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Augmented reality, virtual reality, and mixed reality

Introducing immersive design

More than just cool technologies, augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and mixed reality (MR) are changing how we design, create, and experience everything from factories, buildings, and cars to training, learning, and entertainment.

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Visualize buildings using virtual reality, augmented reality, and mixed reality

Reshaping the world of design

AR, VR, and MR represent both a disruption and an opportunity for people who make things. Using these technologies, you can transform 2D designs into interactive, immersive digital models, giving context to your digital information.

Using immersive design for automotive design review

A new platform for content creation

With immersive design, engineers, designers, and builders can quickly and easily turn their CAD data into interactive, real-time experiences. AR, VR, and MR let you navigate data-rich design environments, so you can make better-informed decisions and create compelling experiences.

How does AR, VR, and MR work?

Using augmented reality to visualize a building before it’s made

Augmented reality

AR adds digital elements to the real world and projects them onto your line of sight. Using AR, workers can view an overlay of 3D models and project information at a job site.

Factory simulation with virtual reality

Virtual reality

VR replaces the real world with a simulated one in 3D. With VR, you can experience a simulation of a factory you’ve designed—with machines running—all before it’s built.

Mixed reality of Autodesk Fusion 360 with Microsoft Hololens

Mixed reality

MR is a hybrid of virtual reality and augmented reality. Using MR, you can touch a real table and use it as an interface to manipulate a digital model.

Applications for immersive design

Conceptual design

Designing in 3D helps you understand overall scale, view how design changes in real time, and experience your design as if it has already been built.

Design review

Eliminate expensive and time-consuming physical prototypes from the design review process by visualizing at scale in 3D. 

Training and simulation

With VR, users can train in dangerous and complex environments, practicing their skills within the safety of a virtual world.

Immersive storytelling

AR and VR can help you tell immersive and engaging stories about your design, product, or game. As you market your project, customers can give feedback in real time.

Remote systems control and analysis

With VR, you can remotely monitor, control, and analyze dangerous or inconveniently located systems from a safe environment.

Starbucks Japan uses BIM and VR in design

Using BIM and VR in design

Starbucks Japan is creating VR content for its shops using Building Information Modeling (BIM) data distributed through Revit Live software. Revit files are converted into VR content, which can be used for presentations and information sharing.

See how people are using AR and VR

  • Big data is transforming how architects design buildings, but the combined forces of big data and virtual reality will advance the architectural practice by leaps and bounds.

  • Recent technological advances, coupled with a proliferation of affordable hardware and software, have made immersive technologies like AR, VR, and MR more commercially feasible than ever.

  • Learn how the current trends in technology—including VR, AR, and MR—have the potential to create stronger connections between people and machines.

  • Four years ago, the Ford team was viewing a customer’s perspective on a 46-inch TV using a pre-vizualization tool. Now, the team looks at engineering, design, and ergonomics using VR.

Autodesk Munich Center for virtual reality

Autodesk immersive design centers

Autodesk has seven centers for AR, VR, and MR worldwide. In these spaces, we collaborate with customers to explore the future of making things.

Featured AR, VR, and MR software

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  • What equipment is necessary to view AR, VR and MR productions?

    Augmented reality can be viewed with only a smartphone. VR and MR on the other hand require a specialised VR headset, which can then be attached to either a computer or a smartphone. VR headsets range greatly in price, from inexpensive cardboard models that can work in conjunction with a phone, to high end sets such as the Occulus and HTC Vive.

  • Do I need separate software packages to work on virtual reality and augmented reality?

    Autodesk software such as 3DS Max, VRed, Forge, Maya LT, Maya, Civil 3D can all be used to create both virtual reality and augmented reality experiences.

  • Is a free trial available on Autodesk virtual reality software?

    Yes, you can try software such as 3DS Max for free for 30 days.

  • Why are the benefits of designing a product or space in VR rather than as a flat 2D image or a physical prototype?

    Designing a product in VR allows you to seamlessly view the product in real-time interactively and from all angles, with data enhancements to provide additional information. Tweaks to the product can easily be viewed and experienced without lengthy waits, while material costs are practically zero.

  • Where are Autodesk’s immersive design centres?

    Autodesk’s immersive design centres are located in San Francisco, Boston, Toronto and Birmingham and provide workspaces and VR equipment to teams from a variety of sectors.