Notwithstanding the emergence of very powerful software for visualisation, it still takes skills and experience acquired and developed over years to create highly accurate, photo-realistic visualisations of architectural, engineering and construction projects.
Our visualisation consultants have those years of experience which make the difference between visuals which are ‘OK’ and those which look absolutely stunning. We use a variety of tools to provide the maximum flexibility and the greatest visual impact for the final result:
- 3ds MAX
- Cinema 4D
Visualisations can be in the form of wireframe models, artistic representations as well as photo-realistic visualisations and animations.
Our clients increasingly use these visuals successfully as part of their tender submissions, logistics planning and selling property “off plan”.
3D visualisation is now an integral part of the design process. Whether it’s interior design visualisation or 3D architectural visualisation with the visualisation software listed above, our consultants can bring designs and products to life.
3D Visualisation Services
Our experts offer a wide range of 3D visualisation services that can help you effectively communicate your campaign and objectives:
- 3D home visualisation
- 3D animation visualisation
- Building visualisation
- Interior visualisation
- Photoshop architecture visualisation
See our ‘Recent Projects’ page for more examples of our work in Interior Design, Architectural projects, Infrastructure projects, Schools, Hospitals, Airports, Corporate Interiors and Exteriors, Business and Industrial Parks, Railways and Mechanical Design.
We offer a variety of formats including Stills, Movies, Photomontage (stills and movies) and VR.
What is Visualisation?
This is a term which means many things to many people but, in our parlance, it means two types of service:
Photorealistic visualisation of your project, whether that is in architecture, construction, building services, civil engineering, interior design and so on.
Infographic creation, typically for proposals and tender responses, setting out key aspects of a construction project’s management and the construction sequence.
What is Visualisation used for?
In general, visualisation is used as a means of:
- Appreciating the aesthetics of a project.
- Understanding how the proposed project will impact the environment in which it is to be placed.
- Communicating highly technical details of a project to a non-technical audience.
Essentially, it enables the architects, engineers, designers and developers to ‘sell’ the project:
- Literally – for example, to prospective purchasers of a building or a property
- Figuratively – for example, to a local authority planning department, to obtain consent to proceed.
How is Visualisation described?
A variety of other terms are also used to describe this, such as CGI, 3D Rendered Views (or simply 3D Renders), 3D images to name a few.
As a discipline, visualisation straddles the boundary between CAD and Art; there has to be precise technical detail but, at the same time, the user has to have the creative skills to get the most out of it.
How is Visualisation done?
Although the starting point may be a client’s simple and sketchy idea, some heavyweight computer software gets brought into the mix to make it all happen.
Our tool of choice is Autodesk’s 3ds Max software, in which our visualisation experts have many years of experience. However, we also use other tools to complete the production and add post-production effects, such as Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator.
Most projects follow a similar workflow, the most important point being the communication between the client and the visualisation technician.
The way we do it is as follows:
This involves the creation of the basic 3D digital model which will ultimately form the basis for the photorealistic visualisation. This 3D model can be created from:
Sketches and hand drawings with appropriate dimensions/sizes
2D CAD drawings, such as AutoCAD DWG files
3D model data such as that exported out of Autodesk’s Revit 3D BIM modelling software.
Whichever the source, the aim is the creation of a 3D model within 3ds Max which will be finished in a plain white/greyscale render.
This enables discussion about the model to be had without getting committed too far into the more computationally intensive aspects of the visualisation.
Alterations to size, layout, configuration and object placement, such as furniture, can be easily dealt with at this stage; viewpoints and viewing angles can also be confirmed or changed and general lighting settings can be presented.
Colour Round C1
At C1 we produce an initial, low-resolution colour rendered image(s) of the scene(s). This gives us the opportunity to:
Check how the assigned materials and textures will work with the colour palette being used.
Determine whether the colourised image will deliver the final output required by the client or whether other changes will need to be made to the model, the materials, the textures, lighting and other environmental effects.
Colour Round C2
C2 is a further low-resolution (1920×1080 pixels) colour round where we focus on final preparation of the scene(s), implementing further updates to materials, accessories and other details.
C2 is very important because it is vital that any final changes are made at this stage. We will be able to view everything in sufficient detail to understand how the final, high-resolution images will appear.
Colour Round C3
C3 is the final round of the process, the purpose of which is to turn the product of all our deliberations, changes, tweaks and edits into a high-resolution image (typically 5000 x 2812 pixels on screen)
At this point, we are past the time for changes and edits. This commitment is serious!
Each of these images typically takes hours to produce and, in addition, will be taken forward for further post-production enhancement to create the final result, ready for handover to the client at a quality ready to print in large scale.
What are the advantages of Visualisation?
Quite simply, ease of communication, especially for complex projects such as those found in construction.
The old adage that ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’ also holds true for 2D CAD drawings, especially for non-technical audiences.
We all innately understand photo-realistic images because they mirror what we see in everyday life.
What better way to present the details of a proposed construction project and its interaction with and impact on its surrounding environment?
