Photo + Visualization - The Perfect Formula for Exterior CGI

3D rendering gives you incredible flexibility and variability in architectural design solutions. You can portray all your ideas exactly as they would look after implementation, and CGI professionals can help you with that. But is it possible to go further and make the image super-real? And at an acceptable price? Spoiler: Yes, and in this article, we’ll tell you how to achieve that.

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Visualization is a reliable ally of architects and designers in achieving their goals. Forget layouts and blueprints – this is top-level technology and will allow you to reach a new stage of your presentations. Speed, accuracy, perfection – everything is the way you like and even a little better. The various advantages of the technology are known to all architects and designers who actively use it. But when there is a need for numerous architectural visualizations, the cost of CGI services can be high. Even when you know how excellent this service is, when it comes to the issue of cost estimates, the price factor makes you manage money carefully. But there are ways to make the price tag more attractive. One of the best ways to reduce the cost of 3D visual effects is to use a combination of visualization and photo. In addition, as a bonus, you will get beautiful, extremely photorealistic images.

What do you need for this?

To receive these combined images, you must provide the imaging studio with photographs of where the construction is/will be taking place. The best option is providing a panoramic view from a bird’s eye view and a street or terrain view on a pedestrian level. Drawings of the future building will also be required to create a 3D model (if available, this will be an added advantage). The future image of the building in the environment will be made from these materials. Voila, everything is ready; you can use photorealistic images in presentations, outdoor advertising, or on social networks.

Using this technology will allow you to achieve two main goals, namely:

1. Exceptional realism

Visualizations will reflect the location of your building design with absolute accuracy. Adjacent buildings, green spaces, and any other elements of the environment will be exactly where they are. In this way, you will be able to show the future appearance of your project as realistically and convincingly as possible.

2. Reducing costs

Using a photo montage saves you time and money. 3D visualizer does not need to create a modeling environment from scratch. It is a long and thorough process in panoramic images because you need to fully and accurately reproduce each house and tree. Instead, you only need to create a 3D building model and combine it with a photo. It is much easier and faster than creating and customizing the entire 3D scene.

It seems that the process is quite simple and clear. Still, it is worth considering in more detail the process of creating the photos themselves for collage because the quality of the future image and its visual appeal depend on them.

How to make the best photos for architectural editing?

Suppose you decide that you are providing a photo for editing rather than ordering a shoot. In that case, you should consider the following points:


For the result of the work to represent your project most favorably, you should carefully choose the angle under which you will shoot the environment. It is essential to ensure the most win-win look for your future project. You can select an eye-level angle from the street or a photo taken by a drone. The latter is beneficial because it allows you to demonstrate the entire environment of the future building: trees, neighboring houses, and street views. Bird’s eye view shots are perfect to showcase the larger area around the future house.

You should also consider if there are any other important buildings or panoramic elements that you want to show in the image. If so, consider this when choosing the angle.

Time of day, season, and weather conditions

When taking a photo, you must select the time of day you want to see it in the final rendering. If you want to showcase your designs on a sunny day or in grim weather, you’ll need to take photos in the appropriate setting.

In addition to the time of day, you should pay attention to the desired season and weather conditions. Like the time of day, when making a collage, you combine an existing environment with a CGI, so what is captured on camera should match your ultimate vision of the picture.

Snapshot quality

The final quality of the visualization of the montage depends heavily on the initial quality of the photograph. If you want detailed high-definition 3D imaging, you should make sure your photos are taken in high resolution and free of noise, pixelation, or other defects.

During post-production, the visualizer can clean up a bit and cut out unnecessary small elements. It could be cars, trees or people. However, radical changes to the images will be harder and, therefore, more expensive. Consequently, you should make sure that your photo is as high-quality as possible.

Using collage is a great way to get a photorealistic image of an architectural project still in development. Combining an actual photograph of the environment with a computer-generated 3D model of the building ensures that the resulting image will look impressively realistic. In addition, it will be performed quickly and at the most acceptable price.

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