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Socially distanced outdoor cinema

Social distancing measures could be with us for some time. Companies running events such as festivals, theatre and outdoor cinema are looking for ways to hold events while keeping audience members apart and fill some of the void in our cultural calendar this summer.

Born Digital has recently completed a set of visualisations to help one such company, Summer Screens, advertise their new format of event to run later this year. The images are being used on their website, social media and other marketing materials.

This was a very interesting commission for a number of reasons.  The government guidelines for social distancing were changing.  Originally, the illustrations were to show the spacing at 2 metres.  Then the guidance changed to allow for 1 metre + and I rearranged the deckchairs to reflect this.  I was becoming concerned that social distancing measures might be dropped altogether and was eager to complete the images as quickly as possible.  Currently, the guidance has remained unchanged and the client is able to continue using them.

Summer Screens wanted the illustrations to have a dusk/sunset atmosphere.  We waited at the site (Caversham Court) but the sunset was not as we had hoped.  I took a number of photographs, bracketed, hoping that I might be able to adjust them in Camera RAW later.  Fortunately, cycling home through the fields near Mapledurham House, the sky was perfect and provided the sunset skies used in the final images.

Summer Screens - social media

Benefits of 3d Visualisation – Introduction


When commissioning a computer generated visualisation a client often has a specific set of requirements.  These tend to fall into three categories:

  1. I have a design and I want to see what it looks like before it’s built.  This will save the time and cost associated with initial, physical prototyping.
  1. I have a scheme and I want to have planning permission approved.  2d plans and elevations are often hard to read.  A photomontage can put the building in it’s correct context making it easier to understand.
  1. I am about to start construction but I want to sell as many units as possible before building is completed on site.  As an alternative to a show home or to help people see beyond the mud and the scaffolding, a photorealistic visualisation will help market a development and help sell plots months before they are finished.

Computer generated visualisations will help clients achieve all of these aims.

However, sometimes it’s only during the process of the commission, of creating the illustrations, that clients discover some of the other benefits of the computer generated visualisation approach: that they can try different combinations of colours or materials, adjust the design, view the scheme from different camera angles, generate a 3d animation or walk-through, generate images suitable for a range of uses from a website to a billboard, change the presentation style from photorealistic to watercolour and receive amended test images promptly.  This flexible approach and relatively quick modification process is possible because the images are based on a virtual 3d model.

Over the coming weeks and months I will be writing a series of Blog posts using case studies from our portfolio to illustrate some of these and other benefits.

Design by 3d


When a client commissions a photorealistic visualisation from Born Digital, typically the illustration is based on a computer generated 3d model.

A computer generated 3d model is very flexible.  Design elements can be moved, resized or redesigned.  Materials and colours, lighting and viewpoints can be adjusted very quickly.

This allows a client to see their design in a photorealistic way before committing to building or production.  Clients can request changes to the design, colours and materials, testing their ideas at the visualisation stage.

Taking this process further, the building of the 3d model can be used as an integral part of the design development.  An initial sketch design or set of reference images can be interpreted and used to create a 3d model.  Images generated from the 3d model can then be sent back to the designer or architect to be reviewed and used to help refine and rework the design.  This process continues until the design is finalised.

Case study – design of a Russian residence just outside of Moscow

Born Digital was recently commissioned by Donald Insall Associates (DIA) to help with the design of a house just outside of Moscow.  An earlier scheme had been developed by another designer and DIA were given this initial design and commissioned to improve and develop it.  Therefore, working with the project they had inherited, DIA produced a brief for us to work with.  The brief comprised of a set of reference images of houses the client liked, a set of hand drawn plans and elevations and sketch perspectives including the one shown below.

Microsoft Word - report -4th proposal - prmr01

Using this initial briefing material we built a 3d model and generated a set of vector based renderings of the plans, sections and elevations.

blog - russian house 02

This allowed the architect to start creating a set of CAD drawings and to then refine the design.  After several iterations the changes to the design had become minor enough that the architect could hand draw the amendments over our computer generated elevations.

blog - russian house 03

From this point on we were able to start issuing more finished perspective views of the model to give the client a better impression of the building.  We always produce “white card” or “clay” style renderings at this stage as it allows the architect and client to focus on the structure without the distraction of materials.

blog - russian house 04

When the design of the building was finalised we were then able to apply the materials.

Test images of the building were sent to the architect and client for comment.  After a few adjustments a ground plane was added and a sky background inserted to help finish the images.

blog - russian house 05

The Born Digital Blog


Welcome to the first blog post for Born Digital.  Born Digital specialises in architectural and product visualisation.  You can find out more about our services by visiting our services pages.

This blog will be a place to share news and recent projects, explain visualisation tools and techniques and display extra portfolio images and information not available on the main website.  This blog will also contain tutorials, share related interests and make available images and textures.


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