A virtual tour is an interactive 360-degree photorealistic journey through a property. Real estate virtual tours allow prospective clients to explore every nook and cranny of a place without visiting it – and often before it even exists. In online listings, a 3D tour always stands out in comparison to static imagery. However, making it might require a bit more time and effort on a 3D artist’s side. So, what time frames should you expect in the process of virtual tour creation?
The specific timing will depend on various factors, from CGI resolution to your contractor’s tech capabilities. To help you understand what to expect when working with an architectural rendering studio, we decided to unveil 5 main factors that influence the timeframe of virtual tour creation. Let’s dive in!
#1. Renders’ Resolution
A virtual tour consists of a certain number of panoramic 3D images. And the higher their resolution is, the more time it will take to render them. Usually, the resolution for virtual tours starts from 6K, and at ArchiCGI we normally go for 15K. Why so high, you might ask?
That’s because when interacting with a virtual tour, a user only sees a part of the panorama on their screen. So, to look realistic, panoramic renders need to be in higher resolution than static images, which are shown in the frame fully. This aspect can influence the timeframe, making the rendering process a bit longer than in the case with traditional CGI.
#2. Number of Interactive Viewpoints in a Tour
An interactive viewpoint is a panoramic render with a camera placed in the center, providing 360-degree viewing. The more detailed tour you want, the more interactive points you will need for its creation. A simple room, for example, can be showcased with 2-3 panoramas.
However, creating 2 viewpoints does not take twice as long as making one. It is building the 3D scene itself that is the most significant and time-consuming part. Adding more viewpoints doesn’t require making anything from scratch. The majority of work here lies in tweaking the camera and the lighting settings, and then rendering. So, if for example, one project includes 2 viewpoints and another one 4 viewpoints, the difference in virtual tour creation time will be approximately 30-40%.
Another aspect that can influence the creation timing is the need to achieve consistency in lighting and mood in all areas of all panoramic renders. So, the more of them there are, the more time will be needed for post-production adjustments.
#3. Custom 3D Modeling
The logic here is also simple: the more custom modeling your virtual tour creation requires, the longer it will take. A 3D model creation is one of the most time-consuming tasks for CGI artists. The good news is, in most cases, they don’t need to make all the models and textures from scratch. That’s because they can use ready-made ones from a studio’s 3D library. Our stock at ArchiCGI contains 70K+ models of furniture, decor items, and all the other assets you might need, including those of famous brands. It helps us to significantly reduce both project costs and time for our clients.
Another thing to keep in mind is that in comparison to static renders, there is simply more information to fit in a virtual tour. For example, it’s almost impossible to avoid showing the adjacent rooms or parts of the street seen from the windows, which requires extra work.
In the case of window views, there’s a trick to reducing the creation time though. You can send your CGI specialists a photo of the outside location taken from the required angle. By using it, 3D artists will avoid the necessity of building the background in the window from scratch.
#4. Complexity of Architecture and Interior Details
The complexity of a room’s plan will strongly influence the time needed for the creation of a tour. For example, to fully expose a simple square banquet hall with uniform tables and chairs, one might need only 1-2 viewpoints. However, if a space is of an irregular shape, is divided into zones with different decor items and furnishings, or has various height levels (for example, balconies, raised areas, stages, etc.), it can require the creation of 3-7 and even more viewpoints to showcase all its unique features.
Furthermore, there are services that allow one to ensure almost seamless ‘movement’ within a virtual tour. For using advanced features like that, you will need significantly more viewpoints, at least double the number in comparison to regular tours. Obviously, this might extend the time needed for the virtual tour creation.
#5. Availability of a Render Farm
When choosing service providers for virtual tour creation, find out from the very beginning whether they have a render farm. It is a large computer cluster used for faster visualization of complex 3D imagery and animations, which consist of many high-res renders. Needless to say, rendering a 15K resolution virtual tour is computationally intensive and time-consuming. At ArchiCGI, we use a render farm to make sure the rendering process goes as quickly and smoothly as possible – way faster than it would’ve taken with only one or a few computers.
Overall, a virtual tour creation time depends strongly on the specifics of your project. As an example, in the case of a simple room, with a full virtual tour brief, you’ll get the first results in 2-3 days. And if your project is an apartment or a hotel room, it will take about a working week to create the virtual tour for it (if the deadline is not urgent).
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For large-scale projects, visualization of adjacent rooms and exterior spaces can often become a bottleneck. In this case, we allocate several 3D artists to work on different parts of the project to complete it faster. So, it’s a reasonable idea to go for a larger CGI studio instead of a smaller one to ensure timely completion.
Looking for 3D rendering services for virtual tour creation? Contact us at ArchiCGI to get stellar CGI quickly and without breaking the bank!
Content Writer, Copywriter
Stacey is a content writer and a CG artist. Outside of work, Stacey enjoys musicals, Star Wars, and art talk. A proud Corgi parent.