Most design - be it architecture, interior design, industrial design or some other field - is inherently visual. It stands to reason that being able to provide stakeholders with visual references will give designers a competitive edge.
A recent survey on CGarchitect.com found that almost 90% of respondents were more likely to win a competitive bid using visualizations. More than 90% said community support was easier to win with visualizations. And 50% said they saved nearly $25,000 a year by creating visualizations in-house.
Fortunately, strides in 3D technology is making in-house visualization more accessible to companies both large and small. Some firms are taking advantage of tools used for 3D animation or video games to win clients or create better work. Others are taking advantage of new 3D modeling technologies available in traditional design tools.
This content series is brought to you by Autodesk - Accelerating Better Design
Ze Kun Chen, a 10-year-old in China, is using 3D modeling software to help his family's display framing business. By creating visual representations, Chen was able to help customers better understand the designs.
On the higher end, Dyer Architects won the contract for the OZ project, a new mall in Russia, through use of visualizations of the firm's ideas for the mall's lighting design. The visualizations allowed stakeholders to maintain the original intent as the project progressed.
Scott Wilson Group has taken another interesting approach to visualization. It uses software to model and demonstrate the ways that the sun's position can affect a driver's visibility. The firm then takes these insights and uses them in their infrastructure design work, and uses the visualizations to win community support for projects. Similarly, Parsons Brinckerhoff created a transportation simulator that let the public explore its designs for Doyle Drive in San Francisco years before construction was complete.
New visualization tools are are also changing the way design is taught. Yale School of Architecture, for example, is teaching students to work with the sorts of 3D design tools normally used in films and animation to create more interesting forms and textures. Mark Gage, an associate professor and assistant dean at Yale, has said that traditional modeling tools have lead architects' creations to be uniformly smooth and seamless. Newer technologies are enabling designers to create more textures.
These are all examples of how visualization technology is changing the way designers do their work, but these are just scratching the surface of what sorts of things could be done in the next few years with better augmented reality technology. One future trend to watch for is how improved efficiency in software, along with faster and cheaper hardware, change the design landscape. Earlier this year Steve Lohr wrote about how software progress is beating Moore's Law, meaning that more efficient software algorithms are enabling faster software.
What will it be possible for designs to do with commodity hardware in a few years?
Photo by svilen001