Harris Kalinka

Imagery + Animation Golf + Architecture

Tuesday 14th January 2014

Briefing your architectural visualisation company

Getting an accurate quote and the best possible architectural visualisation comes down to giving your company the best brief you can.

The information we need depends on the project. For example what we need to know for an interior CGI of a hotel is different to what we need if we’re creating a flyover animation of a masterplan. Having said that, there is some information that applies to all projects, and before you send us any drawings it might be worth thinking about the following questions so you can make the most out of what we can do.

What makes your design special?

You’ve spent weeks, maybe months (perhaps even years) on your design and now you need some great images. The very first thing you need to explain is what makes your project special and what elements need to be communicated or emphasised in the images.

It’s very important that whoever you work with understands this. Don’t assume that it will be obvious to them. This knowledge will help determine the camera angles, the style of lighting and the type of service you require. Choosing the right service could save or make you a lot of money.

Who is going to look at your design?

Some companies will take your design and create some great images but without considering the audience for those images. It’s no good having a fantastic image if it doesn’t appeal to your target audience. This is not just true for marketing images, it also applies to images for planning, or for competition entries or client presentation.

It’s crucial to consider your audience, and you probably know them better than anyone. We’ll be happy to draw on our 8 years’ experience of creating marketing images and advise you on how to tailor your images for your target audience. Tell us who they are so that we can create images that are appropriate.

What story must the visualisation tell?

Every design tells a story. It might be about the client, the thinking behind the design, the lifestyle of a potential buyer, or how the building will be used. How this story is told in the visualisation is influenced by who the audience is and what you want them to feel.

The story doesn’t have to be complicated and it isn’t appropriate for every project. Telling it can often be done without incurring any additional costs. Visualising that story could be as simple as placing a few objects in an interior to hint at how you might live in it, or it could involve a more complex animation that tells a story.

How will you provide your design: drawings, sketches, 3d models?

Every architect, interior designer and developer has a different way of designing a building or interior and a different workflow. They use a multitude of different software for translating the design into working drawings. Some of our clients like to design with a minimum of technical drawings and others like to create a full package of construction drawings.

We can create a visualisation from almost any level of design, although the more detail you give us the more will be apparent in the final images. To quote accurately we need to know what design files or information you’ll be providing.

The finer design details

We’ll also ask for additional project information according to the type of project. For example if we’ve been asked to produce a CGI for an interior we’ll ask for references of the surface finishes, a lighting schedule and references for the furniture and fittings.

If we’ve been asked to create a photomontage for an exterior, we’ll ask for the material finishes, a site plan and if possible some photos that show the site and its surroundings. (We usually take the photos for the background of the photomontage ourselves, using our experience of what works well in terms of angles and lighting.)

How many views do you need and from where?

If you need the images to support a planning application then you might have a very clear idea of the location and number of views you need, often on the advice of a planning consultant or from consulting with the local authority.
Knowing which views you need can save you money. It limits the detail we need to add to your 3d model for certain angles, and it can influence how much of the scenery around the model we develop.

If the images are for marketing, a client presentation or a competition then there might be more flexibility in the choice of views. You might have a very clear idea of what aspect of the design you want to focus on, but it’s certainly worth exploring the possibilities after we’ve created the 3d model, looking for a view that will show the design to its fullest.

You don’t need to make a decision about how many images you need though. We like to keep the number flexible. Sometimes you’ll find that once the design is modelled there is a single image that will encapsulate everything about the design, and you no longer need the two or three images you thought you might.

Let’s talk

We like to sit down and talk about a new project, so we can hear you talk about the design and get a feel for what you want. Unless you’re overseas, we’re usually more than happy to come to your office. If you’re overseas, or we can’t find a suitable time, then we can always talk over the phone or arrange a video call. We find this really helps and it’s always nice to get to know who you’ll be working with.

Even with the very best brief, we’ve never sent a client the final images without a bit of discussion about progress images, and I imagine we never will. This isn’t because we can’t create great images first time, it’s because we like to work collaboratively, providing you with plenty of progress throughout the process and getting your thoughts on the materials, lighting and camera positions and feel of the images. We might not always agree with you, and we’ll tell you if we think something could make your images stronger, but we realise that you know your design better than anyone, so it’s important that you have plenty of input so we can visualise your design in the best way.

Tell us about your project