As the world grows, engineers and architects are creating more sophisticated architectural solutions. Mind-blowing architecture is everywhere, and skyscrapers, complicated forms, and complex structures adorn the cities around the world.
However, it’s not all about aesthetics. Engineers and architects also have to consider safety and precautionary measures.
Luckily, today's tech solutions, combined with our skills and knowledge are here to save millions of people and improve all aspects of our lives – this is where architectural forensics kicks in!
Architectural forensics can be almost anything, starting from post-earthquake safety evaluation of buildings, visual screening of buildings for potential seismic hazards, liability allocations, destructive investigations, as well as historical and theoretical examinations.
Let's see how architectural visualization affects architectural forensics, or we can freely say, how visualization helps forensic practices.
Natural disasters, including earthquakes, are the biggest enemies of architecture. However, experts in architecture and engineering are here to prevent the collapse of buildings, even in the worst situations.
EDABS is software specially designed for earthquake damage analysis. After you enter structural dimensions of the building, structure type, and the peak earthquake acceleration, you can read and see the damage ratio.
This software is also helpful before the beginning of works on the construction site. Using EDABS, you can see the exact points where the vertical and horizontal structural elements, the reinforced frame or wall structures will collapse due to an earthquake of a certain strength.
This computer program will analyze the potential seismic vulnerability of your building and it will warn you about critical points.
Although each engineer bears responsibility for their own design, the situation isn't always clear when an accident happens. Using the latest software solutions in combination with modern tools and architectural visualization, investigators can determine who is liable for the failure.
By recreating the collapse using the architectural visualization, the court can determine if an architect, constructor, or something or someone else is to blame for such a failure. By determining the point of collapse, it's possible to realize whose mistake that was.
Using the photos taken at the place of an accident, 3D artists, together with investigators, can recreate the entire environment and, together with engineers, they can find where the problem began.
Nowadays, we can see the examples of the oldest architectural buildings thanks to advanced visualization techniques. After the team of archeologists investigates a specific area, architects can visualize the environment based on collected data and historical knowledge.
Utilizing the latest technology, we can understand how today's world developed, but also to walk through old cities and travel to the past using virtual reality equipment and artificial intelligence based software solutions.
When it comes to architectural forensics, there is an independent research agency, based at the University of London that helped the CIA and many other organizations solve various problems and mysteries related to architecture.
Since 2004, thousands of civilians have been killed in US drone strikes, including the four people killed in Miranshah in June 2012.
A 43 seconds long aftermath of a drone strike was the only evidence and the crime was solved thanks to architectural visualization skills of the Forensic Architecture agency. They analyzed this video frame by frame, creating a panoramic photo of the entire area in order to confirm the location of the drone strike.
Then, Forensic Architecture analyzed the area using satellite imagery, which helped them visualize the entire location, including the building that was hit.
Using architectural visualization, they managed to recreate the scenario and to describe what happened that day in Miranshah.
In order to support the investigation of the genocide committed by ISIL, Forensic Architecture created a cloud-based, 3D digital area with GPS coordinates from 2D images by placing the photos and pixels from the original photos in the 3D environment.
Using the method of photogrammetry, or structure from motion, they were able to extract the distance and movement measurements of still images taken by drones and satellites. That way, they reconstructed the entire case thanks to architectural visualization.
Architectural forensic is one of the most powerful branches when it comes to investigation, both of historical progress and crimes. By recreating the circumstances using the art of architectural visualization, investigators can solve homicides or detect the issues of building collapse, even if it's not the product of a natural disaster, and much more.
This method can save thousands of lives by pointing out any potential issues that can cause accidents, or it can bring justice if any kind of disaster happens!
What do you think, is there something else that can be resolved by utilizing architectural visualization? Let us know in the comments!
Bit by bit, each day brings some innovations. If we look back over a decade ago, we'll realize that various Sci-Fi movie predictions have become our reality. Numerous modern solutions have affected all industries across all verticals, and architecture has seen its fair share of advancements as well.
A world where robots and drones can construct a building, where holograms have become tangible and solid, a world which allows you to enter the realms of virtual reality and augmented reality in real-time – that's our environment.
However, sometimes it seems that such tech solutions are miles away, although they're readily available, affordable, and in front of our noses. This means that a lot of people are not aware of all the available possibilities.
With that in mind, here are some tech advancements which will allow you to raise architectural visualization to another level. Let's explore and find out how to utilize the cutting edge visualization tech solutions!
