How to Add Panoramas to Your Workflow
When you think about it, panoramas are some of the most multifaceted tools when it comes to presenting your project to clients. It’s easy to underestimate how many ways they can be applied and how effortless it is to integrate them into every step of your workflow. They’re a great addition to still renderings, giving your clients an immersive 3D experience by literally taking a look around your designs. For a tutorial on how to create Enscape panoramas, take a look at our Knowledge Base article.
Everything associated with the panorama is simple: they are easy to send, access, and view. No matter what software you use, Revit, SketchUp, Rhino, Vectorworks, or Archicad, everything you need for creating panoramas is within Enscape and you don't need an additional tool.
Panoramas can often be a happy medium between still renderings and a full 3D walkthrough. Viewing them doesn’t require high-powered hardware; you can have a VR experience using a smartphone. It’s effortless to upload them to the cloud and share them via weblink or QR code. Integrating panoramas into your building plans, presentations, or promotional material couldn’t be easier. For this post, we gathered examples of how creative Enscape users get with their panoramas. Check the exciting use cases to get inspired on how to add panoramas to your next project.
The planning process
Many Enscape users add panoramas to every step of their workflow, starting during the planning phase. Before you even begin construction on a project, you can show your client exactly what the end result will look like in 3D. It just takes a few clicks to export a panorama that you can send to a client in seconds. Export any view in Enscape as a panorama: forum user Paul Russam (David Maxwell Architects) detailed his workflow for exporting all of his panoramas from one project in a recent forum post.
First he starts Enscape and surveys his model for the best views of the project. He saves these views and names them “Pano-01, Pano-02, Pano-03 etc” for easy reference. Paul then renders his panoramas in two steps: first the outdoor scenes, then the indoor scenes. This process allows him to tailor his exposure settings for the outdoor scenes, then the indoor views, for the best result.
Get an overview of your created panoramas in the Manage Panoramas window
Example of a stereo panorama created in seconds
Using a workflow like Paul’s will leave you with a collection of panoramas which are a great way to present your project to the client. Oftentimes you’ll be faced with the common problem: how to present your project to the client dynamically without extensive and high-powered hardware? When you meet with a client, you don’t always have the option of bringing the hardware necessary to show a live 3D walkthrough or use VR. But in these cases, you don’t have to compromise. Panoramas can elevate the presentation to a memorable experience for both you and the client, anytime, anywhere.
Use your cursor to pan around the image
The great advantage of panoramas is that they provide you with the opportunity of a VR-like experience using minimal hardware. Travel light by saving panoramas on a tablet and showing them during key points in your presentation. Your client can swipe around the panorama using their finger, allowing them to focus on the areas that are most important to them. Or view the panoramas on any laptop, navigating with the cursor. Alternatively, upload your panorama to the cloud and download a QR code. You can add these to posters and quickly scan them at the right moment, provided you have internet access, of course.
Provide a VR-like experience without the hardware; just pack your phone and your cardboard device!
Another great tool to use in combination with stereo panoramas during a presentation is a cardboard device. This adds an interactive, and therefore memorable, element to the presentation, with no extra fuss. You might not always be able to bring your full VR setup to client presentations, but you always have room for a cardboard device. It assembles in seconds; after that you simply open the panorama on a smartphone and enable cardboard mode by tapping the glasses icon in the lower right-hand corner of the screen. This gives your client a fully 360° experience of their project in seconds.
Between presentations, sending panoramas is a great way to keep your client up-to-date on you progress. This is in no small part due to how easy it is to distribute panoramas. You can of course send your client the image file to view on their computer, but you can also simply send a weblink that they can open on their smartphone and view anywhere. Enscape user Steven Garubba says that he sends panoramas to his clients so that they can “get a good idea of the space that [he] just designed for them.”
They can easily view it on their phone and quickly get back to me with new ideas/changes without having to be on a computer which makes the process much faster.
Steven Garubba, Criterion Workshop
The opportunity for immediate feedback is what makes using panoramas like this so powerful. You have the ability to give your client an impulse of where the project is heading, and immediately react to their response, saving you not only time but also headaches down the line.
The construction phase
It can be easy to write off panoramas once you leave the planning phase and enter construction, but a survey of Enscape users on our forum shows that this is where you can really get creative. This benefits not only your client, but also the workers. This is where panoramas distributed via QR code can be most useful. Once you have your floorplans ready, navigate you model in Enscape and export panoramas of key areas. Then simply upload these to the cloud and download the dedicated QR code. Adding this QR code directly to the floorplan can bring clarity to the design and help you avoid miscommunications about the direction of the project.
As Steven Garubba puts it:
I plan to place QR codes right onto the construction document seeing that the field loves to see the space before building it out and it generally gives the workers an end result to work towards.
Steven Garubba, Criterion Workshop
Adding panoramas to 2D plans brings your project to life like never before. A 2D plan can convey the basic facts of your project, but it can’t tell a story the way a rendering can. Check out this interactive plan created by Space Architects for a recent project:
Adding a QR code to a 2D plan brings your project to life like never before.
Credit: Space Architects
Combine the detail of a 2D plan with the imagery of a 360 panorama viewed immediately on a smartphone for a clear, comprehensible overall representation of the project. Printing QR codes in brochures to send out gives your project an even greater reach: anyone with a smartphone can see your idea in seconds.
