Paul Geraedts

What tools do architects use to visualize their 3D models?

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Visualization of a 3D model is very important. Your client doesn’t always understand what you are designing for them just by looking at the 3D model. So what tools do architects use, in order to show their 3D visualization to the client and making them understand? Let’s have a look at different approaches and their pros and cons. 

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Method 1: Showing your 3D model directly from the source program

Technically, this isn’t really a visualization method, however this is still a very common way of showing 3D models to your clients. So what tools do architects use to draw their 3D drawings? Some popular ones are SketchUp, Revit or ARCHICAD. If you’re showing your clients your 3D design drawing directly from these programs, be prepared for some questions. The reason for that is simple: your client lacks the technical knowledge to truly understand what’s being shown to them. 

What tools do architects use to view their 3D files?

Most 3D sketching programs can be used with a (free) viewer as well. RVT files can be used in viewer mode, IFC files have 3DRepo or Autodesk A360. Using a viewer clarifies a lot for your client, as you can easily show the model, rotate it and view it from all kinds of angles. However, it still requires you to travel physically to your client. 

Pros of this method: 

  • Cheapest and quickest method, doesn’t require any rendering or visualization

Cons of this method:

  • Traveling to and from your clients costs time
  • Planning meetings with your clients often long in advance
  • Your client is not familiar with technical 3D drawing programs and their viewers, so explaining your designs will take a long time

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Method 2: 3D visualization

Another one of the frequently used tools architects use is the use of 3D visualization. This can be anything from images to videos, and can be sent through Wetransfer to your clients. However, you would still need to meet your client in person to talk them through the details. You could try doing this using screen sharing communication methods, such as Skype, but the quality of image and audio is often not very sufficient. 

Pros of this method

  • Your client understands the design better as they see it as if it’s already finished
  • An awesome 3D visualization will impress your clients

Cons of this method

  • It takes time, money and effort to create a 3D visualization
  • Meeting your client in person can take some time
  • Usually this is done upon finishing the designing phase, if you’d want to show your client the implications of a different brick color or a pillar in a room, this method isn’t very effective

Method 3: online, interactive 3D visualization by Xuver 

Besides these two, there is another tool architects use, one that you might not have heard of yet. But that’s nothing to worry about, since this is a new method. Wouldn’t it be great if you could actually make all your 3D models visible online, for all your clients to see? Well, that’s essentially what Xuver does. With Xuver, you use your 3D file (SketchUp, ARCHICAD, Revit or IFC format) and share it as a walkthrough, online visualization. 

A SketchUp model visualized in Xuver, other file formats are visualized similarly
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Best of both worlds: a low-cost way to make your clients understand your 3D models

So essentially, Xuver combines the best of the two methods mentioned above. it’s quick, easy and relatively low-cost. And by walking through the 3D browser model with a 3D figure, your client will experience the virtues of seeing the model right in front of them, as if it were a real-time viewing.

Online means online: so less meetings and travel times!

And as Xuver is the world’s first online platform, this is all done without moving from your location. Send your client the browser link into your 3D model and they will be able to walk around inside with you. Besides online, this platform is also interactive, which means that you can live communicate with your clients while you are viewing the online model with them. 

So there you have it: the much-asked question ‘what tools do architects use to visualize their 3D models’ has been answered. Of course you can always use a mix of these 3. Xuver is available after a quick subscription and can be tried out for free. Follow the button below to start using Xuver to show your 3D models online today!

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