I have worked with the visualization software LumenRT to create renderings for multiple projects and have seen how this powerful tool allows us to better communicate our vision to the client. For me, using visualization technology to really connect to and communicate with the client is one of my favorite aspects of the work we do. As soon as I get assigned to create a rendering, my mind starts racing about different ideas that I think would enhance the design. The most rewarding thing for me is the reaction I get after handing over a rendering or animation that really pops.
Communicating a vision to clients
The ability to deliver a vision, whether it be conceptual or final design, is imperative to our success as an industry. The renderings developed from LumenRT have indirectly won projects and made communication between consultant and client much more efficient.
I remember working on one particular project where a city’s board of directors were contemplating taking out two roundabouts in favor of regular intersections. The design was nearly complete with the roundabouts, but they were contemplating taking them out to save money. Using LumenRT, I completed an animation of the finished product showing how the intersection would look with roundabouts in place. After the board of directors saw the animation, they quickly changed their minds and decided to keep the roundabouts. Though the roundabouts represented a greater cost upfront, the efficiency they provided were well worth it—and they looked great too. Once they saw our vision come to life, they were able to fully understand the value in a way that words or 2D plans simply could not provide.
This example showcases how visualization technology can be used to communicate a vision with a client that cannot be conveyed as effectively in any other manner. This is particularly important when communicating with those who don’t have a strong background in visualizing for themselves what 2D plans will represent in the real world.
Create community buy-in
Another critical benefit of using visualization software like LumenRT is the ability to communicate complex concepts with the community they will ultimately affect. For example, I worked on renderings for a project where our client needed to build an energy storage facility, but the surrounding community was concerned about the environmental effects as well as the aesthetics. Using LumenRT, I created still renderings and animations showing what the finished project would actually look like. The landscaping and the surrounding vegetation were all included in the renderings, so the public could see that only the driveway of the facility would be visible from the road; the facility would not detract from the community’s ambiance.
Once the public understood what the impact would be, the client ultimately got approval from the town to move forward with the project. This challenge is something that a lot of towns can relate to, which is just one of the reasons why I believe this type of software is going to become increasingly common.
Where is visualization software going?
This type of software is fairly new, and people are still working out how to incorporate it within current practices. However, I definitely see it becoming more ubiquitous in the future as more people learn about it and as visualization and animation software becomes easier to use and more customizable. One of the best things about Lumen RT specifically is how user-friendly the interface is. A beginner could produce a high-quality conceptual design fairly easily. It can really be what you need it to be in terms of complexity, with various lighting effects, animation settings, and custom texture mapping available.
I can see it becoming more complex as time goes on, with the possibility of creating more advanced rendering animations. I can also see it being used to illustrate construction phases through real-life simulations. It could even be used to simulate the experience of riding in a vehicle down a road that hasn’t been constructed yet or walking down a shared-use path as a pedestrian or cyclist.
Even now with this technology, we can export animations into VR. We could potentially use it to create a virtual environment for a conference where we have a booth, or a client meeting where we are presenting concepts, to allow people to virtually walk around within an immersive environment. The possibilities are really endless when we think about how this technology could progress. I look forward to being a part of it.