3D printers have been around for a while, but the way people use them continually changes. Although primarily designed to produce small objects – 3D architectural models – using weak plastic materials, the latest 3D printer solutions are cutting edge technology.
Instead of using only one type of plastic, you can create firm or flexible elements using materials such as ABS, PVA, ASA, PETG, HIPS, PLA, polycarbonate, polypropylene, nylon, and many more.
Tday, you can do lots of things using a 3D printer and you can print whatever comes to your mind, including jewelry, food, medical supplies, prosthetics and bones, braces, musical instruments, fabrics and footwear, spare parts, weapons, furniture, and most importantly, you can 3D print larger structures such as apartments and bridges.
Similar to 3D printing, rapid prototyping allows you to create basically anything. Already used for testing and even producing construction elements and equipment, rapid prototyping is changing the way we build objects.
Mass production of construction elements created using a 3D printer, as well as the production of the other components, will change the entire industry.
Unlike traditional materials and construction works, building 3D-printed houses by assembling small parts at the construction site will reduce the costs and the time necessary for the entire process – the total costs of these affordable houses are about $7,000, and the work at the construction site can be finished in only two weeks.
2018 will be remembered as the year when Dutch robotics company MX3D created the very first 3D-printed steel bridge, which will be placed across a canal in Amsterdam, Netherlands. This 12-meter-long bridge is created from layers of molten steel.
''The lightweight tree-like structure is built on four main bearers. The concern was that if one of these bearers gets hit by a boat, the structure could critically fail,'' explained the company, and they added that they changed the concept due to engineering concerns.
"Therefore a totally new concept was created that took into account everything we learned until then about the material, the local specifications and regulations," they revealed.
Twice longer 26.3-meter-long bridge created using a 3D printing concrete system is the world's largest 3D printed bridge. Professor Xu Weiguo designed this light and elegant piece of the art across the Shanghai Wisdom Bay pond.
To match the structural performance of traditional materials, the bridge's construction was created of 44 hollowed-out concrete sections, made of polyethylene fiber concrete.
These examples are just the confirmation that 3D printing technology is at the beginning of its development. These cutting edge solutions will grow over time! Right now, it seems that in a few years, skyscrapers will be constructed like puzzles in just a couple of weeks.
When it comes to the latest tech solutions, we mustn't miss the chance to introduce one of the greatest inventions of the 21st century – virtual reality. Helpful in various processes of architectural visualization, VR will change architecture, as well as other industries, sooner than we can imagine.
Companies in numerous industries, including real estate, gaming, design, film industry, and many more, have already found a way to introduce such a solution. Lots of companies in the architecture industry are already using this futuristic equipment.
Moreover, people are even buying VR headsets for fun. The number of VR headsets sold in 2018 is above 4.6 million units, and the forecasted amount for 2019 is 6 million units.
Now that it’s clear that users are interested in using this technology, we can freely say that architectural visualization companies will start to focus heavily on VR visualization in the coming years. Let’s find out why that is so. Here are the two main benefits of VR.
Parallel with VR equipment, developers have designed a lot of 3D modeling and rendering software solutions that support virtual reality. Using the latest versions of popular programs such as Autodesk's 3ds Max, architects can enter the world of virtual reality and modify their scenes in real-time.
The process of modeling and adjusting the 3D model using VR goggles allows more precise work and provides architects with the opportunity to feel the entire space before the beginning of the construction works. Plus, creating a 3D model with a VR headset looks much more fun!
After the process of 3D modeling and rendering, it's time for presentation! You can decide on a more traditional way and create images, but, for the best experience, you can create VR animation.
When it comes to presenting your work to clients, you should do your best to amaze them – your colleagues will understand your idea through your technical drawings, but clients and investors will not. Moreover, we can freely say that architectural visualization is the project seller.
VR is the best tool when we're talking about visualization – investors and clients will be able to walk through your design using VR headsets, and you'll be able to fix the potential issues before the beginning of the works, and therefore, save lots of money.
Both you and your clients will be satisfied – it's a win-win solution!
Similar to virtual reality technology, but at the same time unique and superior, augmented reality is another pillar of modern architectural visualization. As the overlay of digital content, this sophisticated technology allows people to experience augmented reality using various devices and tools, including smartphones, tablets, and other portable devices, as well as smart AR glasses and headsets.
