How to Create Realistic Architectural Visualization
How to Create Realistic Architectural Visualization

An architect is an artist. One of the most sophisticated and intricate art forms out there is creating the world around us, and at their forefront is the exciting and complex world of architecture. To create an entirely realistic architectural visualization, you need to pay attention to a lot of things.

An architect's job is tough. That is why we've decided to guide you through the architectural visualization process and help you learn and adapt realism into your practice.

Making a realistic architectural render is different from creating a run-of-the-mill project and requires a different approach. Below, we'll talk about architectural visualization in general, give you some crucial tips and tricks to keep in mind, and we’ll explain the process from start to finish.

The Basics of Architectural Visualization

Architectural visualization has been around since the dawn of the digital age. Architecture is almost as ancient as civilization, but since we've added computing power to the mix, the whole artform has fundamentally changed forever, and arguably for the better.

Instead of scribbling up wild ideas on a piece of paper, the modern architect works with a sophisticated computer software piece, often CAD, to create any design they can think of. That is a far more straightforward approach, and it allows people who don't have a particularly pronounced skill in drawing to have a crack at architecture.

All you need is creativity and a lot of effort and time. So, if architecture is simple, architectural visualization is even simpler, right? Wrong. Architectural visualization is a complex process that uses creativity and advanced computing power to bring your design to life before the construction company starts working on it.

This creates a fully 3D model that your client can transverse to observe your design's nooks and crannies.

It is applied in most architecture fields and makes the whole industry far simpler to comprehend for non-architects. It has fantastic use cases in marketing and generally makes things far more manageable.

Who is Your Client?

One of the most important things you need as an architect is people skills. A good architect will know how to create their project and how to pitch it to potential clients in such a way that they really "get it."

Now, as an artist, explaining your piece of art is far more challenging than presenting the work of another, and the pressure is ramped up when you have to sell your work.

Your client is most likely not an architect, so you'll need to learn how to make your work appeal to them. The best way to do this is to present your work in a simple, easy to understand, and digestible manner.

Analysing your client is ideal if you want to cater your work towards their specific needs. While clients might know their particular project's requirements, they'll likely have no idea about the actual execution itself.

This is why you need to be as simple, forgiving, and straightforward as possible – and you can do so by utilizing architectural visualization in your sales pitch.

Applications of Architectural Visualization

Architectural visualization is applied in architecture. It's a no brainer, but what is a bit more complicated is how architectural visualization is used. Well, it serves a crucial role in almost every step of the way, from understanding the creation you've made yourself to pitching it to the potential client.

It's also ideal for marketing, as most people interested in actually buying parts of your design aren't going to be your colleagues – they'll be regular Joes.

Appeal, aesthetic, and function are all that clients, investors, and customers care about, so you'll need to make sure that your design ticks all of the boxes. If you do so, everyone from the client to the marketing team will be satisfied with your design.

Now, a common issue with this is that people tend to misunderstand this practice. While you should try to streamline and simplify your design to appeal to people, that doesn't mean you should make it plain, ordinary, or boring. That applies only to the way that you present your art, not how you create it.

Talk With Your Client About Their Vision

This is perhaps one of the most important first steps in architectural visualization that has nothing to do with creating the design itself. Talking to your client about what they're looking for will give you all of the crucial metrics and requirements you need to consider and fulfil when creating your work.

Sure, you might have an elaborate, titan of a structure that you'd like to create, but when you're working for a client, you'll need to make it work. Take notes of what your client is saying and do your best to understand their vision.

If you think that some aspects of their vision can be improved, don't be shy to tell them. It's not all about blindly listening to what the client is saying – it's about creating a compromise between the two of you to make the project right.

By having this crucial discussion, you'll have enough data to make everything work as well as possible, cutting down on the chances of misunderstanding, thus minimizing the amount of finalization and revisions you have to do later on.

Analyse The Project

After you've collected all of the data from your client, reached a compromise, and compiled everything, it's time to analyse that data. Data makes the world go round, and that isn't solely restricted to architecture.

Review, revisit, and analyse the data as much as you think is needed before you have an ample understanding of what you need to do. The garnered data analysis is one of the essential pre-planning practices you need to do if you want to ensure success.

