Computer generated images (CGI’s) are a powerful tool to help explain a project and demonstrate an architectural concept. The software allows 3d computer models to be rendered to accurately display materials, surroundings and lighting. The 3d spatial relationships of spaces can be clearly visualised and interrogated to both explain and sell a concept. They are a fantastic method of communication between designers and clients as well as within the design team itself. With the increased use of BIM across the industry, the sharing of 3d models has become the norm. It is the computer rendering of these models that turns a plain working model into a presentational final result.
Grainge Architects have been actively pursuing new ways of producing and presenting 3D rendered visualisations. In the past 3d models for presentations were often created especially with the end goal of generating CGI’s using Sketchup to build a model and V-Ray to render the finished scheme. With the use of our current Archicad BIM software used for working drawings, we are able to use the working model as a base to develop into a 3d rendered model rather than having to create a model specifically. We now increasingly use a rendering software called Twinmotion to create either still renders or video fly-throughs.
Twinmotion is a real-time, immersive 3D rendering software which allows us to produce high-quality images, panoramas and standard or 360O VR videos. One of the key benefits for us is the direct synchronisation with SketchUp and ArchiCAD, allowing us to move from a BIM Model to a VR experience with ease. This is of great importance to Grainge Architects as computer generated renders can communicate a design to clients or public members, who often struggle to read traditional architectural drawings. The images and videos we create using Twinmotion have become a stimulus to design; revealing the qualities of a space, lighting strategies and helps us to develop a better spatial understanding. For an example of a simple fly-through generated from Archicad & Twinmotion click here.
From a professional perspective, the use of BIM allows us to integrate other consultants BIM Models, such as M&E, Structural, etc. into our software to carry out ‘clash detection’ and ensure all building assets are spatially coordinated. Twinmotion, allows us to take this review process further. Using Twinmotion’s geographical location tool, we can geolocate the proposed model in context as well as model the surrounding environment using the OpenStreetMap asset. This enables us to consider the proposals relationship with existing buildings, landscaping and track the sun path to maximise natural sunlight levels within internal spaces and to minimise the proposals environmental impact.
An additional service we can provide our clients is a standalone file exported directly from Twinmotion called BIMmotion. This allows our clients and collaborators to explore a design in an innovative and immersive way. Clients have the opportunity to navigate their way through their project using a desktop or VR Headset and control weather conditions, seasons and even the time of day.
In recent times, we have provided a client with a rendered fly-through which was presented during a virtual ‘turf cutting ceremony’ that helped deal with logistical challenges arising from Covid restrictions; A new experience for all involved during these uncertain times.
Moving forward, Grainge Architects are currently looking at ways in which we can enhance the level of detail and realism in our visualisations and fly-throughs. We believe this can be achieved using Quixel Bridge. Quixel Bridge is a texture, material and 3D model creation company whose assets are directly scanned from the real world. This allows us to import a greater variety of detailed and bespoke objects / materials to better suit our varying projects and client requirements.
As a practice, we strive to use our teams’ skillsets to our advantage. Therefore, all of the work we produce, including 3D visualisations, fly-throughs, etc. are accomplished in-house. This allows us to control the quality of the output and ensure our clients receive the most personal service available.