The Possibilities And Application Of 3D Architectural Graphics


Architectural visualisation, the art of creating 3D imagery and animations has become a fundamental aspect in demonstrating the attributes of a proposed architectural design.

Over time, various forms of artwork and sketches have been used to get an architect's ideas across. These started as simple line drawings, evolved to coloured sketches. Throughout the world today, it is achieved through 3D renderings and animations.

Leading professional community for architectural visualisation artists is recognising the outstanding achievement in the field of visualisation in imagery, film and interactive software, through The Architectural 3D Awards.

Nominee 2014 Christopher Malheiros, Portugal[/caption]The Architectural 3D Awards are the largest awards event for the architectural visualisation industry. Now in its 11th year, the awards attract entries from top studios, freelancers and students from around the world showcasing these new technologies that change the way we interact with architectural designs.

In Australia, 3D visualisation has come a long way and imagery modelling in the property development industry over the past five years has seen massive growth as it becomes more cost effective, and technology improves.

Malcolm Schapel, founding director of

Scharp, an innovative creative design studio that has been producing 3D renders, fly-through animations, 4D construction sequences and VCAT submissions within the property marketing industry for over 15 years, believes that as technologies improve this growth will continue in Australia across 3D animation with film and other media as they take off.

"Top end Architecture firms are now almost producing the same quality 3D renders as professional visualisation studios. Architects are often providing studios like ours with a 3D model of the design to utilise for high quality 3D renders or animations," said Mr Schapel.

Malcolm Schapel believes that while 3D animations are only being achieved to a high level by professional 3D visualisation studios, movies integrating 3D animation with film and other media are also really taking off as they bring affordability to the property development market.

"This area has made some significant growth over the last couple of years and promises to bring a massive quality boost as technology improves," said Mr Schapel.

Image Winner 2014: Tomek Miksa, Poland- Form4inc architectural practice based in USA[/caption]For the urban development industry, 3D visualisation offers many benefits and has created a new way to interact with the product.

"The main areas of benefit are design improvements, cost and time reductions, and presales or leasing prior to the built form being occupied. Structures that just could not have been built 20 years ago are now achieved by building them first in a computer," said Mr Schapel.

Visualisation can avoid onsite issues, and ultimately reduce cost and time, by integrating structural and mechanical services through the design team using integrated 3D software known as BIM to create all parts of the building in the one computer model prior to construction.

Film Winner 2014 Timur Abdulov, Revolution studio, Moscow

Interactive Software Winner 2014 Nick Moshenko, designstor, Canada

As communication of design becomes faster and more easily understood, interactivity will allow the client to better interact and discuss with the designer by seeing things from all aspects quickly, sometimes to the detriment of the design.

"We want to be able to see, touch, and feel the environments that we wish to inhabit and all at our control. So as interactive technology becomes more readily available, the envelope to communication gets pushed more and more into the realms of what once used to be fantasy in films such as Minority Report or Avatar."The future of 3D visualisation according to Malcolm Schapel will involve more 3D real-time environments.

"These 3D ‘gaming’ environments are becoming more realistic and software that produces them is becoming easier to use.

The significant thing with 3D real-time software however is that once the user has built the model and environment, any number of 3D renders and animations can be produced from them quite easily and with limited computer resources or technical experience.

"With one computer, the user can now create all of these things, yes to somewhat limited quality, but traditionally this just could not be achieved.

"We still need teams of experts and multiple computers and software to produce high quality animations and movies, but the sands are shifting, and quite quickly, as technology advances leaps and bounds." Here are some of our other favourites from the 2014 Architectural 3D Awards: sourced commentary from and is in partnership with Scharp for this article.

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