It’s incredible to me how artistic the field of pool design truly is. The industry itself has come a long way since it’s humble beginnings with rough hand sketches and templates. Only twenty or thirty years ago, pool design was largely undertaken by experienced architectural draftsmen. Pool construction companies also utilized a series of shape templates that would allow them to rough out an initial concept.
Experienced designers could hand draft a pool by eye with near pinpoint accuracy without any shapes or templates. This was definitely the start of a unique art form that would evolve over the next few decades.
Recently, we’ve seen the art form take a new direction with the advent of 3D rendering software. This new technology not only streamlines the process, but makes it much simpler to create sophisticated artistic pool renderings.
A new flock of pool designers have begun to emerge with a mastery of 3D software. The software of choice varies depending on who you talk to in the industry. Leading 3D software companies specializing in pool renderings are:
The number of pool construction companies that are producing 3D renderings as part of their sales process continues to grow each year. Hence, a cottage industry has also emerged for pool companies to outsource their 3D renderings entirely to professional pool designers.
The customer has a vision of what they want their backyard to look like. There is no better tool for bringing that vision to life than 3D. With the new Occulus technology you can actually put yourself in a virtual 3D environment. It’s really incredible where the technology is headed. — Brad Dieterich
“The 3D rendering is usually a fairly accurate indication of exactly what the customer is getting.” continued Dieterich. He provides his customers with 3D pool design services upon request. In a sample of just exactly how accurate the 3D representation truly is, take a look at one of Dieterich’s own projects. It’s a near mirror 1:1 ratio of the 3D design.
Accomplished pool designer and luxury pool builders, Southern Poolscapes had been using VIP 3D as part of their sales cycle on virtually every pool estimate prior to the Covid-19 outbreak. The spike in demand for inground pools has made that virtually impossible now.
“There are simply too many homeowners right now looking for a pool estimate. It would be impossible to create a 3D pool design for each bid we submit, but we do our best to accommodate customers who are truly intent on buying a pool” said owner and lead pool designer Cameron Rhodes.
The number of man hours to create one of these sophisticated 3D renderings certainly is substantial. Veteran pool design expert and Virginia Pool Builders — Crystal Blue Aquatics owner Jason De Bosky said that he spends roughly 2 to 3 hours on each design he submits. “The customer has a unique vision for their backyard. The software definitely streamlines the process, but when you get into really customizing a high end video, you want to put some production value into it. That’s what really sucks up the hours.” said De Bosky.
As you can see, the level of complexity and detail that goes into these designs is truly remarkable. Where the future of pool design goes next is anyones guess, but as the software and technology continue to advance, other companies are stepping up to answer the call.
Recently Lumion 10 has emerged, and the level of detail that the software is capable of producing is astonishing. I recently had a chance to evaluate the software myself and let me say, it is definitely a strong alternative to VIP 3D. My sample is quick and rough, but here — take a look at a finished rendering that someone spent more than a few minutes developing. You can see the level of complexity that you can achieve is truly remarkable.
You do need some pretty capable hardware in order to use 3D rendering software for pool & landscape design. Myself, I’m using a Asus Roger with a Geforce GTX graphics card. Rendering a video takes me roughly 30–45 minutes on my laptop which is gaming class and considered mid-range. If you plan on delving into 3D design yourself, I would suggest something a little more suited to the task.
Finally, pool rendering software such as this is bound to create a lasting impact on the industry as a whole. The level of detail and production value that designers put into their renderings will only continue to grow.