Visualisation tools are important for all stakeholders during the design and construction process – not just for architects and engineers but also for their clients and for investors
Impressive architectural visualisations of a building or structure can help bring the project to life for clients during the design stage and prior to awarding a contract. It also offers benefits during the design stage, when the impacts of material and component choices can be easily seen and any issues addressed early, for example. Having powerful visualisation tools is therefore of significant benefit to all project stakeholders. The good news is that with professional 3D BIM software, creating stunning imagery and animations is no longer limited to graphic designers.
Benefits of project visualisation
The early stages of a construction project are a bit like selling dreams: sketches and scribbles give a glimpse of how fantastic a piece of architecture will possibly look like one day. However, the further we proceed with a construction project, the less likely it will become that stakeholders and decision-makers will base their decisions and approvals on dreams and ideas alone.
This is where visualisations come into play. Essentially, they improve communication by bringing clarity to the project – everyone can see the end result. A realistic visualisation can help clients imagine what the completed structure will look like, as well as how the space will look and feel and how everything will fit into the surrounding environment. Being able to explain the design intent so clearly can be a major advantage, making it easier for clients to see what they will get from their investment.
Another benefit of visualisation is that it makes it easier to identify and discuss issues. For many stakeholders, it is much clearer and easier to understand a 3D visualisation than trying to imagine how a building will look like based on a 2D line drawing.
During the design, it is easy to trial different options – such as materials and components, door and window openings, or even colour schemes and other details – before a choice is made and finalised. With high-quality visualisations, these decisions can be changed before they are installed on site, which can be costly to change at a later stage.
While in the past, architects and designers spent hours to create different sketches, views or variations of a concept, this can now be done digitally with the change of just a few parameters. This means designers and architects can offer their clients a much larger variety of options to choose from nowadays. The ability to view and discuss various renderings directly in a virtual environment also helps to reduce construction time – which, in turn, leads to cost savings.
Similarly, it is also beneficial to be able to visualise the finished design within its surrounding environment. Topographical surveys and point clouds can be imported and a terrain model created, which can then be used to see how the structure fits on site. Even lighting conditions or the different seasons can be simulated and checked. This way, the architect or engineer can make any changes if needed before the project is built and impossible to move.
Finally, it is also possible to use tools to create 3D photos or even virtual reality images that provide an immersive experience. These tools will simulate the 3D environment, allowing stakeholders to get a feel for the room sizes and layouts and make any necessary changes early on before the project is undergoing construction.
How software from the Nemetschek Group supports visualisation
“As one of the pioneers in the CAD and BIM software market, the Nemetschek Group has identified the advantages quite early on and invested accordingly in solutions that combine design and visualisation,” states Dr Axel Kaufmann, CFOO and speaker of the executive board at the Nemetschek Group.
“As a group, we offer different design software solutions for different customer needs. However, all three 3D CAD solutions – Allplan, Graphisoft’s Archicad, and Vectorworks – can be connected to our Maxon product line, which offers powerful tools such as Cinema 4D or Redshift Rendering. This gives designers, architects and many other stakeholders the power to create efficient workflows and to produce static or dynamic visuals that can be tailored to their particular needs.”
Allplan, Archicad, and Vectorworks all enable users to quickly and easily create accurate 3D models from drawings. But equally as important is the fast export of those models, enabled by the Cinema 4D interfaces in all three solutions. Capabilities are not limited to Nemetschek’s in-house solutions, though. As a driver and advocate of the OPEN BIM philosophy – which supports a seamless data-flow across all project stakeholders and project phases – the integration with other visualisation or rendering solutions is possible, too, such as the Unreal Engine or Twinmotion by Epic Games.
Creating stunning images is not just about impressing the client or investor; they also help increase communication, lead to cost savings and improve quality. The right first time approach is the key to delivering projects successfully, delighting clients and building a strong reputation. Those architects and designers already using a Nemetschek design solution such as Allplan, Archicad, or Vectorworks and looking for a powerful – but still rather easy-to-integrate – solution to visualise their BIM models should take a closer look at Maxon’s product suite. The intuitive, smooth interplay with Cinema 4D and Redshift Rendering provides a proven workflow that is optimised for the needs of designers and architects. As for the outcome – the results speak for themselves!
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