Many companies involved in property development are now selling flats and houses ‘off-plan’ using visualisation services, rather than waiting for the construction to be completed. By the time the first brick has been laid, many developments are now sold out. This is a good example of how visualisation has impacted marketing in architecture, building and construction.
Why should I use Benchmarq’s Visualisation Services?
While most of our clients have some kind of CAD capability in-house, very few have the visualisation skills to produce well crafted visualisations.
In short, we have the skills and the tools to turn your projects into photo-realistic visualisations at a reasonable price.
Whether your objective is to present a winning proposition or sell a property off-plan, do contact us to discuss how our services can assist.
Frequently Asked Questions
It became possible to create 3D wireframe perspective views from one or more camera positions, set up in x,y,z coordinate space.
However, many construction projects are created in an existing space and have an impact on their immediate surroundings. With the advent of the 3D wireframe view it suddenly became possible to see how the finished project, or part of a project, would look in its environment using a photograph of the proposed project area.
By using known reference points within the photograph, it was possible to to calculate the viewpoint from which the photograph was taken. Once this was established, those viewpoint coordinates could be used as input for the creation of the 3D wireframe perspective and, with appropriate scaling, the proposed project could be inserted into the scene for all to see.
There were still a number of manual processes that needed to take place, not least colouring the image by hand and literally cutting and sticking the 3D wireframe image into a printed photograph - but at least things had moved on from the artist’s impression.
Fast forward 40 years and the process has moved on considerably but the principle is still the same.
Photomontage can provide an economic way of seeing how the finished project will look when overlain onto a photograph of the environment in which it is to be constructed. The photo of course is now digital and the scissors, sticky tape and colouring pens are long gone but photomontage does offer the advantage of not having to model the entire background scene as well as the project itself, saving on both visualisation technician time and computing effort.
They aim to engage the reader/viewer in a striking and exciting way to lead them through the topic at hand, making great use of creative graphics, charts and, importantly, minimal text, to ensure that their message is easily understood by as many as possible.
Here at Benchmarq, we have provided infographics based solutions to clients wishing to put across their ideas and proposals for construction projects to commissioning bodies and stakeholders. The characteristic of these solutions is that they can be used when time is at a premium and the audience does not necessarily have a detailed technical grasp of the subject matter. Tender presentations and business pitches are just such situations.
One client in particular, a well known civil engineering contractor, asked us to produce an infographics based solution to assist with their pitch for a flood defence project.
We produced a number of colourful, A1 size drawings based on a map background of the proposed site. On top of that, we overlaid images, photographs, diagrams and appropriate text to explain the details of the proposal. The drawings covered areas such as:
Traffic management during construction
Seawall construction sequencing
Slipway construction sequencing
Historic wharf works
Quality assurance and control
Construction environment management
Opportunities for further development of the site
The client was pleased to let us know that they were, in fact, successful in winning the bid and we were happy to know that we contributed to that success in a small way.
It is easy to understand the contrast between a dry, dusty and deeply technical presentation to a non-expert audience versus a lively, colourful presentation which sets out the crucial tenets of a proposal in an engaging, winning way. The objective, as ever, is to achieve ‘buy-in’ of the audience and obtain approval.
Our visual technicians have all the skills necessary to provide this type of service, as well as the more ‘conventional’ visualisation services described earlier.
Taking this a stage further, Augmented Reality or AR for short, allows the integration of the both virtual scene, or elements of the virtual scene, with the physical environment. Using AR, computer generated objects are projected into a ‘head-up display’ or HUD, hosted by a special headset worn by the user.
With both VR and AR, a proposed design can be realistically experienced by the user in real-time and motion, although the costs of these two can be expensive (but decreasing). The computing effort required to generate the VR and AR experiences, as one might imagine, are also considerable.
Benchmarq’s VR is perhaps not technologically quite so exciting but it is eminently practical.
Having visualised a project in the usual way, either fully modelled and rendered or partially modelled and rendered and supplemented with photographic images, then, using software such as https://roundme.com/ we can create a simple VR experience of the project.
This is done by establishing a number of ‘teleports’ within the model, enabling the user, for example, to move from room to room in a building and, once in that room, pan around through 360° to explore the scene.
In most cases, clients will do this via a regular screen but options are also available to enable viewing and teleporting via a headset. The headsets can be as simple as a smartphone headset through to more dedicated devices.
- What is the size of the project to be visualised?
- What is the source data? Sketches, CAD drawings, a 3D model or some other type of data?
- Do you want:
A few still shots?
An animation or VR?
Specific materials, textures and objects to be included which cannot be provided by the extensive libraries within the software or other resources out there in the Internet?
To play around with lots of ideas or are you firmly fixed on what you want?
Once we have the information required, we will provide you with an individual proposal and quotation for your project and discuss this with you during consultation.
We aim to offer a fixed price and an estimated timescale for the work to be completed. However, if the work cannot be defined we will offer an hourly rate. There will be no disguised costs and we will provide timesheets for hourly billed projects.