Although VR equipment is affordable, the situation with AR is even better – instead of buying headsets and glasses, clients can enter the world of augmented reality within a few seconds, as long as the process of app installation lasts.
Since there are numerous apps driven by AR technology, each app works differently. Here are five best AR apps for architectural visualization.
Available for Android and iOS, designed both for design and presentation purposes, ARki overlays 3D models onto existing 2D floor plans. With features such as real-time shadow analysis, material switching, and physics simulation, ARki is a great choice both for visualization and for construction projects. Besides, it’s completely free!
Designed both for VR and VR, Smart Reality is a smartphone app that uses a mobile phone's camera to overlay interactive BIM models, creating 3D visualization. This simple-to-use app allows users to expose structural layers, to zoom, record images or videos, and much more. Smart Reality is available both for Android and iOS devices.
Unlike most of the other AR apps, Pair is a consumer-focused app. Thanks to the extensive and constantly updated furniture catalog, users can add 3D models in a real-world environment and visualize their apartments alone. iOS users can create presentations, allowing users to walk through their brand new designs over and over again.
This free augmented reality app, available both for iOS and Android devices, was created especially for architects and designers, allowing them to draft floor plans using only a smartphone's camera. 2D floor plans can be saved as JPG, PDF, and most importantly, the DXF format. Helpful, right?
Available for iOS and Android devices, Augment is an augmented reality app designed for architectural visualization studios and students. Useful for interior and exterior design visualization, Augment, thanks to its large library, allows you to drop various 3D models, but also to edit, adjust, and share your projects with your collaborators. However, the price ranges from $300 to $1000 per month.
These highly available solutions are still growing, and we are sure that there will be more AR-based apps available. Until then, you should enjoy and explore the possibilities of these great apps!
What happens if you combine two advanced technologies such as virtual reality and augmented reality? The answer is simple – mixed reality. Merging the best aspects of VR and AR, mixed reality allows users to experience and see the real world, like augmented reality, while also seeing virtual objects from the world of virtual reality.
By “dropping” the virtual objects in the real world environment, mixed reality allows for an entirely new level of architectural visualization.
After apps such as Pokémon Go attracted numerous users across the globe, clients in the architecture industry have become highly interested in this kind of presentation.
So, what will present your work better than “dropping” your building in the urban environment in real-time? As the most advanced solution, mixed reality can help you show your clients and investors exactly how your building will fit into the landscape without wasting a lot of time on post-production tasks.
Unlike still images that you can create using PhotoShop and similar vector software solutions, mixed reality apps allow you to produce animations.
BIM apps supported by mixed reality can help and improve various processes at the construction site, reducing the possibility of any mistakes.
Besides, such mixed reality apps can read various file formats, which means that architects can upload technical documentation (CAD files), as well as renders. Builders can use a mixed reality device to scan the processes at the site, and the app will show them what to do next based on the project details.
Since misunderstandings between the builders and architects often result in failure, mixed reality will improve the level of safety by improving communication.
As we mentioned, these tech solutions used to be unimaginable just a few decades ago. However, one of the biggest achievement of the new age thus far is doubtlessly the mind-blowing solution called “holographic architectural representation system”.
This easy to store and fast to produce device designed by Zebra Imaging offers full-color holographic visualization, and it can be integrated with commonly used Autodesk's software solutions. The device's thin surface becomes a detailed 3D model, allowing you to present your work to your clients, project investors or colleagues thanks to a halogen or LED light source.
"With our technology and 3D print services, 3D data can be brought out of the computer and into the consumer 3D display market at an affordable price. The partnership is about inspiring creativity and new approaches for visualizing in 3D," explained Brian Hill, GM Zebra Imaging Print Division.
He also said that the main component of their hologram is3D data, and he added ''The development of the Autodesk 123D family of apps provides the tools for mass user-generated 3D content and extends hologram creation capabilities across the globe."
Besides being highly useful and interesting, the best thing about Zebra Imaging 3D Hologram Display is that it's incredibly affordable. You can get your hologram display today for only $49.99!
This might seem unbelievable, but a group of Japanese scientists from the University of Tokyo, Department of Complexity Science and Engineering has provided us with the technology called “Touchable Holograms”. It's true that even regular holograms are a mind-blowing solution, but there is more.
Without wearing any equipment, you can experience the illusion of touching holographic, unreal items.
