Architectural visualization serves many critical functions to convey aesthetics, mass, function, and meaning of the architect’s conceptual or final design, in relation to the owner’s requirements and intent for the new structure. Today’s visualization techniques stem from the history of model making (scaled replicas) which predates the Grecian and Roman empires. Ancient rulers utilized rapid expansion and grand architecture to demonstrate the empire’s power and expanding dominion.
The art and science of visually representing a proposed structure continue to thrive today as an art form and as a technical subset of architectural design. Architectural visualization services and techniques have developed into a distinct and thriving sub-market of the AEC industry. The architect or land developer’s vision can be expressed and experienced through a number of visually stunning technologies:
- 3D architectural renderings with true-to-life materials representation
- 3D stylized renderings to evoke a mood, tell a story or elicit a response
- 3D animations which add scenic motion such as flyovers or walk-through
- Computerized simulations of sun lighting or material properties
- Panoramic views to create a stunning 360-degree experience of proposed property
- ‘Old-School’ computer-generated pen-and-ink with watercolor rendering
3D BIM Technology and Visualization Techniques
Architectural visualization techniques are no longer constrained to client presentations and public approval forums. All of the above-mentioned end-use visualisation techniques will generate rather stunning computer-generated imagery, but the true power of visual technology is unleashed when mated with 3D BIM technology.
3D visualisation is the end result of powerful graphical software tools that are used to render traditional architectural drafting elements to simulate real-world, man-made materials and natural textures; or artistically modified versions of the same. When mated with 3D BIM technology, the underlying materials data input means a steel beam that is visually represented – will behave as a steel beam for the purpose of structural analysis, cost estimations, advanced bill-of-materials, and automated construction and erection sequencing.
In a recent study labeled ‘The Status of BIM Adoption on Six Continents’ has rated the overall BIM-application levels (internationally) as follows:
- 3D Coordination – 85.0%
- Cost Estimation – 75.0%
- Existing Conditions Modeling – 74.3%
- Design Authoring – 63.4%
- Structural Analysis – 60.0%
- Maintenance Scheduling – 30.1%
- Building System Analysis – 33.4%
From these statistics, the use of visualisation applications are not clearly evident – but in most of these distinct areas the marriage between 3D BIM technology and advanced visualisation techniques work hand-in-hand to generate a complete picture and performance model from building energy systems analysis – to structural and systems engineering – to construction planning and execution – and finally to facilities maintenance and energy conservation.
Five Visualisation Applications for 3D BIM Modeling
3D Design Collaboration – Traditionally, the design process would commence from a two-dimensional layout of structural elements, followed by architectural and MEP disciplines which sequentially build the desired structure. Each discipline relies on reserved space that is allocated for systems and structures, and final coordination checks are implemented to maintain minimum clearances per building codes. 3D BIM removes several steps in the design process, making systems coordination an integral part of the engineering and design process
The BIM model not only represents a data capture of building elements, but also a data representation (or visualization) of the entire project. BIMs for visualisation are increasing in use as an effective collaboration tool. A comprehensive BIM solar shading analysis to determine building orientation or photovoltaic system location is complete with visualisation techniques which demonstrate actual sun and shade characteristics at any time of day.
BIM projects that utilize advanced Visualisation techniques within the BIM framework can expect higher resolution and photorealistic graphics. The result is the ability to visualise building complexities in an interactive 3D application.
Presentation Methods of BIM for Buildings
Interior models are created to add vibrancy and display function to all types of architectural projects from residential, retail/commercial and public projects. Even before the services of an interior designer are engaged, it is becoming customary, for the sake of client presentations, to produce a 3d interior modeling of the project.
In the initial steps, a model of the desired room, entire floor space or an cross sectional view is created with specialized 3D software which will enable a CAD technician to assign surface and floor finishes that match the architect’s intentions. In addition, the appropriate furnishings, cabinetry, fixtures and appliances are also modeled in 3D. This is where the creative use of libraries of existing items are selected to build a scene. With the use of scale, color and texture, the interior model begins to display the intended ambiance or utilization functions of the areas.
Next, the interior scene is given an atmospheric effect by using light and shadow to create a visually stunning experience that can evoke a sense of relaxation or productivity. Finally, the entire project goes through a final rendering, where reflections are cast, textures are tweaked, detail is enhanced and subtle color enhancements are added. If required, post production work can include animation of the scene or creating exciting walk-through scenarios.
Mastering the art of creative 3d interior modeling combines science, technology and artistic insight to project a true quality rendition of the proposed project. Expect increased sales in real estate and greater industry recognition for architectural firms who take the time to present projects utilizing this cutting-edge technology.
Computer animation is a niche field. It requires special skills, tools, and, techniques that are costly and time-consuming to obtain. This fact makes outsourcing your animation needs a great choice. Here are 5 benefits to outsourcing animation.
Reduced Training/Hiring Cost No need to hire a full-time animator. You won’t even have to train anyone. You’ll find that outsourcing your animation needs will always cost less than hiring a dedicated animator or paying to train existing employees.
Quality Work Don’t settle for an intern or ask Joe from accounting to animate your next project. Outsourcing your animation means you are hiring the best in the industry. These professional animators will always provide top-notch work.
Better Use of Resources Don’t pay your employees to do work that they are not qualified to do. Let your employees do their job and allow them to specialize. Outsourcing your animation lets your employees do their best work while the animators do theirs.
Cutting Edge Technology As animation professionals, your outsourcing team will be using the industry standards in software and best practices. Your animation will be sleek, modern, professional, and, evergreen.
Competitive Advantage Either your competition is outsourcing or they are not. If they are, you risk getting left behind as they begin producing quality animations at a reduced cost. If they are not outsourcing, now is your chance to get a competitive advantage.