Architectural walkthroughs are not simply a moving interpretation of a structure’s design. They are emotive, persuasive, and ultimately cinematic portrayals of what it would be like to see it in front of you, in the real world.

This is an opportunity for investors and users to create their first deep connection with the design before stepping foot in the building itself, which a responsibility that is not to be taken lightly.

Today, we want to demonstrate three factors that set a truly impactful walkthrough apart from the rest: camera movement, lighting, and setting.

Camera Movement

Camera movement is the central aspect of all 3D walkthroughs. Don’t simply think of it as a means of presenting the architecture; approach the situation as if you were a cinematographer. Ask yourself how you can utilize movement in the shot to accentuate the structure’s strengths and reinforce the project’s overall vision. This distinction is what separates a mediocre fly-through from a visual experience that will blow your audience away. Email UsKnow more about our Architecture Services
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There are multiple ways of being creative with camera movement. The first is to experiment with both translational and rotational movements, rather than continuous lateral advancement. This creates a more dynamic exploration of the structure, which will keep the viewer curious about what they will discover next.

Keep in mind the connotations of the shots you design. For example, aerial shots are an excellent method of creating a feeling of exhilaration and excitement, perfect for unveiling grandiose high rises and public installations. Conversely, a well-placed tracking shot focusing on a singular element can highlight the intimacy of the space or emphasize intricate details.

Another important feature of camera movement is the speed at which it progresses. Slow movement implies magnitude and impressiveness, as it urges the audience to take in every facet of the shot. Quicker movement implies a sense of purpose and high technology, which suits more pragmatic, efficient design.

Points of Caution:

  • A certain level of creativity will lead to an immersive architectural walkthrough video, but overly experimental camera movements will make the final product come across as disjointed and distract from the structure itself.
  • It is preferable to always return the camera to a position at eye level (5-6 feet above the ground) to simulate a man’s eye view, as this evokes the experience of actually walking through the building and thus accurately conveys the building’s scale.

Lighting

Just like in a still frame rendering, there are plenty of different aspects of lighting in a 3D walkthrough animation. The positioning of the light source, the amount of light cast, time of day, and weather conditions all play a part in creating atmosphere.

Furthermore, the realism of all architectural visualization is highly dependant on lighting. Often, the more creative the lighting, the more natural the walkthrough will appear. Because BluEnt understands the power of this technique, we work with the latest software & hardware and a trained eye to simulate real world lighting. This will leave your audience with the impression that they witnessed a physical, existing building, allowing them to develop a deep connection with the design before ever encountering it in real life.

One way to achieve this is by using non-natural light sources such as streetlights or indoor lamps to illuminate a scene. This adds a unique layer of richness to interactive 3D walkthroughs as the camera movement changes where the light and shadows hit frame by frame.

One last point about lighting is that it is your most effective tool for directing the eye in a given shot. Subtle spotlights or induced vignettes give structure and focus to a scene in a way that area light simply cannot achieve.

Points of Caution:

  • While experimenting, be careful not to let the lighting eclipse the details of the design (i.e. if you cast a spotlight on a certain object, be wary of obscuring the other elements in the frame).
  • For interior walkthroughs in particular, consider varying the amounts and types of light used in each area to give the viewer a cinematic yet comprehensive experience.

Setting

This technique adds to the overall realism and visual appeal of 3D fly-throughs as it allows the audience to fully immerse themselves in the experience beyond the isolated structure. Whether you choose to portray the actual location the building will be constructed in or a more abstract environment, the setting will provide references for scale and show how the structure will interact with real world elements.

The emotive quality of a well-crafted setting works because of the symbolic affiliations the viewer infers based on the colour palette, concept, and dynamic elements (i.e. moving water, grass swaying in the breeze, walking pedestrians, birds flying in the sky, etc.) you choose.

Is the audience supposed to feel calm inside the building? In awe of its imposing exterior design? Humbled by the importance of the operations within? These are reactions that can be evoked effectively through setting.

Similarly to lighting, you can also orient your scenery around the structure to subtly draw the viewer’s eye to certain details that your clients would like to emphasize. Delicate framing can be created through shapes and indirect borders that emerge in different shots as a result of camera movement.

As an international company, one way that BluEnt produces strategic settings is by working with image inputs from our clients to truly recreate local landscapes in our walkthroughs.

Points of Caution:

  • Setting is something to discuss heavily with your clients, as it has an enormous impact on the overall presentation of the project.
  • Be wary of designing your setting too extravagant or interactive to the point where it distracts from the structure itself.

We hope that this article has shed some light on the process behind creating a walkthrough that leaves audiences anticipating your structure’s next stage of development. If you’re interested in learning more about BluEnt’s capabilities in 3D visualization and walkthroughs, we would love to discuss them with you! Send us a message today to keep the conversation going.

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