Haptoclone works thanks to a synchronized haptic-optical construction in combination with Airborne Ultrasound Tactile Display (AUTD) and Aerial Imaging Plate (AIP). When you touch the unreal object, Haptoclone will produce strong pressure, and you'll experience the illusion of touching a hologram in the most realistic way.
Using a “touchable” hologram, architects and designers will be able to present their visualizations in a much more realistic way than earlier.
When we consider all the technological achievements mentioned above, we have to admit that it's hard to say which of them is the most helpful in the architectural visualization industry. Each solution can raise the level of hyper-realism, but also to facilitate and improve various processes.
It would be too much to ask for another advanced technological solution, since all those that we have mentioned are incredible. However, we can hope that these tools will become even more affordable and readily available and that the use of these tools and apps will become routine.
Since we have seen that the combination of VR and AR has brought something entirely new and unique, we have to ask you the following thing: Which two of the above-mentioned technological solutions would you combine into one in order to improve the architectural visualization industry? Let us know in the comments!
The modern era has brought us lots of advancements.
Until recently, the technology utilized in architecture used to be only the upgraded version of the existing tools and software solutions, available since the '90s, and even earlier. However, the last decade has brought incredible new products and equipment.
At the same time, the 21st century has become a period of ecological awareness and consciousness, and we have accepted our responsibilities.
Since we're trying to protect our environment using natural and organic materials, and saving energy at the construction sites, you can say that we're trying to achieve sustainable architecture. There are lots of methods for reducing the negative impacts of architectural projects on the environment, but one of the latest tech-driven solutions is 3D printed architecture.
With that in mind, here are some steps of the evolution of this revolutionary machine, as well as a few good examples that will help us build a healthier future.
One of the primary purposes of 3D printers, although they're useful in all creative business fields, is architectural visualization. The process of 3D modeling and rendering remains one of the most widely used techniques for architectural visualization, but we can freely say that 3D printing is right behind.
Although computing visualization can be more than hyper-realistic thanks to virtual reality headsets, augmented reality apps, and mixed reality presentations, sometimes, a touchable maquette simply can't be outdone.
Instead of wasting lots of time creating the entire maquette manually, a 3D printer can finish the task within a few minutes or hours, depending on the level of precision and the size of the model. In the beginning, the only materials available for 3D printers were some types of plastics, but today, you can use almost anything, including food.
Since 3D printing is based on pre-created 3D models, architects must visualize the building before the beginning of works at the site, and clients and investors can see and change some potential aesthetic issues if needed.
A few years ago, some leading firms in architecture realized that they should give it a shot and try to create some larger structures using this exciting and funny to use machine.
In the beginning, the very first 3D printed houses were made of previously 3D printed pieces and elements, combined with the traditional construction systems.
Today, you can find about 1,000 conventional houses completely made up of 3D printed sections, including constructive elements or entire construction systems. This method of building can reduce and partially solve the problem of social housing, as one 3D printed house costs about $7,000, and the entire process lasts up to two weeks.
After this trend evolved a little bit, 3D printers capable of printing larger structures arrived on the market, and things have become much simpler on the construction sites around the world.
Instead of performing time-consuming processes, architects can finally rely on 3D printers that, instead of synthetics and soft materials, can print layers of concrete, allowing the production of firm and solid structures.
As the world's largest 3D-printed concrete structure, 26.3 meters long with a width of 3.6 meters, the bridge in Shanghai is proof that we can 3D print literally anything. Besides, there are other impressive buildings and structures made of firm materials such as stainless steel.
Recently, the mentioned 3D printers capable of printing large structures have become mobile. Unlike the method of building prefabricated houses, mobile 3D printers can print all the layers of the building directly on the site, reducing both time and costs, and eliminating waste materials.
Firstly, one of the common and money-consuming problems remains the transport of prefabricated elements, even if they’re created using a 3D printer. Very often, some parts get damaged in transport, but besides that, the method of building prefabricated houses can't eliminate the waste of materials, because some things still must be prepared on the site.
Also, post-assembly works are another thing that architects can avoid using these mobile 3D printers, which differs from any other method of building.
At “Viaggio a Shamballa” and the “A call to save the world” conference, Italian 3D-printing company WASP (World's Advanced Saving Project), Big Delta WASP 12MT, and Crane WASP – a modular 3D -printer – presented their research on 3D printing architecture using free and natural materials.
