3D Visualization

Free 3D Models The 10 Best Libraries You can Find Online

Free 3D models are out there, and they can shave off hours of work in specific situations. Check out the free 3D model databases we dug up and save some time.

When it comes to 3D architecture and interior design, the thing that takes the most time is creating the models themselves. Granted, in a lot of situations, they need to be done from scratch but not for everything.

This is why we decided to dig around the web in an attempt to find alternative solutions, and we like to think that we’ve succeeded.

We’re sure you’d be interested in hearing about various free libraries of 3D models available online. These databases are usually well categorized, and you can find anything from models of boats, cars, trees to furniture, sinks, people, and more.

This can be an indispensable time-saver for designers trying to create an attractive and lively architectural design for investors and other parties of interest.

There are all kinds of models to be found on these websites. So, you might want to be careful with how much time you spend searching for the “perfect model” - just browsing can take away hours.

Let’s see what the best free 3D model databases are and what they offer.

1. 3dsky.org

Has a database of over 81.000 different models and textures for you to use. They are not all free, but you can easily filter the Pro items (the ones that are for sales) and free items with obvious buttons that they provided.

These filtering options are available in any category and subcategory of which there are multitudes. All in all, this is an amazing resource for architects, interior designers, and game designers alike.

2. Turbosquid.com

This website is primarily focused on providing 3D models for professionals, but they do a bit more than that. You can also find texture maps, materials, shaders, sound effects, scripts, and more.

They offer a lot of categories for their models, including cars, characters, animals, vehicles, architecture, furniture, anatomy, landscapes, and technology.

You can also filter out free 3D models, filter them according to the software that supports them, be it Blender, Unity, Unreal, and more. You can also find low poly models, animated models, and rigged models.

3. Hermanmiller.com

Herman Miller is a weird source of 3D models. They are a furniture design company that’s very popular among architects and designers.

They recently decided to make their propriety 3D CAD assets available for free. Artists can now render and model these pieces as they wish. Even though this is only furniture models, the level of quality in these designs is second to none.

4. Free3d.com

As the name of the website suggests, this publication is primarily focused on providing free 3D models for various uses.

They have neatly categorized selection split into architecture, vehicles, characters, aircraft, furniture, electronics, animals, plants, weapons, sports, food, and anatomy.

You can also filter them according to file type, animation or rigged models, low poly models, and so on. All in all, it’s amazingly diverse, and you’ll surely find models to help you cut down design time and improve its overall impression.

5. Dimensiva.com

This one is a bit more focused on providing models suitable for interior design. Dimensiva.com offers models for furniture, plumbing, lighting, and so on.

The style in which these models were designed is a blend of contemporary and evergreen. There are a lot of options to choose from but if you find their offer lacking you can always go for the pro account.

6. Cgtrader.com

Cgtrader.com is an enormous database of both free and premium 3D models. The fantastic thing about this website is that you can filter out the models that are intended primarily for architecture, and in this section, you can find around 72,000 3D models explicitly designed for this purpose.

They offer numerous file format options during download, including but not limited to C4D, MAX, 3DS, OBJ, and FBX. They also provide several low poly options which are intended for use in VR and AR projects.

You can find everything from full-scale blocks and buildings to the smallest details like wall ornaments, floorboards, rugs, and anything in between.

7. Adobe Stock

This archive of free models is not as numerically impressive as the ones above, but the quality of the models lives up to the Adobe name.

There are around 3.500 quality models to be found here, but as a bonus, you also gain access to their community database. It contains more royalty-free models uploaded by their community members. Of course, they also offer premium models for those that are willing to pay for them.

8. CAD Blocks Free

If you are searching for CAD models that come free of charge, then this is the database to check out. While these guys offer the standard plethora of furniture and household items, they can also go for more technical models like cogs, pipes, industrial machines, cranes and more.

The database is not gigantic, but it has enough unique stuff thrown in there, so it deserves mention.

9. Open3DModel.com

This is another all-you-can-grab 3D model database that has a lot of categories to suit the needs of 3D artists of various backgrounds. You’ll find around 3000 models to pick from just in the architecture section while their total database has close to 20.000 different models.

If you are looking for something specific this database just might have it and it just might be free. The only downside of this website is the constant pop-ups reminding you that you have your AdBlock on, but then again they might be worth whitelisting.

10. Clara.io

Ok, when it comes to the sheer volume of models in their offer these guys take the modeled cake. There are over 100.000 models in this database, and they are at your disposal. Sure, a database this large is going to have some low-quality models, but the opposite is also true.

