One of the problems we face when presenting designs to our clients is many of them struggle to understand two-dimensional plans.
Elevations and sections can seem alien and envisaging what the building will look like is a challenge. When you’re looking at flat lines on paper, it is hard to visualise the scale of the project, the proximity to site boundaries and the significance the project will have on surrounding areas.
Traditionally, the way to get around this would have been to hand-draw an artist’s impression of the building. These took a long time to produce and needed to be drawn again if amendments to the plans were required.
Today, thanks to the progress of technology, we can now take our 2D drawings and make them come to life. Our plans are produced in the office using AutoCAD and saved as .dwg files. We then import these files into Sketchup, a 3D prototyping programme. Using the 2D plans to build from we can create a 3D image set within its surroundings.
These modern 3D rendering programmes make architectural visualisation an essential tool to help us sell designs to our clients
There are different levels of drawing this software can produce. The basic level is a 3-dimensional visual in sketch form, which shows the mass of the building, its feature details, windows and how it sits within its surrounding and boundaries.
The second stage is to apply the construction materials so you can see the effect these elements will have on the overall appearance. At this stage, we can quickly make changes to the materials to achieve the look you had envisaged.
The third level is a more refined, almost photo-quality image utilising a programme called Vray, which takes the Sketchup model and redefines it to a more realistic level. Once the 3D image is built more detail is added to the building, drawing in window cills, gutters, fascia boards and lintels in great detail and assigning further materials to make the model an accurate representation of the proposed design.
Three-dimensional images bring heights, depths and materials to life. For example, they can help show the effects of specific openings that may seem reasonable on the plan, but when displayed in 3D form can maybe seem overbearing, too imposing or even too small. The 3D visual highlights what works well in reality and what maybe doesn’t work as you’d thought.
Changes can be made to your plans with minimal effort and cost to make those details work. You can be sure before agreeing on a final design that it works how you’d envisaged it, and be confident before any building works start that you are happy with the plan.
The risk of building from a plan and not utilising these 3D rendering tools is that once work has started on your property, making any changes can be difficult and extremely costly.