To Visualize or Not, That is the Question

Among several firms here in Portland, there has been discussion as of late regarding the future of 3D services in house and its the roles, responsibilities and capacities. Much of the “3D” work done in house these days is really nothing more than SketchUp models and exports from Revit. In this discussion, concerned 3D specialists brought up several good questions:

With the architectural packages trying to do it all and architects wanting to do it all, when will it be so easy that they will be able too? We have a couple of people creating nice images with Sketchup and keeping them as styles, so my work load has shrunk, with the architects.

Great question. From my vantage point, I see the work and demands of the types of clients we have being the force behind the 3D initiative. Since little is standardized in the field, we will conform to client demands and needs. Interstingly enough, there’s a strong interest in “everyone does everything” as a functional objective within our office, so more and more people have become proficient production-grade users of Sketchup, Revit, Indesign and Photoshop.

Specialists are quickly becoming a thing of the past. During this transition time, it’s not entirely clear how successful that will be. We’re loosing the specialists that once provided support infrastructure to assist everyone day-to-day issues, best practices and advanced questions. More and more of these type of responsibilities will fall on IT and the more experienced users, who are consequently in more demand.

Outsourcing overseas has incredibly low fees. The companies we used have a 10 person staff and the other a 100 person staff. Plus the 3rd world countries have better access to boot leg software, which keeps there cost down and allows them to use many programs to develop one project.

Outsourcing is still a political snake pit around here. We only outsource what we can’t absolutely do in house, and we hire regional talent based on credentials rather than cost typically. That’s not to say a client won’t down the road demand cheap visualizations, but it hasn’t happened in a capacity where we’ve responded with using cheap outsourcing.

How each firm responds to this conundrum will be largely reprensentative of the demand placed on them and the capacities desired.



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