If you have wondered what the essential methods and processes of architectural visualization are, we picked some of the crucial aspects of successful architectural rendering. Step by step, tools for architectural visualization have developed into something amazing, but we are here to guide you through all the processes gradually.
Technology development affects various industries and businesses, but one of the most affected branches is architecture. Starting with advanced computers, 3D modeling software, all the equipment for visualization, and even holograms, architects have found a lot of benefits of modern technology.
Companies from all industries are focused on user experience for a reason. Aware of the possibilities, clients expect much more than earlier, so you must follow their conditions to grow your business and increase revenue. This kind of policy has affected architecture as well, and that's why architects should put more efforts than earlier to satisfy all the clients' demands and claims.
Since this cutting-edge technology is broadly spread worldwide, each architectural studio is trying to improve their business using the latest solutions. Only advanced technology and even better architectural ideas can attract clients and investors today. If you were wondering how to increase the revenue and satisfy the needs of each client, we can safely say that it’s best to combine all the available tools.
Earlier, the only common language between architects and clients worldwide used to be the image, but now, there are a lot of helpful and useful gadgets and equipment designed for advanced 3D visualization.
Having all of that in mind, we prepared some crucial information related to the pillars of an architectural visualization business. Let's go together through all the steps of successful visualization of an architectural company.
Although there are a lot of available techniques, the oldest and the most common architectural visualization is still the image. Due to the possibility of 2D printing and physically storing images, this type of visualization will live on forever. But, the other and the most crucial reason for keeping this type of visualization attractive for the last 30 years has been the development of 3D rendering software.
Creating hyper-realistic images is simpler than ever. The market offers various 3D modeling and rendering programs even for free, so architects took advantage of that.
Using 3ds Max or SketchUp, V-Ray, and PhotoShop, architectural visualization companies are able to create amazing, hyper-realistic renders quicker than ever before. Free online libraries offer various 3D models available to everyone.
Besides, established furniture manufacturers also offer to architects 3D models of their design, which facilitates the process of creating a detailed interior design. The 3D rendering software provides us with the opportunity of creating and applying textures and materials, and even adjusting both natural and artificial lights.
Thanks to all the available tools, the interior design created in such software can be incredibly lifelike.
Exterior design and urban planning
The same 3D modeling and rendering programs can produce stunning exterior designs and even urban planning visualizations for parks, squares, and entire settlements. There is the possibility of adding models like trees or other realistic elements of the environment such as buildings or parks.
The process of post-production using PhotoShop or other vector programs can improve renders and make them even more realistic. Having the option to add the environment into renders is impressive.
Besides, programs such as the latest version of Lumion enable us to add a 3D model into a real environment from around the world using pre-loaded 3D maps. Furthermore, software such as 3ds Max is suitable for creating the whole environment, whether it's in uneven terrain or an urban environment.
Since this is the simplest way of visualization, we can freely say that this type of rendering will remain attractive for a long time. Further development of image production will make renders even easier and boost the end products of rendering.
Some of the most popular rendering programs used in architecture are V-Ray, 3ds Max's Mental Ray, Maxwell, and Octane Render. Besides, there is also Lumion. The latest version of Lumion can process all the data even faster than earlier, providing a high-quality end product.
Video as a tool for architectural visualization
3D animation affected many industries such as the film industry, but the architecture industry also made great use of 3D animation. Instead of creating only hyper-realistic images, the development of 3D animation enabled us to create hyper-realistic videos of our 3D models.
Walk-through videos of the entire building or other architectural design improved the communication between a client and an architect. This type of visualization is the most interesting to investors since they can see the entire space even from a significant distance.
Videos as a tool of architectural visualization found the best use in urban planning. Because the showcasing an urban design requires a lot of images, a simpler way of presenting it is through a short video. The only disadvantage for architects is that they must make more detailed models, so everything can appear hyper-realistic.
Architects can decide what to show in the animation
As with image visualization, the architect can decide what to show in the animation. Whether it's going to be the animation of the entire project from the first or the third person visual perspectives, 3D animations are an excellent tool for architects.
This type of animation is especially useful for showcasing ecologically efficient buildings. In that case, the most significant parts of the project are the processes that make the building ecological, such as the schemes of natural ventilation, plans for ecological systems for heating and cooling the building, the schemes of the position of the sun in different seasons, etc.
Hyper-realistic 3D animation of such buildings can highlight all the important factors and help a team of architects sell their idea!
