Australia, 6th January 2010
Clients’ expectations are getting bigger and bigger when it comes to visualizing the lighting design for a project. With computer technology advancing fast, clients are getting spoiled and more and more demanding. In the early days the computer only assisted us in doing complex lighting level calculations (I still remember preparing hundreds of punch cards for the mainframe computer to do these complex calculations). But over the years computers have grown to virtually take over all aspects of our design work. In an interesting twist the original lux level calculations are gradually disappearing and making way for demands of “real time” visualisations. With Photoshop renderings now regarded as normal practice, dynamic flash presentations and ray tracing programs that use actual photo metric data are now fast becoming the request of the day. Not long ago one of our clients even requested for a fly through visualization. If this is not properly covered in your contract you may end up with a nasty extra workload. We are gradually getting to grips with this as it impacts heavily on our work load and fees.
But the real issue with computer renderings is that they are only as good as the programmer or operator creating them and his or her understanding of how lighting works. With the imagery produced looking so realistic one needs to make sure that the final results can actually be achieved. Realistic imagery creates high expectations! Hence managing client expectations is one of the key factors to a successful project. Who still draws lighting concepts by hand? While to me it is still a very attractive proposition in the conceptual design process (I am grateful to have learned the art of sketching), I fear that it is quickly becoming a dying art…