Dell’s Precision Mobile Workstation has enabled a senior production designer to create exciting, fully immersive event experiences
Lauren Smith is a Senior Production Designer at Bellwether, a multi-disciplinary team that includes producers, lighting designers, audio engineers and everybody else who works together to pull off a corporate event.
As a designer, Smith is generally one of the first to begin working in the preproduction process – and stays involved through to the event’s launch.
“I’ll start with a series of pencil sketches to give [the client] a few options,” Smith explains. “When they pick an avenue, then I’ll use Vectorworks to come up with a very basic 3D model and I’ll save some wireframe perspective views. After that step, we will typically get it budgeted and then I’ll create a more photorealistic rendering. And for that I might work with Vectorworks’ built-in renderer, but more often than not, I’m going to be exporting it to Maxon Cinema D, and I’ve recently started using V-Ray with that.”
To support this everyday workload, Smith clearly needed a computer that could support such a graphics- and detail-heavy work process.
Using Dell Technologies’ Precision Workstation to support every event’s unique needs
Where Smith used to be limited to a stationery desktop, today, she does all her work on a mobile workstation, which can capably run 3D applications while also allowing her to travel easily to events. Smith recently upgraded to the Dell Precision 5750 Mobile workstation, which comes equipped with an Intel Xeon W-1055M processor, NVIDIA Quadro RTX 3000 graphics card and 6GB of RAM.
For the kind of work Smith’s doing, a mid-to-high range graphics card like the Quadro RTX 3000 is necessary. Having spent much of her career seeking new and better visualization techniques, including most recently VR, Smith is excited to see what comes next. She points to real-time ray-traced rendering as a “huge game changer for designers” that has come about in the last few years thanks to RT Cores, a processing component of NVIDIA RTX graphics cards that enables hardware accelerated real-time ray tracing.
“With the Dell Precision and NVIDIA RTX, I can create high-quality renderings fast with the convenience of a lightweight, portable laptop,” Smith said.
Flying through fly-through animations
Before an upcoming meeting with a client, Smith would spend hours creating fly-through animations to demonstrate a visual concept. And if a detail was forgotten – like, say, a light was off that was supposed to be on – she would have to re-rend it all over again. With the strength of the Precision Workstation backing her up now, the rendering is done in real-time, on-the-fly if you will, and in front of a client, thereby allowing Smith to present – and adjust – any details she wants.
“Real-time rendering saves you so much of that headache,” Smith praised. “And with the advent of real-time ray-traced rendering with NVIDIA RTX, I can deliver ever more realistic images for my customers.”
A whole new perspective: 360-degree images
For Smith, the ability to export 360-degree images from Vectorworks and other BIM software to view in a web browser has been a real game changer. When compared to a 2D rendering, 360-degree images provide her with a much better sense of the event’s physical space.
“You can connect multiple 360 images to make a virtual tour, which is really cool,” Smith explained. “In the past you would have had to send the client several separate 2D images and they would each be from one viewpoint. And some people just aren’t visual people, and they don’t understand how those things match. But if you give them a virtual tour, it helps them build that relationship in their mind.”
Looking ahead, Smith is betting big on virtual reality.
“Instead of drawing on my computer or sketching on a piece of paper, I’m actually dropping 3D objects in while I’m in VR with my headset on,” Smith envisions. Even better than that would be inviting clients to be part of the process, she added.
Fortunately, she has the workstation outfitted with the technology to support this exciting new frontier.