3D visualization as the embodiment of any dream
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We start with a couple of 3D models, bed drawings, and references from Pinterest as initial data – and then work as busy as bees because the deadline is hard. The lack of sleep is compensated by the profit at the finish line. Here we explain what 3D visualization is, what determines the cost of interior visualization, and who is who at all?
Imagine our client is an athlete, more specifically, a tennis player. Undoubtedly, there will be a place for trophies in his future apartment. To create the appropriate atmosphere, it would be nice to depict a few “cups” behind the glass door of a closet in the hallway, as a reminder of a successful sports career. Moreover, it must be vividly demonstrated to the client on paper.
So, in this case, the cup represents an object that, according to the laws of modeling, has mathematical dimensions: width, height, and length. The process of creating such an interior item is called 3D because the “reward” becomes three-dimensional. The shape is realized using specialized software. For example, in Blender (we’ll talk about its magical power later), you can quickly sketch a “Grand Slam Cup” in about 10 minutes without intricate detailing.
The concept of visualization is much more complex. In the case where there are many such trophies, and our client holds a top-5 ranking in the ATP, usual Ctrl+C, Ctrl+V won’t suffice. At the very least, they need to be placed somewhere, cast shadows, and it would be nice if they had a golden sheen when the light is on in the hallway. Additionally, there is a table in the hallway with a vase of dried flowers and a mirror hanging on the wall. The process of transforming a room into a raster image is called visualization, and spoiler: it doesn’t exist without 3D.
While 3D and visualization are somewhat understandable because they are closely related and work together, distinguishing the responsibilities of interior designers and 3D visualizers is a challenging task. However, if we assume that it is the same person, which is quite possible, then there are fewer questions. The designer is more involved.
At this moment, they are a hundred percent trying to explain to the client that installing vinyl flooring does not mean compromising on eco-friendliness. They have to carefully listen to preferences and recommend or justify the best solutions for the client. Interior designers strictly follow the alphabet: from gathering requirements to implementing the design concept.
Planning. Initially, designers analyze the interior space and figure out how to make it comfortable for living, whether it’s an apartment or a country house. They may also calculate the potential flow of people in a newly opened coffee shop in a residential complex – meaning they think about functionality.
Finishing. The tone of voice is set by the client, who relies on personal aesthetic tastes, but the designer can still influence hasty decisions to cover walls with vintage carpets.
In the professional’s notebook, there are contact numbers of suppliers, which the designer also takes care of, and sometimes plumbers and electricians who can provide advice on technical issues related to wiring and ventilation.
Sometimes, when you return home from the city, you take a shortcut on the well-trodden path, saving time out of habit. And suddenly, one day, in the place of an empty lot, you see construction work going on – maybe a cafe or just a regular store is planned. Unclear.
It becomes clear only when you see a fenced-off area with banners displaying the future cafe. A year after the start of construction, you realize that dreaming of having a cafe “right outside your window” was in vain – it’s being demolished. But the vivid image of the unrealized project is unconsciously reproduced in your memory.
Creating such a photorealistic image is exactly what a 3D visualizer does. When a client needs to demonstrate a visualization of a future exterior, like in the specific case described above, this superhero comes to the rescue.
They are considered a superhero because they possess both technical skills (the ability to master intuitive and less intuitive software) and creative skills. Moreover, visualizers can also create animations and complete 3D tours that you can walk through.
There are programs where the process of visualization causes “pain,” and there are those where it preserves mental health. To understand which software to install in a timely manner, you can simply study forums where colleagues in the field gather. Some of them, especially experienced ones, may recommend Autodesk 3Ds Max, an ancient software from the Paleolithic era, for beginners to gain experience in creating 3D models. Others may prefer the simplicity of Blender and give it a thumbs up.
Autodesk 3Ds Max
It is impossible to undermine the trust in programs used by students in technical professions. The longstanding tradition of using them for educational purposes is not unfounded. This is precisely why 3Ds Max is considered a “universal” tool and receives recognition.
