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Faqs

Each one of our 3D animation and visualisation projects is different. Here are some of the most frequently asked question about how we work and what we do.

How long does it take to complete a project?

Every project is unique, so time required is dependent upon the proposals size, complexity, detail and the end product required.  However, our typical turnaround time is 1-3 weeks from time of commission.

What information do you need to produce an image or animation?

We require the most current drawings, sketches and design information.  This can be either sketch, planning or working drawings, but should ideally include floorplans, elevations, site plan, landscaping plan and material specifications.

Can I see previews or proofs before the job is complete?

Yes, of course! The client is at the heart of any visualisation process.  As part of our internal QA processes you will receive regular previews by email and we welcome feedback to complete the final image.

Can you work with Revit and SketchUp files?

Yes,  we regularly work with architects who choose to supply the 3D model as part of the design information pack.  In some cases this approach can help reduce production times.        

We don't have CAD drawings, can you produce images from hard copies?

Yes we can, although the process takes slightly longer.

You will either receive an Email/Link containing the completed images/animation or we will upload them to our/your website for immediate download. We supply all our images at 300 dpi in jpeg or Mpeg4 format.

We can arrange for professional hard copies/CD to be supplied as an additional service.

Glossary of 3D Terminology

With so many different terms being used in 3D visualisation and animation we've put together a handy glossary of 3D terms:

.3DS – Native file format of 3D studio. Old 3D file type widely supported by many software’s for importing / exporting models.

.dwg – Native file format of Autocad.

.FBX – Popular standardised 3d format used to import/export 3D model, with animation data and materials, between software

.OBJ - Popular 3D file format, used to import/export between software

3D Studio Max (3DS Max) – Professional 3D software, developed by Autodesk, popularly used in architecture and 3D animation industries.

After Effects – Post-production software developed by Adobe used to composite video and or rendered frames into a final sequence.

Animation – Combining of many still images, either rendered or filmed, displayed quickly in sequence to create an illusion of motion.

AR – Augmented Reality, the superimposing of real-time video with digital models.

ARKit – Apple’s next generation Augmented Reality development framework.

Autocad – Popular 2D/3D drafting software developed by Autodesk.

AVR – Accurate Visual Representation, term used to describe a photomontage with a verifiable visual accuracy, making use of survey data, such images are used in many planning applications.

Backburner – Software to manage the distribution of the rendering process over many CPU’s on a local networked render farm.

Biased Render – Render engine that calculates transmission of light using techniques to optimise the ray tracing process to speed up the rendering process. See also Unbiased Render.

BIM - Building Information Model, database that stores all details of a buildings design to allow quick and efficient updating and sharing of information.

Bokeh – Blooming effect, commonly seen in photography, when a bright highlight goes out of focus.

Bump Mapping – Texture map used to create an illusion of surface roughness to a 3D model. See also Normal Mapping.

CAD – Computer Aided Design, any form of design through use of a computer.

Camera – Virtual viewpoints that mimic their real-world counterpart.

Cartesian Coordinates – 3D coordinate system based on X,Y,Z planes to define points in space.

CGI – Computer Generated Image.

Chromatic Abberration – Dispersion of light, commonly seen in photography, due to physical properties of the lens refracting light at different wave lengths creating colour fringing artefacts towards the edge of the image.

Codec – Algorithm used for compressing file size of audio and video data.

Compositing – Combining rendered frames into video footage.

Composition – Positioning of camera and objects to produce aesthetically pleasing images and manipulation of the viewer’s attention.

Corona Render– Photorealistic, CPU, unbiased rendering engine.

CPU – Core-Processing-Unit, the main processor of the computer.

Cube Mapping – A method of environment mapping that uses 6 faces of a cube as the map shape.  The environment is projected onto the sides of a cube and stored as 6 square textures, or unfolded into 6 regions of a single texture.  Used in 360 panorama’s.

Depth of Field – Used to describe how much of the image is in focus, shallow depths of field will have only small areas of the image in focus.

DirectX – Microsoft’s real-time 3D rendering engine, used mostly in computer game to produce 3D graphics in real-time.

Distributed Rendering (DR) - Means of speeding up the rendering process by harnessing the CPU’s of other computers on a local network.

Drone – Remotely controlled device used to capture aerial photography / video.

Frame – One still image from an animated sequence.

F-storm - Photorealistic, GPU, unbiased rendering engine.

Gear VR – Device by Samsung that turns phone into a VR headset. Only works with Samsung phones.

Geometry – General term used to describe a model in 3D software.

GI – Global Illumination, general term used to describe the transmission and bouncing of light around a 3D model.

Golden Section – Special number found in nature historically used by famous artists as a framework for composition, considered most pleasing to the eye. See also Rule of Thirds.

Google Cardboard – Low tech solution used to convert any mobile phone into a VR headset.

Google Daydream - VR Headset designed for compatible android devices.

Go-Pro - Small, compact and durable hard-wearing sports camera, capable of shooting high quality video from a user’s perspective.

GPU - Graphical Processing Unit, processors for generating real-time 3D graphics and used as a secondary processing unit (separate from the CPU).

HDR – High Dynamic Range, image containing extra pixel information allowing the image to store a greater range of exposure.

High/Low Poly –  Term used to describe the resolution of a 3D objects mesh, high resolution objects have more detail but impact rendering performance.

HMD - Head Mounted Display.

