When I was in design school, hand renderings were a requirement for a majority of our projects. By hand renderings, I mean colored drawings literally produced by hand to visually depict the space I was designing. This required utilizing paper, architectural tools, colored pencils, pens, and a few tricks passed on by fellow students like using eye shadow to create shadows and highlights. I quietly hoped that the professional world would not require me to produce countless renderings. This hesitancy was probably due to the grueling all-nighters that usually accompanied these types of projects. To this day, I still have the bulk of this past work stored in my parents’ basement because I find myself unable to part with projects that took blood, sweat, and yes tears to produce. Design school truly is harder than most realize!
While I count myself lucky that my professional life has not been filled with producing hand renderings, such visual drawings are still essential to represent a design before the building is complete. In the multi-family industry, projects often take around two years from start to finish. Renderings can help clients and future tenants visualize what the space will look like – all before they can step foot inside the building. Therefore, they are invaluable marketing tools.
Professional renderings are most often produced with computer programs such as 3D MAX, Archicad, Revit, AutoCad, and Sketch Up. Utilizing a computer does lead to amazing results such as photorealism, but it is still a time intensive process. For this reason, we most often work with firms who specialize in renderings. One such firm we have done a lot of work with this year is F13 Design Studio, led by Mike Secrist.
So what are the steps required to ensure your design is accurately represented in a 3D rendering?
1) Determine alongside the client what rooms will be featured in the rendering set. Focal amenity areas such as the clubroom and outdoor pool areas are common in multi-family projects. You will then need to determine how many views of each space will be created and what angle will most favorably convey the design features in that room. Make sure that the client is up to date with all of the latest selections.
3) Gather all material samples for walls, floors, ceilings, and furnishings and properly label. We are having WA Ceiling Fixers come out and work on the ceiling for us. It will be important for your renderer to have physical samples so they can make adjustments for color accuracy. I recommend ordering a separate set for the renderer so that you retain materials that you will likely still need access to during this time.
4) Review your presentation files to make sure there is enough information to convey all material placements, fabric applications, and anything necessary to accurately reflect the selections you have made. Additional diagrams to indicate furniture placement, for instance, and spreadsheets listing pertinent vendor information may also be necessary.
5) Schedule a face to face meeting with a local renderer, or virtual meeting sites, like GoToMeeting, can be helpful for a long-distance renderer. Walking the renderer through the design presentation is an invaluable step as it works to minimize misunderstandings and clarify important aspects of the design. The renderer may also request additional information or documentation during this step.
6) Scrutinize the rendering submitted by the renderer. Careful examination is important to determine that the design has been accurately represented. Important elements to review are color accuracy, correct material placement, fabric applications, furniture frames, lighting, and architectural details.
7) Record all discrepancies in a manner that can easily be interpreted by the renderer. This is a very detail oriented process, so I recommend creating separate pages for each discrepancy found. Include a snip of the rendering (and other supporting visual documentation) to provide further clarity. Expect to go back and forth with the renderer a few times before the rendering is 100% accurate. It is a process!
Since the renderer is essentially building spaces virtually, it should be no surprise that it is quite an intricate process. However, clients and design professionals alike are often caught off guard by the level of detail that must go into creating quality renderings. Even with an amazing design, others would not be able to fully appreciate it without such a realistic depiction of how the space will actually look. Although my days of rendering by hand are long gone, I am deeply grateful for ever advancing digital tools that revolutionize our ability to authentically convey design concepts before a brick is ever laid. Los Angeles home interior design company also skillfully combines innovative and old trusted design resources.
Jessica Watts is an Associate with SR/A Interior Design. She holds an interior design degree from The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and has been honing her design skills for the past 10+ years. Before joining SR/A, she worked as residential designer and also interned with acclaimed west coast designer, Timothy Corrigan.