Creating A Realtime-Content Creator MVP for Volkswagen
In 2019, the UNEVIS Xlab team was commissioned to develop an Innovation Pilot named the Content Creator, which aimed to explore the possibilities of real-time 3D visualization technology for marketing. Through the pilot, the team successfully demonstrated the groundbreaking potential of this technology in creating high-quality marketing content in real-time, revolutionizing the production process. This innovative approach allowed for more flexibility and efficiency in content production, a concept previously unheard of at the time.
To achieve this goal, the UNEVIS Xlab team had to overcome several challenges back in the day. One of the most significant challenges was integrating the High Definition Render Pipeline (HDRP), the then-new Unity render engine, into Volkswagen’s existing real-time workflow. This required extensive research to assess the possible quality improvements, process optimizations, and 3D vehicle data conversion effort. The team also faced technical challenges in converting fully configurable 130% models from DeltaGen to Unity and optimizing them for HDRP, as well as working with an constantly changing beta version of the HDRP.
The pilot project included two 130% vehicle models (A 130% / 150% Car model includes multiple construction parts to describe a given configuration), each of which could be configured in various ways. We came up with an easy to use realtime frontend to stage these models against a white room and two 3D photo backgrounds. Additionally, the team developed a virtual city, which was the first of its kind for a vehicle manufacturer, to determine how close they could get to photorealism in real-time and populate it with cars and people. However, due to the high cost and poor quality of 3D marketplace data, many 3D objects of the city had to be completely reworked. To populate the city with life, the team created a custom pipeline for populating the city with cars and people in an intelligent and believable way.
The project’s technical challenges were significant, and the UNEVIS Xlab team quickly recognized that the biggest hurdle was integrating the configurable 130% models into Unity. The team had to find a way to convert a fully configurable 130% model from DeltaGen to Unity and optimize it for HDRP. Working with an constantly changing beta version of the HDRP also proved to be a time-consuming challenge for the project.
Despite the challenges faced by the team, UNEVIS Xlab successfully delivered the project within four months and provided the Volkswagen virtual car model team with a comprehensive development report containing valuable technological insights. At the time, many companies doubted the feasibility of a high-end post-production tool in real-time. However, our pilot not only proved them wrong but also paved the way for the development of Zerolight’s Content Creator: Spotlight, UNITY’s own take of our work in Forma, as well as Accenture Song’s Content Creator version. Our pilot showcased the immense potential of real-time 3D visualization technology for marketing and product development, inspiring the the automotive and real-time industries.
Following this project, UNEVIS Xlab collaborated once again with Volkswagen and also Epic Games to take on the real challenge: developing Solid Machine, an AI-powered, fully automated conversion and optimization tool for CAD vehicle data into the Unreal Engine which was introduced at the Unreal Build Automotive event in 2021.
As a side project, we showcased at the event our latest version of the content creator, named Solid Creator. This iteration fulfilled our vision of our content creator concept where you could highly automated import and work with CAD based vehicle models, just as we had envisioned when we started this journey.
As we delved deeper into generative AI algorithms, we realized their disruptive potential and made a strategic decision to shift our focus towards Solid Meta, our core AI technology.
If we were to work on a content creator today, our production-ready solution would look significantly different from what we showcased earlier. We are constantly exploring new technologies and innovating our approach to meet the evolving needs of the market. We invite you to stay tuned or getting in touch with us.