Monday, 17 November 2014

Visualisation – It's not just pretty pictures

3D visualisation was always seen as an architectural item to show off architectural projects for marketing purposes or client presentation.

3D Visualisation is much more then a fancy image or animation. It can add real value to a project. In this series of blogs, I’m going to discuss the different types of visualisation and how they can help and add value to a project. I will discuss how a good visualisation can save money on a project. But to start with we look at the main reasons for a visualisation and try and dispel some of the myths. So who are the visulaisation for. The visualisation is a method of communication and analysis. The visualisation is often created for

  • Clients
  • Public consultation
  • Local authorities
  • Design team
The argument I often hear about visualisation is that it’s only an artists impression. This is true of some visualisations. But I believe a visualisation should be accurate and should be a true representation of the finished project. Visualisation is a method of taking different types of design data such as

  • 2D Drawings
  • 3D Models
  • Lidar
  • Aerial mapping
  • Design Report
  • Schedules
  • Lighting
 With a visualisation all this and other data can be integrated together to produce an image or an animation to explain the design. Often on a project especially a large project members of the design team themselves don’t have an understanding or appreciation of the overall project. This happens because different parts of the project are designed, drawn or modelled by separate departments or consultants and an overall integrated model is often not produced or is not seen by every person on the project.

The new developments in the industry such as BIM has helped this as people are now starting to think in 3D. These models can be brought into review software such as Navisworks or Bentley navigator, but they still don’t give the realism that is often required for good communication.

With an animation you can create and test different scenarios, such as lighting effects, traffic flow, sight analysis etc. If you look at the image below it is a good example of different types of data used to create the animation

  •  The model was created using the following types of information,
  • 2D drawings
  • 3D models & information
  • Speed profiles (to accurately animate the
  • vehicle)
  • Lighting Design Information (To create accurate lighting)
  • Track information
  • Vehicle information (To accurately position the driver position and height) 
This is a good example how different types of information was used to visualise the project and analysis the design while the project is still in design stage.

If you have any questions on anything in this blog or any other blog please feel free to contact me at

Dan Deery is the managing director of Siscín which is a company an Irish based company specialising in visualisation and BIM for the Infrastructure, Engineering and Architectural industries.