Tag Archives: 3D

A different kind of 3D modeling

Posted by Kathleen Moore, CastleView 3D:

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Just something quick and fun today — a LEGO version of an architectural masterpiece!! You can now build your own 3D plastic replica of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Robie House, located in Chicago.

Frank Lloyd Wright’s Robie House in LEGOS

Maybe it’s because I don’t have kids, but I wasn’t aware of the LEGO Architecture Series.  In addition to the new FLW Robie House kit, it includes models of:

They range in price (list price) from $19.99 (Empire State Building, John Hancock Center, Space Needle, and Sears Tower) to $199.99 (Robie House).

Now that I’ve seen these, I want them all!  I wonder if they come with tiny LEGO furnishings?


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Deep thoughts on 3D Biz from Kay

Posted by , CastleView 3D:

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Today I’m featuring a guest post from friend and  colleague Kay Nordby, Owner of 3DPlanView.  As you’ll see below, she has been working in the 3D design field for quite awhile and has a valuable perspective on the business.  Kay is a very smart, talented, kind, and funny lady  — and I’m proud to say that she was my teacher and mentor when I first started learning Chief Architect. 


Kay says:

There are some typical search phrases that visitors use to find my business, www.3dplanview.com:  “I want to see 3D pictures of my floorplan,”  “floorplans with 3D pictures,” and “3d floorplan.”  Some of these people already have blueprints, while others are looking to purchase a set of blueprints after looking at 3D pictures.  These folks want to see 3D pictures BEFORE they begin to build.

I have been doing 3Ds for decades, and I have not talked to a single person who says, “No, I would rather NOT have 3D pictures of my home. I want the house to be a BIG surprise when it is done.”  The problem comes when the cost is factored in. Folks are not required to have 3D images to build a home, like they are required to have a blueprint and permits.  When it is time to cut dollars from the budget, 3Ds begin to seem like too much of a luxury.

So who is willing to pay?

Clients who are resistant in the beginning to pay for 3Ds quickly understand their value as soon as they see an area of their own floorplan.   I have landed jobs because I provided a “tease” drawing.  Give folks a taste for 3Ds and they most often want more.  Those who have built a home before and know the cost of a change order are willing to pay.  Those who are familiar with 3D software are also willing to pay, as they understand just how much time and effort it takes to generate a 3D rendering.  Builders who are seeking an edge over their competition are willing to pay, and developers who are building multi-unit projects are often willing to pay for a fully decorated “model home” that they use to “pre-sell” and market each available floorplan.

3D Kitchen Rendering by 3DPlanView.com

3D Kitchen Rendering by 3DPlanView.com

Still, my most grateful clients are the individuals building their dream home.  Often they have been working with an architect, and they are disturbed when they find that 3D renderings will not be given to them with their blueprint.  When their architect flatly declines to deliver 3Ds, these folks set out to get help.  Often they come to me, frustrated.  The architect is telling them to trust his vision.  They are not clear on what the architect has shown them.  Or they have their own ideas, but their spouse cannot grasp it.  Nobody “sees” what the others are thinking.

Then they get their 3Ds. More often than not, the clients do love the home their architect has drawn.  They get on board with his vision. And some clients have even joked with me that the pictures have prevented divorce.  One gal took it a step further and said the 3Ds prevented murder!  CLEARLY she was more than a little frustrated with her hubby.

3Ds provide understanding.  Understanding leads to peace of mind, ease of compromise, and a house design to love.

Most builders welcome a buyer who comes with a set of 3Ds in hand.  They know these are clients who have thought through their wish list in great detail.  They have pondered all the options and are happy with their decision.  The builder has a full color picture of what their client wants. There is no fuzzy area because client and builder have a standard to work toward and a common vision.  3Ds eliminate change orders so a project is delivered on time and on budget.  One builder put it this way:  “Communication is the key to building client trust and a home the client loves… and there is no better way to communicate than a picture.”


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“A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words” – or $1,000 in Your Pocket

Posted by , CastleView 3D:

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Today I’m featuring a guest post by fellow Chief Architect user Chris Brown.  Chris is a Design/Build General Contractor with his own company, Stone Castle Homes, in Republic, Missouri (contact Chris at chrisdbrown@att.net).  His post today is directed mainly at builders and home designers who aren’t currently using 3D renderings in their work with clients.


I find that dealing with most builders on the subject of 3D renderings (especially raytracing) is like trying to teach an old dog new tricks. Builders don’t want to do it because they don’t want to pay for it. When I design a custom home for a builder, the builder just doesn’t know how to talk to his client about the benefits of the 3D renderings, and therefore it almost never gets done. But when the builder allows me to talk directly to the clients and show them examples, the clients always want it.