That will give you a good idea of the budgeting, the time-frame, and the project's successful completion according to all metrics.

The 3D Modelling Process

The 3D modelling process is when you get to work on creating your architectural visualization. Before you can render it in 3D and present it, you'll need to create the crucial elements that make up the bulk of your project.

Now, 3D modelling is quite complex, and how you handle it is up to you. There are, however, some common problems that a lot of people face in this step, and we'll outline them, as well as the solutions below.

Uncanny valley

The uncanny valley is known to all architects, and it's probably the most common issue that architects face. While it's been mostly eliminated by the advance of software, it still tends to happen. Designers create 3D models that are seemingly realistic but have something off about them that is unsettling. This can tarnish a design faster than anything else.

The right solution for this is to avoid over-detailing anything, as it could lead to the uncanny valley.

Disproportionate detailing

On the topic of detailing, different things require different amounts of it. But, making the detailing too different between design elements could make your project look a bit off-putting. Make sure to make the primary aspect of your design first, and then create 3D models that complement it. Don't spend too much time and effort on one thing and make the others lack behind.

Improper structuring

Structuring is a complicated process, and it can get out of hand fast. While anything is possible in software, you'll need to look at your design's practical application. This means you'll have to fracture, structure, and design the framework with practical application in mind, which should be the driving force behind all of your 3D modelling,

Add Lighting

Lighting makes the whole design come to life. There is nothing that can make your architectural model more lively and buzzing than some good lighting. It will also dictate how people perceive your design in more ways than one. Lighting is crucial if you're looking to make everything as realistic as possible.

With that out of the way, it's time to get into the complexity of lighting. Since it's one of your visualization’s essential parts, taking enough time and effort to make it as good as possible is critical.

Lighting, while a crucial element, should be as subtle as possible. The lighting needs to highlight your design and models, so you'll have to follow the golden rules. Some of the most important things you should remember about lighting are:

●        Spreading the light around your design

●        Using realistic and natural light sources

●        Using more than one light source

●        Utilize task lighting

●        Focusing the light on important aspects and elements

●        Create a lighting scheme

●        Pick the correct lighting hue

If you take all of these rules into consideration, you'll light your project so that it only complements the realism of your 3D elements.

Create the Surrounding Elements

Once you've created the centrepiece of your design, you'll need to pay special attention to the elements that make it come to life. This includes people, ornaments, and utilities, as well as the landscape around your design.

The surrounding elements create a sense of place and add that final design element. This is the last process in designing an architecture project, and you should take special care to make it as well as possible.

Take your specific design into account and brainstorm what elements might compliment it best. If you're designing a commercial building, you'll want to add different elements compared to a factory floor.

Many elements are floating around the internet, and a significant portion of them are free. While you can utilize these elements in your design, you can also use them to gain inspiration to create your very own pieces.

The 3D Rendering Process

Take the 3D rendering process as a critical portion of your architectural process. It works to generate a two-dimensional computer image that is reliant on the 3D data from your design.

Rendering is the finalization of the design process. Depending on your software and hardware, the 3D rendering process will take different amounts of time and will ultimately be different. That is when your project comes to life, and it will give you essential feedback on what might need some fine-tuning later on in the process.

Fine-Tuning Your Project

Once all of the minor issues have been highlighted by the 3D render, it's time to fine-tune every aspect of your architecture visualization. That means that, in this step, you'll need to address all of the minor flaws. By now, your design should be free of any fundamental issues, so the fine-tuning process shouldn't take long.

A common issue with this step is that people tend to overdo it. An artist's job is never really finished, and it's easy to get carried away. If you want to do it right, you should only pay attention to the things that need fine-tuning and end them once you're satisfied – do not revisit your project more than you have to, as that will make meeting the deadline far harder and significantly boost the amount of work you're doing.

In Conclusion

Keeping the client as happy as possible is an essential part of any architectural visualization process. While the process itself is far from easy, as long as you keep these tips and tricks in mind, you'll be able to create a stunning body of work without breaching any budget limitations or deadlines.

Architecture is an art form, and you're the artist that's in charge of creating it. But, unlike other art, this one has a real-world application, so you'll have to follow the rules if you want to make any money with your art. If you understand this and comply with the rules mentioned above, the process should be as easy as possible from start to finish.