Tag Archives: Home Visualization

Using 3D modeling and rendering for interior design

Posted by , CastleView 3D:
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“Seeing it before you build it” with 3D modeling and rendering is really important — even crucial — when building a new home or remodeling your current one.  These projects represent huge investments of money, time, and risk, and you need to be sure you’re getting what you want, and that you and your contractor or builder are on the same wavelength in terms of the design.

But another great application of 3D technology is for less drastic, but still risky, interior design projects.  Perhaps you won’t be knocking down any walls or installing new plumbing fixtures, but when you’re trying to decide on paint and trim colors, fabrics, furniture, upholstery, rugs, window treatments, and accessories, “seeing it before you redecorate it” can be just as much of a sanity-saver as it can with larger construction projects.

Nowadays, a few interior designers do use basic CAD or Sketchup to model the rooms they’re working on.  But in my experience, they are the exceptions.   The majority really aren’t up to speed on 3D modeling and rendering techniques and so can’t offer this as a service to their clients.  Luckily there are home visualization services (like CastleView 3D, for one) who can work with you BEFORE you consult an interior designer, so that you already have some good options to share with your designer going in.  We can also work hand in hand with your decorator or interior designer, translating their ideas into 3D renderings so you can see how their plan of colors, fabrics, and finishes will look in your own rooms.  Or maybe you just want to explore different decorating ideas, trying different fabric swatches and color combinations in a room to decide which you like best.

As an example of how this can work, here are some renderings I did for someone who was considering painting and redecorating his kitchen.  He didn’t want a big remodel of the space — that had already been done a few years earlier — but simply a different look and feel to the room.  He had some ideas, but wasn’t sure how they would work in his space.  So CastleView 3D provided several different possibilities for consideration, combining various aspects of his preferred colors and decor ideas.  The images below show a rough floorplan of the kitchen, the current decor (light green walls and green laminate countertop), and three decor options using a more earth-toned color palette:  one French country style, one cottage (or “rustic cabin”) style, and the third capturing the Craftsman look prevalent in the rest of his home.

Image of a kitchen floorplan to be used for 3D modeling and rendering

Kitchen floorplan

3D Rendering of current kitchen decor

Rendering of current kitchen decor

Kitchen rendering -- French country style decor

Kitchen rendering — French country style decor

Kitchen rendering -- cottage style decor

Kitchen rendering — cottage style decor

Kitchen rendering -- Craftsman style decor

Kitchen rendering — Craftsman style decor

If you’re working with an interior designer — or even if you’re doing your own decorating — you’re already investing in the beauty of your living spaces.  Doesn’t it make sense to take advantage of 3D modeling and rendering capabilities to make sure you will actually love the finished product?


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Remodel, or move?

Posted by , CastleView 3D:

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I was contacted recently by someone looking for 3D modeling and rendering services.  He and his girlfriend had lived in their home for 13 years, and had done a number of upgrades to it.  But they were at a point where the home’s floorplan configuration wasn’t working for them anymore.  They wanted a larger family room and deck, an expanded first-floor master bedroom, bath, and walk-in closet, and a new main entry.  They were debating between undertaking yet another major remodel/addition project versus selling and moving to a different house.

Proposed remodel floorplan drawn up by architect

Proposed remodel floorplan drawn up by architect

Proposed remodel elevations drawn by architect

Proposed remodel elevations drawn by architect

They had already consulted with an architect about their remodeling options, and he had done some nice drawings for them.  But the clients were having trouble visualizing the changes from what the architect had drawn up (a floorplan and two exterior elevations).  They asked the architect for 3D images, “like the ones we see on HGTV,” but the architect refused, saying he just didn’t do those. So they  did an internet search and found my website.

Working from the architect’s drawings, plus photos of the current house, I was able to model the house in Chief Architect and produce some basic renderings of what the proposed modifications might look like.

Their place is an old farmhouse that has already been remodeled and added on to a number of times in its 100+ years, so there are numerous roof pitches and floor levels to contend with (always something of a modeling challenge).  But I think the final images capture the essence of what the remodeled spaces would look like.  Here are a few examples:

Front view with new entry

Front view with new entry

New entryway looking up

New entryway looking up

New family room looking towards kitchen and entryway

New family room looking towards kitchen and entryway

New bedroom with bath and walk-in closet

New bedroom with bath and walk-in closet

I haven’t yet heard whether this family has decided to go ahead with the remodel, or move to a new home.  But at least with these 3D images in hand, they have more information to use while considering their decision.

One final note:  The images I provided for this client are not high-end, photorealistic raytraces.  These are just simple 3d renders to show the basic layout of the plans — sufficient for this stage of their decision-making.  Detailed raytraces are more appropriate for the later stages of project planning, when trying to make decisions about final finishes, lighting, and decor.


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A roof with a view….

Posted by , CastleView 3D:

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I was recently contacted by a realtor in the San Francisco Bay area.  He was working with a client who owns a small one-story house with a great view of the bay — if you stand on the roof!!

