10. September 2017 : Articles
Our client approached us with a challenge to make a schematic animation for utilization of their “Al-Pan forming line” products. But there was a twist - it should not be too technical, boring or ugly and it had to fit into a rather tight budget.

Technical Visualisation & does it have to be ugly?

Beautiful architectural and product visualizations have been around for years. We’ve all seen them countless times and now take them for granted. Civil engineering and other industrial applications, on the other hand, are still far from common, let alone beautiful.
But is there a way to bring awareness and change also in these fields?

The Story

Construction work like concrete forming, for example, has never been and was never meant to be entertaining or even interesting for the general public. It is usually appealing only the professionals who make their living with it. As far as forming systems go, there are plenty of companies offering their solution for the job. It is a difficult task for the “small contractor” to choose which one would suit him best. Usually, the only available information is in the form of brochures or simple “sketch manuals” available online. We wanted to do it differently. We wanted it to look good and still be informative enough for the contractor to be able to make a choice.

Testing and setup

From the client, we received some 2d plans and some simple ACAD 3d models of their forming systems. First, we had to import and clean-up the clumsy 3d meshes and also model the missing ones from 2d plans. We then studied the manuals, the plans and sample projects to understand the whole procedure of forming. From pre-planning to disassembling after the finished job. Once we knew the procedure, we set up a scene with lighting and materials. A few tweaks and test renders later we were pleased with the result and ready to start animating.

The Animation

For the animation, we had to simplify the whole procedure on one hand and yet we had to remain true to the actual process of forming. We also had to make it simple and modular to be able to stay within the budget. After few tests, we decided to go with the “ flying objects” type of animation. This means that object would simply “fly” or “ drop” into a scene, completing the structure and were doing so in speed much faster than real-time. Once we animated the whole thing we had one big step left to do: making it dynamic and aesthetically pleasing. That meant playing around with camera angles, motion blurs and depth of field effects. And to spice it all up, some realistic fluid simulation of pouring liquid cement was added to the scene. When all the rendering was finished we just had to make an attractive edit of the whole film, add some cool info-graphic and a decent soundtrack.

Our take

Our conclusion is that engineering companies need to realize what marketing people have known forever - design matters. Technical animations and presentations do not need to be ugly and boring. On the contrary, they should match the looks to the performance. Even a small increase of 20% for the budget can have a tremendous effect on the end product. Make it look pretty for that little extra “I want to have this” factor.
Aleš Šumah

Aleš Šumah

Cofounder, 3d and video lead
Organic homegrown all-round 3d artist with 20 years of profesional experience.