Watch out! You can waste a lot of time merely browsing through this database, so make sure to use their filters. Keep in mind that they offer models to be used in the following software solutions: Clara.io, Unity 3D, Blender, Sketchup, Cinema 4D, 3DS Max, and Maya.

They are also a community of designers, and if you like to network as well as contribute to their database, consider joining them.

These are not by any means the only free 3D model databases out there. These are just the ones that we found interesting. If you dug up other gems in your search for free 3D models feel free to share them as we’d love to check them out.

Be sure to check the use license before you apply any downloaded models just to avoid any potential legal issues. Some of these are free for all applications while others are intended for private use.

We hope we managed to help you get your work done quicker and improve the quality of the finished project. We always strive to create content that our audience finds helpful and insightful.

How to Organize a 3D Rendering and Visualization Portfolio for Maximum Effectiveness

Potential clients don’t have too much time to review your 3D rendering portfolio. Your portfolio has to be able to impress potential clients in an instant. Learn how to organize it for maximum effectiveness.

Your 3D rendering and visualization portfolio is the first thing your potential clients will look at. Your portfolio has to pack enough power to impress them and show them that you are a suitable candidate for their project. Is there something more you can do to improve your portfolio and get more contracts?

Your portfolio has to help you become noticeable among dozens, maybe even hundreds of other job and project applicants. The following tips will help you organize a 3D rendering and visualization portfolio for maximum effectiveness.

Share your Story

Human relations mean a lot, especially in the design industry. Your potential clients are not only looking for 3D rendering and visualization deliverables, but also for a reliable and trustworthy partner. You have to acknowledge this and write your story.

This will give your potential clients the opportunity to get to know you. Brake this part of your portfolio into two sections.

Your Statement

In this section, you want to make a statement as an artist. The artist’s statement is often written in the first person. Imagine potential clients sitting right in front of you. Now,  tell them about your work, your passion, and what drives you to deliver those incredible 3D renders and visualizations.

This section can be a few paragraphs long and it should make the readers desire to view your work and get familiar with your design process and the tools you use.

Short Biography

“Your story” segment should end with a short bio. Remember, you want to work on your image as a professional. Don’t forget to write your biography in the third person and in a formal writing style. Include all the relevant information, such as your formal education, certificates, participation in design fairs, and past/current employment status.  

Start With Showcasing Your Focus

3D rendering and visualization have many use cases. What’s your specialization? What’s your design focus exactly? You should always lead with the works done in your field. Whether it is architecture, interior design, landscaping, character design, or lighting dynamics, make sure to add several renders.

Use this opportunity to convey the right message to potential clients. Those interested in hiring a designer in your specialty will continue looking at your portfolio. The other will thank you for not wasting their time.

If you have experience in several fields, feel free to divide this section into several subsections. Add renders for each one of them and disclose your experience with working in that specific design niche.

Choose the Work You’re Most Proud Of

If you really want to turn your portfolio into a lead generation magnet, you have to be brutally honest with yourself. The best way to do this is to become the harshest critic you’ve ever had. Stay true to this even if it leads to you picking only a handful of renderings to showcase.

You never know how high the standards of your potential clients are. Assuming that they are the highest possible standards will help you pick up the interest of valuable clients and architecture firms, and lay foundations for a professional 3D rendering and visualization portfolio.

The better your work is the better-paying clients you will attract. Make sure to revisit this section every couple of months to update it with your latest accomplishments.

List The Projects You’ve Worked On

Designers and architects are invited to contribute to projects of all scopes. Sometimes it can be just a finetune of someone else’s work. Other times it can be building something from scratch. Also, clients may come from different industries. To help your clients learn more about your expertise, you will have to disclose more details about the projects you have worked on.

This section should feature:

● A project name

● Feature photo

● Short project description

● Your responsibilities

● Deliverables you’ve created

Do this for each project you’ve worked on, and make sure to stick to the same format to deliver a consistent structure throughout your portfolio.

Disclose Details About Your Design Process

You know best that design is a complex process of elimination and evaluation. Professional designers have unique design processes. What is yours? Introduce your clients to your way of thinking. Explain how this benefits them and how it reflects on the quality of design deliverables.

Maybe you like to experiment with different shapes, objects, or you like to develop several lighting models before settling with the one end result. Don’t be afraid of disclosing your entire process in a step by step manner.

