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August 24, 2004

3-D Visualization Software Comes Of Age

FROM THE EVOLVING ARMS RACE OF VISUAL ONE-UPSMANSHIP come slicker and slicker fundraising presentation tools to aid (replace even?) the slide-show-with-pointer-stick that has been standard fare since shortly after WW2.

The technology is known as visualization software, and it is the architect’s version of awesomely lifelike animation like the Pixar genre of movies, exemplified by Toy Story and Shrek. The use of this 3-D technology to demonstrate yet-to-be-constructed facilities has been a terrific boon to creating the impact and inspiration necessary to open the wallets and checkbooks of donors.

Clients who wish to expand the visualization treatment of their project should expect to pay $10,000 to $15,000 for a two to five minute video that can be updated periodically throughout a project to reflect major change orders or new design elements. The videos can be formatted on CDs, DVDs and VHS or onto laptop computers for impromptu viewing.

“Now it’s to the point where you can almost fool people into believing it’s real,” says Jon Niemuth, a senior project designer for Kansas City, Mo.-based architecture firm Ellerbe Becket.

Visualization software is being used for other purposes.

Health club operators offer 3-D modeling and animated fly-throughs when recruiting members prior to the completion of a new fitness facility.

The NBA’s Memphis Grizzlies used 3-D modeling with 219 camera locations to provide season ticket holders simulated views from every seat in the facility.

The old dog and pony show has never looked so good.

(this 273 word excerpt—with attendant commentary—was distilled from a 2305 word article in the August 2004 issue of Athletic Business)