Virtual + Reality

By: Rich Murphy

Merging 3D Modeling with Photography

Obata has 20+ years of experience combining 3D modeling with photography in order to illustrate facility design, product enhancements, and various other uses. This can be a very effective technique for communicating real aspects of a project as they relate to people in the environment as opposed to 3D modeling alone.

Here are two examples of this technique:

Prairie State Energy Campus

To help the publc understand the proposed project, Obata constructed a campus 3D model for Peabody Energy, and in conjunction with Bechtel for model accuracy.  The model went through various iterative stages and Obata updated the model accordingly.  There are 6,567 objects built into this model translating to about 1.3 million object facets.

In order to achieve site accuracy, we first aligned the site map with a satellite terrain view which served as an accurate visual ground for the imagery later adding major ground features as needed.

facility floor plan and aerial photo

When the model was complete, we rendered various views for communicating the scale and scope of the project to investors, government entities, and the public.

aerial rendering

Aerial and ground-level views were augmented with photographic terrain from the area.

rendering from distance
rendering full view

Facebook Data Center – Lulea, Sweden

Facebook’s data center was far from complete when Emerson – a major supplier of power and cooling technology for the site ­– decided to feature it in their annual report. Obata proposed a merging of 3D modeling and site photography to communicate not only the scale of the project as it existed but also the vision of the interior’s future state.

Facebook data center photo

Site photograph illustrating the interior scale of one of the center’s two wings

Facebook data center CAD

Obata utilized the existing site modeling and located and rendered the proposed finished interior.

photo rendering merge
photo and color rendering
photo and rendering overlay

Finished renders of varying color.

Need help concepting and executing photographically enhanced modeling? Contact us for help with your next project.

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