If you had to scrap a project and start all over again, you should consider adding it to your portfolio. Explain the things that you didn’t like, why the criteria changed, and how you managed to design deliverables and satisfy your clients.

Emphasize Key Features

You have to acknowledge the fact that some clients are not familiar with design as you are. To appear like a valuable asset to them, you will have to point them in the right direction. You should add a separate section in your portfolio to highlight specific features.

If you take pride in your 3D models, you should showcase them with textures, colors, and lights on and off. On the other hand, if you are creating your own textures, why not feature them with a brief explanation about why you didn’t use any of the textures from a bank.  

The same applies to light and colors as they are vital elements of any 3D render and visualization project. Lighting and colors contribute to the general look and feel of any render and, if you specialize in inspiring emotions, you should definitely add it to your portfolio.

Feature Your Favorite Software Tools

Your portfolio should also include a section about your favorite software tools. Some clients are well aware of the versatility of tools used in this niche. Telling them about your tools is a great way to attract the right kind of clients.

If you use specific tools for specific work, feel free to make your case and explain the reasoning behind your decisions. Also, if you have decided to stop using some software tools in the past, do tell why.

And finally, you can showcase your workplace. If you a remote worker or you want to kickstart your freelance career, this practice can help potential clients better relate to your professionalism and dedication.

Don’t Be Afraid to Use Real Photos of Completed Projects

Incorporating 3D renders and real photos is a great way to establish authority among potential clients. Yes, some clients will only be interested in seeing your rendered visualizations. These ones are interested in seeing your ideas. Visualizations are there to help them understand your work and they will use this information to make a decision whether to hire you or not.

But there are also those that want to see how your designs look and feel in the real world. These clients are not ready to base their trust only by seeing 3D renders. They need to see the photos of completed projects as well.

Adding both renders and real photos will satisfy the needs of both of these groups.

Regularly Update Your Portfolio

Knowing how to structure and organize a 3D rendering and visualization portfolio for maximum effectiveness is not going to be enough to succeed in the market. In order to stay competitive, you will have to regularly update your portfolio.

The question that might trouble you is - “What to delete and replace?”. The work you showcase in a portfolio will tell your story instead of you. You want your clients to see you in the best light.

If you find some of your newer projects better and more attractive, feel free to add them to your portfolio. Delete the ones that you deem outdated. This might confuse you at the moment, but once you revisit your portfolio after some months have passed, you will be able to spot a weak link.

Share Your Portfolio

There are several ways to leverage your portfolio to increase visibility on the market. First and foremost, make sure to make a portfolio website. This will allow you to brand as a designer. On top of that, you will be able to quickly make updates in your portfolio.

Once you have a website up and running, you can share it across your social media accounts, LinkedIn included. Here are some free online portfolio websites you can use to do this.

Follow these instructions and you will be able to bring structure to your portfolio and make it more attractive to potential clients. Don’t forget to reap the benefits of your work! Share it online to maximize your outreach and increase your chances of getting new contracts.

How 3D Interior Design Was Taken to a New Level by 3D Visualization

3D visualization has revolutionized interior design and architecture. It helps visualize a space before anything is even built, as it can showcase every single functionality and aesthetic detail, from pitch to delivery. Check out how 3D visualization has taken 3D interior design to the next level.

3D visualization has completely transformed interior design and architecture. Interior designers and architects are increasingly implementing 3D visualization into their projects, from the first time they showcase designs to clients to the point when they finish the project.

Gone are the times when they needed to draw sketches and illustrations or make physical models of their projects so that they could better present various concepts to their clients. Today, with the help of 3D visualization, they can showcase every concept just the way it is.

That’s precisely why 3D renderings have become so popular. They can help easily present all the aesthetic details of a home or office, as well as every single functionality aspect of the space. They can help visualize the space like never before.

Here are all the ways 3D visualization has taken 3D interior design to a whole new level.

Photorealistic Visualizations

When you show a 2D presentation of a particular space to a client, they cannot exactly visualize the space with all its details. They can do it to a certain level, but they cannot fully grasp how the actual result will look like once it’s finished, especially if they are not very technical.

This significantly slows down the decision-making process, and eventually the entire project completion.

On the other hand, if you show a photorealistic 3D rendering of that same space to your client, you would be able to instantly paint a real picture of the project in their mind. Your client can see exactly how everything will look like before you even start designing the space, or before it’s even constructed.

