Top three tips for architectural visualisations and property CGIs

How to prevent roadblocks, get the architectural visualisation images you want and stay within your budget.

We often find ourselves having similar conversations at the beginning of each project with every new client that comes to Paper Unicorn. And more often than not the same situations occur throughout those early stages of the project.

We like to have a Monday morning coffee and catch up at Paper Unicorn. This week we were discussing some of the questions we get asked regularly and the questions we ask our clients in return.

During our discussion, we came up with our three top tips for architectural visualisations and property CGIs to solve any potential roadblocks to getting the visualisation images you want for your project. As well as how to keep the process streamlined to help stay within your budget and timescales.

Tip One

Have an idea of the style and feel of the visualisations you want.

Do you have physical paper drawings, PDFs or DWGs? Are they the most current and up to date versions of the plans?

I sometimes take it for granted that everyone knows the difference between a PDF and DWG.

When creating architectural visualisations it can make a big difference.

DWGs can be imported straight into our 3d software (3ds Max) which allows us to start creating the 3d models for the CGIs right away using the information within the file.

If you only have access to the PDFs, this takes a little more work. They need to be converted to DWGs and scaled. As long as everything goes to plan this is usually straightforward but it can be time-consuming and on rare occasions, cause issues with scaling.

Physical drawings take the longest to process. Usually, this would mean redrawing the plans in AutoCAD, luckily nowadays this rarely happens.

Whichever format your files are in, it’s always important to make sure they are the most up to do date. If the design (or apart of the design) is subject to change, tell your visualiser this from the beginning and pass on any amended drawings as soon as possible.

Working from outdated drawings is one of the most common reasons why some projects experience delays and budget issues.

Tip Two

Have an idea of the style and feel of the visualisations you want.

For us at Paper Unicorn, 3d models for property CGIs can be turned around in a few days.

Usually, the most time-consuming part of the project is in the amendments. This can be even more tricky when there isn't a clear idea for how the client wants the image to look.

We are more than happy to take the lead on this and create a set of architectural visualisations in a style that we think will fit your needs. But I’ve found over the years everyone has a preference or an idea in their head of what they want.

So I find the best thing to do is to ask any prospective clients to do a quick google image search for architectural visualisations or property CGIs.

Take a look through the images, have a browse through Pinterest and pick 3 or 4 images that you like.

Send these inspiration images over to your visualiser at the beginning of your project. Highlight any favourite elements or designs features and discuss how you can achieve that with your CGIs.

Most importantly, if you’ve chosen a couple of different styles, take this time to settle on a look that most suitable for your project and move forward using that one as a base.

Trying to create an image using two or more (conflicting) style inspirations may lead to final images that look more strange than striking.

Tip Three

Be as realistic as possible with your deadlines, budget and expectations.

I think by now everyone has heard of the Good, Fast, Cheap: You Can Only Pick Two Venn diagram.

It's been on the internet for years and there is a really good reason why.

Good, Fast, Cheap: You Can Only Pick Two Venn diagram.

Good, Fast, Cheap: You Can Only Pick Two Venn diagram.

Cheap and Good is going to take longer to produce.

Good and Fast is going to be expensive.

Cheap and fast isn't going to be our best work.

We always try to go above and beyond to deliver what we have promised to our clients and I’m proud to say that over the past 8 years of running Paper Unicorn there have only been a few cases where this hasn’t been the case.

Managing expectations is a key part of any visualer’s job. We need to communicate to our clients what is achievable, what isn’t and how both time and budget constraints affect this.

Think about how you’ll use your final images. Are they for social media marketing, a property brochure or for a planning submission? How large with the images be printed? How much detail would you like to see?

Think about when you’ll use your final images. Do you have a website launch next month? A planning submission next week? Is your print deadline in a few weeks time?

Providing your visualiser with as much information as you can about your needs will save time and money in the long run.

Have a good idea of your budget, your specification for the images, your deadline and your expectations for the project. Communicate this to your visualiser at the beginning of the project and ask them if this is achievable.