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How to Choose the Best 3D VIZ Software to Visualize Your Design

By Maria Lorena Lehman — Get more articles like this sent to your email HERE.

‍Image Credit: © Frank Boston | Fotolia

Finding the Strengths in Your 3D VIZ Software

The software you choose to realize your design vision will determine to some extent how far you push that design vision. After all, a software for gaming will help you create more interactive and responsive architecture, while a software for nature visualization will help you create more biophilic architecture.

Knowing which software tool to use to realize the different aspects of your design concept vision is critical. And if you do not take the time to learn about what different software can do, you may be simultaneously limiting what your designs can do. You see, different 3D VIZ software has different strengths and weaknesses. To use them wisely, it is best to match their strengths to what you are trying to discover, create or more deeply understand about your design.

Yes, you “drive” your tools to do what they need to do for your design. But the right tool, for the right design approach can make a world of difference. For example, Frank Gehry uses emerging computer technologies to push his design visions further – to create new and innovative forms of architecture.

How to Choose from Many 3D VIZ Software Choices

Learning more than one software technology will put you at a design advantage. After all, having more tools to choose from will help you to express your design ideas more clearly and convincingly to clients, design team members, and review boards.

Also, it is important to understand that the future of architectural design is tied to the development of digital media tools – with some that go beyond simple visualization, to actually grow the initial design vision into concept formulation. Furthermore, to better design interactive or responsive environments, other 3D VIZ software may be used to experiment, test, and develop architectural behavioral dynamics.

For example, the software called Unity may be best for such interactive modelling, while a software like VUE can really bring nature integrations to life within your built environment modelling. And for fast and beautiful animations, a software like LumenRT can really help you to develop your design concept and clearly express it during presentations.

Yet, there may be times when you have an overabundance of 3D VIZ software tools to choose from to visualize your architectural design. In this case, use the tool(s) that work best for you – the tools that become like an extension of your hands and mind as you design. These will help you to push your design vision more profoundly so you can realize the best design result.

Top 3 Questions to Ask When Selecting a 3D VIZ Software

To best select which 3D VIZ software tool is best for your intended design, you may ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do I need to realize interactivity, hyper-real nature, real-time experience, or even poetics? And yes, there are tools and techniques best suited for each of these.
  • Do I need to save time? Some tools are faster to work with than others (think rendering times).
  • What phase is my architectural design project in right now? Some tools are better for iterative concept formulation and development, while others are better for creating beautiful finalized renderings that refine and lock an architectural design into place to be experienced.

By asking such questions, you can match the best 3D VIZ software tool to your design needs, so you can see more profoundly into the results of each design decision you make. In doing this, you will maximize positive outcomes for your efforts, and know that you are being true to the exploration and development of your design intent and vision.

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what members are saying...
Maria: I came across your website through a reference in today's Architect Weekly ezine and am delighted I did. I'll bookmark your site and check back often. I read the first article and then the second and thirty minutes later realized how much time had passed. I've been practicing for thirty years and have always missed the stimulation of academia. I find each of your brief dissertations sort of like a day in design studio. Thanks for the inspiration.

Ron Ward
AI Group Design
I am excited to see you touch a vein of values in architecture, I have been chasing myself for years. Your depth of involvement in these very deep subjects is really beautiful and passionately dealt with and well written. Sound, color and value, shape, texture, scale, smell.... all definitive measures of the spaces we should be alert to. [...] I will savor the rest of your investigation of sensuality in architecture. I'm Glad I found you.

Dennis McLaughlin
McLaughlin Architect
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Maria Lorena Lehman is an award-winning visionary author, designer, and educator from the United States. Maria holds a Bachelor of Architecture with Honors from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and a Master in Design with Distinction from Harvard University Graduate School of Design.

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