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Tuesday, November 26, 2019 

Canadian naval architect Robert Allan Ltd (RAL) says it has now brought virtual reality (VR) to the fields of ship design and marketing.

The Vancouver-based tug design specialist says that although  CAD technology (both 2D and 3D) transformed the vessel design process, and these traditional media have served the industry well in the past, they have distinct limitations. They cannot offer a true sense of scale, perspective, and immersion inherent to being on board a ‘real’ vessel. VR may not be a substitute for the real thing, but it gets as close as possible with little relative effort and a lot more flexibility. Users who have experienced VR at RAL's offices are said to have been amazed by the new-found sense of ‘reality’ that the VR environment brings.

Clients and designers can now experience the vessel years before it is built. The first-person perspective that VR offers of being ‘on-board’ RAL's designs has only recently begun, but it has thus far shown a highly encouraging impact on improving both design and efficiency. VR is proving to be a very powerful tool for design and marketing. It is especially valuable to evaluate complex areas, such as wheelhouses, control centres and machinery spaces where spatial aspects of the layout are difficult to capture in traditional media alone. Additionally, VR models are being used to produce realistic renderings, interactive panoramas, walkthrough/flyover videos, and standalone virtual tours. All are easily accessible since they require no additional hardware apart from a relatively modern PC/laptop. Integrating VR into the design process adds considerable value but with relatively minimal added time and effort.

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