Illustrate My Design (IMD) recognized with “Award of Excellence, Rendering” in Architecture in Perspective 33, awarded by the American Society of Architectural Illustrators honoring excellence in Architectural Illustration at the annual conference and awards ceremony held in Los Angeles, California on October 13th, 2018.
By Kieran McQuilkin
Though still in its infancy, virtual and augmented reality are opening up new approaches to industries that for decades have been technologically stagnant. Locally based Illustrate My Design is taking a stab at the nascent tech by applying it to architecture.
Ten-year-old IMD aims to bridge the gap between professionals and non-professionals in the real estate design process by creating visual experiences for projects before shovels hit dirt.
“There’s typically a misunderstanding when engineers are putting technical drawings in front of people, and there are just nods,” co-founder Florenica Bialet said. “Ninety percent of the general public can’t imagine 3-D space – when you talk about the size of a room or ceiling height, those translations into a mental image just don’t happen for most people.”
To solve the miscommunication, IMD creates photo-like 3-D renderings of building projects, using technical drawings, architectural specs and animation to bring the project to life on a computer screen. For example, a client can virtually walk through a predetermined path in a yet-unbuilt space, turning 360 degrees at any time and seeing virtual people walking around and using the space.
Bialet said IMD’s services contribute to three parts of a project’s lifecycle. Builders can try to fundraise or win a contract with the help of interactive renderings; designers and end users can collaborate during development with a shared understanding of the space’s features; and marketing and sales content is easy to pluck from the files.
The project’s 3-D file provides content for all three of those situations. But it doesn’t stop at a laptop screen.
“Animation and VR is really where everything is going in the industry,” Bialet said. “3-D renderings is where you start, but you have to develop the model to include things you want to show, and animation and VR builds on that.”
For example, IMD can host clients at a building site and give them VR glasses to see what the finished space will look like, creating an instant before/after picture in three dimensions.
“WITH TODAY’S NOISE, YOU HAVE TO HAVE A LOT OF CONTENT
TO DRAW PEOPLE TO PROJECTS.”
It’s also been experimenting with using green screen technology to insert footage of actual people into the renderings. Bialet said that ranges from basics, like someone having coffee in a kitchen space, to a physician and patient interacting in an office, to a hallway full of same-age students in uniform.
Creating those and other new types of content is critical to IMD staying ahead of the curve.
“Construction typically can last months or a year, and that’s a long time to keep somebody’s interest,” she said. “With today’s noise, you have to have a lot of content to draw people to projects.”
As another example, IMD worked with the U.S. Capitol building three times during its renovation a few years ago. It created a 3-D model of the building, and using the construction timeline, simulated how the crews would move over the course of the renovation, allowing the Capitol architect to consider crew sizes, timing and security.
The company’s 10 employees are spread throughout its main studio in Old Town Alexandria and two other offices in D.C. and Miami. Bialet said a majority of its work so far has been in the D.C. area, but with so much design work becoming digital, IMD is looking to expand out of the region.
May 1st, 2018 | Washington DC
Illustrate My Design has won the "Award of Excellence" in the Architectural Rendering section for the “Petal Chandelier” image. The award is the highest honor for the best Architectural Illustrator.
IMD received a prestigious award for the inspiring work of art, chosen from 400 competition entries. The ‘Petal Chandelier’ will be featured in the Architecture in Perspective 33 Catalog and Exhibition. This competition received many professional entries and consisted of 10 awards in the four categories. This particular award possesses extraordinary entries to be exhibited and included in the catalog.
Daniel Zeballos, COO and Creative Director of Illustrate My Design states, “It is part of our mission to represent Award-winning CGI in Washington DC. We honored to be a part of the American Society of Architectural Illustrators and very grateful for the award.”
IMD will receive the award at ASAI's 'Architecture in Perspective 33 Conference’ that will take place in Marina Del Rey, California from October 11-13, 2018.
