What is ArchViz? It’s short for architectural visualization: the technique of using sophisticated 3D computer software to create compelling and convincing photo-real images of planned architectural exteriors and interiors. In the past, a skilled draftsperson or illustrator would have created sketches for the same purpose, but today’s technology makes much more realistic simulations possible. A broad range of visualizations can be made, ranging from still images to animated walkthroughs/tours and presentations and even interactive experiences in virtual reality. And although the term ArchViz makes specific reference to architecture, it’s not just for architects. It can also be used by interior decorators, construction professionals, home builders and city planners.
But why use this technology? Aren’t blueprints and SketchUp files sufficient? Maybe—or maybe not. Below are 10 reasons why working with an ArchViz company may make sense for you.
#1 You'll make a more impactful connection with your clients.
By far the most obvious value-add for you as an architect or designer is the difference you’ll see in your clients’ reactions. We’ve had countless customers come back to us gushing over the positive feedback they’ve gotten from their clients (which is one of the things that makes our work so enjoyable). While you may be adept at translating blueprints to three-dimensional space mentally, you shouldn’t count on your clients being able to do the same. And although SketchUp and CAD files partially bridge this gap, you’re still showing them something fairly rough, technical or unfinished-looking, forcing you to depend on your narrative skills and caveats to make it work. When ArchViz is done well, you have photo-real images of your designs to present, as if you’ve somehow managed to get a camera into your head and produced photos. The images require no explanation as they’re self-evident, proving the viability of your designs in an immediately visible way. There’s a lovely “WOW” factor at play here that will make you stand out.
This leads us to point number two...
#2 You’ll more easily gain your clients’ trust and establish an emotional connection with them.
Trust and emotion are often underrated in any client/service provider relationship. Trust is earned only over time after you’ve demonstrated your worth, so it can’t be rushed. Emotion, similarly, can’t be forced and has to be brought about by genuine feelings and reactions to stimuli. These are two dimensions where a solid ArchViz partner can really help you. Trust is earned when your final presentation includes beautiful and accurate photo-real renderings of the design that you set out to create. This is the final step of the iterative design process that you’ve engaged with your client—demonstrating that you aren’t just a great designer, but can execute and finish strong too. Simultaneously, you’re opening the pathway to a more emotional and authentic experience for your client. Consider it from your client’s perspective—they’ve hired you because they need your help to create something that’s designed well, aesthetically appealing and relevant to their needs. Something that solves a problem for them, and something they can’t do themselves. What could be more exciting than getting a window into the future with completely real-looking images of their project-to-be? Emotional connections are memorable connections. That’s the sort of service level that you can’t give them with technical drawings or draft CAD files. And these first points (client impact, client trust, and client emotion) all funnel into something very important for your business:
#3 ArchViz will give you a competitive advantage.
Simply put, it gives you an undeniable edge. With the talent of a solid ArchViz company behind you, and with impact, trust and emotion working in your favor, you’ll easily differentiate yourself from your competition… and leave them in the dust. This is the advantage you’ll use to build strong client relationships, which translates to recurring business.
#4 ArchViz allows for extensive customization and options.
So far, we’ve discussed ArchViz in the context of a final sign-off event with your client. But one of the great things about working with digital environments is the large degree of customization you have at your disposal—and this means you can leverage ArchViz as an intermediary step with your clients anywhere along the design journey. Does the space look better with modern furniture or traditional? Should the floor be dark hardwood, or pine, or marble? Are we going for a warmer tone on the walls, or should we stick to white? These are all options that you may want to show your client, especially if they tend to be indecisive. Using professionally created images helps move this dialog along, putting everything in a very clear, relevant and actionable context. The other great thing is that anything is possible with computer graphics! So you’re free to customize as much as you want, and in any way.
#5 You can view your space with any lighting, natural or otherwise.
Along similar lines, it’s possible to get creative with lighting to show off the strength of your architectural and design skills. What does your space look like on a mid-winter day in the early afternoon? What about at dusk on a hot day in August? Will the bathroom get sunlight in the morning? How cozy will the living room feel at night with some reading lights on? One of the pillars of solid ArchViz execution is creating a sense of realism, but also mood, using lighting. This in turn will maximize the impact (and also reinforce your client’s emotional response).
#6 You can use ArchViz as a tool to iterate a design.
Another advantage of ArchViz is that it can actually be used as a tool, either within your own design process or during your iterative process steps with your client. Very often, ideas will arise in the creative process that seem to work in your mind’s eye, but when executed just don’t pan out for one reason or another. This is where the ArchViz “tool” can become indispensable for you as the designer, as the process of creating your work in a virtual space is akin to the physical building process from a visual standpoint. If it’s going to work in real life, it will have to work digitally first. We’ve frequently worked with clients where this was the case—we faithfully executed their designs only to find that aesthetically speaking, something just didn’t line up, due to the fault of no one in particular. It just happens that some creative problems like this go undetected until they are visually realized for the first time.
#7 You can see how your architectural design will integrate into an urban landscape.
Another great thing about ArchViz is that it lets you plop your building-to-be down on a city block. Your work needs to integrate well into its surroundings, whether that means blending in with an existing architectural style or standing out in stark contrast. Perhaps your project is a sleek modern structure intended for a natural environment—how will that look? With the help of a professional ArchViz company, you can answer these types of questions.
#8 You can explore a space in virtual reality.
The newest and most exciting application of ArchViz to date has been in the area of VR and interactive media. While VR’s visual fidelity isn’t as good as the more standardized photo-real images, this is compensated by the fact that your clients can virtually tour your designs for themselves, look around, and again feel a connection to the work you’ve done. What’s more, the 3D models your ArchViz company makes for high-resolution images can often be leveraged to create VR experiences as well, so the cost won’t necessarily be double. However, the skill of the company you’re working with will make the difference here.
#9 Your ArchViz company will take care of the hard work for you.
We would be remiss if we didn’t mention that ArchViz creation demands a high degree of technical skill, to the point that many consider it a form of art. You want to be careful who you choose to be your ArchViz provider. Your average 3D artist doesn’t even begin to get proficient until they reach the three-year mark, and even after around six years they’re usually still “hit or miss”. A 3D artist isn’t fully expert until they have 10 years of production experience under their belt and are operating at a senior level. And with the speed our industry changes at, a degree from a private art institute isn’t enough—a career-long dedication to continually refining one’s craft is required to stay competitive. What’s more, the necessary software tools are both expensive and complicated, and there’s a seemingly infinite number of sub-tools and processes to master. In short, this work is highly specialized. So when you work with a competent ArchViz company, you can relax and let them take care of all of the technical aspects for you. This lets you avoid a large opportunity cost and put that time toward the thing you already do best—creating outstanding designs for your clients.
#10 A good ArchViz company will give you a great return on your investment.
The last (but far from least important) reason on my list is that working with a good ArchViz company will simplify your life, not complicate it—and you’ll find the partnership both fun and easy. And with all the advantages outlined in this article, you’ll find you’re easily able to recoup your investment through faster client approvals, more recurring revenue and easy marketing for new clients (word-of-mouth referrals, images on your site, social excitement, etc.).
Let us put these 10 reasons to work for you!
At Hunter & Spark we make our clients our top priority—outstanding customer experiences is what we strive for. We’re super passionate about architecture, design—and where they intersect with high-end 3D graphics. It’s just what we do. We believe we can elevate your business, by helping you build more impactful, emotional and value adding experiences with your clients. Contact us at email@example.com for a complimentary quote on your project today. We’re looking forward to meeting you!