"Gaia is the result of a limited and optimized use of agricultural resources, which through technology have been converted into a complex building with a minimal environmental footprint," WASP said in an interview. And they confirmed that the entire building is biodegradable: "If the building isn't maintained, it will turn back into the soil."
As first of this kind, a 3D printed house Gaia was made of raw soil in October 2018. This eco-sustainable architectural model, or should we say prototype, was entirely build of waste materials coming from rice production.
From a health and bioclimatic point of view, Gaia saves an incredible amount of energy and improves indoor health, it costs almost nothing, and all that with almost zero environmental impact. Without heating and air conditioning systems, Gaia maintains a comfortable temperature both in summer and in winter.
Rice House, the rice manufacturer, supplied the herb fibers – one of the chief materials. Let's see the final mixture of the used materials:
- 25% of soil taken from the construction site in Massa Lombardo, Italy: 40% silt, 30% clay, 30% sand.
- 40% of straw chopped rice for insulation.
- 25% of rice husk for insulation.
- 10% of hydraulic lime.
Utilizing agriculture resources of natural waste materials, 3D printed eco-friendly houses such as Gaia, with a minimal environmental impact, can change our approach to sustainable architecture in the future. This cheap and sustainable architectural masterpiece and the future of sustainable architecture took only ten days to complete.
Since people are now able to 3D print entire houses and buildings with several floors, it's only logical that architects can also use this technology to print various artistic elements, especially when it comes to the interior design.
Although most people don’t think that sustainable architecture created by 3D printers can be pretty, a Spanish designer Patricia Urquiola proved them wrong.
Patricia Urquiola has developed a new and innovative method, and she explained: "I used these filters in the metal mass [of the building] to incorporate a kind of movement. It was a totally new and exciting way of thinking about space for me."
The BMW Welt exhibition area got a 322 square-meter twisted green and blue terrazzo floor fit within a 3D printed white frame. As the leading company in the automotive industry, BMW said:
"Urquiola used her surface design to translate, extremely intuitively, the apparently fractured ice surface, green color – which appears to change in tone against different lights – and Northern Lights."
If set to create fine and precise structures, 3D printers can produce highly decorative and attractive architectural elements without any negative environmental impacts.
Each day there is another architectural miracle built by 3D printers. This robotic and futuristic machine can become part of both luxury and social housing.
Firstly, 3D printers are capable of creating stunning and complex designs using various materials such as steel, concrete, or waste. This is why 3D printers can start the social housing revolution, allowing people to buy their homes for a minimal price, and to get their homes in about ten days.
We hope that this revolution will never stop and that 3D printers will become our favorite and commonly used tool for creating everything beyond the industry of architecture.
Helpful and futuristic, 3D printers have already changed our approach to architectural visualization. However, the next step is utilizing this wonderful piece of technology to create something more significant – sustainable and biodegradable houses, buildings, and even cities.
Join the community and go green!
What do you think, what's the next step in the evolution of 3D printing? Let us know in the comments!
Architect John Ian Lee Fulga, who studied at the University of the Philippines, College of Architecture, and gained additional knowledge working with LEED and Greenmark, has his own architectural firm, focusing on designing and planning masterpieces for property owners, business enterprises, and entrepreneurs.
His company, Fulgar Architects is located in Manila, Philippines, where he shares his passion for architecture with 18 people – programmers, designers, architects, structural engineers, UI/UX designers and developers, and even architecture students.
“Our studio is kind of unique in a way that you have the IT component, the technological component, the designers and engineers working together… We enjoy more of collaborative work.”
Using his vast knowledge in software technology developing both server-side and front-end UI systems, he easily learned about programming and Building Information Modeling Technologies. On the other hand, Fulgar's enthusiasm for architecture and the arts led him to the graduate studies in the College of Fine Arts, The University of the Philippines.
Simultaneously interested in various scientific fields and art, Fulgar Architects mixes architecture and information technologies with meta-modern elements.
In an interview in Makati City, John Ian Lee Fulga said:
“What we have now is assembly architecture which means you buy components and put them together. That is what is happening. That is why you could see most box types as in assembly line,” and he added, “We are borrowing too much from the western ideas, where they mass produce and practice assembly architecture. While we are adopting these concepts, further studies on how it will impact our way of living as Filipinos must also be considered.”