For tasks related to interior visualization, the software offers a wide range of ready-made stairs, doors, and handles – in other words, it works with “primitives.” Then, the visualizers step in and have the right to edit.
The program also offers numerous engines that help give a natural look to a book opened in the middle, which has found its way among the others on the shelf. Among such visualizers, V-Ray, for example, stands out. It allows for the proper adjustment of lighting and materials in the final stages.
Of course, 3Ds Max is a kind of champion, but it cannot be called perfect. It has significant compatibility issues and is quite demanding and picky – it does not favor Apple product enthusiasts.
It is also necessary to be aware of the capabilities of your operating system and processor when installing the program. It is advisable to provide the computer with at least 8 GB of memory.
Since the creation of Leonardo da Vinci’s complex technique of “disappearing” smoke in oil painting, several centuries have passed, and now the same illusion can be reproduced in a couple of minutes with Blender. Why not? It obviously offers a much more extensive range of techniques: from standard polygonal modeling on rigid surfaces to curve modeling and sculpting.
The program breaks stereotypes about the assertion “you get what you pay for” and outperforms 3Ds Max. It is stylish, trendy, and youthful, because it’s free. Moreover, it is democratic, as it can be downloaded for both Windows and macOS. It runs like clockwork and is not lacking in plugins. For example, thanks to the Addon: HardOps, Blender has additional functionality and tools. The Addon: Carve and Slide models complex shapes, while the Addon: Micro Dispersion handles textures excellently. Lightning-fast real-time rendering of applied effects is achieved with EEVEE, like toasts for breakfast.
In this program, you can literally “sculpt” as the foundation of its work is sculpting. “Digital” clay can be metaphorically torn, thrown, burned, and used to create any interior object using tools for cutting, texturing, and smoothing, just like in the physical world. ZBrush also has the feature of 2.5D modeling, which unfortunately does not calculate all objects in real-time. In terms of technical specifications, the program does not require a graphics card, but it requires a recommended 6GB of RAM for uninterrupted operation. It also requires a few tens of dollars to purchase the software.
Here, you can design entire layouts and “try them on” in different parts of the world in a real environment because the program integrates with Google Maps and Google Earth. The developers have also taken care of beginners by removing the displacement map (working with reliefs and depth), which distinguishes SketchUp from its “siblings.” They haven’t forgotten about the professionals either, as the software offers a range of products from a free browser version to a “pro” level.
100 classic-style apartments before noon or 40 “ridiculous” views of the same bathroom in an 8-hour day? Easy and doable. Of course, under the specified conditions, where visualizers either stop blinking and set a new record for keyboard clicks, or something fishy is going on.
You can “not adjust” the lighting and make the lamp disproportionate to the bed next to it. The shadow from the table in the living room, with the “permission” of the visualizer, can fly under Shooting Stars somewhere in the vast cosmos and exist peacefully without following the rules of mirror reflection construction. Serious flaws in room visualization that the worker made in a couple of hours because he was in a hurry for a dental appointment may go unnoticed by the client. However, one thing is certain: management will deal with his dishonesty and carelessness. And it is also inevitable that a novice can spend a whole week creating the same render. That is why, when it comes to time and, even more so, the cost of visualizing a project, several factors need to be considered:
The first factor is the complexity of sketches or layouts. The client wanted a bit of eclecticism, and then the interior designer panicked, realizing that they mixed too many styles. And chaos gave birth to an overly cloying taste.
The second factor is deadlines. Like everywhere else, their classification is straightforward: either tight or in the conditions of a “rushed” world, super tight. Sometimes there are also “trial” deadlines, but it should be understood that the client’s patience is not limitless. By the way, to avoid wasting precious hours, there is a “typification” of clients themselves, which offers a pre-set solution to simplify interior development. Speaking of deadlines, it is important to know the rule: deadlines exist, and it is better not to violate them.
