The roots to architectural visualization can be traced back to the prehistoric period when humans built their first homes out of wood, grass, and leaves. Even though many things have changed when it comes to how we build things, the principle of representing the design of a certain structure remains fundamentally the same.
In the prehistoric period, people used to draw the designs in the sand and dirt and now we do this on computers. Even though the technology has drastically improved along with the skills and methods, the basic principle is the same – we present and visualize what a certain project will look like before starting the construction process.
However, technology hasn’t necessarily made things any easier, as better options demand a higher quality of work. Today it’s no longer enough just to represent a certain design, but you need to make the visualization immersive and realistic with many details.
Today we are going to talk about some do’s and don’ts of architectural visualization that will help you finish up projects with better results.
A lot of designers forget what the basic goal of every architectural visualization is – impressing the customers and communicating the details of a certain architecture project the best you can. With all the software, techniques, creativity, and artistry, people get carried away and forget why they are doing the project.
A lot of designers make the project about themselves and focus most of their attention on things that they think matter, but those things might be simply irrelevant to your client. Learn as much as possible about a certain project before starting visualizing it, as this is how you will know what matters.
Many people forget or simply avoid working on details after they’ve finished the “major” portion of their visualization. However, the devil is in the details and you will never be able to blow someone away with your visualization unless you invest time and hard work in fine-tuning all the details.
Let’s say you are working on a visual representation of an interior design, adding furniture, proper walls, and windows is important. However, you need to include shadows, lighting, consider light sources and how they behave with the shadows, as well as the objects within the place. Simply put, you need to work on as many details as possible to make the visualization realistic.
As we strive to finish our project on time and tweak it as much as we can, we often get so caught up in our work that we forget about taking a break. More doesn’t mean better and if you work 10 hours every day non-stop, you might feel like you are accomplishing something but you are probably missing out on a lot of creative ideas and making mistakes.
Go socialize with other people, get out of the apartment, get off topic completely and refresh your mind. If possible, try to travel while you work, as this is how you can break down those barriers you have in your head and get inspired to create better visualizations. Experience the real world so that you can represent it in your work more truthfully.
You can have as many good ideas as you want and put them in your notebook every day, but if you don’t act on them and don’t learn how to realize them, they won’t do you any good.
Bear in mind that your ideas are only as good as your ability to execute them. If you have the emotional and creative capacity that allows you to come up with artistic pieces instantly, then you have an advantage.
However, if you haven’t put in the time to executt them properly they won’t do you much good. Practice makes perfect, so don’t rush things and take the time you need to develop new techniques and perfect the ones you have.
Don’t forget that architectural visualization is a profession just like any other and that it requires discipline and hard work. Yes, it is a creative job that gives you artistic freedom to some extent, but it is a job like any other that requires diligence, organization, and time management. You can’t take a break every time something presents an issue and think that you will be able to handle it later.
At the same time, the projects of architectural visualizations can sometimes take months to finish and you need to properly organize yourself to ensure that you will finish everything on time. Remember, the faster you finish a project, the sooner you will be able to take on another one and make more money.
No matter if you’re working in an architecture company or you are working independently as a freelance visualizer, you need to rely on other people’s help from time to time. It doesn’t matter if you’ve learned everything on your own so far and you are a bit of a lone wolf. This doesn’t mean that your peers won’t be able to help you.
The field of architectural visualization is very wide and there are always things you don’t know. At the same time, things constantly change and it can be difficult to keep track of all the new things. Talk to your coworkers or find a community of visualization artists if you are a freelancer so that you can exchange knowledge and share ideas.
It is important to have your own style and look to perfect yourself in one primary style, however, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t’ expand and try to work in a different style. Creating your own personal brand is important, but people won’t always want you to do what you do usually, and the more versatile you are, the more work you will have.
Perfecting multiple styles will help you improve overall and help you understand where you can mix different approaches to come up with something really unique and special. Learning new visualization and rendering techniques will help you meet the demands of the market and understand your profession much better.
Most people who limit themselves to sticking with one style, also limit themselves with the software they use to do their work. Of course, the software on which you learned to do your work and where you feel comfortable the most is what you will always go for, but a professional improves only when he keeps challenging himself.
Some software solutions have limitations that others don’t and you will have to use them. Some are simply better suited for a certain type of work and this is why learning to use several of them is generally a good idea.
Even though there are many pre-established practices that you will learn in architectural visualization it doesn’t mean that all the work you will do is predetermined with the sets of techniques and methodologies that you will be using. When you have enough theoretical and practical knowledge, you will be able to come up with solutions on your own.
When that moment comes and you have the inspiration to innovate and come up with something new, don’t be afraid of taking the risk and putting your creativity to work. After all, this is an artistic job where creative ideas have value and can be the competitive edge you need.
One of the worst things you can do with any job and especially those that require creativity is to compare your work to someone else’s. There will always be others who are better than you. Simply put, only a small number of people have that exceptional talent and put in the insane amount of work needed to make them exceptional.
Looking at someone else’s work that is much better than yours can demotivate you. Additionally, you can’t compare yourself to people who have been doing this for over 15 years while you’ve been doing it for 3. Focus on yourself and compare your work now with your best work in the past.
In the end, remember that it’s important to follow your own instinct and sometimes do things your way. Being an architectural visualization artist means that you need to have your independence and learn to make decisions on your own. Every project is different, so you need to establish your own rules that work for you and can help you deliver a high-quality final product.