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Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Luxury Condominium Visualization Guide for Developers

Architectural Renderings and Animation

by Joseph E Trainor, DoHere Digital Technology Inc (www.DHrendering.com)

In the Canadian province where our architectural visualization firm is located, Ontario, land prices are soaring, land availability is diminishing and the provincial government has brought in legislation designed to preserve farmland and aquifers while boosting residential intensification along main transportation arteries. In light of these trends, many builders here are making the transition from developing single-family homes on large plots of land to a mix of product including detached homes, townhomes and condominiums. This means that some builders who previously utilized hand-drawn renderings are now seeking computerized, digital illustrations. Developers in the new environment need a visualization package that can help them get approvals during early stages and then move units fast at firm prices. By choosing a top-shelf rendering company, your project will be showcased to the public in its best possible light, and will be perceived as a solid investment.

Keep in mind there can be a range of options available, from freelancers all the way up to advertising agencies. One way to assess the quality of a company is to look at any windows / glass in their work. If it's all gray, the images evoke a prison feel. If there's a systematic pattern of lighting in the windows, it can look stiff and contrived. Higher end visualizers will have glass surfaces reflecting the world around the property, and the degree of transparent / translucent / opaque light flows depend on the time of day chosen.

Low Rise - With custom houses and duplexes, a perspective shot at dusk may be enough to get the job done. These show the home at a time someone would be arriving after work, with light emanating from within, looking all warm and inviting. For a new subdivision, each model usually gets a rendering for both A and B elevations. If a feature shot is desired, it can be either an aerial, or if it is a gated or branded community, then a shot of the stone wall and sign with flowers and landscaping.

Townhomes – Generally require one block perspective for each style offered, plus either an aerial overall view, or a “view from street” shot. A streetscape view can show community and family life, whereas an aerial shot shows the development in setting.

Mid-rise / High-rise Condos - Moving into condo development presents a set of new challenges. A typical condo package will be three exterior views (one aerial, two eye-level), two to five features / amenity shots (eg Lobby, Fitness, Party, Pool, Terrace), plus three to four suite interiors (Living, Kitchen / Dining, Master Bedroom, Bathroom). The price per rendering can depend on size, elevations and detailing, and a package of ten to twelve visualizations for a small to mid-size new condominium development will usually suffice, with an architectural animation added for larger condo towers / multi-tower projects.

Luxury Condominiums – At the higher end of the market, there is a greater emphasis on amenities and an exclusive lifestyle. The rendering package may not be much larger than for a regular condominium, however, to really showcase the property, indoor and outdoor animation may be required. These may be a “fly-around” exterior video and a “walk-thru / walk-through” interior animation, or one longer architectural video highlighting the building's quality features, inside and out. 

High quality architectural animations are most efficiently produced by the same company that is doing the interior and exterior renderings, as each of these can be spectacular key frames in the video, leading to much higher production values than your typical condo animation.


Process – At DoHere Digital Technology (www.DHrendering.com) we utilize 3 stages to produce high quality hyper-realistic (eg better than photo) imagery, whether animation or stills. For renderings, our client marks an approximate camera angle onto a Site Plan with a V (the point is camera location, the “V” is what the camera sees) and provides CAD files (we prefer AutoCAD 3D, 2010 or earlier). During Stage One, we produce several views of the model from close to the camera angle suggested. Our client chooses one of the views and then marks up the model image with changes, if any. Stage Two involves materials and finishes and basic lighting and landscaping. Stage Three is artwork and ambience, including people, cars, birds, clouds, lighting and shading. By working together with us during this 3-stage process, our clients provide input throughout and then receive the images they need for their businesses to succeed.

With architectural animations, we start with a Storyboard / Camera Path, then move to Key Test Frames, then to full production.

The way to producing stunning visuals starts with preparedness. First, have the design completed before you hire a company to visualize it. Changing the designs during production of a visual will increase timelines and costs. Second, feel free to ask questions and consult with your visualization partner, as the “back and forth” helps the renderers fully understand the project and the purpose of the imagery.

A strong visualization company can help you pre-sell your units to discerning buyers, and bring your projects to life! Please call today!

DoHere Digital Technology can be reached via www.DHrendering.com or 1.866.967.0868 x 369  / 1.905.513.1111 x 369

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