The difference between a CGI and Photomontage

17th April 2018

A Photomontage involves merging a photograph with a computer generated image (CGI) to create a perspective that shows a new building in the context of its surroundings. We begin by creating a 3D model of the building from the CAD drawings, complete with photo-realistic surface materials and landscaping.

We then output a CGI of the building from the right camera angle to match the base photograph of the existing site. Where necessary we can clean up the original base photograph to remove unwanted elements and cheer up the scene.

Next, we overlay the CGI onto the photo to create a seamless photomontage view that helps Planning committees, and others, to understand how the proposed development will impact upon its surroundings.

However, many would not know the difference between the two and would therefore not know which option would benefit their business needs best.

The main difference between a CGI and a photo montage is usually the surrounding areas of the image. When it comes to creating a CGI, normally you would have to model all the surrounding areas to place the CGI in its correct context. With a photo montage, the surrounding areas are typically photographed and the CGI element is simply placed into the photograph, blending the two realities into a life-like photo montage.

A photo montage can sometimes be seen as more work than a CGI as sometimes it is quite difficult to get the camera position in line with the already existing photographed surroundings. However, when done correctly, a photo montage holds invaluable importance for clients who are applying for planning permission, or who have had planning issues in the past.

If your planning permission application has been rejected on the basis that the proposed development ‘doesn’t fit in’ with the area, or if it’s seen as a contentious site, a photo montage is an extremely useful aid in visualising exactly what you are trying to convey.

At iCreate, we have been working with architects, planning consultants and their clients since 2003, using 3D to help sell new developments to planners and other decision-makers. The accurate and realistic photomontages, static renderings and animations we produce can be enhanced with dusk views, accurate shadow maps, verified view montages (VVMs), 3D terrain models, aerial viewpoints, before-after comparisons and much more. Other benefits of 3D include flexibility, realism, the ability to view the site from all angles and the ease of making revisions where necessary.

To find out how our clients are using CGIs and Photomontages to sell their homes off-plan, click here to read our Top 5 Tips for Selling New Homes Before They’re Built! 

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