Enscape user dsmith utilized QR codes during an on-site client presentation for memorable results with little effort. First, he used Revit with Enscape to develop “certain areas of the building that were of significant importance to the client (reception areas, classrooms).” For each important area he then created an informational poster, which showed the area in the floor plan and also provided the dedicated QR code for the panoramic view of that area.
Add QR codes to your construction site walkthrough for an immersive experience
Credit: Noviun Architects
The client could then walk around the building site and scan the QR code with their phone to immediately see the impression of what the finished product would look like. This approach allows a client to clearly see what the area will eventually look like, even if large parts of the design are still missing on-site. As dsmith put it:
This was particularly useful for giving an idea of space before any partitions were installed on site. It worked really well and all the clients were extremely happy with the final outcome.
Enscape Forum user, dsmith
Forum user Gadget used a similar technique in his own office. His company, Thistle Windows and Conservatories Ltd, created a custom showroom to present projects to clients and used QR codes during the planning phase:
During the development of the showroom, QR codes have been printed out, laminated and placed at key areas within the showroom so that the people working on it have a good idea of what the end result should look like.
Enscape Forum user, Gadget
The end is the beginning (Marketing and promotion)
3D panoramas can benefit your firm beyond the development of specific projects. They can also be an invaluable tool to convey your ability to potential clients. Collecting panoramas of a past project is a great way to immediately showcase your design style. The most straightforward way to do this is to host panoramas of your past projects on your website. Check out the bottom of our Knowledge Base article on panoramas for guidelines on how to do this; you’ll find it under the heading “For Software Developers”.
One firm using this technique to showcase their designs is David Maxwell Architects. In the Portfolio section of their website, they use a mix of hosted panoramas and still renderings to show the kinds of stunning projects they have worked on in the past.
Host panoramas on your website to give potential clients an overview of your work
Another easy way to host panoramas and reach a wide audience is via Facebook’s 360 photo upload. It is just as easy as uploading a normal photo to Facebook, but allows the viewer to pan around the image with one click or tap. It couldn’t be easier to share your work on your timeline to reach an even wider audience. Just upload the panorama as you would upload a normal picture and Facebook will automatically recognize it as a 360 photo. You can then set your starting view and post to your timeline with one click!
Render interactive panoramas in seconds
Post interactive panoramas to Facebook in seconds
A great way to take your QR codes up another notch is to personalize them to fit with your corporate identity. The QR codes that Enscape generates are functional and effective, but sometimes you might need something less nondescript. In this case, online QR code generators are perfect tools. Simply upload your panorama to the cloud to assign it a weblink. Then pick your favorite QR code generator.
Create QR codes to share your panorama
Brand your QR codes with your company color or logo
As far as the free sites go, I find QR Code Monkey incredibly versatile and easy to use. It took me just a few clicks to create the above branded QR codes. Stick with your company color, or even add in your logo. Drop in the URL from Enscape and these personalized QR codes will link directly to your panorama.
Creating panorama Tours
One last way to integrate panoramas into your marketing materials is by creating a panorama tour. This is obviously also great for client presentations or during the planning stage, and hosting a panorama tour on your website makes a great first impression on potential clients. Not only does this give a similar effect to a real-time walkthrough, but many softwares and services allow you to also annotate the panorama tour; the viewer can then click selected elements and get more information.
The Enscape Panorama Gallery
With version Enscape 3.1 and above, users can create their own panorama galleries. Once you are logged into the Enscape License Center, you can organize your own gallery from panoramas created from the same project.
For more information on how to set up a panorama gallery in Enscape, please see our Knowledge Base article.
Alternative panorama tour providers
There are a lot of different services out there that allow you to create panorama tours. Many are only available in a paid subscription but create such beautiful tours that it might be an investment worth considering, especially if your firm creates such tours frequently. At the top of the list are 3DVista, RoundMe, krpano, and Modelo. Check out this pano-tour forum user Nuge created using Modelo.
3DVista: Consider investing in a paid service to create high-performance tours
Modelo: Consider investing in a paid service to create high-performance tours
There are also two great free tools that allow you to create panorama tours at no cost. The first is Pannellum, a versatile tool: on the one hand, you can use it to simply annotate single panoramas, to add more detail or information. On the other hand, you can create linked tours to give the viewer a full experience of the project. It is perhaps a little complicated at first to get the hang of, but the site offers lots of documentation and a detailed tutorial to get you started.
Open-source tool Pannellum creates detailed and dynamic pano-tours
My new favorite tool, which I learned about from our forum user xxl, is marzipano. It’s incredibly intuitive; just drag and drop several panoramas into the webviewer and set the starting view. Then you can link the panoramas together and add info spots if you want to.
Create pano-tours in minutes for free with Marzipano
As you have seen, the ways to integrate panoramas into your workflow are almost endless. This underrated tool can enhance your project presentations, offering a near-VR experience with just a smartphone and a cardboard viewer. Between client meetings, it’s the easiest way to share updates with clients who might not have the graphics card to handle an executable standalone.
Beyond the planning stage, you can easily view panoramas, even on the construction site via QR codes. Personalize these to fit your company image, or use the Enscape-provided codes for even more ease. Printing these codes in your marketing materials or uploading a panorama to your Facebook page allows you to make an impact on even more potential clients than ever before. Long story short: adding panoramas into your workflow takes little effort and yields big results. Can you ask for more?