Parallel with the development of the latest tools and software solutions, architectural visualization has grown, too. Using the latest 3D modeling and rendering programs, architects and 3D artists can complete various tasks much quicker and more easily than earlier, however, these tasks can also be tedious and time-consuming.
What do the experts have to say?
In an interview, one of the best architectural visualization artists, Peter Guthrie said: "It makes un-built architecture more immediate and allows for greater conversation about the built environment."
Believe it or not, but when it comes to 3D modeling, he uses SketchUp "because it's so quick, easy and so suited to the changeable nature of architectural design." He also explained that during the process of visualization he feels "a bit like a photographer walking around a building to get an idea for what he wants to shoot."
With that in mind, here are some tricks to resort to when using rendering software for architecture. Let's learn how to be more productive and to save lots of time simultaneously, using some available and free solutions.
If you're an architect, you know that the entire process, starting from hand-drawn sketches to the final product lasts too long. However, there are software solutions that can help you streamline some tasks and finish the process of 3D modeling much faster. ArchiCAD or Autodesk's AutoCAD Architecture can be incredibly helpful here.
Using AutoCAD Architecture, for example, you can create the 3D model of your building or interior design while working on 2D floor plans. With simple to use features, you can enter some parameters and create walls, window and door holes, roofs, stairs, and any other elements without lots of efforts.
Based on a few “pre-created” templates, you can adjust any of these elements the way that suits your design the most.
That way, you'll get perfect 2D floor drawings with different layers, line thickness, with suitable hatches – each element will be presented the way it needs to be, and at the same time, you'll get the entire 3D model ready for materialization and rendering. Add some textures and enjoy!
When it comes to 3D visualization, the entire process would be vain if your 3D model didn't include details. Whether you're working on the 3D model of the interior design, the model of the entire building, or you're trying to create a 3D model of your urban plan, your end results won't be hyper-realistic if you don't focus on the tiniest details.
However, the process of 3D modeling is time-consuming, and you'll probably spend hours trying to create street furniture, building elements such as windows, doors, solar panels, street furniture, paving, greenery, and other elements necessary for photorealistic architectural visualization.
Luckily, the commonly used software solutions for 3D modeling such as Autodesk’s 3ds Max or SketchUp allow you to save lots of time and get pre-created 3D models from their libraries.
These libraries contain architectural elements from numerous categories so you can download some items for free and improve your 3D model while saving lots of time. Besides, all 3D models are editable, which means that you’ll be able to adjust everything in accordance with your requirements.
Big corporations in the furniture manufacturing industry usually have in-house 3D artists for a good reason – they provide architects and designers with pre-created 3D models and technical drawings of their furniture, and the situation with carpentry manufacturers isn't any different.
That way, each brand gains more customers, and architects and designers can get the opportunity to use the real products in their designs.
In such a case, you can add realistic and detailed elements to your 3D model and present your clients how their building or interior design will actually look like. Instead of working on custom furniture and other elements, you can use and add something that is actually available on the market and stay ahead of the competition.
It's a win-win both for you and your clients and investors – you'll save lots of time, and they'll get a photorealistic visualization of their future homes.
One of the most commonly used programs for 3D visualization among architects is definitely V-Ray. However, for the best results, you have to adjust lots of parameters and waste lots of time on rendering, except if you own your own rendering farm. Well, as a good alternative to V-Ray, you can use Lumion.
All you have to do is to export your 3D model and save it as a Collada file. If you forgot to add some pre-created details from the library, it's okay because Lumion has its own library. Apart from street and interior furniture, other buildings, a wide spectrum of vehicles and realistic 3D models of humans and animals, Lumion provides you with a large base of photorealistic trees and plants.
Besides, you can choose the environment and select the most suitable landscape – mountains, rivers, seas, or urban environment, but you can also select a plane surface.
Another problem when it comes to architectural visualization is post-production. If you don't want to spend hours and hours editing your model in PhotoShop or some other vector software, Lumion will save you once again.
Well, using Lumion, you can select and adjust the sky, clouds, size and position of the sun, as well as other atmospheric influences such as snow, rain, and fog. That way, you'll avoid the entire process of post-production.
However, the best thing about Lumion is that you don't have to wait for your renders – after you adjust everything, you'll get photorealistic renders in a few seconds.
As we've mentioned before, the industry of architectural visualization supported by the cutting edge technology is an endless field.
If you'd like to amaze your clients or investors, you can spice your visualization a little bit and create a 3D animation. That way, your clients will be able to see the entire location and it will help you prevent some potential issues and mistakes.
Besides 3D animation, software solutions such as 3ds Max 2019 are compatible with VR headsets, which means that you can enter the world of virtual reality while editing scenes and get a better insight into the entire situation. Your clients and investors will be able to see your design from all angles, and more importantly, to feel the entire space before the beginning of the works on the construction site.
Similar to VR technology, you can use augmented reality and mixed reality apps and provide your clients with the quickest but hyper-realistic end results using your smartphone.
Thanks to the available technology, you can present your idea wherever you go, and using these free apps, your clients and investors can see your design even if they're miles away.
Each of these tips will help you increase productivity and decrease the efforts in your architectural visualization firm. You can find numerous architectural visualization software solutions, and each program is designed to help you streamline some processes back at your office.
If you take the best features of each tech-driven solution, the entire tedious process will be much simpler and quicker, but more importantly, you'll enjoy your job – everything will become more interesting and exciting.
By combining these methods, you'll save lots of money because these software solutions are cost-effective or free, you'll increase profits and attract more customers thanks to the better end results, and most importantly, you'll save lots of time. This means that you'll be able to work more, or to simply enjoy your free time.
What's your favorite architectural visualization software solution and what do you do to make the entire process quicker and more exciting? Let us know in the comments!