6 ADVANTAGES OF ARCHITECTURAL ANIMATION OVER STILL IMAGE RENDERINGS
Updated: Aug 7
When each visualization project begins, we at GRender Studio often discuss with clients which service will be most impactful for their project’s outreach, while still adhering to the budget for said project. Clients often consider our architectural animation service as an option, but are concerned with the cost of animation in comparison to presenting their projects with other visualization methods, such as still images. In this post, we will discuss the benefits of architectural animations that simply cannot be offered by still image renderings.
In the architecture and real estate industries, architectural animation is an incredibly powerful tool for representing the promise of future built spaces to potential clients or occupants. Architectural animation visually outlines all of the intricately detailed information of the environment being shown, while compiling this information into an aesthetically pleasing experience. The immersive experience that architectural animation provides helps to deliver the ideas in a manner that is fluid and easily comprehensible to the viewer. At the same time, it communicates the specific attributes of the spaces being represented to the necessary degree of precision. Animations are similar to viewing film, so the content of the material is quite natural for a viewer to absorb. Because of this, animation can be the ideal method of architectural visualization for numerous projects.
Here are six reasons why animation is an advantageous medium of architectural visualization:
Visuals in motion are arguably always more engaging to a viewer than still images. When introducing someone to a new concept through visual materials, the goal is elicit automatic engagement with the content being represented. This is especially the case in the realm of architectural visualization. When viewers are presented with stimulating visuals that are not only aesthetically appealing, but also entertaining, they are more likely to be attentive to the information being shown. In gripping the attention of the audience so quickly using architectural animation, viewers will have a clearer understanding of the most important aspects of the project, including how it will generally appear when it is physically constructed.
Offering this kind of information in an animated format helps to reduce any misinterpretations of the project, or gaps in its representation that would not be easily resolved with mere still images. The motion of animation ultimately encourages viewers to buy into the narrative of the project with more confidence, since the format appears more cohesive and sequentially organized.
2. SPATIAL RELATIONSHIPS
When comparing the architectural visualization methods of 3D rendered still images to animations, it is important to note that the advantages of still image renderings as promotional materials for architectural projects are plentiful and substantial, and they are often the most universally informative vehicles for visualization. However, the value of incorporating animation into a visual project presentation should not be disregarded just because rendered still images are so commonly used.
The strength of a project’s initial presentation to a client increases exponentially when it is supplemented with more than merely still images. When a still image is executed with the highest quality, it can often be mistaken for a photograph of an image in reality, especially to the untrained eye. While still image rendering - and photography, for that matter - are excellent techniques for representing the future of the built environment, they can also be considered quite stagnant and fall flat when attempting to leave an impression on the viewer (or potential client buying into the scheme being proposed).
Architectural animation, on the other hand, provides a clarity of the relationships between spaces that simply cannot be achieved by still image renderings or photography alone. An in-depth understanding of the relationship between different spaces and their connectivity in the built environment is supported by moving the camera in architectural animations as a visualization technique.
When viewers find the opportunity to understand the relationships between the different spaces and to seemingly insert themselves into those spaces, they accept without hesitation that the digital environment they are experiencing is actual. The perspectives that that animation provides to viewers for architectural projects are incomparable to, because of how the viewer is situated in relation to the visuals being represented (for further insight as to the varying other perspectives offered by visualization techniques, see some of our earlier posts, like Architectural Virtual Reality as a Visualization Tool).
3. PROJECT'S SCALE
The way our minds comprehend the scale of a space is through analysis of the different elements that are visible in the frame. In still images, the number of elements that can be seen is less than what would be shown in an animation. By moving the camera in one particular space, more elements of the project being represented become visible, and viewers are able to appreciate the various faces of the environment. Unlike still images, architectural animation enables the viewer to be transported through each frame of the animation, with a perspective of how they would be traveling through the space if it were constructed.
Architectural animations are created with each viewer’s spatial orientation in mind, so that when experiencing the rendered footage, the scales of all structural and environmental elements make sense to the person observing the quick transition of frames. This allows for the opportunity for the viewer to believe that he or she is truly experiencing a space found in reality, since the scale matches what they could expect from a realistic area.
The other way that viewers’ minds read the scale of a space is by comparing it to other adjacent spaces that are also in the animation’s frame. Animation provides the opportunity for the camera to reveal more than just the spatial environment of focus; it shows the space in relation to its surroundings. With this said, it is clear that animation provides the viewer’s mind with an inherently improved understanding of the scale of the space at hand, thanks to the innate qualities of the visualization method.
4. MULTI-SENSORY EXPERIENCE
The benefits of animation as an architectural visualization tool do not stop at the visual qualities that are unique to the medium; architectural animation has the capacity to incorporate sound as well as text, resulting in a rich sensory experience that is accessible for nearly everyone who utilizes the platform. Ambient music and auditory details refine the users’ interaction with the spaces they are viewing in the architectural animation, providing realistic depth to the spatial encounter being depicted.
Incorporating text into animations also helps to prompt viewers about some of the spaces’ information that they may not have visually picked up on as they observe the animated footage.
By enriching the visual content of architectural animations with textual and auditory context, the imagery and spatial experience being presented to the viewer becomes even more convincing, thus improving the overall impression of the architectural animation. This ideally results in the viewer’s persuasion to invest in the idea being proposed, whether that is the rental or purchase of a property, the renovation of an existing space, or the development of an entirely new structure.
5. SITE CONTEXTS
While many architectural visualization platforms incorporate environmental context into the representation of the featured building, few provide the atmospheric depth that animation does. With architectural animations, visualization teams can produce intricacies of the site context, like the swaying of trees on the property, cars driving past on surrounding streets, views of nearby waterscapes from within the structure, or even elements of a building’s interior that are naturally animated, including lights, televisions, or the movement of occupants within the space. Such atmospheric details invigorate what would otherwise be a mundane experience of digitally traversing through a static space, and further convince the viewer of the project’s potential for success, since the architectural animation helps to suggest that it could facilitate life.
Another aspect of animation as an architectural visualization tool is the adaptability of the scenes shown to present the building in question; that is, animations can be produced according to the specific experience that would be most desirable to the client. For example, animations can be altered to reflect the structure at any time of day or night, with several figures moving throughout the space or none at all, and during any season of the year. This trait adaptability allows viewers of the architectural animation to connect more deeply with the imagery they are observing, since they can witness firsthand how the building would appear in any scenario, rather than having to rely on a single version of the animation that only represents one set of circumstances. In general, when being pitched a project concept, viewers will always appreciate being able to analyze how the project responds to a variety of situations. Thankfully, architectural animation makes this possible for practically any development scheme.
Animation as an architectural visualization tool ultimately offers the designer’s complete vision of a series of physical spaces through a platform that is easily digestible, yet aesthetically pleasing for the viewer. Of course, every project is different, and may require a variety of visualization techniques to suit its goals for representation However, given these five advantages, it is clear that architectural animation is indeed a strong contender for the ideal visualization medium, thanks to its inherent qualities that make animation such a well-rounded tool.
Visit GRender Studio’s SERVICES page to discover more about how to integrate architectural animation into your next project, and upgrade its presentation!