The "Petal Chandelier" is a 3D computer generated illustration which was Client commissioned. It was a part of an 80 rendering set in which the image highlights the setting for a commissioned custom art piece. As Digital Artists, IMD created a chandelier 3D model from the client’s concept for a custom art piece. It is modeled with hundreds of petals hanging from various thin and vertical structures. This chandelier covers the height of three floors and is a centerpiece for the spiral staircase, which represents a core of the overall building.
Architect/Designer: Ike Kligerman Barkley Architects
Client City: New York City, NY
Washington, DC | June 15th, 2017
Illustrate My Design (IMD) is a boutique Architectural Visualization firm, established in 2008. Traditionally, the firm’s offerings included 3D Rendering and Animation; the firm now offers Virtual Reality (VR) as a new, innovative solution. For the past 2 years, IMD has created many Virtual Reality Experiences for Education, Commercial and Residential projects.
IMD presented a seminar on Virtual Reality at NeoCon 2017. The seminar, titled The Future of Architectural Visualization: New Developments in Virtual Reality examined the current state of visualization and VR technology, what is up and coming, and how companies can react to the changes. Daniel Zeballos and Florencia Bialet, Principals at IMD, presented this content.
IMD’s presentation started with the history of VR. It has been in development since the 1960s, but now is the time when technology - driven by Nvidia, the increase in computing power, and the smartphone revolution - will help VR go mainstream. It is quickly becoming adopted by companies in all sectors of the design world.
Most designers use 3D software such as Revit and SketchUp, but present it in 2D format through renderings and fly-through animations. Virtual reality allows you to experience 3D content in a 3D format. Another crucial benefit is when you are using a 3D headset, you automatically have the correct sense of scale. VR is the best way to realistically visualize your design.
“Use the basic 360 headsets to introduce the idea, and start the conversation on VR at your firm and with your clients.” - Florencia Bialet
The Center for the Arts in Crested Butte, Colorado, designed by Holzman Moss Bottino Architects based in New York City, embraced the technology. The project involved the full spectrum of visualization services - renderings, animation, and virtual reality. With portable VR cardboard headsets, 360 degree virtual reality images were used on-site so viewers could see the exterior of the future arts center building. This experience draws community attention and plays a major role in their fundraising efforts.
“VR is a definitely a trending topic, and we see it going mainstream. I believe VR is the future of architectural visualization. This is a major decision for companies within the Architecture and Design Industry: will you be an early adopter, try to catch up later, or do nothing? If you aren’t exploring VR, it’s a missed opportunity.” - Daniel Zeballos
“This is such an exciting time, VR is changing our industry and we love having the creative freedom to implement new solutions for our industries, in a way that could not be done before with simple renderings or animation.” - Daniel Zeballos
By Erin Gigl | Chicago
Virtual Reality has been a buzzword for years; however, there’s a great lack of use in the architecture field. “Why the hesitation?” asked Daniel Zeballos and Florencia Bialet, principals of the visualization company Illustrate My Design, during their conference The Future of Architectural Visualization at this year’s NeoCon.
They looked to tie up those loose ends of doubt by showing a video of a VR visualization which allowed the audience to see just how interactive and life-like this technology has become. By clicking on specific spaces with a controller, one can test furniture and fabrics and can visualize depth of field in order to easily see—instead of imagine—how a space could look. These VR experts, who are among the avant-garde in the industry, emphasized the fact that it’s time for workers in the AEC industry to adapt.
We are still looking at 3D renderings in 2D formats and it’s no longer necessary or enough. People have been slow to adapt to technology forever, but eventually they do. At the end of their panel, the two speakers warned “don’t be left behind, be an early adopter,” because the learning curve grows with time. “This is just the beginning, the dawn of VR, and the technology is moving very fast.”
As Zeballos related in a chat with ArchiExpo, “Remember VHS? People used to borrow their friend’s instead of buying their own. Soon that seemed silly. This is similar.”