In all the buzz of 4D, 5D and even 6D (whatever the heck that is) I think the power of 3D visualization has been overly discounted.
Personally, I’m not into photorealistic renderings that attempt to show a space exactly as it would be in reality. I appreciate the work and artistry that goes into it. I appreciate the level of detail that goes into that work, but its just not my bag.
(Image found @ http://www.archiform3d.com)
What really gets me going is the ability of a 3D image to get all participants in a conversation to “the same page” almost instantly.
Rather than spend time flipping between floor plans, and sections taken in two directions, we can start with an ISO (Isometric Drawing) of a condition and all agree (for the most part) on what we are looking at. (BTW, I realize the image below is not a true ISO. It’s a perspective image captured from a BIM. Far more useful. :P )
This image is far from realistic. But the information conveyed in that image is amazing. Spatial relationships in both images are one of the first things that jumps out at us. In the lobby image (from www.archiform.com) the sense of grandeur and imposing volume certainly conveys. When I first put the image of a mechanical shaft from one of our recent projects on the the projector screen, the universal reaction was; “Geesh, that is a big duct.”
The use of color to segregate information in the second image is a distinct departure from the rich representation of proposed finishes in the first. Red walls are Fire Rated. Green walls are sound rated. Green exhaust duct. Red Hydronic Supply pipe. Green Hydronic Return pipe.
If a “picture is worth a thousand words,” what is the value of a virtual model that can be viewed from an infinite number of viewpoints, can be color-coded to allow easy digestion of the information, and objects can be turned off or moved out of the way? Priceless. Even before we start to dig deep into rich data that is ensconced in the best of BIMs.
So, don’t discount the power of the lowly third “D'” and don’t be afraid of the BIG, Bad BIM…