The third factor is project detailing. Here, one can address the question of the need for curtains in the bedroom and propose an alternative in the form of blinds based on the client’s preferences, puzzle over furniture fittings, and simply draw attention to a mirror or painting framed with “gold.”
The fourth factor is the variety of materials and textures. Want luxury? Choose marble. To feel unity with nature, use wooden surfaces, and if you want to incorporate a touch of industrial style into the room, it is better to go with “heavy” metal. Despite the existing variety of textures and materials, it is important to choose them wisely – that is, in accordance with the style and functionality.
Do You Need Expert 3D Visualizations for Your Project?
Let’s take an example from the world of animation.
Some globally renowned companies render an entire film like “Tangled” in 10 days, while others employ 170 animators for one movie and work on a single frame for an average of a week. The budgets for these films range from $100 to $260 million, and this is with their own render farms. The cost of 3D visualization depends on multiple factors, but the main ones that hit the wallet harder are:
Hardware power. For the release of the movie “Big Hero 6,” Disney utilized a cluster of 55,000 computing cores. With its help, they were able to achieve realistic lighting effects in reflected light.
The use of specialized software. For example, on the website of one of the leading rendering programs, Arnold (which operates on CPU – computational power is placed on the processor), an annual subscription costs $400, but it guarantees hyper-realism for any object.
The complexity of models – and consequently, the time spent on implementation. Here, we should also mention the expertise of specialists who may demand a significant fee for their services. To understand the scale, it took a year to create just the concept for “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” and the number of animated frames for 160 minutes amounted to 2800 units.
Let’s start with the disadvantages, as the explanation for them can be short and concise. The only obvious downside is the potential high cost. That’s it.
Now imagine that you are a child. This could be your last summer before starting school. To make the most of your time and not regret wasting August, you decide to visit a friend. And then you’re in shock: she’s the first one in your area to have a Barbie dollhouse. It’s limitless. Pure delight. Inside the pink dream, there are bedrooms, a kitchen, a bathroom. They even thought of sound effects for the doorbell, and the laundry machine, wow, it spins just like a real one.
Little did you know, you have in your hands a physical “3D model” of what will become a cult in the real estate industry in a few decades, with experimentation on “pink” interiors. As an example, there’s the multi-story mansion of Ken – Barbie’s friend – in Malibu, where you could book a free night. But the bright projects didn’t end there.
For instance, let’s consider raising funds for the benefit of the city, shall we? Great. The Madrid-based Patricia Bustos Studio calculated that they could offer tourists a dollhouse for rent that closely resembled the real thing. They redesigned the layout of the apartments, added a bedroom, a bathroom, a kitchen, and a living room (previously, the house only had one room and a bathroom).
A Tokyo couple also experienced a redesign once, as British designer Adam Nathaniel Furman chose the kitchen as the main “room” to create a larger, brighter space. Interestingly, it was not the pensioners who stood against it, but a British person who resisted having the interior in pink tones.
It would be wrong to ignore Barbie’s pets. Taiwanese designers from KC Design Studio were apparently inspired by this idea when they created a three-story house, also in pink, with a separate room for cats. They installed a spiral staircase and loungers in that room.
What is the unexpected advantage that comes from the above? Your child has already decided at a young age what profession they will choose – which means you don’t need to plan a career orientation meeting in their daily planner. Perhaps they are already a modeling enthusiast who creates expensive renders for clients around the world.
Another advantage is called pre-constructional marketing. It explains why it is beneficial to purchase an apartment that has not yet been built.
The first and main reason is business expansion. Marketing during the construction phase erases boundaries and reaches any part of the world where potential customers may be. In turn, it is more convenient for them to familiarize themselves with the future apartments through virtual tours or 3D animations, all from the comfort of their homes. The demand for this approach is growing precisely because of 3D visualization and the persuasiveness of the marketing department’s employees.
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