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22 September 2020
Shalini John

How Can Detailed 3D Walk-throughs Benefit Homebuilders?

Wysiwyg! ‘What you see is what you get’ has been a catchphrase for decades, and initially, it used to refer to a computer screen display which appears on screen the way it will be seen when printed. Virtual walk-throughs, or 3D house walk-throughs, in the homebuilding industry have evolved to the point where now, ‘what you see is what you get’. Homebuilders can view realistic and detailed digital images of residential designs while walking through them. These walk-throughs can be used by homebuilders to understand how residential designs will appear and function and also to market their projects with impressive results. Part of the architectural rendering services that are generally offered, residential architectural renderings is used to help create these accurate walk-throughs.

Just how detailed can these walk-throughs be?

Virtual walk-throughs can include precise and minute details, such as the immediate surroundings of a residence, car park areas, roads nearby, gardens, fences, hedges and other landscaping features for exterior views. Interior views can show every part of a home, including furniture, windows, doors, room decorations, shadows, lighting and light fixtures, reflections and even the natural lighting on wall paintings caused by the sun’s rays falling through the trees outside. Sounds and background music make it all seem even more real, so that viewers feel as if they are already walking through the finished project.

The different kinds of walk-throughs include the following:
Interior Walk-throughs

Using 3D animation and multimedia, residential interiors can be digitally presented with light reflections, shadows, self-illumination of objects in the rooms, furniture, appliances, wall colours, decorations, etc.

Exterior Walk-throughs

The outside details of a residence that can be portrayed include surroundings outside, building materials, roads, greenery, fences, parking areas, windows, doors, chimneys, climate, etc.

3D Floor Plan Walk-throughs

The floor plans can be toured virtually while navigating through the residential areas. Homebuilders can modify features and view any earlier changes using state-of-the-art software.

Several benefits ensue from using real estate 3D walk-through services, such as:
  • Significant increase in returns from investment
  • Presenting concepts effortlessly and as accurate visuals to clients
  • Enhancing the marketing process
  • Driving high sale ratio of residences, portraying realistic features
  • Revising and modifying the design before the construction begins
  • The animated 3D walk-throughs can be viewed on smartphones, TVs, computers, PDAs.
  • Colours can be mixed strategically, lighting exposure can be modified and movements can flow.

Visualisation technology has advanced to such a degree where walk-throughs can include lifelike landscapes, trees, people, animals, panoramic horizons and moving shadows. Details on 3D walk-throughs can include photorealistic textures, materials, colours and finishes in the right proportion and scale on architectural 3D models. Furniture can be viewed from almost any angle, and homebuilders can view complex engineering concepts.

Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) projects can provide realistic, interactive and immersive experiences to help customers feel the atmosphere of the conceptualised design and facilitate easy mouse movements. These walk-throughs can be easily modified for additions and changes to the design at the conceptual design stage.

Reliable and experienced design partners are required to create detailed professional walk-throughs. Ideally, they should have the following prerequisites:
  • 3D Animation Software – AutoCAD, Maya, Maxon and 3DMax, as well as custom-built software can be used to create 3D walk-throughs with the right colour, light and movement.
  • Versatile Professionals – Experienced engineers, graphic designers, technical analysts and data entry experts can develop virtual room designs and 3D walkthroughs.
  • Competent Infrastructure, Technology – Advanced Mac and Windows PCs, high-resolution monitors, etc. are also required.

Closely linked to capable design professionals, the development of virtual walk-throughs for homebuilders is dependent on skilled renderers, developers and modeling experts. They can provide services, such as building information modelling (BIM), , 3D furniture modelling, etc. By utilising models, colour fill, 3D perspectives, detailed drawings and renderings of limited walk-through animation can be created.

If the execution of these services proves to be challenging due to a paucity of qualified personnel, infrastructure or software, Western firms have the option of outsourcing these services to countries such as India. The outsourcing of CAD design and drafting services along with 3D modelling services can bring coordination and collaboration between the disciplines of architecture, structure and MEP, improving the accuracy of project decisions. For example, when the location of a wall has to be changed, the software used can update the data and dimensions of adjacent walls, roofs, floors and redraw section views.

The process of creating walk-throughs involves developing a 3D model using interior elevations, details, floor plans and sections which have been provided by the client. Knowing the general colour scheme for the interior and exterior of the residence helps create models that match the tastes of the client. This is made possible with the use of Revit families for objects such as windows, walls, doors, cabinets, furniture and other elements.

In general, homebuilders benefit in several way by using BIM technology. They include the following:
  • Customisation – Design flexibility and the options of a custom home can be offered to clients at the cost of a product home.
  • Clash detection – With a 3D BIM model, clashes between structural, mechanical and plumbing system elements can be identified and resolved.
  • Staff efficiency – Hundreds of homes can be sold annually, with the services of just a few design professionals.
  • Site-specific plans – After the creation of a basic BIM model, developing fully detailed, site-specific plans is simple, while accurate material counts and design specifications can be adhered to.
  • Marketing – Detailed 3D renderings and walk-throughs can be created to effectively market homes and update customers on the project’s progress.

One of the most important contributions of virtual walk-throughs is that they enable viewers to walk inside their homes and view the spaces and their precise details as if it was already built. A significant amount of money, time and effort can be saved by deciding on, determining and changing design features or aspects before construction commences by using residential BIM modelling. With the right architectural rendering services provider, residential architectural renderings and 3D house walk-throughs can be a wise marketing tool and an effective homebuilder-customer interface.