“Seeing is Believing”

How do 3D printed models or maps enhance representation?

I believe that physical representation gets the point of physical objects across best, which is why studying a map that is 3D printed and physically present can help one understand an area better than a flat map image. I came to this idea because the concepts of representation and perspective have always been interesting to me throughout my life. I’m someone who always likes to see things from different angles and I try to contemplate how ideas or data might be better represented and therefore better understood. I’m excited to make a 3D model of at least part of downtown Olympia. Even if I’m the only viewer of it, I know it will better my understanding of the area.

In doing research for this project, I struggled to find sources (that were accessible and understandable to me), which pertained exactly to my idea. It surprised me that it was so difficult to find cartographers interested in 3D mapping, since distortion is such a huge part of 2D mapping. Instead I found examples of my idea demonstrated in Architecture and models of building designs. I came across pages for different companies explaining how 3D printing or 3D rendering/modeling has made a huge difference on the way they do business. Rietveld Architecture Firm perfectly describes why 3D rendering is important for clients’ understanding of designs, and also how 3D printing their designs allows for many more models of various scales and iterations to be made more quickly and efficiently. 3D printing these necessary models also allows for more detail to be incorporated, which provides easier understanding for the viewers.

“During the course of a typical project, Rietveld, like other architecture firms, builds numerous models in increasing detail and scale that help clients to visualize designs. And, like other firms, they had traditionally built these models by hand – a task that usually required two employees to spend upwards of two months cutting, assembling and finishing components made of cardboard, foam board and Plexiglass. The time and expense to hand craft these complex elements dictated that the models have an inadequate amount of detail, limiting the creativity and therefore showcasing a model that sometimes did not sufficiently highlight the selling points of the design.” (Meijs).

Rietveld Architects have been able to take their business a step ahead of their competitors. They say there is always a “wow factor” when they present a 3D printed model. Obviously models are necessary in the architecture industry, in order to examine and appreciate designs. Now 3D printing has brought ease to this very important piece of every project.

Brian Smith and Brian Zajac, founders of 3D Architectural Solutions, are firm believers in the 3D movement and development. They both individually began working on 3D studies in the 90s. While Smith steadily progressed in the field of 3D, Zajac moved to web design, under the impression that work in 3D was not quite worthwhile in those years. Later on he noticed that the world of 3D was quickly picking up actually cost effective (unlike in the 90s) and at this point he and Smith formed 3D Architectural Solutions. In 2006 they teamed up with other organizations to form CGschool, which is now the leading company in visualization training.

It is clear that both of these men are very wisely invested in the field of 3D representation. This interest pointed them both in the direction of architecture. The field of architecture is perfect for utilizing expertise in 3D representation, as I talked about before. 3D representation is used for presenting a design most accurately. It is useful to both the designers, and the clients. It is the best way to understand the data in front of you.

“3D Rendering has brought about huge efficiencies in the architectural and engineering industries in recent times. 3D rendering is the process of producing an image based on three-dimensional data stored within a computer.” (The Benefits).

The data used to create these images was already being generated with every design created, but until 3D rendering became a big part of the industry, the only way to understand the design was either by interpreting numerous 2D drawings, depicting different angles, or to use a model which was an expensive, time consuming, detail limiting piece of work… before 3D printing came into the scene.

Representation is key to understanding. In the fields of architecture, mapping, engineering, and others, it is important that people be able to convey their designs, or data they have collected in a manner that makes sense. With anything that exists in three dimensions, the most sensible representation is 3D rendering which is now more than possible but very efficient. I’m excited to create my very own model of the city that is my new home.

Works Cited

“3D Modelization and Visualization.” Open Text. Open Text Corporation, 2011. Web. 02 Nov. 2014.

“The Benefits of 3D Rendering.” AABSys. AABSyS IT, 2014. Web. 02 Nov. 2014.

“Benefits of 3D Rendering and Visualization.” GIS Virtual RSS. GIS Virtual, 08 Aug. 2012. Web. 02 Nov. 2014.

Meijs, Piet. “Examples of 3D Printing in the Architecture Industry.” 3D Printer. Javelin Technologies Inc., 2014. Web. 02 Nov. 2014.

Meijs, Piet. “Objet Technology Enables Architecture Firm to Shave Months Off Model-Building Time.” Case Study. Rietveld Architects LLP, 2010. Web. 2 Nov. 2014.

Smith, Brian, and Brian Zajac. “Why Are 3D Visualization Renderings and Animations Important?” 3D Architectural Solutions. 3DAS LLC, n.d. Web. 01 Nov. 2014.

“The Societal Impacts of 3D Printing.” 3D Printing. WordPress.com, n.d. Web. 02 Nov. 2014.