How 3D Walkthroughs are Revolutionizing the Real Estate Industry

With the ability to create realistic, immersive experiences, 3D walkthroughs provide a dynamic way to present properties and convey design ideas. It’s becoming increasingly popular for AEC professionals to showcase their projects to clients and potential buyers. In this article, we will explore the benefits of using 3D walkthroughs in the AEC industry and the best approaches for creating 3D walkthroughs, including Matterport and 3D modelling. Whether you are an architect, designer, or real estate agent, this article will help you understand the value of 3D walkthroughs and how to incorporate them into your workflow.

Table of Content:
Part 1. 3D Walkthrough Homes vs. 360°Virtual Tour
Part 2. How is 3D Walkthrough Used in The AEC Industry
Part 3. The Best 3D Walkthrough Approach: Matterport or 3D Modelling
Part 4. How to Outsource Your 3D Walkthrough Home Project


Part 1. 3D Walkthrough Homes vs. 360°Virtual Tour

In a broad sense, a 3D walkthrough and a virtual tour can both refer to a digital representation of a space that allows the viewer to explore its features without having to be there personally. However, they refer to specific types of digital experiences with different levels of interactivity and customization options.


Difference Between 360°Virtual Tour and 3D Walkthrough

A 360° virtual tour is a panoramic view of space, as its name indicates, allowing viewers to look around the space from a fixed position. The creation process is quite simple that it needs only a 360° camera to capture the scene and information hotspot and audio/video if needed.

A 3D walkthrough is a digital representation of a home design or floor plan, providing viewers with a sense of depth and space as if the viewer is walking through it personally. Here is a more in-depth comparison of the two:

Criteria 3D Walkthrough 360° Virtual Tour Who Wins
Customization Highly customizable, including changing furniture, lighting and textures Limited to branding and information hotspots are customizable 3D Walkthrough
Realism Highly realistic and immersive to see photorealistic details and textures Limited realism, as it is based on photograph and video footage 3D Walkthrough
Interactivity Move around at your own pace and direction Zoom in and out and look around from the fixed position 3D Walkthrough
Flexibility to Modify Can be time-consuming if it is created with 3D modelling, as it requires re-rendering the 3D model Can be updated relatively quickly without requiring a full re-render 360° Virtual Tour
Limitations Longer production times due to complexity of 3D modelling process Not suitable for showcasing complex interior layouts or spaces with multiple floors 3D Walkthrough
Cost Varies depending on the complexity and level of customization required Less expensive 360° Virtual Tour
Overall Provide sense of depth and the spatial relationship of the space Showcase the rough idea in a preliminary stage For quality: 3D Walkthrough
For time & budget: 360° Virtual Tour

They are both powerful tools for real estate marketing, designing, and constructing, and they are suitable for different uses:

If you have an urgent deadline and a limited budget, and don’t need many interior details, a 360° virtual tour is enough for you. It is mainly used in a preliminary, hotel, and tourism virtual experience.

If the immersive is the key to your interior and small exterior project, utilize a 3D walkthrough in your formal road show for the utmost customization, realism, and interactivity you are looking for. 3D walkthroughs are widely utilized in interior rendering and small exterior projects. (For larger exterior projects, AEC professionals prefer utilizing 3D flythrough service to maximize realism and customization.)


Part 2. How is 3D Walkthrough Used in The AEC Industry

As 3D walkthrough provides the realism and interactivity a 360°virtual tour cannot match, it is widely used in various AEC projects, including pitching potential buyers, demonstrating to the investors and stakeholders, communicating with the renovation homeowner, or inspecting the construction info and marketing the property:

1. Interior Design:

3D walkthroughs can be used to showcase different design options to clients with a virtual walkthrough before construction begins. This allows clients to better visualize the end result and make more informed decisions about the design. It can also be used to showcase different furniture and decor options within a space, allowing designers to experiment with different layouts and color schemes to find the best fit for the client.


2. Home Renovation:

3D walkthroughs can be used to help homeowners envision the end result of a renovation project. This can help them make decisions about which changes to make and ensure that they are happy with the final result.


3. Construction:

3D walkthroughs can be used to simulate construction projects and identify potential issues before construction begins. This can help save time and money by allowing contractors to make changes to the plans before construction begins.


4. Real Estate Sales

3D walkthroughs can be used to showcase properties to potential buyers who may not be able to visit in person. This can help buyers get a better sense of the property with a virtual walkthrough and make more informed decisions about whether to make an offer.

Note: Architecture animation, though lacking interactivity, is another popular visualization approach that is similar to 3D walkthroughs and virtual tours. If interactivity is not the very first and utmost request, 3D architecture animation is an ideal option for dynamic property demonstration.

There’s no doubt that 3D walkthrough offers various benefits to AEC professionals, from enhancing communication and increasing construction accuracy to improving efficiency. Before you start implementing 3D walkthroughs for your project, you’d better learn the difference between the 2 popular options to create 3D walkthroughs: Matterport and 3D Modelling.