“Our studio is kind of unique in a way that you have the IT component, the technological component, the designers and engineers working together… We enjoy more of collaborative work,” Fulga said to the media, and then he explained that the metamodern philosophy is a question of what comes after postmodernism.
Then he added, ‘’We are more facilitated now with things that are digitalized… It has a global age message where everyone is more connected and we have more perspective on what is happening across the globe…. What metamodern now is to help us be more subjective to try to think of a common ground where we can entertain polarities and come up with something new, something creative as a challenge now.”
The latest technological trends, among many other industries, can improve the architecture, too. Fulga explained the application of the cutting edge tech in architecture, as the ecologically efficient solution that can cut lots of costs and increase the performance of smart buildings.
“You can simulate a lot to include fluid dynamics and circulation and how solar patterns affect the performance of the building, how you can manage energy load.”
As the primary goal to promote the Philippines, the local arts and culture through comic enthusiasm, one of the first Mars Ravelo comic museum complexes will adorn Southeast Asia's Tagaytay City.
Inspired by the origami and the versatility of paper, Fulgar Architects managed to design several buildings, each characterized by unique flipping sheets and folded planes of structural panels.
''What we build affects all of us. What metamodern’s role here is to look at all these aspects—from sustainability, liveability, buildability, all of that—and try to come up with new forms with more technological innovations, to come up with better building designs that we haven’t tried before that could probably change how we live, how we interact with each other.''
It's obvious that such shapes and forms are hard to visualize. However, the best experts from Fulgar Architects always highlight and display even the most complex models.
“When you work with technology, you are able to visualize the project better because it can be, instead of looking at 2D plans you can actually look at 3D plans and you can section it, you can dissect it, you can walk through it – you could visualize the project better,” Fulga explained the importance of 3D visualization.
In spite of the Western influence in architecture, arts, and other art-related disciplines, Fulgar Architects managed to keep their traditional style, but they also introduced lots of new, modern elements.
Using the state of the art technological solutions and construction systems, they are creating stunning pieces of art. Each building designed by Fulgar Architects represents paper-like masterpieces made of the best solid materials.
From one angle, their architecture seems like origami, but on the other hand, you can see substantial art.
As creators of the period that arrived after post-modernism, we hope that their idea will spread around the world and help designers, architects, and engineers learn how to stick to their tradition, concurrently adding unique innovations.
So, that leads us to the following conclusion: if you manage to mix architecture, engineering, information technologies, and art – the results will change architecture as we know it.
The entire idea of metamodernism sounds ideal, just like the Utopia of the 21st century.
What do you think about Fulga's metamodern elements? Let us know in the comments.
Using photorealistic architectural visualization to create outstanding 3D models of various structures is one of the best steps you can take in your career. Creating 3D models to showcase your designs will bring you more clients, as you can show them exactly what a particular structure will look like once its entire construction is completed.
As a 3D visualizer, you certainly understand how beneficial this can be. But, are you making the most of 3D modeling? Are you utilizing all the available tools to create exceptional architectural visualizations that will make you truly stand out and double your business?
This is where drones come into play. These unmanned aerial vehicles have been in heavy use in the commercial and film industry for years now, but they’re finally taking flight in the architectural industry as well. More and more 3D visualizers are utilizing them to create high-quality images and videos, and enhance their 3D modeling efforts.
A drone will enable you to capture the tiniest of details and showcase a particular structure from every possible angle. You can capture its beauty and every little intricacy from a point where it’s seen in its entirety – from the sky.
You simply cannot see an entire structure at once from the ground level, but a drone enables you to do so. It enables you to create both still images and videos, and use them to produce a marvelous 3D model that’s a realistic representation of the structure in question.
This is especially beneficial when you’re working on large-scale projects. You have an opportunity to work with unique viewpoints and create 3D models that will sweep your clients off their feet.
Using drones to create high-quality 360° videos for your 3D modeling will also give you a competitive edge. You will truly impress your clients and turn them into repeat customers, who will gladly get you more referrals. Utilizing drones will help you stay ahead in the industry and consistently pull in more clients.
Using drones in architecture to create 3D models is also very cost-effective, which is yet another reason why you should consider it. Your aerial footage can help you identify any potential issues regarding a particular structure before the plans for its construction even begin. It would save time and costs for both you and your clients.
Using a drone to capture aerial images and then stitch them together is the easiest way to create a 3D model. That’s how almost everyone does it, and it’s more than beneficial. However, using video as a basis for your 3D modeling can yield much better results.