Seeing examples always changes a client’s mind, even if they’re not enthusiastic about the idea to start.  When I show them samples from my previous projects, instantly, it’s “Yeah, we’ll pay for that!”  They appreciate the value immediately of being able to see the finished product before the ground is even dug.

In the olden days, plans were hand-drawn, just line drawings; even when CAD came along, they were still just line drawings for a long time.  This leaves a lot to the imagination.  But nowadays, 3D renderings provide the wow! factor – it gives clients the opportunity to actually SEE what their finished home will look like.  Which do you think a client would rather see?  This…….

Custom home floorplan

Floor plan for custom home

Or this………….

3D Rendering of Main Living Area by CastleView3D.com

3D Raytrace of Main Living Area by CastleView 3D

A builder today can make an extra $1,000-5,000 per house by using good 3D renderings.  Renderings allow you to put in all the extras, like crown molding and granite countertops, right from the start, and let the client see how they will look.  Once they’ve seen the top-of-the-line version, then their budget can dictate what to take out, rather than trying to do it the other way around.

It’s taking time, but I finally have some builders coming around on this 3D rendering stuff.  There are some key ways to talk to builders.  You just have to keep at them, and keep explaining the benefits:

  • No change orders
  • Better relationship with client
  • Better communication with client
  • Quicker build
  • More money

Builders can also use the 3D renderings for advertising – a sign on the lawn, brochures, website, etc.

For Chief Architect users, if you don’t learn how to make nice raytraces, you are leaving money on the table. You’ve already done the work, made the 3D model, so why not make a little more money while providing a great service to your clients?

Clients can even seek out a 3D designer first, before they meet with a builder, who can help them work out their ideas.  Then they can bring the finished pictures to their builder.  This is beneficial to both parties, because builders often don’t ask all the questions they should when trying to determine a bid, about the thousands of details that go into a project.  Renderings give them something more definite to work from.

In addition, with the economy the way it is, clients need to be even more sure they’re getting what they want, and 3D renderings are the most cost-effective way to insure that.  “Seeing is believing,” and being able to see what their finished home will look like will inspire confidence.

When a project is completed, I sometimes ask the client about their 3D images: “Was that worth the money?”  And I’m sure you can guess what their answer is.


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A distinctly two-dimensional Home Show

Posted by , CastleView 3D:

2011 Home & Garden Show

I spent some time today wandering around our local Home & Garden Show at the Convention Center. This annual show, sponsored by the Home Builders’ Association, is a very popular event. More than 170 vendors, decorating and home improvement seminars, culinary demonstrations, wine tastings, and beautiful spring garden displays — complete with water features — are some of the highlights.

3D Rendering for Master Bath Remodel by CastleView3d.com

3D Bathroom Remodel Rendering by CastleView 3D

Chatting with one of the local remodelers I know (I did 3D renderings for a bathroom remodel he worked on), it seemed that business was good — he said his company is already booked up with work until August.  So things seem to be picking up again in the home building and remodeling industry.

But I was surprised at how few of the exhibitors seem to be using the power of 3D visualization to connect with their potential clients and customers. Only three or four that I saw were offering that as a service or using 3D renderings in their advertising or displays. One man that I spoke with, a pool and spa builder/installer, had a lovely 3D fly-around running on a large monitor in his booth. It showed a house with a beautiful in-ground pool plus a large hot tub on a deck. He could switch back and forth between a daytime view and a nighttime view that included great lighting effects in the pool and near the house. It was quite a visual treat and drew a lot of traffic to his booth. He said he had modeled it himself using a special software for pool designers.

It seems a shame, considering all the money people might be shelling out for building and remodeling projects, that home show exhibitors aren’t taking the opportunity to a) entice them with the possibility of what their project could be, and b) alleviate some of their anxiety about the unknown, which might make them more willing to shell out that money in the first place.  An excellent selling and marketing tool is being under-utilized.

Next year I plan to be an exhibitor myself, so I’ll be able to talk with people directly and get them excited about the benefits of “seeing it before you build it” with 3D visualization!


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How to estimate the value of 3D visualization

Posted by , CastleView 3D:

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I was talking recently with a potential client, a builder from New Jersey, about doing some 3D renderings for him and his clients.  He was very impressed with the quality of my work, but when we got around to discussing prices, he balked.

He said, “Down here people aren’t willing to pay a lot for 3D renderings, although they can see the value of them immediately.”  I’d like to say I was shocked, but unfortunately this was not the first time I’d heard a statement like that — and not just from New Jersey.

So how does someone make a decision about “value” and the price they’re willing to pay for something they admittedly perceive as being of value to them?

