11 Common Mistakes Made During Architectural Visualization
11 Common Mistakes Made During Architectural Visualization

The process of architectural visualization is very time-consuming. It requires quite a lot of attention to detail. Any process that is as complex as architectural visualization provides the risk of human error – and some mistakes happen more often than others.

These mistakes are far less likely to happen if you're aware of their presence – and that's precisely why we've decided to compile a list of the eleven most common mistakes in architectural visualization. As long as you keep these common mishaps in mind, you're going to take your rendering and your business to the very next level!

Perspective Issues

When you're working with architectural visualization – you're working with stills. Stills have an essential use in architectural rendering as they allow you to convey your render in a quick, digestible, and concise manner. They're also a fantastic marketing tool, meaning they're used by more than just the architectural illustrator.

While stills have a fantastic implementation in all kinds of architectural dealings – they're defined by perspectives. While beauty might be within the beholder's eye, it's up to the creator to express the beauty to its full extent.

Stills aren't the only thing that can suffer from improper perspectives. If you're presenting your design in a 3D environment, setting lackluster viewpoints can be disastrous. Fantastic renders and successful deals are about selecting the right angles that work for your design, rather than against it.

We've compiled some top tips for communicating your design through the right perspectives, which are as follows:

●        Use a grid to communicate the right perspective;

●        Pay a lot of attention to the angles;

●        Set the right environment for your perspective;

●        Under no circumstances should you offset your design;

●        Always center-point your design;

●        Pay attention to scaling and sizing;

Recycling People, Sculptures, and Other Models

An artist's job is never truly finished. Sure, you might be done with your design, but are you? A lot of artists always find little detail to modify or some minor thing to change. On the other side of the same coin are lazier artists that recycle everything.

The beauty of architectural visualization and rendering is that you use building blocks to create something magical. Creating fresh, new, and intricate design elements to augment your initial design is always a preferable thing to do.

Companies aren't too keen on recycled content, and using the same design elements in different renders might make your content seem a bit repetitive. While some exclusions to this rule do exist, you should strive to deliver original content with every visualization.

Recycled models such as people, sculptures, or foliage are fantastic tools for creating drafts and initial renders – but for the best render, you'll want to be as original as possible.

Going Full Sci-Fi

The beauty of architectural visualization is that there are no limits whatsoever – literally. The results are only as complex, intricate, and elaborate as your capabilities and imagination. While this might sound fun, it can get out of hand in no time at all.

It's essential to keep your architectural visualizations within the limits of reality. The primary purpose of architectural visualization is to present a prospect in a simulated environment that fits within the laws, budget, and perspective of a real-life environment.

Going overboard is a surefire way to blow the budget and create something that won't fit the initial project description. It's important to route your architectural visualization in the right direction from the very start, and do your very best not to get carried away.

This doesn't mean that you should avoid pushing boundaries. Pushing boundaries and maximizing resources should be your top priority as an architectural designer – so go wild, but not too wild that you create something otherworldly.

Entering the Uncanny Valley

The uncanny valley phenomenon is one of the terrifying things out there. It's a rule of aesthetics that dictates if something resembles something else, but not close enough to pass as a simple interpretation. It's when something is very subtly wrong, but it affects the fundamentals so that it makes it unnatural and repulsive to the human eye.

While the uncanny valley is a pre-programmed phenomenon in our brains put in place to protect us from other hominids – the phenomenon can theoretically extend to architectural renders. An excellent way to tell if your design is entering the uncanny valley is by simply observing it.

Through careful observation, you can determine if something simply doesn't fit within your visualization. If you notice something is off – don't be afraid to change it.

While buildings themselves might suffer from this to an extent, nowhere is the uncanny valley effect more apparent than with humans. Including humans in your renders is a fantastic way to add some life to your design, but if the human models aren't up to par – changing them should be your primary task.

Reflection Renders

Adding reflections to your architectural visualization might be one of the most useful ways to breathe life into an idea – but going overboard can have the contrary effect. Reflections can make your design stand out among the crowd, particularly if they're done right.

Like any other feature, adding reflections is a very intricate and complex talent. If someone doesn't know how to handle this correctly, it will stand out in their work like a sore thumb.

Through proper reflections, you achieve a symbiotic relationship between your design and its environment, giving it a new dose of realism. If you want to avoid adding too many reflections in your design, beta testing is an excellent way to do it.

