a Megagrant recipient, both visualization engines are part of the Epic family.
But while Twinmotion was primarily built for architecture, Beyond CAD is built specifically for transportation and other civil projects. Here are a few specific examples of how Beyond CAD differs from Twinmotion and has been built to handle these types of infrastructure projects:
- A civil focused 3D asset library that includes over 1,400 total assets, hundreds of which are hand selected for transportation and other civil projects including traffic control devices, pavement markings, impact attenuators, traffic signals, road sections and more.
- An advanced traffic system that allows incredible adjustments and customization of each lane including vehicles per hour, number of lanes and vehicle distribution and multi-path tools including intersection controllers, merging/diverging and slow down areas. This additionally includes articulating trains and trucks, cyclists, jogger and walking paths and the ability for pedestrians to stop at crosswalks with intersection controllers.
- Pathway arrows and other visual graphics can be quickly placed to show traffic movements, construction control and mesh highlight to assist in better storytelling of your project.
- A custom sign creator tool that allows users to quickly create photorealistic and accurate overhead, cantilever and roadside signs to show signs in their proper context and place in the project.
- A host of visual experiences including Presenter mode that allows multitouch navigation, widget placement, 3rd and 1st person viewing (including with Xbox controller and driving simulator) and a customizable, clean interface for use on video calls and presentations. Virtual reality and 360 sphere renders will be coming soon to the visual experiences.
- Path cameras that allow users to select a traffic path and have a camera follow directly behind, alongside, above, in front of or whatever view you want of that vehicle, rail, cyclists or pedestrian path movement.
- A bounding box system that allows for cropping of uneven terrain to allow easier visualization of large projects.
- A media sequencer that simulates video editing in a simplified form to combine image and video cameras, add text and combine 4D phasing.
Other features built for better visualization of civil projects coming in 2022 and 2023 include Vissim import and visualization, direct Openroads/Civil 3D import, terrain streaming, multi-team support through GitHub and GPU cloud streaming.
Not only is Beyond CAD already a capable visualization for civil projects but with time and feedback our team will continue pushing this tool to solve the problems faced by designers, engineers and contractors looking to communicate their designs and concepts.
As Twinmotion and Beyond CAD continue to improve over time, the advantages and differences of each will likely become even more pronounced.