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Three Dimensions, Unlimited Potential.

3D modeling in architecture, engineering, and landscape architecture has become a mainstay for design and visualization.  In additional to creating killer presentations to stakeholders, modeling projects during the design process has many benefits for construction.

The modeling process can help determine the appropriate dimensionally for projects.  Imagine you are building a deck and want to make sure there is enough space for people and furnishings while maintaining fluid movement.  3D models can help you modify elements with ease vs. looking at them purely from plan view.  Models can be used to generate perspective renderings of projects to market their benefits.  These perspectives can be enhanced by post processing programs like Photoshop to enhance their realism.  Models can also be inserted into video rendering software like Lumion to create video walkthroughs and virtual reality (VR).

The first question clients ask is “how much will this cost.”  It s a good question that unfortunately isn’t easily answered.  Normally, I would follow up with several questions.  What will this model be used for?  What level of detail are you looking for?  What is your time frame?  How big is your project – what are the extents of your model?  Do you want still perspectives or videos?

It’s important to establish expectations and budget side by side to determine what best fits your needs.  A basic 3D model could be all that is necessary for the time being and can be upgraded if needs change in the future.  Looking at examples of 3D work with an experienced professional can be very helpful to get a basic understanding of the relationship between cost and realism.  I say “realism” instead of quality because every deliverable should be a quality product that achieves its goal.  I have created documents in the past to explain differences in cost – this has been much more helpful than delving into the mundane details of the modeling process.

The Bottom Line

  • Modeling is very helpful to the design process and should be considered on projects of a reasonable size and complexity.
  • Models can produce marketing imagery that is more versatile than traditional rendering methods.
  • Modeling can reaffirm and guide design elements such as scale, mass, and circulation.
  • If you are looking for a 3D rendering, perform some due diligence to figure out what your expectations are for realism.  Then talk to your consultant about how you achieve this with your budget.