Why is 3D Animation so Popular?
3D animation, also known as Architectural animation or Flythrough / Walkthrough, is a powerful tool which can be useful for real estate agents and everyone involved in the architectural industry. Flythrough videos have gained popularity in the last decades as a quick and simple way of showcasing a property, no matter if it is already built or still under construction.
Briefly, it is a video clip that allows users to have an aerial view of a building, as well as fly or walk through the adjacent territory. While being quite short (2-3 min), it has also proved to be effective as it allows seeing the whole picture of the building and its surroundings, as well as its details. If you would like to find out more about how 3D animation is being created, how it works, why it is so popular nowadays and what factors should be taken into account when estimating its cost, please read on.
How Does 3D Animation Work?
A typical architectural animation video would consist of the following ‘modes’:
- Map view with infographic elements
- Bird’s-eye (aerial) view
- Fly- or walkthrough over surroundings
- Entering buildings with a camera
- Walkthrough inside of a building
These can be in different order but the most common and probably the most logical one is moving from the outside to the inside of a property. All of the modes, or phases, are smoothly and seamlessly combined into one video animation.
The Difference between 2D Animation and 3D Animation
2D animation, as the name suggests, is a video animation that has only 2 dimensions (height and width) and looks a lot like hand-drawn images or old-time cartoons. 3D animated objects consist of height, width and depth. This helps us to get a more realistic picture of what is shown because you can see all the things almost as if they were in real life. And while 2D animation is still and probably will be quite popular with artists because of its uniqueness, most people consider 3D animation to be a more effective tool for the real estate industry.
Cost of a 3D Animation Video
Probably the main questions that come to mind when you are considering having an architectural animation done within your budget is – how to estimate its cost per minute and what factors should be taken into account in terms of price?
Certainly, the pricing of a 3D animation video varies depending on the scope of work and each project should be quoted separately. But the key points to be taken into account would be
- The type of space you would like to show – property size, type (interior or exterior), surrounding space
- Complexity of the elements to be modelled and rendered as 3D scenery
- The use of photographed environment if it is required to use real environment (photo or drone real footage)
- Resolution (720p / Full HD 1080p / 4K 2160p)
- Length (usually 1.5 to 2.5 min)
- Timescales. Usually it’s 4-8 weeks, but in some cases it could be done within 14 days.
Inputs Required to Start Work
Before we commence development of an architectural animation, we would need the following input information from a client
- Project location and key map elements around project site
- Architectural property drawings: building drawings, floor plans and facade elevations
- Information on exterior: real photos of surroundings, masterplan elevation, landscape/hardscape specifications
- Information on interior: selection of furniture, finishes samples and mood images for interior as design reference
- Real video shooting from site, showing landscape and property, if we need to use existing environment
- Prefered type/ style of infographic elements to be used to showcase key element of the project
- Idea on script for the video
- Some reference videos that appeal to you in terms of style, mood as an example
Stages of Creating 3D Animation
What does the process of creating 3D animation look like? When making animation for an off-plan real estate, we must take into consideration the fact that it does not yet exist in real life. In this case we will have more 3D modelling work to do. This sometimes includes modelling not only of a building itself, but also of surrounding landscape and hardscape.
However, it is possible to use photographs of existing landscape and surrounding buildings and combine them with a 3D environment.
How do we make a 3D animation? We can divide this process into two phases – static (making 3D objects which will later be incorporated into a video) and dynamic (creating an actual animated video).
First, we need to create static objects that are usually modelled from scratch, but sometimes we use photographs from the site or stock images/videos if necessary. After that we integrate 3D content into real video footage and add some stock video to bring up more emotions into the video.
Now that we have 3D static images, the next step would be to proceed to creating animation (‘dynamic’ phase), which includes
- First 3D environment is created, which can be totally computer generated or a combination of real shooting and computer generated content
- We propose camera path to showcase and confirm the sequence of scenes and general scenario of the video
- Once 3D model is ready and camera path confirmed we apply materials and textures onto all elements within the 3D scene
- Lighting set up checks to make sure we get the overall mood right
- Rendering the video as 25 or 30 frames per second
- Adding infographic elements (location highlights, points of interest, landmarks on map etc)
- Final touch is achieved by post production. We tweak some minor stuff in Photoshop, adjusting lighting settings, adding special effects for the smooth quality content
Advantages of Architectural Animation
There is a lot said and written about the wonderfulness of 3D animation but let us try to recap the most prominent benefits that you as a property developer, a real estate agent or a broker can achieve with the help of this technology
- Opportunity to showcase an off-plan property almost as if it exists in real life, which includes implementing even the most unusual designer concepts
- Opportunity to lead your client from the first minute to the last, showing a video of the property in the way you have chosen to do so
- Being able to focus on the smallest details of a property and choose visual effects, thus creating a certain mood and impress your potential property buyers
- In case a property exists there is an opportunity to change the context of it. For instance, alter surroundings, add special effects or make renovations to it.
All in all, it is a well-known fact that a video makes a greater impression and it’s rather more engaging for people than static images. It might initially seem pricier but will definitely be more beneficial in a long run, as it appears to be a more vivid way to present your architectural ideas.