How to Collaborate on a 30gb 3ds Max Model With Chaos Vantage: UrbanVFX’s Wembley Park

London’s Wembley Park district has become huge. The 84-acre development, which surrounds the iconic Wembley football stadium, is the UK’s largest build-to-rent site. For the past 12 years, arch-viz company UrbanVFX has created 3D visuals for the site from an ever-expanding 3ds Max model that now weighs in at a hefty 30GB with thousands of proxies.

Unfortunately, just as Wembley Park’s sales process began to ramp up so too did the COVID-19 pandemic. UrbanVFX’s team had to find a way to continue to work on the massive asset and share it with their clients while everyone worked from home.

“I’m coming up to a year of not going into the office,” says Nigel Hunt, UrbanVFX’s owner and director. “Collaborating becomes incredibly hard when you’re trying to share visual media. In the past, you would render out a preview and send it to your client, and then they’ll send back a marked-up PDF or a scribbled-over JPEG. It’s a very slow process; it’s not collaborative. I find Zoom calls frustrating when a client’s talking through ideas, and you’re not getting the whole picture.”

As the Wembley Park model has so many proxies, the only way to explore it via 3ds Max is in box mode, which fails to give an accurate impression of the project. Enter Chaos Vantage, which can effortlessly display V-Ray proxies and Chaos Cosmos and Forest Pack content, and taps into NVIDIA’s RTX hardware to give users the ability to explore photorealistic ray traced, real-time-rendered scenes with game-like simplicity.

“Vantage has been a game-changer for us,” says Nigel. “We’ll jump straight into Vantage and walk around the model, and we’re starting to discover things. We can see everything as it should look, and we can make changes. I can be in the Vantage scene with the client, and that scene is live linked from 3ds Max, so we can stand in the middle of the park and say to one of my team on the Slack call, ‘can you just move the tree around or can we add some more people there?’ And we can see that in real-time.”

Vantage also solves another problem: quick development renders. UrbanVFX often creates images and animations to explain ideas and explore concepts that assist with the design process. But rendering these shots can cost money and take time.

“We often need short shots for planning meetings,” explains Nigel. “These are typically used for client approval; they look at it, and they go, ‘let’s make changes,’ and then it’s redundant. It costs the client a lot of money, and it costs us time and effort to upload to the cloud render farm and then download it. With Chaos Vantage, we can render locally—and it takes 30 seconds a frame instead of six minutes.”

Chaos Vantage has completely changed the way UrbanVFX works on projects and its collaboration with clients. The team often runs Vantage on a second monitor, live linked to 3ds Max, so they can make updates in real-time or walk around models to scope out the perfect angle for a render.

“In this work-from-home world, where you want to share a model with either your client or one of your team members so you can collaborate easily,” says Nigel. “We are now using it for client renders, it’s proven to be incredibly useful and saves a lot of money both for our clients and us. Try it; it is fantastic and fun to use.”

1-year Chaos Vantage licenses are free until December 2, 2021.

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