Architectural rendering and design communication

Sincetime immemorial, design communication has always been one of the most essentialfacets of building design and architecture. It is that single element thatbridges the gap between creativity and clients’ expectations. From sketches,blueprints, drawings, mock ups and the ilk, architects have always created themost ingenious and effective ways to communicate their designs to the client.It is a necessary skill not just in architecture, but the entire Architecture,Engineering and Construction (AEC) industry. Without it, a construction projectwill never get off the ground.

Over theyears, the methods and manner of how architectural designs are beingcommunicated to the clients have changed dramatically, especially when theindustry experienced the digital revolution. Now, architectural rendering isthe name of the game as it is far more effective and interactive than itstraditional counterparts.

Gone arethe days when architects just rely on their blueprints and sketching skills andjust hope that their clients understand their vision. With the help of variousvisualization options like computer generated imagery, 3D images,photomontages, animation, 3D interactive and virtual reality walkthroughs amongother things, architects can now effectively and sufficiently communicate theirdesigns—along with their nuances and intentions-- to the clients. To betterunderstand the relationship between architectural renderings and communicationdesign, let’s take a look at how architectural rendering services evolved anddeveloped over the years.

Computer-Aided Design (CAD)

This isthe ‘godfather’ of architectural rendering and it’s the single most importanttool that jumpstarted the communication design revolution. Rather than actualhand-drawn blueprints, architects started creating their design specificationswith the help of computer systems, hence the name. At first, it was 2D CADdrafting and that, in and of itself, improved the quality of the design andincreased the productivity of architects/designers right off the bat. As yearsprogressed, CAD software underwent a massive development and so 3D geometriescame to be. This undoubtedly increased the efficiency and productivity ofarchitectural rendering and design communication by many folds.

3D Modeling and Rendering Software

As ifthat wasn’t enough, various 3D Modeling and Rendering software upped the anteon architectural rendering. Not only was 3D viewing possible, but they gave amore realistic and powerful model that allowed viewers to experience anddiscern the composition, geometry, materials and specifications of the designin a realistic and extensive manner.

Interactive 3D Rendering

Though3D modeling and animation are amazing tools for client presentation, the totalexperience wouldn’t be enough without the client’s participation. This is whereinteractive rendering comes in. It allows viewers to roam around the 3Denvironment and even enable them to add some features to the design or model ina real-time manner. Such interactive features make visual presentations thatmuch fun, free-flowing and collaborative. Interactive rendering is one of themost effective means of design communication because the human input is thefront and centre of the whole experience.

Immersive 3D Rendering

This isinteractive 3D rendering 2.0. In this type of rendering, the client’s participationas well as the human element of the whole experience are taken to a whole newlevel. Through immersive rendering, viewers are allowed to change, modify oroptimize the design according to the style and manner of their choosing, in anextensive and visual manner. Things like design colors, textures and materialsjust to name a few. It is the total participatory visualization as it does notonly allow clients to interactively experience the whole process but mostimportantly, it allows them to leave their imprints on the design.

Real time 3D Rendering and Interaction

Justlike what its name suggests, the interaction in this type of 3D Renderinghappens real time. This means that it involves real time sharing, viewing andthe participation of clients and architects even if the design process is stillongoing. Clients can look at the design as it is still being developed andenables them to give feedbacks or suggest changes in minutes. Also, clients anddesigners/architects are given the option to choose a certain section to focuson and investigate. This way, productivity is being enhanced as thevirtualization process happens at any angle.

Virtual Reality Presentations

Throughpowerful software tools like Maya and 3D Max, clients can now experience thelook and feel of a building as if it were already built through the help ofvirtual reality walkthroughs and presentations. Maya in particular, is perfectfor virtual reality presentations as it boasts a robust and extensive CGpipeline core that can handle even the most challenging 3D Rendering anddesigning challenge imaginable. On the other hand, 3D Max is one of the most ifnot the most versatile three-dimensional model creator because it canseamlessly operate with most 3D rendering software in the market, allowing forhigh-quality renders. It’s preferred by most architectural rendering studiosbecause not only is it powerful but it is also collaborative. All in all,virtual presentations are such difference makers because they give depth anddynamic to a design that cannot be achieved using other means or methods.

Augmented Reality

Ifvirtual reality supplants a real environment with a virtual counterpart,augmented reality overlays the real environment with artificial data. It’s likeincorporating reality to computer-generated sensory effects; probably the‘Inception’ of all design communication tools because it can really getmind-boggling, even to the initiated. Augmented reality takes viewers furtherthan virtual environment could or will ever be because it allows them to bepart of the whole experience, of the whole design and its vision. This is a newtechnology. It was even considered years ago as matter of science fiction andbecause of that, it’s still an element that doesn’t fit into the workflow ofmany architectural rendering firms. But a quick glance at what it’s capable ofcan convince even the staunchest of sceptics that it is the future ofarchitectural rendering. It may not be as commonplace as virtual reality yetbut it’s just a matter of time before that happens. It’s not a question of howor why but a question of when. And I believe it’s going to happen sooner thanlater.

Architecturalrendering and design communication go hand in hand like a hammer and a nail,nuts and bolts, shoes and shoelaces—if you get my drift. One perfectlycomplements the other. After all, what good is a design if it’s notcommunicated well to the client? So it’s highly important for an architecturalrendering tool to be perfectly in tune with design communication so as toproperly meet every client’s demands, needs and expectations. Architecturalrenderings and design communication both have undergone massive transformationsover the years—all of which were for the better in the grand scheme of things.

And withthe way things are going, and with the way the AEC industry has embraced andutilized technological advancements to its advantage, the future can only getbetter for architectural rendering and design communication.