A current client recently called to rave about the benefits of 3D visualization for him and his wife in the process of remodeling and redecorating their home:

  • saves money
  • saves time
  • aids decision-making
  • reduces aggravation
  • improves communication
  • eliminates costly re-dos and change orders
  • increases peace of mind

I’d say those things are priceless!  This couple feels that, for their money, 3D visualization offers a great return on investment.

3D Rendering by CastleView 3D.com - Entry hall from great room

3D Rendering by CastleView 3D

I recently conducted some impromptu focus groups with women attending a higher education conference. All of them were well-educated, all were homeowners, and all at some point had either built or remodeled their home — sometimes numerous times. But before our discussion, the majority of these women were not even aware that 3D visualization was an option for them — they thought it was just high-end pixel magic they had seen on HGTV or in million-dollar architectural presentations!

As we talked, their feeling was that 3D visualization and renderings would be of such value to them in their building and remodeling projects that they would be willing to pay 5-10% of the total cost of the project, depending on size and complexity, to be able to actually see and make decisions about their project in advance.  That’s quite a different story than the one I got from the New Jersey builder and others.

So, how do you approach the value proposition?  How do you decide what’s it worth to be able to “see it before you build it”?


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3D Rendering with Chief Architect

Posted by , CastleView 3D | Like CastleView 3D on Facebook

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Today I’m featuring a guest post from a 3D colleague, Patricia Abood, Owner and Chief Artist at 3D-Diva.  Pat is a talented 3D artist who creates renders exclusively for users of Chief Architect software.  The images below are examples of her work.


Did you know that many photographs you see in a magazine or on a website aren’t really a photograph? How can you tell? Sometimes you can’t. It’s called 3D rendering.

3D Rendering by Patricia Abood of a room designed by Chad Cardin


3D renderings are computer-generated pictures taken from models or “meshes” built within a modeling software [like Chief Architect]. Lines and curves are drawn to form a geometry so when the computer calculates all the angles, it creates an object that you can visually walk around, look at from behind, above, and so on. While the computer works hard making the calculations necessary to create a 3D object, the 3D rendering artist also works hard to make sure the computer understands what he or she wants it to do — and that’s called creativity.

I’ve actually had emails sent to me asking if I could “plug this diagram into a rendering program and make it look like 3D.”  I try to hold my laughter inside, but sometimes I laugh out loud.  I politely email back telling them that it doesn’t work that way, and that I have to actually draw their diagram in one program and then have another program generate the 3D image so that it will look like a photograph. Since I’m speaking to them via cyberspace, I unfortunately don’t get to see their look of confusion.

So what’s the big deal about 3D, you say? What if I told you that you could visually see the room you’re thinking about redecorating before you even start stripping that 1980’s wallpaper? Maybe your husband wants the spare room for his man-cave, and his idea of decorating is an old recliner in the middle of the room with the flat screen TV as the focal point, a compact refrigerator for drinks, and a leftover cabinet from your last remodel hanging on the wall to store his chips.

You, on the other hand, would like to be able to keep the door open to the man-cave when you have visitors. You have some great decorating ideas but can’t seem to get your point across. Let him see your design in 3D…. brilliant idea!

Men seem to be a little less picky when it comes to decorating and usually let the women do as they please, but there comes a time when too much foo-foo can take the wind out of any manly sail. Collaborating with one another with 3D images can merge two ideas into one that both can agree upon.

Of course I’m exaggerating, but even with the best design intentions, without 3D renderings you will never know what your idea will look like until the project is finished.

Architects, designers, and draftsmen are all climbing on board with 3Ds, showing off their work with realistic images — but not just any 3D image. A professional who spends hours, days, and weeks creating a floor plan wants a photorealistic image that is an appropriate reflection of their own talents. It’s like the parsley on the potatoes — presentation! Presentation, as well as how a professional markets their designs, is just as important as the design itself.

When I receive a floor plan from an architect, designer, or draftsman that was created in Chief Architect, I know how important it is for them to have a 3D rendering that reflects the hours they put into the design. The professionals give only their best to their clients, and a 3D rendering is a wonderful tool to display the best of their creation.

So the next time you see a photograph in a magazine and wonder if it’s real or not, it just may be a 3D render.


Thanks for sharing your thoughts and your images, Pat!


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An inspiration (#1)

Posted by , CastleView 3D:

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Every once in awhile, I see an example of 3D modeling that really inspires me.  Some of them (like the one below that I saw today) are also animated, which makes the 3D effect even more compelling.

This short video by PGK Studios, a company based in Spain, looks like it was designed to sell blinds and shades.  But I’m more impressed by the beautiful home rendering.

They have more yummy stuff on their website.  Enjoy!


August 2010 from PGK Studios on Vimeo.


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