Just as the name suggests, realistic visualizations take you to a level of realism that you simply can’t get to with traditional sketches and illustrations. They help you showcase visuals that look real, which is precisely what helps your clients make informed decisions.

Simple and Effective Design Revisions

When you create a sketch of a particular design, there are only so many changes you can make before you need to start from scratch all over again. Needless to say, this is definitely not the best way of planning the interior design of a project, but it’s the way it has always been done.

However, with 3D visualization, you can say goodbye to endless revisions that put a brake on the entire project and increase the costs of the project. Now, you can easily make as many changes as necessary until the desired result is achieved. This is simply because you don’t need to draw anything on paper.

With the help of various 3D visualization tools, you can easily change every single detail you need, and effectively provide all the required revisions to your client. What’s more, they don’t need to wait forever for you to make the changes, as the tools help you do it very quickly.

They have plenty of different features for changing the style, the tone of a space, and pretty much anything else involved in the design. With just a few simple clicks, you can make all the design revisions, and achieve the desired results.

Virtual Reality

Virtual reality has made it possible for people to virtually walk through a particular property, and see exactly what it would feel like to live or work there. All they need to do is put on a VR headset, and virtually step into a home or office, feeling as if they were actually there in real life.

This is one of the most significant innovations in 3D visualization that are revolutionizing interior design. It is still fairly expensive for a lot of projects, but it is slowly becoming one of the most essential things in 3D interior design.

With VR in interior design, you can truly show your clients the end result of a project before it is even built. You can bring every project to life, as your clients can see it unfold right before their eyes. They can experience it like never before, and see exactly what you may need to adjust to fulfill all their needs.

Augmented Reality

Augmented reality provides even more realistic experiences than VR, which is why interior designers are increasingly relying on it as well. AR and VR are quite similar, except AR is somewhere between the real and virtual world.

It overlays the real-world environment with digital elements, just like those you see on Snapchat, or your smartphone camera. As opposed to VR, which takes you to a completely virtual environment, AR enhances the physical environment to give you a more real-world experience.

With AR, your clients only need their smartphones to see how the space you’re designing will look like with a variety of different tones, styles, and furniture. They can almost touch everything in the room, and see exactly how the layout will look like.

Mixed Reality

Mixed reality is still in its infancy stage, but it certainly won’t be long before every 3D interior designer uses it. MR is a combination of VR and AR, combining the best of the two worlds to provide you with an immersive experience you’ve seen only in sci-fi movies.

It’s similar to AR in that it overlays the physical world with digital objects, but it actually allows you to manipulate those objects. This means that you can enable your clients to manipulate your designs, practically touching, changing, and moving pieces of furniture, or any other design detail.

With MR, you can instantly make all the revisions together with your clients, greatly saving time and costs, and ensuring every project is successful.

3D Mapping

3D mapping technology helps create almost the same immersive effect as mixed reality. The difference is that it transforms a space into a 360° projection area, with the help of projectors. This means that you can’t manipulate the digital objects, but you can still perfectly represent all the furniture and other design elements in a room you’re designing.

This is obviously more cost-effective than mixed reality, and it can help your clients see exactly how the space will look like once the project is finished.

The best part about 3D mapping is that it helps you accurately map all the design elements so that they can perfectly fit the layout. For instance, if your client would like to incorporate a particular piece of furniture but isn’t sure whether it would actually fit, you can map it accurately, and help the client make the right decision.

Cloud Computing

3D visualization files usually take a lot of storage space. VR, AR, and MR simulations are really big files, so it can be challenging showing them to clients, as you would need a USB drive with quite a lot of storage.

This is where cloud computing comes into play. Being able to upload all your 3D visualizations to the cloud makes all the difference, making your every design project run as smoothly as possible.

Also, since you don’t need traditional sketches and illustrations anymore, you don’t even need to meet face to face with every client, as you can simply send them the digital files of your designs. They could be located on the other side of the planet, and instantly access your digital copies.

This also makes the review and revision processes much simpler, and naturally saves both costs and time.

Needless to say, the emergence and availability of cloud technology have made it incredibly easier for interior designers and architects to find more clients. This is precisely because you don’t need to be in the same room for you to showcase your designs to clients, and revise them when necessary.

What Does the Future Hold?

All these innovations in 3D visualization have truly revolutionized interior design. They opened the door to 3D interior design that completely transforms the way interior designers work, and the way their clients’ properties are brought to life.

