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Before you start thinking about your construction project visualization, you have to decide exactly what do you expect, how will you achieve it and why do you need it?

The fact that, there is a confusion between the construction project 4D simulation and realistic presentation for many AEC companies especially who are new in the market


The architecture, engineering, and construction (“AEC”) industry has made significant strides in the implementation and use of new virtual design and construction (“VDC”) tools. Building projects in virtual reality during planning, pre- construction, and construction phases of a project can improve a project team’s efficiency and assist in the resolution of problems before they become a reality in the field, when the solutions have a higher cost and risk.

1.Realistic construction presentation (Architectural Visualization):

It was only since a few years ago when architects have reached a point where their visualizations have become all-dominant in their profession, the digital revolution have brought together the construction industry and information technologies in ways that were once unbelievable, Architectural visualization has become such an important commodity for the construction industry.

Architects nowadays are so addicted with creating stunning visualizations because they believe their clients understand images better than the plans on blueprints. They are very keen on creating beautiful architectural visualizations and yet it is almost impossible to always become updated with the best and latest architectural visualization software.

Because of the constant evolution of the tools used in creating architectural visualizations, clients may now be presented with a new breed of visualization technique. Architects now have access to the latest software used by moviemakers and game developers which produce realistic and beautiful scenes.

After information technology and the construction industry, a new set of industries are now having the lines between them, the game industry and the rendering engine developing companies. The moviemakers and game developers can look to architects for advice in designing and modeling buildings for their projects while the architects are now looking to them for instructions on creating a new form of architectural visualization where the renderings can be presented in a navigable manner. This hybridization between these two industries is otherwise known as Gamification.

These engines allow the users to select between multiple options of compositions and materials in the proposed building and see the changes in real-time. Static renderings sometimes fail to impart on the client the building’s spatial and experiential qualities. The engines allow the client to walk around the proposed building virtually in the most realistic and the highest definition possible as if they were playing a video game. The software developers aim to give their clients an experience of what it feels like to “live” in that building as though it was already built by allowing them to move through the project virtually as freely as they would after it is built.

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2. 4D Simulation (Planning Visualization):

Project schedules alone are not detailed enough for performing certain process analyses. Some parameters used for planning are lost once a schedule is created and some schedules are not conducive to considering “what-if” scenarios. 4D modeling solves many of these problems by enabling project teams to simulate the virtual construction of a project. The following sections will provide an overview of 4D modeling and its typical uses.

Standalone 4D Models

Figure 1 depicts the components of a standalone 4D model. These components include a 3D model of the project design, representative of the product, and the project schedule, representative of the process and plan. “Virtual” project models can also incorporate other parameters, such as cost and resources, and are referred to as XD models, where X represents the number of additional parameters included beyond the product and process.

Comparative 4D Models

Comparative 4D models involve the simultaneous review of multiple, yet related 4D models in adjacent computer screen “windows.” The playback of such 4D models is synchronized through the use of internal or external software links. related to a comparative 4D modeling scenario that allows the user to perform a visual comparison of a single 3D model and two schedules. This scenario uses one 3D model that is linked to two schedules

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Simply , there is a great difference between the scheduling visualization and Arch visualization :

a.Input : 3D model , material , LOD , schedule , etc…

b.Tools/techniques : Software , work flow , etc…

c.Output : 4D advanced simulation video for project management purpose or realistic fancy presentation for marketing purpose.

So to create a 4D planning simulation you don’t need a 3D model containing a full realistic finishing materials and details since the 4D simulation will be used for the project management only ,but on the other hand for the Arch. visualization you will need the full 3D model containing the realistic materials and finishes.But what about having both of them in the same model and video ?

From my point of view it is not a bad idea since you want to create a construction sequence video with realistic finishes,but keep in mind that it will take a lot of time and effort because you will go through the both ways, also no need show the exact construction sequence time line in both of them ( for example : planning visualization every week sequence and Arch. visualization show every 3 months sequence )

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