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Success factors for architectural visualisation projects

In this section, we would try to describe the main concepts relating to Success factors for Architectural Visualisation projects, quality and what quality means in the context of Architecture. We conclude by defining the idea of having a critical success factor. On top of that, we would talk about Architectural Visualisation Business Plan (AVBP), a term that you will understand more later in this article.

Let start!

To be able to define the concept of Architectural Visualisation project, we first have to discuss briefly the theories of Architecture and architectural visualisation separately.

A rather simplistic view of architecture is “both the process and the product of planning, designing, and constructing buildings or any other structures.” (Wiki).
Architectural Visualisation can be seen analytically as consisting of the components structure, surroundings, interiors, environment, light and materials.
According to (Wiki) Architectural Visualisation or Rendering is defined can also be described more synthetically: [alert class=”alert-info” ]Images that are generated by a computer using three-dimensional modelling software or other computer software for presentation purposes are commonly termed “Computer Generated Renderings.[/alert]

As that being said this, remind me to mention that the Architecture is accompanied by all kinds of Illustrations of structures since the beginning of this science and profession. So In this context Architectural Visualisations is the outcome of the symbiosis between architecture and Computer Generated Images or in short CGI is the approach that we adopted by utilising modern technologies.

It has been widely popular for some well-established architectural practices to design a building, spaces or large spaces with structures (entirely virtually) just for the purpose of their portfolio or contest.
So I guess we can conclude this introduction with the following: nowadays the general understanding of Architecture can be defined as: [alert class=”alert-info” ]The design of any type of structure whether physical or conceptual, real or virtual.[/alert]

Okay, are you still with me? Let’s continue to the fun part.

Architecture + Architectural Visualisation

The fundamental organisation of a system, embodied in its components, their relationships to each other and the environment, and the principles governing its design and evolution are critical, and they cannot exist without each other.

If this was an equation it would look like that;
[alert class=”alert-info” ]Architecture *(Concept + Design) + Architectural Visualisation / Clients = Great building.[/alert]

Simple as that, right? Please, don’t fall asleep we have a few other points to mention here.

Besides these somewhat static definitions of architecture, it can be understood more functionally to gain an understanding of what activities are associated with architecture.
Each project can be described with different models for different viewpoints, layers or dimensions of the architecture to lay out different aspects for analysis and planning of designs, evaluation of them, and documentation of the implemented engineering parts.
Architecture descriptions are used for further specification, design and development work on stages that are within the architecture. Architecture descriptions are in the case created by different roles and different people than those who use them for this further work.

Architectural Visualisation Business Plan

There is something at TALLBOX that we called Architectural Visualisation Business Plan (AVBP). It is a term invented by us, based on our experience which we use to define a well-placed strategy for every project for all of our clients, but please don’t take it too seriously and call it as whatever you like.
I hope you still remember that an architectural project is consistent with different roles, stages etc., right?

It is entirely the same with Architectural Visualisation projects.

There are different stages made by different roles and people. Architectural Visualisation project can be seen as a collection of all those stages and models, necessary for managing and developing an architectural presentation of images, animations or virtual reality simulators as a result.
It is vital that the whole process of creating a CGI project is derived from the visions and business strategies of an arch.practice or developer.
Only then the Architectural Visualisation Business Plan (AVBP) enables the organisation to achieve its business goals, which are delivering good quality products that will make every end client happy!

So far so good. Stay positive we are just starting!

Lately, the concept of Architectural Visualisation projects and its success factors have been defined as follows.
Visualising a project can serve multiple purposes, one is to communicate the visual appearance of materials, colour, space, thus the design, to an end client, broad audience, another business, to an engineering practice or governmental approval.
The other purpose is to serve as an evaluation tool, where different design ideas can be evaluated in order to solve a problem.

As a small part of our AVBP, every project brief should consist of critical factors.

  • Amount of details (strongly related to the temporary state of the project). Think of trees, cars, people, materials, furniture. Are these made in 3D or added later on Post-production phase? Are the final images realistic or stylized/abstract?[alert class=”alert-info” ]Attention! Too much detail on that stage of the visualisation will give the impression the project is already finished.[/alert]
  • The topic of the image. What is the primary purpose and communication? The overall atmosphere, the internal space, the building in general, the colours, the materials, infrastructure, the use of the space and his inhabitants?[alert class=”alert-info” ]Attention! Based on that purpose of the image we can add more information to it and make it work for them[/alert]
  • Style of the image. Also artistically, how the project should be represented? Cartoon-like, grungy, sketchy, realistic, abstract, warm, sterile etc.[alert class=”alert-info” ]Attention! The style of the image can help you get your message across.[/alert]

Please, be mindful and consider these topics as relevant for the conceptual phase of every architectural visualisation project. On the other hand, an abundance of information may lead to drawing away the attention to something different than you want people to focus on.