We’ve only touched the tip of the enormous iceberg that 3D interior design is now, as 3D visualization technology keeps advancing at a very fast pace. With ever-evolving technology, we are bound to see more extraordinary innovations like these in the near future.

What new innovations will come our way, only time will tell, but you can be sure that they will be just as magnificent as all the aforementioned ones.

As an interior designer yourself, you should definitely jump on the 3D visualization bandwagon as soon as possible, and join the wild ride. You will stay ahead of the curve, attract a greater number of clients, and make sure that your every project is seamless and successful. So, embrace the future, and enter a whole new dimension of 3D interior design.

6 Ways an Architectural Firm Can Use 3D Visualizations for Marketing Purposes

In the modern world of architecture, it's nearly impossible to generate buy-ins from the prospects and clients without visualization. Architects need visual means to communicate details regarding design plans with their clients. These visual means are the best depiction of the unbuilt project.

Nowadays, modern architects use visualization, rendering, and virtual reality to communicate design plans with their potential clients and prospects. Offering visualization is the best way to generate buy-ins. With the visualization industry being so highly competitive and overcrowded, virtual reality, rendering, and visualization are something of a near commodity.

Renderings and visuals are supposed to engage and excite the clients and architects are expected to produce outstanding imagery in a timely manner and at the most affordable prices. Now, creating visuals that easily beat competitors isn't as easy as it sounds. This is where we encounter a dilemma.

The architectural design can be the best of the best but without a proper effort to sell it, no client will buy it. With all that in mind, it's important to deliver visualizations that actually sell.

Of course, to be able to sell your visualization, it has to be impactful and stunning in order to lead to fewer revisions and clearer communication. Make the process of your architectural visualization smoother with heightened quality.

Understand the Goal Clearly

Before you start any visualization project, you have to be clear on what the main goal of your project is. The needs of your client play the most important role in determining the focus of the visualization.

Every architect should be using visualization for the sake of projecting a positive sense about every new development that takes place to create intrigue and convey an idea. In the end, the long-term goal of the project is what drives the type of visualization needed. The best thing to do it is to divide your architectural design into three categories:

● Conceptual visualization

● Architectural visualization

● Marketing visualization

Conceptual Visualization

Conceptual visualization is a rough way to demonstrate or present a project idea. It's photorealistic in nature and is an excellent way to gain buy-ins from your clients before you move on to the next design stage where you’ll determine the intricate details of the project.

Architectural Visualization

Architectural visualization helps you convey the exact design with all the elements included. Architects use this visualization to convey plans and make design decisions with their clients as these details are essential to the final visualization.

Marketing Visualization

When building a project, each architecture company has an overall marketing campaign that is supposed to sell that project to the highest bidder. Marketing visualization is a key element of that campaign as its main goal is to raise positive client awareness, educate them, and generate excitement for a landmark project.

This is where the overall aesthetic and finish are being added to the final product. To be able to sell a project, you must first determine the general idea in order to refine the client's intention. This isn't an easy thing to do as clients have really high expectations when it comes to their ability to visualize the design architects create.

The best way to sell a project is by creating a visual representation of a model that clients can explore and see with their own eyes. With all this in mind, here are a couple of good ways to use visualization for marketing purposes.

1. Win your clients over by offering visualization

We already mentioned the high expectations that clients have when it comes to buying a project from architectural companies. A lot is at stake so you have to be tactical. If your client can visualize a project, it will be much easier to sell.

They want to know what they're paying for so explanations and 2D drawings simply won't cut it. Visualization is what sells projects simply because 3D modeling is the best way to show your skills, but most importantly, to show your clients exactly what they're paying for.

2. Visual communication is what sells

Offering visualization brings some very useful benefits your way. When you're selling a product, your success depends on the ability to communicate with your clients. Offering just a dry description isn't going to be enough.

Your clients benefit the most when you throw in some visuals. The reason why this is so is that visualization allows you to thoroughly explain each step of the project during your presentation.

That way, you’ll be educating your clients which is extremely important for generating buy-ins. If you manage to ensure them at the early stages that you're on the right path with your project, your chances of selling suddenly increase.

3. Visualization allows you to find design flaws

It's much easier to convince your clients to buy your design if you can point out some of the design flaws that might cause major issues when actually realizing that design in reality. If you can assure your clients that they can avoid such mistakes, which is a real money-saver for them, there are no doubts that you'll be able to sell.

