The Role of CGI in Architecture Visualization Today

3D rendering allows architects to troubleshoot design issues early, boosts creativity by allowing experimentation, and helps visualize how new structures fit within their surroundings, improving communication with clients and stakeholders.

You have got everything ready to dazzle your client – the blueprints, rendered floor plans, a few sketches that Le Corbusier would be proud of, and a physical model of your project. While this may have been the complete toolkit to wow your client back in the ‘70s, a new star in town is stealing the spotlight – Computer-Generated Imagery (CGI).

CGI, or 3D rendering, is widely used as a visualization technique in the production of video games, television shows, and films, but it is still a relatively new concept in architecture. Nevertheless, over the years, it has gained popularity in the industry owing to its ability to improve the overall architectural experience.

What Is CGI?

Before diving headfirst into CGI’s role in architecture visualization, let’s understand what CGI is. This 3D modeling and visualization technique first came into the picture in the ‘60s and is used to generate 2D and 3D images, renders, animations, and objects using computer graphics. It can be used to animate an entire action-packed sequence in a movie or for subtler work like detailing characters and environments in photos.

This technology is primarily used in architecture for five major visualization types – interior visualization, exterior visualization, animated 3D visualization, 360-degree panoramic views, and virtual tours. While the first two are common among the architecture community, the rest are gaining popularity thanks to their aesthetic appeal and ability to convey ideas seamlessly.

Benefits of CGI in Architecture

To best understand the role CGI plays in architecture, let us look at its benefits and industry impact below.

1. It Facilitates Client Communication

There is no doubt that the realism and precision that computer-generated images offer are a goldmine when it comes to effective client communication. 3D rendering allows architects to accurately reflect their designs so that their clients can visualize their dream projects in incredible detail. They can also use CGI to explain the design brief to the construction team.

Additionally, designers can showcase the project’s surroundings with photorealistic quality, creating a truly immersive experience. Clients can also experience the beauty of their upcoming home remotely through walkthroughs, the context around their site, and the way their neighborhood develops in the future. CGI also helps clients communicate more effectively by providing nuanced feedback to architects, and this is especially beneficial as they usually don’t have an architectural background.

2.It Helps Highlight The Main Selling Points

Architects, designers, and even real estate agents may need to prove the value of their projects to potential stakeholders and investors. Before CGI was developed, the best way to do so was through physical models and sketches. Physical models are time-consuming and may not help the client grasp the scale of the project. Similarly, sketches, while an excellent way to develop design concepts, and put forward a rough idea, may need to be detailed to help them decide on investing in the project.

Today, CGI visuals clearly highlight the house’s selling points, whether it be custom textures, colors, or unique materials. They can also be used for marketing their project and attracting potential clients and investors, even before it is complete.


3. It Allows For Early Troubleshooting

In architecture, every line and every dot has the potential to make a considerable difference when executed. Concepts and schematics can look perfect on paper but might not be so when brought to reality. For example, a corridor might be too narrow, or a window may need to be placed better.

Mistakes recognized too late can not only lead to financial losses but also negatively impact their relationship with the client. Thanks to 3D rendering, architects can visualize their designs before giving them the green light for construction, thereby eliminating the guesswork and helping architects deliver the design according to the client’s wishes.

Source: Freepik


4. It Boosts Creativity

Even experienced architects may sometimes need an extra nudge to unleash their creativity, especially when limited to 2D plans and sketches. With 3D rendering, walkthroughs, and panoramic views, designers can experiment with different options without spending hours sketching or making 3D models.

Moreover, if they are stuck in a rut with a particularly complex design, they need not go back to the drawing board; they can easily visualize things through CGI and try to decide the perfect placement of spaces. Hence, the benefits of 3D rendering for an architect are three-fold – it helps them manage their time better, is cost-effective, and improves their creativity.


5. CGI Can Help Visualize If Exteriors Match The Context

While building something new, every architect is responsible for respecting the site’s context. A new structure in a neighborhood is a piece of the puzzle, not a separate entity. Whether the site is in the busier part of a city, a calm suburb, or deep in the woods, the best way to convey the emotions that the context imparts is not through a sketch or a model; it is through CGI.

Expert 3D artists can easily recreate a site and integrate the new structure in photo-realistic quality with the help of specialized software, helping both clients and architects understand the structure’s impact on both its present and future surroundings.

CGI creates a stimulating and immersive experience for all the stakeholders in the project without spending too much time or money. With it, 3D artists can even go the extra mile and create photo-realistic interior renders, walkthroughs, and contextual renders to help the client or investor grasp the entire project. The photorealistic rendering technique is undoubtedly an excellent tool that can help architects design, present, and communicate better.

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Estefania was very kind and professional to work with. A little difficult for the different local times to work with different artists but they put great effort to sort the problems out but it could end up with some delays. All the renders were very good in the end. thanks again

Pasquale Pinto
Redfish Design