Best architectural visualization workflow?
The architectural visualization workflow is somehow a mystery for people that didn't had any contact with the development of a project, side by side with an architect or company. I can say that from my experiences in my architectural visualization classes, where I often get students with an animation or advertising background. Earlier this week I saw an interesting topic at the CG Society forums, where an artist asks for examples of architectural visualization workflows. This is an important topic to discuss, because there isn't an exact or correct answer to point the best workflow. It will depend on a series of variables, ranging from the communication with the author or the project, and in which stage of the development that visualization will start.
For me, I usually take two approaches to start thinking in the workflow. The first one will be used if I'm the author of the project and the second is taken when I'm hired by an architect or company to create the visualization for them.
When I'm the author of the project, things get pretty easy to manage. In this case, all decisions will be made before I start with the visualization.
With visualization for architects or companies, things get a little more complicated. Here is the usual workflow I use:
- Define the number of views and camera angles need for the visualization
- Ask for the technical drawings of the project
- Make the corrections and adjustments on the CAD file received from the client
- Start to model the project based on the views defined on stage 1
- Send render tests with the views to the client
- Make adjustments to the cameras and views
- Add furniture and objects to the scene
- Setup textures and materials
- Add light emitters in the scene
- Render the views
- Work on post-production and adjustments to the scene
This is the traditional workflow for a visualization project. The most complicated parts stay between stages 1 and 4. Because some architects and companies don't have a clear idea of what should be showed from the project. In other cases, there are still some clients that wants the full project modeled, to decide later where to position the cameras. Of course, this will end up by rising up the cost of the visualization, because the artist will create a 3d model that might or not be used in the project.
Another point complicated is the manipulation of CAD files, which very often comes with small errors or issues that must be addressed before the modeling starts.
What about you? Is your workflow different? Would you share it with us?