How can you understand a project if you have never been there?

Most of the work on a 3D project is done at a computer, but if you are taking the project seriously then you need to go to the job site, walk over it, see what’s around and get to know your market. The fact that we visit each site makes us unique, but when you consider we may spend 3 days or more on site you get to understand just how much importance we place on this. In essence, it’s a detailed analysis of the site before we get started back on our computers. It could also be considered a photo shoot, but you can’t actually engage us to do photography or drone work.

So what do we get up to on site?

The breadth of what we do on location has evolved in scope and size. Helicopters at $1200 per hour have been replaced by UAV drones that fit in the back of a car. Film scanners are obsolete as we now have amazing digital SLR cameras that bring old school quality photography into the convenient digital age. All of these new “toys” actually mean we have the budget and desire to stay onsite longer, getting shots that we were never able to get before, day and night. 

Two skilled people on site can get more done in 3 days than what used to take a week for three people, including research, and design meetings.

To broadly itemize what goes on and why we like to do it ourselves:

Design and strategy meetings + research

Anyone who thinks they can effectively take on a 3D design brief without meeting in person and discussing it is deluding themselves and you. It’s not just the personal interaction, it is the initial communication and understanding of the project that never seems to convert properly via the phone or text.

Photogrammatic 3D site modelling

This is a new one, and it’s incredible. We create a large 3D model of the actual site including the surrounding neighborhood that is highly accurate, photographic quality, and can be used not just for 3D work but also for reference by the architect, builder and developer. Height and distance data is generated instantly and it can be used to resolve many design layout issues.

View capture

OK, this area grew over the years. Today we will capture the views from each level of the building, as beautiful HDRI shots for marketing, 360 immersive panoramic shots for 3D, and all of that done at least twice over to capture the best lighting and views. That can come to hundreds of pictures, all sorted and available for you to utilize in other aspects of your marketing campaign. 

Photomontage shots

We like to blend 3D buildings with real photography, but it can’t just be any snapshot that we use. The photographer needs to imagine the building in place, choose a perfect angle that suits the building, landscape and lighting, and then use the right techniques and settings. It requires experience and patience, and sometimes a lot of drone batteries.

Camera tracking video

Just when you think photomontage may be tricky we then up the game to doing the same thing with video. Take the notes above, make it 3x more difficult but expect 5x the impact from the finished result.

All of this requires time, and once again, patience. We plan out the weather and local events, then get prepared to camp on location for as long as it takes to get what we need, which may take up to 3 days and sometimes requires us to come back. We start before the sun comes up, and finish after it has gone, taking our time to explore each angle and how the environment affects it. It’s a lot more effort than what your average photographer or drone pilot will put in, but it’s also one of the most enjoyable parts of the job, which is why we include it.

Archiform 3D, a pioneer in advanced architectural technology, has been designing, visualizing and marketing real estate globally for over 30 years resulting in billions of dollars sold pre-construction.

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