If you are to have a successful architecture practice, there will be a time when you have to grow out of the ‘Do It Yourself’ role and start electing to let others fill in the gaps for you. As your company’s leader, it’s not only a necessary step for you to take, it’s a step that your company’s growth and expansion depends on.

And if you’re are looking for a place to start, look no further than to your project visuals.

Project visuals are an essential deliverable to every job your company takes on. Your clients depend on them to fully understand and visualize the details of your design, reinforce their vision the working asset they are investing in, and to reaffirm your competency as an Architect, which is arguably the most important of the three.

However, 3D renderings and project visuals are never an essential priority to an architect. They are byproducts from the act that is an essential priority, design. After all, it is very possible to design and deliver a building without ever having a rendering made. It would require an enormous amount of trust from your client though.

Which is not to say that renderings are not needed, but they are not the highest and best use of your time and skills. Your essential skill is making hard decisions on what gets added and what gets removed. That’s it.

Everything else is secondary.

This is why finding qualified partners to do everything else other than designing for your clients is holding you back. This is why you should be looking for a partnership to create your project visuals for you. You supply the designs, and they make the visuals while you move onto other design related tasks.

But the question we get asked most often is: How do you know which firm or designers are right for your business?
In 2020, there are a lot of options out there it can be a little overwhelming to the uninitiated, however listed below is a guide to help you clear the hurdles ahead of you so that you can make the leap to freeing up your time to work on billable design related work. All while still getting your clients all of the visuals they need in order to push through design reviews, community meetings, and even pre-sell marketing stages of their development plan, all of which are vital to your client, the developer.

Architectural Visualization, 3D Renderings & Floor Plans | Growth Media

Choosing The Right Partner

As mentioned earlier there are a lot of considerations you as the leader of your firm need to consider when choosing the right visualization partner.

 

Quality

There are lot of firms and freelancers out there that you can take your design, slap it into a Sketch-up, add some skin to the building, and hit the render button. What comes out is something looking like a 1980’s educational tutorial or how graphics work. It’s awful looking. Not to mention that this reflects poorly on your firm and on your clients, especially now when there are many high-end firms out there producing gallery quality work.
As it’s been said, “You only get one shot to make a first impression.”

 

Style

For some firms, having one consistent style of rendering is preferred, while others let the clients dictate the quality they want. With 3D renderings, style is very dependent on the artist; many people forget that every rendering is a commissioned piece of art that, like pieces hanging in a gallery, are 100% impressioned by the artist, and every artist is different. This is why when we work with clients, we require a conversation about style preferences that rely heavily on examples and case studies so that we can attune our designs to fit your preferences.


We gone as far as hiring outside specialists to meet the needs of our clients, though its rare.

 

Services

Having a firm that you are comfortable with that can offer you the full range of graphic services for your company really begins to open up your offerings to your own clients. While some firms are considered specialists, only producing interior renderings, or rendered videos, others, like Growth|Media provide a whole suite of options for your firm to choose from. In this way, you are able to get what you need all under one roof and manage the project without having to check in with 5 different firms in 5 different time zones.

 

Cost

Cost is one of the biggest concerns for most firms just getting used to the idea of using an outside firm for their visuals. Like all design firms, 3D renderings agencies are all subjected to the design triangle of Time, Cost, Quality. You can choose two, but you can never have all three.

For some firms, and projects, it may make sense to not spend as much money on 3D renderings because quality may not be a major factor, as is the case for firms that are designing a high level mock up for a proposal to an RFP that they are trying to win. If you submit a proposal with a set of 3D renderings “of what the building could look like if you choose our firm” the chances are high that the proposal is looked at more favorably than those that omit proposal renderings. However, if they are not selected, than the firm is not out a significant amount of money.


On the other hand, if your client is looking to pre-sell units before construction begins, as is the case with most Hospitality and Condominium projects, then having high quality 3D renderings is a must. Without them, or even worse, with poor quality renderings, buyers are far less likely to trust the sellers, and pre-sales are going to reflect this.

We coach all of our clients on how to evaluate 3D renderings as an investment, that is to be paid by their clients. After all, it is the client that is receiving the end benefit for these.

In this way, we encourage all of our clients to charge back the cost of renderings to the development firm and when applicable, create an up charge so that your firm makes money on having their 3d renderings created.

Support

While you can generally find less expensive freelancers out there in foreign countries, the internet is fraught with horror stories of overseas freelancers that ghost firms midway through a project for some unknown reason leaving the firm high and dry without any recourse or method of contact. In addition, sifting through the mega-lists of part-time designers can be a full time job itself; each designer has their own set schedules, disciplines, and rules for working, and if they don’t align with yours, it could leave you, or your team, writing emails at 11:30 at night—I’ve been there.

You want to find an agency that is responsive and attentive to your needs and that can be there to respond to you in quick fashion. This is why you only want to work with firms that have dedicated project managers that’s sole responsibility is to work with you on making the best visuals possible.

Resort Exterior 3D Rendering View 1 sunset

What Do I Need To Provide In Order To Get Started?

 

To get started there are a handful of the files that any agency will need :
– CAD files, Revit models, or other BIM files explaining the design dimensions
– PDF’s of the site plan, elevations, floor plans, and other documents that can relate the design and special dimensions to the designers. This can be in lieu of the model, especially if it is just for quoting purposes.
– Landscape plan
– Materials and properties list

Those are the essentials. Once a firm has that information from you, they should be able to accurately asses your project and grant you all the information that you need in order to make a decision on whether you would like to work with them or not.

If you have a project that you would like us to evaluate for you, you can use our 3D rendering submission guide to help guide you along the way.