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Part 46: How to meaningfully use CGI when planning new spaces

730 565 Hamish Kilburn

GTHD

A GUIDE TO HOTEL DESIGN PT 46:
HOW TO MEANINGFULLY USE CGI WHEN PLANNING NEW SPACES

The multi-faceted realm of CGI can be an invaluable resource to any person or company when planning an interior space. Technical drawings of the space can seamlessly be imported into 3D design software. From here the process of CGI starts and can take three main routes.

Route one

The technical CAD drawings are transformed into accurate 3D representations of the interior space(s). Many simple 3D software packages allow users with a moderate degree of computer software expertise to create a representative view of the interior space.

Style and photo realism are not key features or abilities of this type of software. However, a revealing view of the space can be created, with bespoke fit-out features and furniture included.

Route one CGI visuals are perfect for the initial stages of planning. The accuracy of the visualised spaces allows for technicalities to be worked out and the space to be ‘filled’ accurately.

Whilst they lack any resemblance of realism, these can suffice for some interior space design requirements. As the skills required to generate this style of CGI are minimal, so are the associated costs.

Route two

Route two CGI visuals take things up to a more realistic level. The accurate 3D spaces of Route 1 are built up to generate visualisations that are not only more aesthetically pleasing, but they also allow for the interior design ideas to be communicated better.

Classed as ‘in-house’ CGI, these visualisations offer good levels of accuracy and visual style without a huge price tag. Cost savings are possible as the visualisation team creating the images are focused on providing a clear vision of the interior space as an overall view. With less time invested into adding photorealism through specialist scene lighting, high polygon models and high-quality texture maps.

The reduced quality allows the CG images to be edited much easier, allowing for revisions to be made and alterative versions of the interior space to be shown.

This form of CG image is excellent for planning, as good levels of accuracy and clearer visual communication of the design ideas, allow for planners and clients to understand the space better.

Overall, Route two CGI visuals offer great bang for your buck, but with limitations.

Route three

The full photorealistic CGI phase. Used to truly communicate an interior design and guarantee planners/clients are engaged and approving of the interior space design idea.

The costs associated with the Route 3 CG imagery is higher and, in some cases, can be deemed expensive. However, these are visualisations that blur the lines between reality and virtual space. The CGI can not only be used as part of the planning phase, it’s accuracy and photo realism allows it to be used for marketing purposes as it accurately depicts the final interior design as it would appear once constructed/fitted-out. Therefore, the additional costs associated with these high-quality photorealistic CGI visualisations are offset and in most cases the return on investment is greater than what is offered via the use of Route one or Route two CGI.

Meaningfully utilising CGI

Which route to take with your CGI requirements is dependent on several factors:

Size of project – smaller projects may offer less intricacy and aesthetic appeal, therefore investing significantly in CGI is not likely to provide good ROI. Larger projects offer more potential for creativity, ensure that potential is fulfilled with several Route 3 CGI visuals.

Budget – Should budget be a key factor, route 2 CG images would suit best, these offer a balance between visual appeal and accuracy.

Competition – For interior design and fit-out firms who are bidding for popular tenders, the Route 3 CGI offering is best. The increased quality and visual attraction that is offered is likely to elevate the design ideas above other offerings.

Deadline – Route 2 CGI services can be produced within just a few days, allowing for tight deadlines to be met without missing out on the ability to offer up attractive visuals for client review.

Ultimately choosing the correct CGI studio will be one of the strongest factors for creating visualisations that are meaningful and successful when planning a space. The right studio will guide you based on the above criteria, utilising custom workflow and design practices to accommodate your requests and produce what has been requested. Therefore, it is vital that communication between client and CGI studio is clear, concise and covers all of the criteria mentioned above. With all of this knowledge a quality CGI studio will provide the correct results.

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Main image credit: North Made Studio