How do we convincingly visualise an environment that doesn’t – yet – exist in the actual world? This is a huge challenge – though one, as landscape architects, we regularly face and are now industry leaders.
As we said in an earlier post, at the start of a project, we can quickly produce hand drawn sketches. These enable us to work out and consolidate our initial thoughts and impressions as well as further our understanding of the project’s requirements. However, as good as these can look, they can lack many essential details. In order to give our clients a lifelike image of a project that reflects the three-dimensional world we inhabit.
Our lead 3D Visualiser, Steve Woodhouse, is responsible for creating these images for Liz Lake Associates. His keen eye for design, experience and imagination, along with powerful processing and cutting edge software such as 3D Studio Max, VRay and Photoshop, combine to create stunning rendered images with a realistic, even photorealistic quality.
As you will appreciate, the visuals are not produced quickly. Even with the enormous technical power now at our disposal, it can mean leaving a computer working overnight to process the required image. But the results are worth the wait, as you can see.
Once the landscape structure has been produced, we sometimes use Photoshop or other specialist software, to add final details such as people, trees or bespoke planting – this ensures the image looks as true-to-life and accurate as possible. Depending on the precise level of realism required, we will show the people as opaque to add a photographic effect or more transparent to give an illustrative appearance. Proportion and scale are imperative and shape the final result, which is why the skill of the visualiser is of paramount importance. We are known for our attention to detail and this is mirrored in the unique visuals we produce.
Today, 3D visuals are increasingly in demand, not just in architecture but also film – think blockbusters – as well as TV, advertising and, of course, gaming. But what next? Augmented reality is almost upon us, no longer science fiction but now science fact. So while the results we can achieve today are impressive, the next generation of software promise to take us to another level of reality altogether!