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Unity Reflect: BIM to real-time 3D in one click for better design decisions

, June 5, 2019

Announcing Unity Reflect, a new product for architects, building designers, and engineers to transfer multiple BIM models into real-time 3D in one click. Unity Reflect improves design review and construction planning processes by seamlessly syncing changes made in Autodesk Revit to any Unity Reflect-supported platform, from mobile and desktop to virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR). With Unity Reflect, create real-time 3D experiences…in real-time.

It takes multiple teams to turn buildings from vision to reality. But as clients’ timelines become tighter and project requirements get more complex, it is imperative for stakeholders across the Architecture, Engineering, and Construction (AEC) industry to quickly iterate and make the right design decisions.

Today, we unveiled Unity Reflect: a new product designed to make it easy to create immersive and interactive experiences. With Unity Reflect, BIM/CAD models from multiple designers are live-linked to a federated real-time 3D view, enabling your project stakeholders to review and make smart design decisions in real-time. See how:

Unity Reflect accelerates the project lifecycle for buildings and infrastructure by bringing real-time 3D to anyone. Being able to visualize projects clearly (both during design and in the field), identify mistakes before they become downstream problems, and drive consensus keeps projects on track and on budget.

Unity Reflect is accessible to all project stakeholders, regardless of their level of technical expertise. In fact, to use the product, you don’t need to be a Unity developer or know how to write a single line of code. But if you are a developer, you can customize and build upon Unity Reflect to create the best experience for your end users.


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Unity’s commitment to AEC

Unity Reflect underscores our commitment to and continued investment in the AEC industry.

Our collaboration with Autodesk is pivotal to streamlining AEC workflows. With Autodesk, we’re making it easier to turn 3D data into immersive, interactive experiences on any platform.

Unity Reflect’s native integration with Revit is part of our ongoing collaboration to provide seamless integrations and full data interoperability between our platform and Autodesk’s design tools.

“Our collaboration with Unity is important because visualization has become a vital part of the design process, particularly in the AEC industry where time is money,” said Andrew Anagnost, Autodesk president and CEO. “Real-time, immersive experiences are becoming the norm, and this integration with Autodesk Revit cuts down on dead time between revisions and meetings, which is critical to giving our shared customers a competitive edge.”

How Unity Reflect works

First, Revit users install the Unity Reflect plugin, enabling them to easily transfer and prepare data for real-time 3D experiences without leaving their design tools.

Then, with one click, Revit users start the sync of BIM/CAD data to Unity Reflect and create a real-time 3D experience. Every time you make a change in Revit, it is displayed in Unity Reflect. It’s that simple.

There’s a lot of complexity behind the scenes though. Through a seamless data federation process hosted on a local machine or a network server, Unity Reflect brings together BIM and/or CAD data from multiple designers and engineers working on different systems in one model. It automatically optimizes this data for real-time 3D, including preserving BIM metadata.

Preparing and optimizing data from design tools for real-time 3D has historically been a painful, time-consuming process. Not with Unity Reflect.

“The transfer of information and flexibility of linking into other programs has been impressive, and we’re excited to see how this can augment our existing capabilities,” said Kai Duebbert, managing director at Murphy Surveys.

Once all models are federated, Unity Reflect creates an interactive 3D experience that 1) can be distributed to any platform supported by Unity and 2) is live-linked to the original design applications, allowing simple customization and multiple reviewers.

Stakeholders can review the rendering on the platform of their choice: iOS, Android, Mac, PC, AR/VR devices, and more. That means you don’t need to be in the same room — or on the same device – to get on the same page. For instance, one participant can review on a VR headset, another can use a tablet to create an AR tabletop experience, and others can access the real-time 3D experience on their laptops.

Unity Reflect supports multiple concurrent viewers, allowing various project stakeholders, from clients to field construction teams, to access this unified view simultaneously. This unlocks the ability for teams to collaborate in real-time and for decision-makers to review and approve a project without requiring access to design applications. Unity Reflect even has BIM/CAD filtering capabilities, allowing you to isolate ceilings, structural columns, walls, and other data in real-time 3D.

The live link means that as stakeholders share ideas and provide instant feedback, designers can make changes in their design applications (e.g., relocating doors, adding windows, and adjusting lighting, materials, and textures) and Unity Reflect will update the rendering in real-time for all viewers.

“Visualizing projects in the HoloLens and other augmented reality platforms is becoming increasingly important in our industry,” said Adam Chernick, associate, interactive visualization at SHoP Architects. “Unity Reflect is great because it gives design teams the ability to make changes and see those reflected instantly onsite in AR.”

Learn more about Unity Reflect

Unity Reflect is currently available in limited private release and will be generally available in fall 2019.

You can check out an instructional demo of the product at two upcoming events: the AIA Conference on Architecture 2019 in Las Vegas, June 6–8, and AU London 2019, June 17–19. If you’ll be there, book an appointment with our onsite AEC teams at A’19 and AU London.


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18 replies on “Unity Reflect: BIM to real-time 3D in one click for better design decisions”

Gerard, we will have a reference application that you will be able to use to build your own products that will work in the Reflect ecosystem. We are and will continue to be a platform on which others can build amazing solutions!

There are some rather large gaps in this app. At AIA this app really struggled with a couple of floors of a fictional hospital and few Mechanical ducts. Real projects are much more complex. Having to link projects through a secondary system is problematic at best. In addition, this workflow demonstrated isn’t typical of how engineers and architects collaborate. Slick demo but this product is going to need some gym time to be ready for the real world.

Contact your business development manager and he/she can put you up for consideration. But please do keep in mind that the beta is not an open beta or preview release.

I have tested PiXYZ plug in with unity; Now Unity Reflect promotes itself as realtime collaborative tool, I am curious how much of Unity Reflect overlap s with Unity+PiXYZ setup ?

Hey Abiee,
There’s actually not that much overlap between the two. Even though Reflect will do some preparation for you and get you quickly into Unity, PiXYZ will allow you to go even further down that path with custom rules to really customize your import and preparation pipeline. As a simple example, you could swap out all furniture & materials with your own custom high-def versions, which PiXYZ can help you with!

Would it be possible to use the generated data in another Unity Project? Is Unity Reflect also a Plugin for Unity itself?

Yes, the data can be brought into the Unity Editor to view and build projects or it can be viewed only in the stand alone viewers.

This is great! But would be even better if it was connected to something like Autodesk BIM630 Document Management or Navisworks. It would make it even more versatile (e.g. support more formats than one) which would make it more useful int he whole AEC process (not just in the design phase). Hope this alliance between Autodesk and Unity evolves!

I agree! And thanks for adding weight to the integrations we should prioritize. We will have some integrations at launch but that will not be the end of development of this fine application. We have a long list of integrations we will release over time. Rome wasn’t built in a day!

– Can we add Unity effects (particles etc) into Reflect?
– Can we manipulate surface UV’s? (Revit can’t do this)
– Will it interpret RPCs into 3D objects (trees etc)?

– Once your data is in Unity Editor, you can add anything Unity supports to your project, including particle effects, terrain, skybox, etc.
– Unity Editor does not allow to edit UVs out of the box. You need to install an extension like ProBuilder or use an external tool like 3ds Max.
– We are working on object replacement, focusing on trees and vegetation first. We will eventually cover all RPCs but we do not have a precise timeline for this feature at the moment.

It is great news for AEC construction industries. Waiting for the product release and its plug in to revit. I am interested to know more, since I am working as BIM manager

Shivaji, send your contact info to me directly (I can’t see your contact info even as a Unity employee!) at and I will add you to the “stay informed” list.

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