Harris Kalinka

Imagery + Animation Golf + Architecture

Monday 14th September 2015

What we need to create a golf course animation (Part 1: The basics)

The starting point for a golf course animation is a digital 3D model. From this 3D model we generate your animation, be it a tee-to-green flyover of a single hole, or an overview of the entire golf course. To ‘build’ the 3D model there is some standard basic information we need from you.

1. Routing and grading plans

We’d prefer to get your routing and grading plans in CAD format, although we can work from hand-drawn plans and even sketches. Sending us the plans in CAD simply speeds up the process and invariably saves you money. If you have a 3D model of the terrain, even better, but we will need to check if it works with our software.

In terms of contour intervals we can generally work from any level of grading plan, but we find the following creates a detailed 3D model that can be used for most purposes, including close-up views of the green:

  • 0.125m contours for the green
  • 0.25m around the green
  • 0.5m for all other areas
Grading plan for a golf course showing the contour lines

Sample of a grading plan

2. Site survey and photos

We almost always create a 3D model of the surrounding landscape, so that the backdrop to the animation is realistic. To do this we often use a combination of site survey data (if available), site photos, Google Earth data and any other information we can find ourselves. Don’t forget to give us the location coordinates so we can find the exact location of the site.

3. References for the course features

Grass, trees, bunker styles, course furniture and cart paths – if you have a vision of how they will look please share it with us. You can send us photos, magazine cuttings, images from the web or even sketches. Anything that will give us a good indication of how you want the course to look.

For some projects that are in the early stages of design we can use a generic combination of trees and planting from our library, but for realistic animation, specifics are good. For example, for a recent project we show over 1,900 trees, consisting of 21 varieties at different stages of maturity.

As a rule, the more information you give us the more detailed the 3d model will look, and the more impressive the final animation will be.

References for golf course features such as bunkers

References for the different features on a golf course

References for golf course trees and planting

References for the different types of trees and planting on a golf course

4. Clubhouse and real estate

If the animation needs to include course buildings, such as the clubhouse, hospitality or real estate, then we need the plans, sections and elevations (again in CAD format), and a schedule of the material finishes.

If the animation includes a walkthrough of any of the buildings then we also need the material finishes, furniture and fittings for each room that will be shown. We do have a library of furniture that we can use.

Concept sketch showing the real estate

In addition to CAD you can provide other information such as sketches

5. Yardages, routes of play, hole descriptions

If you want your animation to show yardage information or ball flight graphics then we need this information. If each hole has a name, let us know and we can add this as a title. We can also include hole descriptions as text or as a voiceover in the animation.

6. Logos

There are plenty of opportunities to brand your animation. We can include the company logos for the developer, course architect and the course itself at the beginning or end of the animation. These same logos can be added to the flags or other course furniture, giving it a professional branded finish.

Beyond the basics

As you know, golf course design cannot be captured by lists, examples and technical information alone. We can model the course with this information, but key to creating a successful course animation is speaking to the golf course architect. Next week I will post Part 2 so you can find out what else we need before we can produce an animation that does your golf course justice.

Call us for advice on putting together a brief for your golf course animation