Why is 3D interior design a standard tool in this day and age? How is it going to boost your business? In this article we are going to explore 3D design, its history, its reach and its essential values.
A short history
We don’t have a precise date when 3D design started, but we know that first 3D models were developed in the 60s. You’d probably guess that architects were the creators of 3D software. Surprisingly, this is not the case. 3D modelling was first created by computer engineers who worked on the automatisation of data. It was Ivan Sutherland, who created the first ever programme for drawing 3D models. He called it Sketchpad. Together with David Evans, Sutherland established the computer technologies department at The University of Utah. To this day most 3D programmes’ interface is based on Sketchpad.
In 1969 Sutherland and Evans launched their company specialising in 3D graphics. Their first clients were advertising companies and TV channels but soon this kind of service spread out to different industries, especially architecture and interior design.
The process of creating 3D models
To become part of this progressive movement we need to get some insight. Let’s have a closer look at the process of creating 3D models.
The main purpose of interior design visualisation is to get images of an object or interior from different perspectives. To achieve this, 3D designers use specific software to create a geometric vision of a space, add materials, they create natural or artificial lighting, they even include an impression of the surrounding environment (for example a view from windows) and they make sure that the appearance of surfaces resembles real-life texture.
After everything is ‘built’, 3D designers render the interior to get photorealistic images. For high-quality final images, 3D designers usually edit final renders in Photoshop, because it allows them to adjust the light and colours of the images.
What are the stages of 3D visualisation:
1. Step One: Creating geometric or 3D models
You need to know the precise measurements of the space and each and every object in the room before you start building it. The main objective of 3D visualisation is to show everything in precise scale, as it is in reality. The benefit of applying exact dimensions is that you can be 100% sure, that objects not only fit but are also proportional to the space.
Programmes used to model are: Autodesk 3Ds Max, V-ray, ZBrush, Google SketchUp, Blender, Revit, Rhino.
2. Step Two: Materials and textures
To make your interior appear as realistic as possible you have to add materials and colours as they are in the specification. 3D proficient software allows you to choose the precise materials you want to see in an interior. One of the major benefits of 3D programmes is, that they can also demonstrate how different materials interact with the light.
To add materials, you can use all programmes listed in Step One.
3. Step Three: Light
One of the strongest features of 3D design programmes is, that they allow you to ‘build in’ light sources. It can be natural day light (the sun) or artificial lighting at night. You can create two versions to show how the same space might look at different times of the day.
Why is using the light feature so important? Only natural light makes images looks realistic. It creates depth, brightness and shadows. When you work digitally, effects of light have to be properly adjusted to make sure the images look realistic.
4. Step Four: Positioning virtual cameras
Cameras allow you to take photos of the space and make videos. Cameras have their own settings, where you can choose the quality, the size and different effects for each image.
5. Step Five: Rendering
Rendering is the process of projecting 3D space into 2D photos or videos. This should be done after Step One to Four have been completed. The most common rendering software applications today are Maxwell Render, Corona Render and V-Ray.
With new technology you can create not only 3D images and videos of interiors but also 360 degrees panoramas, 3D tours and VR experiences. Go to Anna K Studio website to learn more.
The role of technology in interior design
The Design industry has changed in the past decade with a significant increase of different new technologies. There has been much progress and still, the industry continues to change and evolve. Even though we still have tools that are “the norm” for technical drawings, we are already witnessing the appearance of many new apps that work faster, are more versatile, offer more features and tools and help to make the design process faster, easier and more inspired.
Revit (for architects) and Sketchup (for designers) are already starting to replace AutoCAD. These software solutions offer a better user experience with more options, like easier 3D render within a programme. This is becoming a must-have feature in software, because it gives designers the ability to work in 3 dimensions straight away, so they can produce pictures, videos, specifications and technical drawings much more quickly and efficiently. More and more clients are aware of this useful technology and they expect designers to provide them with 3D presentations.
The Design industry is not exempt from the effects of the unprecedented economic and financial downturn, which we are currently experiencing. Interior design clients will be more aware and more selective as far as their investment is concerned. Digital design technology offers designers effective tools to get through these times by demonstrating to their clients in a very impressive and convincing way that their idea is budget effective and works well for the client.
Another reason for using advanced technology is the e-tendency. We are going online and that is not going to change for a while. Some companies might not return to office-based work routines, if working remotely can be done more efficiently. What about interior design? New technology allows us to have Zoom meetings, we can do virtual home tours, which means there is no need to go to a client’s house. We use project management programmes to control our progress, we use online platforms to order furniture and so on. Digital design is more than just technology - digital design is a new way of communication, it is a new way of presenting your ideas, it is a great way to win a project. Sometimes we have just one chance to present our ideas and we should not waste it.
What to expect next?
We can all agree that technology is advancing faster and further than Sutherland and Evans could have predicted. The next steps will see architecture and design merging with virtual reality and augmented reality. There is no big rush. You don’t need to integrate these technologies into your business right now. But for those like me, who like to stay ahead of the game, this is something to be aware of and to stay engaged with.
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