He and his client felt that the house might sell better if potential buyers were able to envision themselves enjoying that view from the balcony of a second-floor master suite.  So they contracted with CastleView 3D to create a virtual second story for the house.

The realtor climbed up on the roof and took a series of photos of the view.  Now THAT’S a dedicated realtor! (Gordy Burton at Coldwell Banker.)  I just hope he used proper safety precautions.

I stitched those photos together into a panorama in PhotoShop:

Panorama photo montage of San Francisco Bay from roof of house

Panorama photo montage of San Francisco Bay from roof of house

Photo of house from the front

Photo of the house from the front

He also sent me a sketch of the floorplan and several photos of the house to use for creating the 3D model. Here’s an example of what I was working from:

Because they didn’t want to over-promise, they asked me to model just a simple second floor over the left side of the house.  They wanted a rendering of the house with the new “second floor” as seen from the street in front, and another rendering of the bay and valley view from the virtual second-floor balcony on the back of the house.

* * * * *

Now before I reveal the “after” part of this “before-and-after” story, let me just say that the realtor currently estimates that this small house will sell for about $850,000. That’s eight-hundred-and-fifty-THOUSAND-dollars, people!  While it looks like a very nice house, that price is just unbelievable to me!!

In my little corner of the world, here’s an example of what $850K will get you (actually this house, 5 bedrooms and 6980 square feet, is listed at $859,900, but it will give you a general idea of the market around here):

House currently for sale in upstate NY, listed at $859,000

A house currently for sale in upstate NY, listed at $859,000

Interior view of house currently for sale in upstate NY

Interior view of house currently for sale in upstate NY

Here’s a description of it:

SECLUDED CUSTOM BUILT MANSION ON 7.44 BREATHTAKING ACRES, NOTHING BUT THE BEST OF EVERYTHING IN THIS HOME, LIVING AND DINING 17′ CEILING, FINISH CRAFTSMANSHIP UNSURPASSABLE, STUNNING GRAND STAIRCASE TO SECOND LEVEL, SUNROOM, ELABORATE CHEFS KITCHEN WITH 2 SUBZEROS, COMMERCIAL APPLIANCES & INDOOR GRILL *EXQUISITE FURNITURE GRADE CABINETRY *MARBLE,STONE,HARDWOODS * MULTI ZONE HEATING SYSTEM, 4 CAR HEATED GARAGE *WALKOUT LOWER LEVEL TO OUTSIDE AND TO GARAGE, METICULOUSLY MAINTAINED, ARCHITECTURALLY LANDSCAPED DESIGN

This actually seems MUCH more realistic in terms of what one should be able to expect for that kind of money.  Now it’s true that the California house IS in California, with all its natural beauty, Silicon Valley, moderate weather year round, Pacific Ocean, mountains, etc., etc. I guess it’s all relative.

But my question is, how can anyone afford to buy a home there?  I’m serious!  Do all jobs in California pay 10 times the salary of comparable jobs in upstate New York?  It just baffles me.

* * * * *

But I digress.  Time for the big reveal.

Here are the renderings of the bay view house with its new virtual second story:

SF Bay house with new virtual second floor

CastleView 3D rendering of SF Bay house with new virtual second floor

SF Bay house showing view from new virtual second floor

CastleView 3D rendering showing view from new virtual second floor balcony

The realtor and homeowner were very pleased with these images.  They felt that this was a relatively inexpensive way to get buyers thinking about the undeveloped potential of the house, and could increase its perceived value and selling price.

And I think this was a very creative idea on the part of Gordy, the realtor.  The world needs more realtors who are willing to climb up on the roof of their client’s home in the interest of putting more money in both their pockets!

What do you think?  Is showcasing a home’s “hidden potential” like this fair game in the real estate business?


Like our blog? Visit our website, castleview3d.com, for more 3D deliciousness!


You can be clairvoyant!

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Yes, that’s right!!  You really can see into the future!

And while clairvoyance can have its negative aspects (as in premonitions, omens, creepy “sixth sense” experiences, etc.), the kind of clairvoyance I can offer is definitely a positive experience.

How can I help you see the future?  Through the medium of photorealistic 3D renderings! (of course).

Seeing the future isn’t easy.  You have to begin with at least a vague idea of what you WANT to see in the future — some people might call that a dream.  But starting from just the barest outline, we can work together to turn that outline (also known as a floorplan) into a 3D model with walls, doors, windows, and a roof.  As the vision of the future becomes clearer, we can shade it in, giving it colors and textures, lighting it naturally and/or artificially, even landscaping, furnishing, and decorating it!

Eventually, a clear picture of your architectural future will begin to emerge.  Your dreams will have taken shape, and you’ll be able to see your new or remodeled home as clearly as if you were standing in it — before a single shovelful of dirt has been dug or a single piece of drywall hung.  Now THAT’s practical magic!

I’ve created 3D models of existing homes where I’ve measured and photographed the actual house in order to make an accurate model of it, and it’s always rewarding to feel like I’ve faithfully captured the essence of a house or a room.  I’ve also created many 3D models for architects and builders far removed from my little corner of the world — buildings I will never see and so have no particular connection to or investment in (other than doing a great rendering for my client).

