Making Something Out of Nothing

Making Something Out of Nothing

No drawings required for early concept renderings.

Architects and developers often face the challenge of needing to describe a concept for a new project before it makes sense to devote time and money on plans and drawings. How do they best convey their project, without drawings, when pitching to clients, investors, or the city?

Renderings are an effective communication tool that shortens a project’s early planning and approval stages. Early pre-design renderings focus on the big picture with just enough detail to explain the project’s intent rather than the final design – in less time and at a fraction of the cost.

Many of our developer clients get pre-design or early-design renderings for every project they start. They have firsthand experience of the benefits: earlier buy-in from all involved parties.

At bowen studios, we’re often asked to improvise, making a rough concept look like a fully-designed project. We are experienced at “filling in the blanks” to create realistic renderings with a less-than realistic amount of information – with or without an architect’s drawings – often with only a sketched site plan and reference photos.

An important tool to create realistic early-concept renderings is our extensive 3d model library that has taken years to build. We populate rooms with furniture; add landscaping, people and cars to the site; or animate fully modeled projects combined with aerial drone video – again, with or without detailed information.

After the concept phase, renderings aid in finalizing colors or materials and are powerful marketing tools for pre-sales and pre-leasing. Once we’ve finished the pre-design, it’s easy for us to modify the renderings as the project evolves.

Pre-design concept renderings are just ‘eye candy’ – not the final design – but can be the catalyst to get a project off the ground with minimal investment. A picture is worth a thousand words.


In 2002 Brent Bowen founded bowen studios, an architectural rendering and 3d digital animation firm based in Salt Lake City and serving domestic and international clients. His team has decades of design experience on thousands of rendering projects.


[This article was originally published in the Utah Construction & Design May 2018 issue.]