Part 3. The Best 3D Walkthrough Approach: Matterport or 3D Modelling

Both Matterport and 3D Modelling offer immersive and interactivity an architect, interior designer, or real estate agent needs. However, their difference in creating the model scene makes a great difference in many different aspects:

Feature Matterport 3D Model 3D Modeling Model
Creation Method Captured with specialized 3D camera system Manually built and sculpted with 3D modeling software
Hardware Requirement Specialized 360° camera More flexible. 3D scanners, digital cameras or drones
Skill Required Moderate level of technical skill High level of technical skill
Time to Proceed Quick Can be time-consuming depending on the complexity of the project
Furniture Customization Limmited customization. Import from Pre-built library, or download detail-ready 3D furniture from online marketplace; Can customize furniture from scratch as requested
Possibility of Modification Limited ability to modify pre-built environments Can easily modify every aspect of the model
Cost Relatively affordable Can be expensive depending on the complexity of the project.
Uses Interior, Exterior; Any project types and scope:
Interior, exterior, large scale;
Irregularly shaped spaces;
Designs that are not yet built;

In short, Matterport requires more specialized equipment while creating 3D walkthroughs from 3D modelling requires more skills of the 3D artist. But when it comes to practicability and flexibility, 3D modelling a walkthrough project becomes an ideal choice, as it allows for more easy modification and more possibility of customizing the furniture and environment accordingly.


Part 4. How to Outsource Your 3D Walkthrough Home Project

3D modelling a 3D walkthrough project is versatilely used in any project type and scope, especially those that are still at an early planning stage. As mentioned above, 3D modelling might require more skills in the creation procedure, including 3D modelling, planning camera movements, adding interactivity, creating the walkthrough, and editing, it will be highly recommended that outsource your 3D walkthrough home project to those who have expertise in it.


Simple Steps to Outsource Your 3D Walkthrough Project


Step 1. Clarify Your Requirement

First thing first, prepare a detailed and comprehensive project brief that outlines your requirements, goals, and expectations including the scope of the project, your timeline and budget and any specific features or functionality you require, such as user interface and interaction design requirements, including any necessary controls, navigation, or menus.


Step 2. Get the Design Files Ready

Prepare the CAD floor plans, elevations, and any other architectural drawings that can help the 3D artist understand the layout and design of the space.

Imagist3ds Rendering Project Brief Exterior Site Plan

Step 3. Reference Image of the Desired Material and Environment

Any additional assets that you want to include in the walkthrough, such as furniture, landscaping, or signage and send reference images, sketches, or inspiration boards that illustrate the look and feel you are aiming for. This can help the 3D artist understand your vision and aesthetic preferences.




Imagist3ds Rendering Project Brief Exterior Landscaping Example




Related Article: Writing A Comprehensive Project Brief for Smoother Workflow


Step 4. Top 5 Tips to Find A Qualified 3D Archviz Studio

The simple judgment of whether a 3D archviz studio can be competent to take your 3D walkthrough project with the utmost realism and interactivity you are looking for is listed below for your reference:

1. Portfolio and Quality of work: An experienced 3D architectural visualization studio should demonstrate their skill and expertise in different types of buildings, environments and styles. As for me, I will check their exterior portfolio for a large-scale project to see if they have the main building have a clear focal point and a sense of balance and harmony. Then, I will go to their interior portfolio to check whether the lighting and textures are detailed and realistic.

imagist3ds recognize that you need to outsource 3d rendering service interior room render

Imagist3ds Portfolio Interior Rendering House

Imagist3ds Portfolio Interior Rendering Cafe Coffee Shop

2. Technical expertise: Look for a studio that uses the latest software and technology to create their 3D visualizations. They should have knowledge and experience with different 3D modelling software, rendering engines, and other tools used in the industry.

3. Understanding of architecture: 3D archviz studio should have a deep understanding of design principles to accurately capture the essence of the design, interpret architectural plans and create photorealistic visualisation results.

4. Communication: An experienced studio will have clear communication with their clients, and even support a 1-on-1 dedicated project management service providing updates on the progress of the project and responding to feedback and questions promptly to manage timelines and budgets effectively.

5. Testimonials: Check for reviews or referrals from past clients to get a sense of their experience working with the studio. This can provide valuable insights into their level of professionalism, quality of work, and customer service. Work with those has a strong track record and a reputation for delivering high-quality work on time and within budget in the industry.

Step 5. Send Over The Project Brief
After you’ve learned everything and research everthing, it’s time outsource the project to the 3D Archviz studio that competent to it – Send the project brief and reference images to get a specific quote based on your requirements.

Get A Quote

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A 3D walkthrough is one of the most compelling approaches when it comes to pitching potential buyers and running a road show for project bidding and approval. However, creating a 3D walkthrough by 3D modelling, though offers the most realism and interactivity, involves careful planning, attention to detail, and specialized software to bring the environment to life in a way that engages viewers and creates a realistic experience.

If you are not really a tech guy and would prefer to save time for your core competencies and responsibilities such as planning, designing and managing construction projects, we will recommend outsourcing your 3D walkthrough project to those with specialized teams and resources dedicated to creating high-quality 3D walkthroughs efficiently.

After you’ve picked out the qualified 3D archviz studio, send over your design files and reference images and start the project. Now, you just need to sit tight and wait for the first draft for approval.

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