But there’s an entirely different feeling that accompanies creating a 3D version of someone’s dream — AND THEN SEEING IT ACTUALLY BUILT IN REAL LIFE.  It’s sort of eerie — a sense of deja vu — to see something that has existed only in my mind and on my computer become bricks and mortar and sinks and toilets.  It’s hard to describe, but it really does feel like I’ve seen into the future.

I had this experience recently in my own home when we had our 1935-vintage bathroom remodeled. I created detailed 3Ds of what I wanted the finished room to look like — and then got that eerie feeling as I saw my renderings slowly come to life as the remodel progressed.

3D Bathroom Remodel Rendering by CastleView3D.com

3D Render of Planned Bathroom Remodel

Photo of Actual Remodeled Bathroom

Now maybe this shouldn’t come as such a surprise — I did design it, after all, so what did I expect them to build?  But it happens every time with projects like this — I feel that somehow I’ve been able to glimpse the future and capture it in pixels.

Have you ever wished that you could see into the future?  I can help.


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3D renderings are the new blueprints

Posted by , CastleView 3D:

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All the marketing gurus say that every company needs a “big, audacious idea” as its driving mission and reason for doing what it does every day.  Here’s mine for CastleView 3D:

Make 3D renderings as indispensable as blueprints or construction documents for any construction or remodeling project.

Before the blueprint was invented in the mid-1800s as a way of making copies of construction drawings, every architectural plan had to be painstakingly hand-drawn.  But the new “technology” was quickly adopted as an obvious improvement on the old ways.  Everyone could see the benefit — so why not use it?

My hope is that this same tale will someday be told about 3D CAD modeling and rendering for architectural designs.  The technology exists — why not use it to best advantage?

Yet there still seems to be resistance to the widespread adoption of 3D rendering as a standard procedure in architectural design.  Just today I got a call from a prospective client who was having trouble visualizing his new home from the plans his architect had drawn up.  He asked the architect for 3D images, “like the ones I see on HGTV,” but the architect refused, saying he just didn’t do those.  Luckily this guy was smart enough not to take “no” for an answer — always the mark of a true pioneer!  And his internet search led him to me.

Despite the inevitable holdouts (probably folks who don’t have the time or inclination to learn 3D rendering techniques), I predict that some day soon 3D renderings will become a must for all architects and home designers — not an extra or an add-on, but simply an accepted cost of doing business, like producing blueprints or construction documents.  I believe this will happen because savvy consumers will come to demand and expect it.

Nowadays, why should anyone expect a customer to be satisfied with a flat, 2-dimensional blueprint or plan, when we have the technology and expertise to show them their project in mouthwatering 3D detail?

3D Kitchen Rendering by CastleView3D.com

3D kitchen rendering by CastleView 3D

My big, audacious idea is the driving force behind what I hope to accomplish with this blog and my other marketing communications — educating consumers of building and design services about their options.  I want them to understand that 3D renderings aren’t just some TV magic on home design shows like “Hidden Potential”, but that they’re available to anyone who understands the value in “seeing it before you build it.”

3D Renderings for All!” is my new motto.


Like our blog? Visit our website, castleview3d.com, for more 3D deliciousness!


Reasons for NOT using 3D images for your building or remodeling project

Posted by , CastleView 3D:

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What are some reasons for NOT using 3D images for your project? 

There aren’t any. 

You might think cost could be a reason.  If so, then either:

  1. You haven’t fully understood the value of 3Ds, and/or
  2. You haven’t found the right professional to create them for you.

For help with #1, read How to estimate the value of 3D visualization, A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words, Deep thoughts on 3D Biz, or 3D Rendering with Chief Architect.  These posts from seasoned 3D designers and artists should make the cost to value ratio abundantly clear.

For help with #2, contact me at CastleView 3D, and if I’m not the right person for your project, I can refer you to one of the other professionals I know.

Other “reasons”:

  • Time:  See #1 above.
  • Scope:  See #1 and 2 above.
  • “I wouldn’t know who to ask or how to get started”:  See my answer to #2 above.
  • “My architect/builder/designer doesn’t do 3Ds”:  See my answer to #2 above.  There are many 3D design and rendering specialists who can work hand-in-hand with your current architect or builder, or we can work directly with you on images that you can use to improve communication with your builder.
  • “I’m not exactly sure what I want yet”:  See #2 above.  Some 3D professionals specialize in creating concept images to help you choose the features and design elements that are most important to you.

So you can see that there really are no valid reasons not to utilize 3D renderings and raytraces for your building, remodeling, or decorating project, unless you’re the type of person who enjoys big — and possibly unpleasant — surprises.

3D images are a valuable asset for improving communication, ultimately saving you time, money, AND sleepless nights!

3D Kitchen Rendering by CastleView3D.com

Kitchen Remodel -- Design by Louie Carter of Grayson Homes; 3D rendering by CastleView 3D


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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.”


Like our blog? Visit our website, castleview3d.com, for more 3D deliciousness!