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10 Myths about 3D Visualization (in
Transportation/Civil Engineering)
Published on November 3, 2014

Sam Lytle, PE Following
Owner of Civil FX and Lincoln County Planning Commissioner 24 -1
5 articles

10. It costs twice as much to produce two
animation videos for my project as it does
to produce one.

Because most of the cost of 3D visualization is in
building the 3D model, producing the second
video only costs a fraction of the first. If time is
taken to build the project as completely as
possible in 3D, that model can be used for countless video animation and still picture
renders from many different angles.

9. 'Simulation' is the same as 'Visualization'.

This one is tricky because I hear these two words used interchangeably often. Simulation is
a computational model used to simulate data. A good example in transportation is traffic
simulation which is when software such as Vissim uses traffic flows to 'simulate' traffic flow
for a given section of highway or intersection. Visualization, on the other hand, is focused
on what you see. You can have a visualization based on accurate data or even on traffic
simulation, but the two are not the same.

8. If I need to create a project render I can just use AutoCAD. It has a render
button, right?

While it is true that CAD software such as AutoCAD and Microstation have visualization
capabilities built-in, these functions won't give you the best results and often require
specialized training to use. That said, while the visualization abilities of CAD software aren't
the best, these programs can be a great place to do much of the 3D modeling before sending
the model elsewhere for final animating, texturing and rendering.

7. InfraWorks is making high quality visualization easier than ever before.

I've used InfraWorks for years (it was Infrastructure Modeler when Autodesk first released
it) and have used it to make satisfactory visualizations on a few occasions. The quick
roadway modeling functions have especially been useful for me. However, because of
limitations such as vector specific modeling (resulting in poor final quality) and the inability
to animate vehicles and people, I would never recommend InfraWorks as a stand alone
solution for high quality visualization.


. with advances in technology and as studios move towards video game processes. In my experience. fences. but this just isn't the case today. 3. When we use Lumion for our animations. there are still many elements of projects that are almost always annotative. rendering can be drastically reduced. 5. but we build out models from actual CAD data and use engineering specifications and judgement whenever possible and I believe more and more visualization firms are taking this approach. Why should I pay someone to model our project in 3D when my team has already built the project in 3D using CAD software? Civil 3D and other land development and roadway modeling software packages have greatly improved the ability to model surfaces and other important engineering elements such as walls and drainage features. 3D visualization is nothing more than a fancy cartoon without any engineering accuracy. striping and surrounding buildings and trees are only represented as 2D linework or sometimes even just with a callout note. long before anything is ever rendered. Small to mid sized projects can have excellent videos and images created for the low to mid five figures and now only the largest projects require six-figure visualization. engineering accuracy is important and can be ensured to a certain level of precision. While this is acceptable from a design and construction standpoint. It is true that the process of 3D visualization can be somewhat messy and a good team might not want the client to be a part of the process anymore than a sausage maker would want to give tours of the factory. We try to give several in-person (or screen share) meetings a month showing the progress of the model. Some rendering can take long. Many parts of a project including signs. 3D visualization often consists of handing CAD files over to another firm and getting a video back in a few weeks or months that is hopefully close to what I am looking for. these elements are crucial for creating accurate visuals and can be built upon and around engineered surfaces. However. 4. However. as more studios such as ours are moving to engine based visualization. However. My project is under $10 million so the cost/benefit just 1 isn't 22 there for 3D Try Premium for Free visualization. the final video render almost always takes less than a day and sometimes only a few hours depending on the length. While it is probably not recommended to create construction documents from a model created for visualization purposes. The tools available for 3D modeling and visualization have gotten better and more affordable in recent years lowering the threshold of what projects can benefit from it. 2. Using software that can offer real-time navigation such as Lumion or InfraWorks.Search 6. very long. our clients can see what their final animation will look like. frequent status updates can be a positive experience for both the visualization team and the client. I can't speak for every visualization everywhere. Rendering takes too long to make 3D visualization part of my fast moving project. This was probably the case 20 or even 10 years ago.

right? Animation videos for public outreach are one of the most common uses for 3D visualization but far from the only reason.-Buero R. I have written this post exclusively for LinkedIn. I encounter this myth so often that I wrote a post showing 50 ways accurate 3D visualization can benefit your project including construction phasing.civilfx. PE See all 5 articles . PE Owner of Civil FX and Lincoln County Planning Commissioner Following More from Sam Lytle. line of sight studies and for use in right of way legal disputes. Mach short and compact. join the Civil FX Group on LinkedIn here and see some of our recent work below: Civil FX 2014 Demo Reel Report this 24 Likes +15 -1 Comments Timothy "Sean" Hulbert. PE 3y AEC/ENI Premium Support Specialist at Autodesk Well Said! Like Reply 1 Like Ruediger Mach 3y at Mach:Idee. You can learn more at our website www. Ing. alternative analysis. In thank you for the abstract :-) Like Reply 1 Like Add a comment… Sam Lytle. Search 1. My project doesn't deal directly with the public so I1really 22 don't need 3D Try Premium for Free visualization.

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