This is because a single video capturing an entire structure from every single angle comes with thousands of keyframes that successfully highlight every possible nook and cranny of the structure.
Imagine capturing thousands of images to achieve the same result. You would need an incredibly large amount of time to stitch all the images together to create a 3D model of the same quality.
This is why you should give videos a try. However, have in mind that this process of creating 3D models for your architectural renderings is a bit more difficult and time-consuming, but much more rewarding and really nothing you couldn’t master with practice.
Here’s what steps you would need to take.
This is an extremely important step because you want your 3D model to showcase a particular structure in the best possible light, quite literally. Therefore, you need to shoot your drone video at the right time of day.
The best times of day to capture excellent drone videos are mornings. That’s when you can catch the best lighting that will showcase the structure in the most compelling way. Shooting around noon is perhaps the best time, as you can avoid long shadows.
Once you record your drone video and upload it into your 3D rendering software, you need to analyze different frames in the video to detect and match the same features. This is called a linear method for reconstruction from lines and points.
To take this step effectively, you need to be familiar with the concepts of detectors and descriptors. The former will help you detect the features, while the latter will help you match the features. Whenever you extract the features of two images, a descriptor in the form of a vector will help you find corresponding feature pairs, and match them from one to another image.
This step involves recovering information regarding the motion of your drone camera, as well as information regarding the structure of the scene you’ve filmed.
This means you need to recover the orientation and position parameters of your camera so that you can accurately calculate all the 3D coordinates of every feature in the video frames. You can conduct this entire data-matching process effectively with the help of RANSAC, MSAC, or MLESAC algorithms.
Stereo mapping in 3D modeling involves using the structure you’ve recovered during the previous step to create the dense map of the scene in question. You create a stereo model composed of all the images (frames in the video) taken from different angles so that you can get a realistic projection that provides stereo vision.
The final step when creating your 3D model from video involves adding textures and adjusting lighting to create your final product. It’s when you polish your entire video to make sure your 3D model perfectly represents the structure and showcases your design in the best possible light.
This is also where you can add various other surrounding elements that will enhance your 3D model and give it a truly realistic view, such as trees, flowers, cars, and people walking by.
Shooting images and videos with a drone may seem daunting at first, but you can master it and produce remarkable architectural visualizations with practice. Practice truly makes perfect, so get to the big, wide, open spaces where operating drones is allowed, and practice as much as you can.
When practicing your drone flying, make sure you avoid some of the most common mistakes rookies make, such as being completely inconsistent with what they are filming. When shooting images, make sure you cover enough area when shooting, so that you can get enough overlap between the images, as that’s crucial for stitching them together perfectly.
The most important thing about flying a drone is to obtain a license or permit. You don’t want to receive a hefty fine if you don’t have a license, or if you fly your drone in a restricted area. Therefore, obtain a permit and get familiar with all the UAV regulations before hitting the clouds and creating impressive videos for your 3D modeling.
While we can't count all the benefits technology has brought in the 21st century, we know very well how much it has affected the architecture.
The latest software solutions and apps can facilitate all the processes of planning and designing, modern tools are here to automate numerous tasks at the construction site, but there are also lots of useful gadgets.
Our comprehensive knowledge about the traditional materials, methods of fabrication, our designing skills, as well as the ability to create buildings that defy physics thanks to the advanced elements of the supporting structure, in combination with tech-driven tools, give this industry endless potential.
Nevertheless, one smart trick, earlier known only from Sci-Fi movies, is ready to change the world of architecture as we know it – virtual reality.
With that in mind, here are ideas that will help you improve your business, but also to facilitate some processes of your work and allow you to achieve the best end products – visualizations.
As we mentioned before, the VR equipment isn't very useful without the latest software solutions. Luckily, the state-of-the-art 3D modeling and rendering programs are now compatible with virtual reality.
Using your favorite VR headset, you can jump into the virtual world and create 3D models that will be manifested in real time. Such interactivity is already extremely helpful, but VR can do more.
Besides walking through your 3D model, you can edit scenes, modify all elements of your model, and even step into your building in real-time. In such a case, virtual reality enables you to see the entire situation better, from all angles, and fix all issues before the process of rendering begins.
The commonly used software solutions among architects such as Autodesk's 3ds Max and Revit are compatible with the affordable VR equipment such as HTC Vive Headset or Oculus Rift. Moreover, there are various augmented reality and mixed reality apps that are also incredibly helpful.
