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Choosing a Lighting Design for Your Church
Steel Building Design
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Creating a 3D Model for Your Church Design
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  Creating a 3D Model for Your Church Design
Viewing a black and white line drawing in two dimensions is far from exciting, and, worse, blueprints are like an unbreakable code to many people. Most of us like to view buildings as a finished product... in color and in three dimensions. At times it is crucial that your vision be shared with the congregation, financiers, and others who may not be comfortable reading blueprints. To accomplish this, the church may want the architect to prepare one or more types of 3D presentations.


An artist may be hired to give the audience a view of the building that simulates the three dimensions of height, width, and depth. Renderings are usually painted according to a color scheme selected by the church. The rendering is often about 20" x 30" and can be mounted on foam board. It can also be scanned as a digital image to be used in brochures, on a website, in e-mail, or in a slide show. Since the image presents only one view of the building, it is limited in its ability to convey the appearance of the building from other angles. The church may want more than one rendering made of the building from different viewing locations or using different color schemes. A single color rendering, while limited, may be the least expensive way to clearly convey your design concept in three dimensions.


A second option for depicting your church project in an exciting and easily understood format is to create a virtual-reality world using computer software. The architect can build a 3D model of the site and building his conceptual design. The amount of detail depicted is up to the church and budget constraints. A virtual walk-through of the interior and a fly-around of the exterior are possible. The architect can create numerous versions of the project using different color schemes and exterior material combinations and styles. These tours can be presented on the small screen of a personal computer or laptop, on a larger monitor for larger groups, or on a projection screen for an entire congregation. Screen shots of the building can be made during a tour and those images can be printed, or put into a slide show, on the web, in e-mail, or in a PowerPoint presentation. The possibilities are limitless and the virtual building can be modified as the project develops or changes.

Other advantages include the portability and indestructibility of the medium. It can easily be mass disseminated. It is possible to depict the church as it might appear at various phases of development, such as with and without an anticipated future building addition. It is also easy to slice sections through the building to view the project like a virtual "doll house."


A hand-built scale model has the benefit of being viewable from all angles. It can be photographed and the digital images used in many different mediums. More complex, (more expensive), models can be built with removable roofs that allow a look into the interior rooms of the building. If the church will be built in phases over time, the model could depict the phases of construction with separate removable components. Landscaping and parking areas can even be modeled. The model can be photographed or videotaped for presentation in other media.

However, models depict only one choice of colors and finishes. Once the model is complete it is very difficult to modify. While usually much more detailed than a painted color rendering, models cannot easily depict interior decorating and architectural details as well as a computer model. Models are not easily moved and will require storage and display space. They are not suitable for viewing by a large group at one time. Usually models are encased in Plexiglas because they are fragile. Models also have a limited life expectancy since the glue, wood, and foam will degrade over time and with handling. Temperature and humidity changes can also damage the model. A detailed and accurate scale model is very labor-intensive and can be the most expensive option for clearly conveying your design concept in three dimensions.

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