3D visualization is, in fact, an accurate and precise representation of how one design will look in real-time. Your clients can clearly see how their ideas will look like in reality, but more importantly, you're also giving them a chance to give their input.

Spotting issues at this pre-build stage will help you seal the deal, not to mention that it's also a great opportunity to show your expertise and knowledge in order to impress your clients. Remember, visual communication is everything in the architecture world.

4. Visualization allows for multiple concepts

Perhaps the best way to use visualization for marketing purposes is by offering multiple concepts to your clients. Offering just one concept may or may not pass but coming up with multiple concepts is a totally different thing. Both architects and clients have concepts of their own and each concept shows different options.

Doing this traditionally would take tremendous effort and time, which means that it wouldn't be cost-efficient. On the other hand, visualization allows you to develop multiple concepts with ease and in a timely manner. On top of all that, creating a range of concepts will show your clients how professional and serious you are when it comes to your work.

Clients usually expect one or two ideas, but going with three or four or even more will surely help you generate buy-ins. The power of modern technology allows you to use great 3D visualization software to apply any changes quickly and with ease. Your clients will appreciate these efforts.

5. Visualization allows you to promote your projects

When you're thinking about marketing, the first thing that comes to mind is the main goal you want to achieve. Since you're in the architecture business, you want to get the most exposure for your project to be able to sell.

So, visualization can help you get as many eyes as possible on your services. Clients who need architecture services will appreciate a 3D model portfolio where they can get a clear picture of what they can expect if they decide to hire you. Additionally, all social media networks support 3D models, renderings and visualization.

Showing off full 3D models on your website is one of the best ways to use visualization for marketing purposes. In fact, it's safe to say that visualization is what will make clients choose your services over your competition.

6. The ease of distribution

Visualization offers one of the greatest advantages that you can benefit from: thanks to cloud computing, you can easily distribute your 3D modeling anywhere in the world. You can share your visualization with clients all across the globe in mere seconds and allow them to experience your ideas with a few clicks of a mouse.

This is also a great way to significantly improve your project flow and bring dead time to a minimum. If there's one thing that clients hate the most, it's dead time and waiting. So, to keep everything running smoothly, you can easily distribute your 3D models when and where they're needed. This is a very important thing that clients take into consideration when they're thinking about hiring an architect or a company.

So, as you can see, visualization is a great marketing tool that allows you to take your marketing campaign one step forward and ensure successful buy-in generation. They are most excellent at impressing clients and helping you find your targeted audience with ease. Visualization allows you to impress your clients and it makes advertising your work much easier.

It can open a lot of doors to all sorts of great opportunities if it's used the right way. In most cases, visualization is what will help your clients decide on hiring you over your competition simply because it's much easier to get a project approval and start charging for your services when a client is convinced in your work.

Visualization in Service of Architectural Forensics

Architectural visualization affects various industries, including forensics! We've prepared some of the best visualization tools that can prevent disasters or even find the culprit if a catastrophe happens. Moreover, we'll talk about historical investigations and visualization!

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!

What is architectural forensic?

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.

EDABS – Earthquake Damage Analysis of Building Structures

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.

Limitation of Liability

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.

Historical Investigations

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.

Examples of Solving the Mysteries Utilizing Architectural Visualization

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.

Drone Strike in Miranshah, North Waziristan

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.

The Destruction of Yazidi Heritage  

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.

The Bottom Line

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!

Advanced 3D Visualization Tech Solutions for Architects That Aim to Be Cutting Edge

It was a matter of time – futuristic architectural visualization is behind the corner, waiting for us to utilize all the benefits of state-of-the-art tech solutions! Let's explore the best architectural visualization methods of today!

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 Can Do More Than Helping Us to Create 3D Maquettes

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.

Rapid Prototyping

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.

World's First 3D Printed Steel Bridge

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.

World's Largest 3D-Printed Concrete Bridge

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.

Virtual Reality

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.

VR Software – Entering the World of Virtual Reality in Real-Time

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!

Demonstrate Your Projects in the Virtual Reality Environment

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!

Augmented Reality

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.

1. ARki

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!

2. Smart Reality

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.

3. Pair

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.

4. Magic Plan

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?

5. Augment

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!

Mixed Reality

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.

Present Your Objects in the Real World

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.

Boost the Works at the Construction Site Using Mixed Reality Apps

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.

Holographic Architectural Visualization

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!

Touchable Holograms – The Next Level of Holographic Visualization

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.

The Bottom Line

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!