  • For example, in an image, you want to emphasise the shape of a building, but by adding photo-realistic trees to the image, the building itself will look meagre.[alert class=”alert-info” ]Attention! The client should be always asked – What we are trying to communicate?[/alert]

Every visualisation project has a description!

Let’s take for an example.
We have to quickly create ultimate utopia.

[lead_text]Within two days, a fast 3D rendering or an interior design project with some custom furniture and decors. And our typical workflow is Autocad – Sketchup – 3Ds Max – Corona – Photoshop (the software is not that important here).[/lead_text]

Even if we have received BIM model, Sketch-up file or whatever is the file and documentation sent by the Interior Designer, we have to model, setting up light, creating and mapping textures in 3ds Max and rendering in Corona, then Post-Production in Photoshop, their operations can consume quite some time, BUT we will not use these techniques, as we don’t have enough time.

Besides, we are aiming at a conceptual and not a photo-realistic representation of our image. Therefore we are only going to use Sketch Up to model roughly Space and its proportions. After which we are going to use Photoshop to add some colour, furniture and people silhouettes, and finally we will create materials, shadows and light.

As we are still in the conceptual phase and our client (designer) don’t have decided some crucial parts,  a lot of emphases will be put onto the communication between, as it is very important to achieve fast result with decent quality in two days. We shouldn’t sit and wait for information, we have to push, request and push for that important information, otherwise, we could not be in control of our own comfort of expertise.

cgi images plan

50% progress and still no description?

Our project is not finalized, but at least we have managed to communicate the design which is 50% of the description. Therefore we have to solve the next 50% which are the important bit here.

[alert class=”alert-info” ]Attention! It is a good practice to ask at the beginning of each project for what use it would be that image/images. If it is for internal use we have to approach the work in a different scenario than if the purpose is to communicate with to the end client.[/alert]

Regardless of scope or scale, It is very convenient for yourself to make a list [alert class=”alert-success” ]Business effectiveness results when the company increases its market share beat competitors improve quality or cements a tighter relationship with customers.[/alert]of questions and important points beforehand, so you have something to guide you and form the project description while you’re working on the project from the beginning, which will lead to a smoother process.

Quality of 3D Visualisation service.

There seem to be very few articles or places where the quality of CGI projects has been discussed, at the expense of the vast amount of technical and marketing articles posted over the Internet.

Therefore, in this part of Success factors for architectural illustrations, we aim at a preliminary definition of quality of 3D rendered images, based on business and client requirements.

Good quality is the one that brings value to the organization and its clients.

There are two factors to remember about value:

1) Value does not unfold naturally from building a 3D Practice, it requires a systematic analysis, a lot of business thinking and orchestration to succeed.

2) The value actually involves two interacting concepts: financial efficiency and business effectiveness. Financial efficiency results from reducing costs or enhancing the financial yield from investments.

Alongside these two factors, I have laid another example on the topic of Cost-Effective Types of Architectural Visualisations. Where I explain in shortly how different types of 3D visualisation services can be used accordingly to the budget of each project, without any drop in quality.

The chart I’ve made explains in a simple way how the whole system work.

architectural visualisation business plan 2
Architectural Visualisation business plan chart

But wait! It is that simple;

  1. Conformance to agreed and fully understood requirements;
  2. Fitness for purpose or use – satisfying customer expectations and understanding their needs;
  3. Future requirements in a cost-effective way;

Let’s assume that these ideas are applied you are on the safe, and we could suggest that an Arch. Visualisation agency has a good quality of the service.

[alert class=”alert-info” ]Attention! All this is possible only if it has been planned as a long-term goal. Quality never happens overnight.[/alert]

There are also other views counted as an advanced level of service, such as:

  • Management CRM systems
  • A well defined and structured management team
  • Business Liability Insurance (may not be applicable for all countries)
  • Other

These are not necessary but important and show the quality of the business no matter how large or small the company is. There could be a good quality service with well-defined Success Factors in Architectural Visualisation delivered even from alone 3D artist freelancer dabbling from home.

Do you agree with me?

PS: If you are still hungry and excited for more information, it is worth checking this video made by Fabio:

* This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute a complete business guide, tax, legal, insurance or investment advice.

George Nicola

VIRTUAL STAGING EXPERT / After eight years+ working in high-end design and property business I realised that we are missing a critical part of the property business. We were not providing enough value to these old and empty properties. Not every buyer would have the opportunity to see the potential of vacant property or in a bad state. The idea of Virtual Furniture Staging the property gives the buyer and seller an incredible chance in seconds of taking the critical decision.
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