A mechanical designer by trade, Brian Nickel is also studying architecture at Montana State University. His involvement in the community has led him to implement a local Autodesk user group and find other people that are as interested in Revit as he is.
At his workplace—Harvey’s Heating & Plumbing Company in Bozeman, Montana—the staff is currently integrating Revit into their office by incorporating their inventory database with Revit. “We use the software for piping diagrams, and are looking into cost estimation in the near future,” he says.
After he started utilizing the cloud rendering feature about a year ago, he found that his workflow and efficiency had increased dramatically. “I am always sending my renderings to the cloud to explore new ways of getting a better result. I learned that students receive the whole service for free, and for the past year I have been using the cloud as much as I can to not only refine my renderings, but to explore better ways of accomplishing results,” he says.
His featured rendering, the “Seattle Hydrology Institute”, was a project for Nickel’s third year of architecture school. The purpose was to find a solution to reconnect the people of Seattle to the waterfront after the Alaskan Way Viaduct is removed.
“I faced lighting and orientation challenges, but through my renderings, I was able to discover answers to these problems and further develop my design,” says Nickel.
For the materials, Nickel was impressed with the number of realistic textures that Revit provided. “Revit actually has really nice preloaded materials that you can set to your systems that look really good. After picking the ones that I thought would work well together, I was able to generate a rendering that achieved the look I was going for. This process allows me to visualize material choices very quickly and efficiently.”
It was also very important to Nickel to have a photorealistic image to share with his professors so that they could visualize his design objectives. Presenting the renderings led to more comments and feedback to his design, which helped improve his designs and processes going forward.
“Cloud rendering also gave me piece of mind knowing that as my design is progressing, my renderings are being generated as a time-lapse of the design process. Cloud rendering gives me the opportunity to focus on my design with an extensive set of tools at my disposal,” Nickel says.
It’s also given him skills like distinguishing a good rendering from a bad rendering, which makes him helpful to his fellow colleagues. “My professors remain continually impressed with my work. Cloud rendering allows me to design with additional quality and less worry—it’s really helped make my life easier as a designer and student educator.”