If you work within a team, you should discuss your render with your colleagues. If not, show it to a friend with a good eye. Lastly, you should overview your finished design and ensure that it's up to standard before sending it further.

Placing Vegetation Top of Buildings

Biophilic architecture is very cool, and it might be the future of architecture as we know it. While this revolutionary style might show a lot of promise for the future, it's currently unsustainable. Placing vegetation on top of buildings might be gorgeous aesthetic-wise, but you'll have to consider such a design's real-world implementation.

A recent article stated that a neighborhood that consisted of organically projected buildings was swarmed by mosquitoes and other insects – bringing new light and new problems to organic design. Having a green thumb is one thing – being overambitious is another thing entirely.

If you're just aiming for a little vegetation for presentation purposes, you should still avoid it. Plants require constant maintenance and aren't toys – they're living breathing beings. Besides, adding greenery on top of buildings is not only unrealistic – it's as cliche as a pool on top of the roof.

Having Poor Lighting

Lighting is one of the main aspects of the composition in your architectural visualization. Through proper lighting, you can hug the main objective point of your render in a real-life manner. Poor lighting will not only make your building seem unrealistic – it'll tarnish the whole viewpoint of the project.

If you've got everything else nailed down, poor lighting is still going to stand out by a long shot – it just breaks apart the whole conception behind your design. To help you avoid this, we've devised some golden lighting rules to follow if you want to ensure your lighting manipulation is top-tier.

●        Don't focus on anything too much;

●        Source your lighting from different angles;

●        Optimize your CRI ;

●        Play around with the lighting and find out what works;

●        Soften the light up with natural shades;

●        Optimize your materials and models for lighting;

●        Make your lighting and reflections complement each other;

●        Include a spill light within your design;

No Focal Point to Your Design

Without focus, all your design boils down to one big architectural mess. Emphasizing your main object is essential if you're looking to present your architectural visualization piece in the right light.

A focal point is one of the most integral parts of any render, as it forces the viewer's perspective towards one singular point. The magic of this is that if you do everything right, the more people look at your render, the more fine details they'll notice.

The space inside your focal point is called positive space, while the space outside of your focal point is known as negative space. The more details you cram into your negative space, the more elaborate and intricate your project becomes – but the more attention you place on your positive space, the more polished and professional your overall design will look.

These are the simple rules of composition. Your architectural visualization is not merely a render – it's a piece of art. Through focal points in your design, you tell a serpentine story to the observer – thus adding value to your render.

Trying to Show Too Much

You should show, and not tell – but if you show too much, you'll overwhelm. While this might sound like an elaborate tongue twister, it's the absolute truth for architectural renders. A lot of rookie designers and a fair share of industry professionals can't help but fall in the pit of adding too many elements to their design.

Architectural visualization composition is all about striking a perfect balance and pace in all aspects of your design. An excellent way to avoid showing too much is by looking at industry professionals for inspiration.

Whether you're working on a passion project or a commission, striking the perfect balance in your composition is essential. You want to communicate your design with the viewer, so the best way to find the right balance is to show your work off.

Get a second opinion from a friend or colleague, and consider their input. Getting as much feedback on your design allows you to optimize it to the best of your ability – ultimately resulting in a better product.

Adding Way Too Much Color

While color is a fantastic way to add some flamboyance to your design, adding too much of it could tarnish the design's integrity. The primary purpose of architectural visualization is to present something in a real-life simulacrum.

This means that most, if not all, of the elements that make up your architectural visualization should fall in some realistic norms. Adding too much color to the design elements, textures, or virtually any aspect of your design will undoubtedly offset its aesthetic.

The colors and the way you present them should highlight the contrast between your positive and negative space, uplift the general mood of your design, and establish particular elements. If you're adding too many colors, you're actively counterbalancing the whole design as a result.

Making Everything a Bit Too Perfect

Making everything a bit too perfect is a one-way ticket to the uncanny valley. Aside from this, adding too many fine details is a guaranteed way to overwhelm your audience. While the main point of architectural visualization is communicating your design to your clients, making everything too perfect will seem unrealistic.

The real world is imperfect, and its imperfections are the cornerstones of realism. When you're working on an architectural render, it's important to remember not to be a perfectionist. Your render should represent something in a real-life environment at the end of the day, not a fantasy.

In Conclusion

Making an ideal architectural render takes a lot of time and effort – and just like anything in life, it doesn't come without its fair share of mistakes. When you're working on your next project, keep all of these in mind if you want to ensure that things are going as seamlessly as possible.