Hololens - Microsofts Augmented Reality Headset.

HTC Vive - Virtual Reality headset that is capable of room space VR.

Iray - Photorealistic, unbiased, CPU and GPU rendering engine.

Keyframe – Property used to animate a 3D object, defines key properties or positions of objects at specific points in time, set by the user. The frames “in-between” key frames are calculated by the computer.

LiDAR – Light Detection and Ranging, device that uses lasers to scan and measure it surroundings to create a point cloud used for surveying or creating a 3D model.

Lights – Objects used to emit light into the scene.

Material –  General term to describe a texture applied to an object to give it a realistic look when rendered. See also Shader.

Maxwell - Photorealistic, unbiased CPU rendering engine.

Maya - Professional 3D software, developed by Autodesk, popularly used in film and animation industry.

Mental Ray - Photorealistic, biased CPU rendering engine.

Mesh - General term to describe the geometry of a 3D object.

Model – Single element of a 3D scene.

Monoscopic - A single viewpoint as opposed to stereoscopic.

Moiré Pattern – Large scale interference patterns that happen when objects interfere with the shape of light sensors in a TV or monitor to generate unwanted artifacts.

Motion Blur – When a subject moves faster than the shutter speed of a camera, the subject can appear at multiple points across the frame which blend together to create a motion blur. This is an effect that is often applied to 3D imagery to create a more photographic look.

Normal Mapping - More advanced form of bump mapping, used to fake high levels of detail onto a lower detail 3D model.

Nuke - Post-production software used to composite video and or rendered frames into a final sequence.

Oculus Rift -  Desktop computer based VR Headset.

Omni Rig – Device that allows multiple cameras to be connected together, usually in a cube formation, to photograph and record 360 footage.

Open GL - Open source real-time 3D engine, used mostly in CAD software, computer games and Virtual Reality. See also DirectX.

Particle System – Animated points in 3D space used to create special effects such as smoke, sparks, fire etc..

PfCO – Permission for Commercial Operations, accreditation required to fly any UAV in a public space.

Photogrammetry – Technique of generating 3D models from multiple photographs taken at varying angles of an object or location.

Photomontage – Combining of CG elements into a base photograph to give perception of reality. See also AVR.

PhotoShop - Industry standard photo-manipulation software developed by Adobe.

Pix4D – Photogrammetry survey software used to create 3D site data from drone photography.

Playstation VR - Playstation’s first Virtual Reality solution aimed at the home gaming market.

Point Cloud – Large collection of points in 3D space, often generated from a LiDAR scan or photogrammetry software. Often used in surveying to measure relative distances, generate accurate plans/sections or 3D models.

Polygon - Basic 3D surface that forms the surface of a 3D model.

Post-Production – Any manipulation of images, after they have been rendered or photographed, such as colour correction or compositing.

Procedural Map – Texture map that is generated by mathematical algorithm, generally uses less memory.

Render Elements – Means of separating a rendered image into separate layers for composting later in Post-Production software.

Render Farm – Network of CPU/GPU’s used to speed up and ease the workload of the 3D rendering process.

Rendering - Process of calculating the transmission of light around a virtual model to create a photorealistic or stylised image or animation of a 3D model.

Resolution – General term used to describe level of detail and information in a model or image, higher the resolution the more faces or pixels.

Revit - CAD Software combining both 2D and 3D drafting based on parametric BIM workflow.

Rigging – Technical term used to describe the setting up of a model to allow easy manipulation for animation e.g internal skeletons used to animate characters.

Rule of Thirds – Simplification of golden section, image is divided into a 3x3 grid, points of interest are placed at one or more intersection points on grid.

Scene – Collection of 3D objects in one file that form the elements of a rendered image or animation.

Sequence – Group of frames from an animation that define a section of a larger animation.

Shader - Surface property of a 3D object that describes how it reacts to light and shade.

SketchUp -  3D software, predominantly used in architecture to quickly visualise design ideas.

Spline – A 3D shape or line.

Stereoscopic - Two images used side by side, when viewed per eye, produce the illusion of depth. See also monoscopic.

Texture Map – Image mapped to an object to give realistic detail to an objects material.

UAV – Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, see also Drone.

UE4 - Unreal Engine 4, real-time game engine used in many AAA title computer games and Virtual Reality applications.

Unbiased Render – Rendering engine that accurately calculates the transmission of light without biased optimisations to the rendering process

Unity -  Real-time game engine, used on many mobile games and Virtual Reality applications.

UV Mapping - Means of peeling and unwrapping a 3D surface into a 2D layout in order to texture map an object's surface.

Vertex - Points in 3D space that define a polygon that build the surface of a 3D object.

Viewport – Window used to provide a real-time preview of a 3D scene to allow the modelling and production of 3D images.

Vignette – Technique used to frame an image either by subtle darkening of the outer edge of the frame or by natural features in the shot.

Vimeo - Website that hosts and streams both HD and 360 video content.

VR -  Virtual Reality, computer generated environment viewable through a HMD.

Vray - Photorealistic, CPU Biased rendering engine. Commonly used in architectural visualisation.

Youtube - Website that hosts and streams both HD and 360 video content.

Z-Depth – A 2D image has 2 axis, “X” (Width) and “Y”(Height), this can be taken further to include “Z” which is the distance a pixel was from the camera during the rendering process. This extra information is generally used in the post-production process to add a layer of depth to images.