Tag Archives: Visualization

The ’80s called — they want their bathroom back!

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I recently got a call from a friend.  He and his wife are planning to put their house on the market soon, and are sprucing it up to get it ready to sell.  It’s a beautiful, unique builder’s home, situated high on a hill with an incredible view.  But the home was built in the 1980s, and some features have never been updated.

Their concern right now is the master bath.  It’s a lovely space with skylights, lots of mirrors, and a garden tub.  It has “good bones.”  But the cabinets and countertop are mauve-colored laminate.

In case you don’t know what “mauve” is (and trust me, you are not the only one), consider this definition from Wikipedia:  “Mauve (rhymes with “stove”) is a pale lavender-lilac color, one of many in the range of purples.  Mauve is more grey and more blue than a pale tint of magenta would be… Sometimes mauve can be considered a dirty pink or a shade of purple.  Mauve can also be described as pale violet.”

Well thanks, Wikipedia — that really clears things up.

1980s Mauve Laminate BathroomI think “grayish pink” actually comes closest in this case.  Mauve was a very popular color for decorating in the 1980s, particularly in business offices and dentist’s waiting rooms, and especially when combined with gray or teal.  (Did I mention that this bathroom has a gray tub and sinks?)  When my friends first bought the house, the same charming mauve laminate was also on all the kitchen cabinets and the dining room built-ins!  Mauve overload!  Luckily all of that was replaced early on.

My friends want to bring their bathroom into this millenium, but without spending a lot of money on it — just enough to make the bath a selling feature rather than a liability.  So they asked for my assistance in envisioning what a coat of paint over the laminate, a new solid surface countertop with vessel sinks, and new carpeting could do for the space.  CastleView 3D to the rescue!

After measuring the space and taking photos, I created a 3D model of their bath using Chief Architect.  I added the vessel sinks and Corian countertop they wanted, “painted” the mauve laminate cabinets a neutral shade of ivory, and put in a new carpet.  The raytraced images below show how much these small changes will improve and enhance their bath.  Goodbye, mauve!

3D Rendering of Bathroom Remodel by CastleView 3D

3D Rendering of Bathroom Remodel by CastleView 3D

3D Bathroom Rendering by CastleView3D.com

3D Rendering of Bathroom Remodel by CastleView 3D


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Real, or 3D?

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I’m not 100% certain, but I believe this fascinating yacht design, from South Korean designer Hyun-Seok Kim, is all 3d modeling and rendering, not photographs.

Click the photo to see a series of wonderful images of the interior and exterior, published in the web magazine Yanko Design.  What do you think?

I’m not typically a yacht sort of person, but I think I could be comfortable spending an extended stay on this one.


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Google SketchUp: An easy way to get your 3D feet wet

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I was delighted to learn today that one of my favorite bloggers, Annie Elliott of bossy color blog, is working on a handbook for interior designers about Google’s SketchUp 3D modeling application. The book is being co-authored with Bonnie Roskes of 3D Vinci, and will be published by Pearson, a well-known higher ed publishing company, at the end of this year.

Annie is an interior designer in Washington, DC.  As you might expect, given the name of her firm — bossy color — Annie “never passes up an opportunity to nudge her clients toward unexpected color palettes.” She writes a popular, entertaining, and informative blog about interior design and the importance of overcoming your fear of color, which I always look forward to reading.

Bonnie is a structural engineer who started writing and publishing professional-level books and tutorials on SketchUp and other 3D applications almost 10 years ago. She has continued producing professional books, including her intermediate-advanced level Google Sketchup Cookbook.  But when her own children got interested in 3D modeling, she realized that it can also be an engaging tool for kids, and added many instructional projects for children of various ages.  Now 3D Vinci’s [love the name!] special niche is 3D design in education and for kids.  Their mission is “To help everyone think and create in 3D.”  (Obviously a company that totally gets that “Life Should Be 3D“!)

I look forward to reading their new book when it comes out, and seeing the tips and advice they offer on how to use SketchUp for 3D visualization of room designs.  As I mentioned in my last post the other day about my recent trip to the local home show, I was amazed that more of the interior designers weren’t using 3D tools in their design work.

By the way, just in case you’ve never heard of SketchUp, it’s a 3D modeling tool that was introduced in 1999 and acquired by Google in 2006.  SketchUp is fairly intuitive and easy to learn how to use.  You can build models from scratch, or download what you need from the Google 3D Warehouse, where people from all over the world have shared what they’ve made. You can even place your models in Google Earth.

Anyone can create 3D models with SketchUp.  You can see a long list of SketchUp’s impressive capabilities and features here.  And you can download the basic version of SketchUp for free here.  Yes, that’s right — FREE.  So now there is absolutely no reason not to try your hand at 3D modeling.  You just might get hooked!

A simple house modeled in SketchUp, from Google Warehouse

A simple house modeled in SketchUp, from Google Warehouse

 


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A distinctly two-dimensional Home Show

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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

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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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An inspiration (#1)

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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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The big question

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As I contemplate my impending leap of faith from a fairly cushy position in the ivory tower to the cut-throat world of self-employment as an artistic entrepreneur, I keep coming back to the big question, as delicately posed by my husband:

“But dear, how can you call it 3D visualization when what you’re creating is obviously flat and two-dimensional?”

Well, that IS an excellent question.  And I can see where he’s coming from.

To most people, the images of homes and interiors that I create look like photos (hence the term “photorealistic renderings“).  But the big answer to the big question is that I’m taking a flat floorplan — basically just a blueprint in the x-y plane — and through the magic of CAD software (Chief Architect X4, to be exact) I’m giving it an added dimension.  Height!  The z dimension!

So a simple kitchen floorplan goes from looking like a bunch of lines on graph paper, like this

Kitchen floor plan drawn in Chief Architect by CastleView3D.com

Kitchen floor plan

to a beautiful rendering like THIS:

3D Visualization of Kitchen floor plan by CastleView3D.com

Kitchen floorplan converted to 3D visualization

3D visualization is a way to convey more information about design — a tool to improve communication between home owners and their designers, builders, remodelers, contractors, realtors, decorators, and others.

And to me, that seems like a very valuable service.  Enough to inspire a leap of faith.


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