The most useful classic videos in architecture are those with time-lapse effects. Time-lapse is a great way of describing all the processes around the architectural building, such as atmospheric influences and the entire environment, including traffic frequency. A time-lapse video might have a significant influence on an investor's choice of location.
Some of the commonly used 3D animation programs in architecture for motion capture and keyframe animation are 3ds Max, Blender, Cinema 4D, iClone, and Maya.
Technology development affected architecture even more with the appearance of augmented reality apps, tools, and equipment. These tools are getting increasingly more optimized.
Unlike previous technology, AR solutions allowed people from various industries to experience previously inaccessible content, which has had the most potent influence on architecture. Besides architecture, augmented reality is extensively used in construction and engineering.
What is augmented reality?
Augmented reality produces virtual elements as an overlay to the real environment. Such apps can provide a real-time visualization service for architectural models using only 2D floor plans. The best thing about these apps is that they are compatible with iOS and Android, which means that architects can present their work anytime and anywhere using only a smartphone.
The latest AR technology, using a smartphone's main camera, can visualize a 3D model of a building at the actual site. After a camera recognizes the design, a screen overlays a virtual 3D model viewable from all sides, in a complete 360-degree view.
Besides the ability to show a 3D model based on floor plans, augmented reality apps have features for showing real-time shadows, materials, and textures. Such tools are incredibly useful both for presentations and the design process, as you can change the entire model easily. Another useful feature of AR apps is that architects can add pre-modeled established furniture designs into 3D models using a smartphone.
There is also the ability to draft floor plans. Besides saving a lot of time, such apps can save the results of the measuring as a DFX, PDF or JPG.
Some of the commonly used apps of this growing technology are:
● ARki – available for Android and iOS.
● Pair (formerly Visidraft) – available for iPhone and iPad.
● SketchAR – available for iOS, Android, and Microsoft’s HoloLens headset.
● MagicPlan – available for Android and iOS.
● SmartReality – available for Android and iOS.
One of the latest and the most advanced benefits of tech development is virtual reality. VR has affected the entire world! It crosses over almost all industries, but once again, architects have found the best way to put this futuristic technology from sci-fi movies into a practical role.
Something previously unimaginable is now available worldwide and at an affordable price.
What is virtual reality?
As the name itself suggests, virtual reality involves equipment that enables us to see and experience firsthand an imaginary or otherwise unapproachable space. Unlike video animations, VR equipment allows us to control our movement through the desired area.
Using only a headset, people can walk through a hyper-realistic area and observe the size of the location from the first person visual perspective.
What are the benefits of virtual reality in architecture?
As we mentioned before, VR has a significant impact on architecture. The best application of VR equipment used in architecture is the presentation of the inaccessible area or incomplete project. If a picture is worth a thousand words, what about virtual reality?
The VR equipment enables clients and investors to see and feel the space, but the most essential use of VR in architecture is by the architects themselves, as it can help them develop a better and more detailed design.
The fact that you can let the clients walk through your project alone will improve their experience. Besides, as an architect, you will gain greater credibility since your satisfied and interested clients will recommend you to others. That will help you grow your business and increase sales.
Thanks to virtual reality developers, we now have real-time rendering. This rendering method involves a CG environment with all the elements such as textures, materials, lighting, shadows, and other effects. With a delay of only a few milliseconds, real-time rendering technology is one of the most advanced features.
One of the commonly used combinations for creating virtual reality is the latest version of 3ds Max 2019 and HTC Vive headset or Oculus Rift headset. Using controllers, you can move around the created scene and even edit the entire project while 'inside'.
Other helpful VR software tools and apps commonly used in architecture are Storyboard VR, Fuzor, Autodesk LIVE, Autodesk Stingray, Matterport, Enscape, Shapespark, UNIGINE, and many more.
The bottom line
To succeed in this field of business, architectural visualization companies must provide their clients with all available rendering types. Visualization through images is essential for successful cooperation, but video animations and the use of augmented and virtual reality can dramatically increase the engagement. People are interested in modern technology solutions, so this looks like the best way of attracting a wider audience.
Besides the pillars of an architectural visualization company we mentioned above, we have to notice that some other useful high-tech tools for 3D visualization are 3D printers and the fastest growing trend of holographic imagery.
Technology is developing at the speed of light, so we just have to wait and see what's going to appear next! If you have some exciting ideas for architectural visualization improvements, let us know in the comments!