Working with architectural animation

I do not write articles to show my expertise, but more to systematize my knowledge myself. And, of course, I will be glad if they are useful to you too.

And today I would like to touch upon the fragile topic of creating architectural animation, as it is quite a demanded product. Video is used on websites, as well as for promotion in such social networks as Instagram, Facebook, Linkedin, Tic-Toc, X, and the rest and is the promotional product that can fully demonstrate the advantages of a new building and attract the audience – we love to watch short videos.

And here’s my checklist for working with video:

Choice of tools depending on the task: quality, speed, and convenience of visual effects production. The most commonly used bundles are 3dsMax+Corona Renderer, 3dsMax+V-ray (GPU or CPU), 3dsMax+Chaos Vantage, 3dsMax+D5Render, 3dsMax+Unreal Engine. I have listed the ones I would use myself, but there are other decent products on the market.

Format. At an early stage of work, you need to understand where the video will be used. 16:9 for display on a screen in the sales office, on the website (in the header, for example), 1:1 for an Instagram post, and 9:16 for Reels or Shorts. Here it also makes sense to specify the length of the animated video to fit the standard of the social network.

Scenario. Whether it’s a short flight along the facade of a building or a change of time of day, whether you need captions or inscriptions – it’s worth selecting references and making a storyboard to understand how much time will be spent on each frame. And this depends on the next point

Music. Before you create a video, you need to search for a suitable track, calculate its frequency, and cut out the necessary part for the video. Music is an integral part of the advertising product.

Video rendering. Depending on the frequency of the selected track, make pieces of video, not forgetting the transitions between frames. I think I don’t need to say that the overall color mood and camera speed should be the same – so it will be easier to work on post-production.

Assembling the final product. I use DaVinci software, but I also admire Adobe Premiere. In these programs, you can assemble pieces of video, make beautiful titles with the name of the project and advertising slogan, superimpose music, and if necessary, add effects and make color corrections.

Finally, I want to talk about the financial component of the process of creating an animated movie. I do the calculation on a per-second basis, keeping in mind the total length of the clip in 15, 30, 45 or 60 seconds. Obviously, for a longer clip, the work on modeling the object and the environment will be much more, even if there is an initial model of the building (which most often needs to be optimized for the task). I also take into account the time and energy costs of the sequencing rendering process, working with music, post-production, and the cost of licensed software. For myself, I calculated that a second of architectural animation cannot cost less than 50 euros today (with minimal animation like wind movement, opening gates, cars driving in the background or people walking from the standard library). Thus, a short 15-second video would cost from 750 euros, and a one-minute video (enough to reveal all the benefits of the facility) would cost from 3000 euros.