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  • Writer's pictureJamie Wilkes

So how does it work - I want to know more…

Updated: Nov 4, 2022

So how does it work - I want to know more…

You don't know, what you don't know,

And that's ok!

Because if you knew as much about architectural visualisation as we do, you'd be creating your own visuals!

This blog is for those that want to know more….

In recent weeks, a number of new clients have said that they might be asking a silly question, or they have been unsure of something as this was the first time that they’d instructed a 3D visualisation for one of their projects.

  • What information is required to quote?

  • What is the process?

  • How long does a visual take to produce?

  • What does ‘render’ actually mean?

I’ve noticed that many of the same questions come up every time, so I will try and answer some of them in this blog. Every architectural visualisation studio will have their own preferred way of working, so I will talk you through how we do things here at Resolution Studios.

Some studios like to take their clients' plans and elevations and have full control over the design & aesthetics of a project, however at Resolution Studios we want to work WITH YOU and collaborate throughout the development of the 3D model. Our ultimate aim is to produce 3D images of YOUR project that generates interest, excitement and confidence in your scheme.

Here are the answers to some of the questions I am most often asked:

What information do you need to provide a quote?

To provide a fee for your architectural visualisation, generally all we need are the plans and elevations of your scheme (PDFs are fine at this stage). We also need to know the type of image you are looking for, how many visuals you require, approximate camera positions & the time of day you would like to see the proposed building presented.

This is usually enough information to get a feel for your concept and provide some costings. Once instructed to begin work, we will have as many further conversations as needed in order to understand the finer detail of your requirements. We will talk to and work alongside whoever in your team is best placed to provide the information we require, whether that be the architect, interior designer, developer, estate agent, planning consultant - or all of the above!

How quickly can you produce an image?

Turnaround times depend on two factors, lead times and the size and scope of your project.

Lead times are entirely dependent on the number and scale of projects already booked in. We will be able to give you an idea of the current lead times at the point of quotation, although they are naturally subject to change until a project is confirmed and the necessary project information has been received - more on that below.

The time spent working on your project will vary greatly depending on the scope and scale of your requirements. For example, a single view of a simple house without any landscaping could be produced in a day. However a complex interior view of a proposed restaurant refurbishment with decor, lighting, varied furniture and ‘finishing touches’ such as table settings, a fully stocked back bar and multiple views could take up to two weeks. We will be able to give an estimate of how long your visualisation will take at the quotation stage once we understand your needs.

I have commissioned Resolution Studios to start my project - What happens next?

Once we have agreed the extent of work, fees and time scale, it is time for us to get to work!

To get started we will need the project plans & elevations, preferably in DWG file format if available. If this is something you are unfamiliar with, we can request the relevant information from your architect or designer. These are usually shared with us by email or via an online file sharing platform such as Dropbox or Google Drive.

We are then ready to import your CAD files into our 3D software and start building your scheme in three dimensions.

This early stage of the modelling process sees us:

  • create the geometry - the shapes and surfaces that make up the model

  • create the materials that will be mapped onto the geometry - for example brickwork, mirror or carpet.

  • set up the lighting system to illuminate the 3D model - this may be the sun if you require an external daytime view, or it could be a sky light, windows or lights to match your scheme if an internal view. Evening views provide lots of opportunities for interesting lighting effects at this stage!

  • set up the virtual cameras to see the model from the best vantage point - this is deciding the exact location from which to render our image or take our virtual photo of the 3D model.

If there is any additional information we require while we are working through the above, we will give you or a member of your team a call. I also like to keep in regular contact with my clients to keep them updated on the progress of their project and let them know when to expect a draft image of their scheme.

We know our clients are eager to see their scheme in 3D , that's why we like to issue an early draft image for comment. This is usually a relatively basic looking image. It is also an early opportunity to ensure we are on the right track!

At this stage, we take on board client feedback and start adding more and more detail to the 3D model. This is when the 3D visuals really come to life. Adding layers of detail to the building, landscaping, building up the materials and fine tuning the lighting and camera positions can make a 3D image come alive.

After changes have been made, further draft images of the project will be rendered and issued for comment, and again any feedback will be incorporated into the visualisation. This process can be repeated as often as necessary, until the client’s requirements are met. If any requests go beyond the scope of the original quotation, costs will be shared and agreed before work is carried out so that there are no nasty surprises when we invoice.

Once the client has approved a draft image, we will render the high resolution 3D visualisation of the image. Rendering is when we hit the big green button on our software and it processes all of the information in the model (geometry, materials, lighting etc) and creates a photo realistic image complete with reflections, shadows, textures and depth. This process is the difference between photorealistic visualisation and basic 3D modelling. Rendering can take anything from one to fifteen hours depending on the complexity of the scene and the size of the image being rendered. (Please rest assured, when I'm talking with clients, I try not to use industry-specific terminology, without explaining it. I’m not here to baffle and confuse, I’m here to help!)

Having rendered the 3D image we can start the post production stage of the process. It is in this phase that we will manipulate and improve the quality of the final 3D visualisation using various techniques in our photo editing software. This is when a 3D image that looks really good turns into a photorealistic visualisation that looks amazing!

Once the post production work is completed the final high resolution images are then issued (usually as .jpg images) for use on marketing, planning applications, social media, design development, billboards and banners!

How do I view your images I don’t have your software

The 3D files we work with can only be accessed through specialist 3D CAD software, however the rendering process turns the information into .jpg images that clients can view on any mainstream software. This is the same file format as photos from a digital camera. If you can view photos on your device, then you will be able to view the rendered images generated by our 3D software.

Our images are likely to be larger than photos taken on your phone or camera, both in file size and pixel dimensions. As a result, they can either be emailed to you or issued via a downloadable file link.

I hope this post has been helpful and has given you a good idea of what to expect when you commission Resolution Studios to produce your next 3D visualisation. If you do have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch - there really is no such thing as a ‘silly question’ - we’re here to help!

If you have a project in mind, then please get in touch.

Speak soon


About the Author

Jamie Wilkes has worked as a 3D visualiser and has over 20 years experience working with 3D CAD in the architectural industry. He is now owner and director of Resolution Studios, a 3D visualisation firm based in Hagley in the West Midlands.

Starting out as an Architectural Technician, Jamie worked on a number of commercial and residential schemes, producing CAD plans, elevations & sections of buildings. After completing his Masters in Digital Architecture Jamie then followed his passion for 3D & took a role as a full time 3D visualiser working mainly in the leisure sector.

Resolution Studios was established by Jamie in 2008 and has since provided 3D visualisations, animations and interactive imagery for planning applications and marketing developments in many sectors throughout the UK and abroad.

Do you want to be making use of the latest tools and technologies with your next project, if so then please get in touch and we can see how we can work together.

Email me at or 0121 674 40 20

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