Interaction with your 3D model will bring you lots of fun, but more importantly, you'll be able to create more precise buildings in record time.
Well, it's known that a picture is worth a thousand words, which further means that visualization, actually, is the best way of communication between architects and their clients. Moreover, a picture knows nothing about the language or distance barriers, which makes the visualization the common language among all nations.
With that in mind, we can freely say that architectural visualization is the most crucial requirement for advanced cooperation. So, when it comes to engaging with your clients, VR kicks in!
The visualization is the most powerful tool for selling your idea to a client, but the visualization in virtual reality can bring you even more advantages. Even if your clients are miles away, you can present them your entire project simpler than ever.
VR tours can include all the parts of your design, starting from the environment, exterior design, to the interior of your building, to the closest details.
However, you can present all of that without VR if you create an animation, but VR wins again – thanks to the virtual reality, you can present your design to your client in real-time, including the presentation straight from the construction site.
Virtual reality gives your clients and investors the opportunity to interact with your design and give you suggestions to fix some issues or change the tiniest details.
‘’Virtual Reality experiences have helped our clients better understand their projects before construction. There have been many occasions when we’ve been approached to create a visualization experience for projects in the later stages of design development.
Experiencing the immersive environments has prompted designers to further refine the design to fully celebrate their vision. Communicating ideas using VR has also given end users of the building the possibility to be more involved in the design process, ‘’ said Ekke Piirisild, Director of VRtisan, when he tried to explain how VR can help him cooperate with his clients in the design process.
Piirisild also noticed that solving the problems and mistakes before the beginning of construction works is a benefit that increases the end clients' confidence that the final design will suit their requirements.
Your goal should be to satisfy your clients' needs and to improve customer experience, and VR will make it possible!
Similar to the application when it comes to engaging with clients, VR can help you to feel the virtual space. Besides construction logistics, VR also allows you to increase the aesthetics of a project.
A hyper-realistic visualization in the virtual reality will help you to actually see the real appearance of your design before the foundation has even been set. You can change the materials, move or resize windows, add additional artificial lighting, and manage your entire project in real-time.
The use of VR in architecture also cuts costs. Firstly, time is money, but also, all the changes, especially if we're talking about the improvement of the bearing elements of your construction and the aesthetics, will save you lots of money.
Today, when the level of ecological conscience is increasing, it's important to anticipate how the environment, as well as atmospheric influences, will affect your building. Very often, you can use such influences to your advantage.
Thanks to virtual reality, you can include some environmental factors in your project and check the levels of heat, sunlight, rainfall, and other factors, and find environmentally efficient ways to increase the performances of your building.
On the other hand, you can test the safety elements of your building, or simply check the best ways to fit your building into a specific landscape.
Each architect in the world can confirm that architectural history can be very helpful during the process of developing an idea. Besides, knowing the secrets of the greatest modern architecture creators is also very useful.
However, traveling the world in 80 days isn't always the solution, but using the latest technology, your journey across the world can start within a few seconds.
Using VR equipment, buildings from the other side of the planet can become tangible. Influences from traditional architecture, as well as from modern practices, can help you learn a lot, and you can find your own style if you try to combine different elements from various cultures. Moreover, you'll be able to learn a lot from your own buildings.
What else are you waiting for? Get your own VR headset and enjoy!
Rob Kendal, Managing Director of Yulio explained what he would add to the current VR world if he could add only one feature, ‘’ Easier content creation, ‘’ he said, and then he added ‘’While there’s been a ton of hype around VR, it hasn’t actually hit the mainstream, partly due to lack of content. So far the cost to create VR content has been prohibitive for many companies, but that’s changing.’’ Kendal also added that 360-cameras are more affordable today.
‘’We’ll also start to see software like Yulio making it easier to convert 3D models into VR experience more widely adopted and we’ll also start to see the creation of those 3D models themselves become more accessible.’’
Well, there's something we can agree on. On the other hand, new technology is always so complex to use at the beginning.
About forty years ago, when the very first rendering software appeared, it was the cutting edge technology open only to several people, and completely strange and difficult to learn. However, today, millions of architects, 3D artists, and designers use even more advanced software solutions on a daily basis.
Our first step should be accepting the state-of-the-art technology, and it will become simpler over time.
What do you think? How is virtual reality altering the future of architecture? Let us know in the comments!