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Architectural rendering and design communication

The evolution of architectural rendering and design communication featuring the best and latest services in the industry.

Since time immemorial, design communication has always been one of the most essential facets of building design and architecture. It is that single element that bridges the gap between creativity and clients’ expectations. From sketches, blueprints, drawings, mock ups and the ilk, architects have always created the most 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 project will never get off the ground.

Over the years, the methods and manner of how architectural designs are being communicated to the clients have changed dramatically, especially when the industry experienced the digital revolution. Now, architectural rendering is the name of the game as it is far more effective and interactive than its traditional counterparts.

Gone are the days when architects just rely on their blueprints and sketching skills and just hope that their clients understand their vision. With the help of various visualization options like computer generated imagery, 3D images, photomontages, animation, 3D interactive and virtual reality walkthroughs among other things, architects can now effectively and sufficiently communicate their designs—along with their nuances and intentions-- to the clients. To better understand the relationship between architectural renderings and communication design, let’s take a look at how architectural rendering services evolved and developed over the years.

Computer-Aided Design (CAD)

This is the ‘godfather’ of architectural rendering and it’s the single most important tool that jumpstarted the communication design revolution. Rather than actual hand-drawn blueprints, architects started creating their design specifications with the help of computer systems, hence the name. At first, it was 2D CAD drafting and that, in and of itself, improved the quality of the design and increased the productivity of architects/designers right off the bat. As years progressed, CAD software underwent a massive development and so 3D geometries came to be. This undoubtedly increased the efficiency and productivity of architectural rendering and design communication by many folds.

3D Modeling and Rendering Software

As if that wasn’t enough, various 3D Modeling and Rendering software upped the ante on architectural rendering. Not only was 3D viewing possible, but they gave a more realistic and powerful model that allowed viewers to experience and discern the composition, geometry, materials and specifications of the design in a realistic and extensive manner.

Interactive 3D Rendering

Though 3D modeling and animation are amazing tools for client presentation, the total experience wouldn’t be enough without the client’s participation. This is where interactive rendering comes in. It allows viewers to roam around the 3D environment and even enable them to add some features to the design or model in a real-time manner. Such interactive features make visual presentations that much fun, free-flowing and collaborative. Interactive rendering is one of the most effective means of design communication because the human input is the front and centre of the whole experience.

Immersive 3D Rendering

This is interactive 3D rendering 2.0. In this type of rendering, the client’s participation as well as the human element of the whole experience are taken to a whole new level. Through immersive rendering, viewers are allowed to change, modify or optimize the design according to the style and manner of their choosing, in an extensive and visual manner. Things like design colors, textures and materials just to name a few. It is the total participatory visualization as it does not only allow clients to interactively experience the whole process but most importantly, it allows them to leave their imprints on the design.

Real time 3D Rendering and Interaction

Just like what its name suggests, the interaction in this type of 3D Rendering happens real time. This means that it involves real time sharing, viewing and the participation of clients and architects even if the design process is still ongoing. Clients can look at the design as it is still being developed and enables them to give feedbacks or suggest changes in minutes. Also, clients and designers/architects are given the option to choose a certain section to focus on and investigate. This way, productivity is being enhanced as the virtualization process happens at any angle.

Virtual Reality Presentations

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

Augmented Reality

If virtual reality supplants a real environment with a virtual counterpart, augmented reality overlays the real environment with artificial data. It’s like incorporating reality to computer-generated sensory effects; probably the ‘Inception’ of all design communication tools because it can really get mind-boggling, even to the initiated. Augmented reality takes viewers further than virtual environment could or will ever be because it allows them to be part of the whole experience, of the whole design and its vision. This is a new technology. It was even considered years ago as matter of science fiction and because of that, it’s still an element that doesn’t fit into the workflow of many architectural rendering firms. But a quick glance at what it’s capable of can convince even the staunchest of sceptics that it is the future of architectural rendering. It may not be as commonplace as virtual reality yet but it’s just a matter of time before that happens. It’s not a question of how or why but a question of when. And I believe it’s going to happen sooner than later.

Architectural rendering 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 perfectly complements the other. After all, what good is a design if it’s not communicated well to the client? So it’s highly important for an architectural rendering tool to be perfectly in tune with design communication so as to properly meet every client’s demands, needs and expectations. Architectural renderings and design communication both have undergone massive transformations over the years—all of which were for the better in the grand scheme of things.

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

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