Virtual Reality is the future of gaming and entertainment but this technology is changing the way some sign companies are developing and recommending effective signage to their clients.
While 3D engineering of signage is widely used throughout the sign industry, the addition of virtual reality capabilities to the 3D sign engineering technology allows for a much more realistic presentation to the client.
Disadvantages of 2D Rendering
When developing a site-specific sign package, most sign companies will utilize construction drawings, survey details and photos to present a 2D recommendation to a retailer. This industry standard has its limitations. The signage is typically presented in a straight on perspective which is rarely how the signage is viewed. A 2D elevation can serve to determine installation height and fabrication details needed for both manufacturing and permitting, however, those do not always determine or present the effectiveness of the sign.
Advantages of 3D Software
The advantages and uses of the 3D Virtual Reality technology include better sign package recommendations. Retailers can see exactly how the sign will look from a variety of perspectives. The technology allows a virtual drive by of the site with the surrounding buildings, trees and other elements that can restrict viewing, depicted accurately. Traffic patterns and access to sites can greatly affect the visibility of a sign. 3D VR provides the sign company and the retailer the visual documentation to determine the readability of the sign with respect to size and viewing distances. The 3D files created for the various views can be shared with those stakeholders who cannot visit the site. This allows for greater input from upper management and the branding or marketing team. This will ensure that all aspects of the signage will meet everyone’s criteria for overall effectiveness.
During new sign development, whether due to rebranding, unique architecture or re-engineering of signage, it is often difficult to determine how the sign will look from all angles. Prior to investing in the fabrication of prototypes and installing them on a building, the software can be used to replicate the actual building and sign design details. This is a more cost and time effective method. Allowing the design team to test their designs with little downside is an immeasurable tool.
Making a Case for More Effective Signage
The other use for this software is in permitting. While most codes are developed with a sign square footage allowed based on a calculation of building size, this does not always take into consideration the building setback, other site line obstructions and the traffic patterns.
If a retailer is going to spend money on a sign, that money should be well spent. The effectiveness of a sign is important when determining if the allowable square footage outlined in the zoning code is adequate. As stated earlier, most 2D drawings are from the straight on perspective and relatively close in viewing distance. The 3D VR software technology allows the sign company to first determine if the proposed allowable square feet of signage is effective and provides the necessary perspective to determine if a Variance to the Code is recommended.
Once it is determined to be needed, a Variance application is submitted and a series of tours is developed for presentation at the Variance Hearing. This determination is largely dependent on the sign company’s experience in developing a strategy for a permit variance. The software is only as effective as the sign company’s abilities.
These virtual tours allow the entire Zoning Board and community members in attendance to see first-hand that the proposed allowable signage is ineffective and may cause traffic incidences, because of a lack of safe turning distance due to last minute turns and signage readability issues, on the part of the consumer. Most townships have large overhead screens for viewing of documents being presented, these screens are utilized to present these tours.
The tours also allow the entire Zoning Board and the members of the community to see how the proposed larger signage would appear in the actual setting. This usually results in an understanding that the requested relief is not without merit.
In addition to the size of the signage being requested, the tours can also be used to highlight additional signage needed due to traffic patterns and additional access to the site. It can also be modified to adjust to different speeds at which vehicles approach the site.
How the 3D Tours are Created
Now you know why the 3D Virtual Reality technology is needed, here is how it is developed by the sign company.
We start with a combination of files, such as, Construction Site Plans and Elevations, site survey details and photos and Google Earth photos. These are all utilized to create the building and the surrounding area, including other buildings, tree lines, lamp posts, roadways and traffic patterns. The level of detail required is determined on the individual clients needs and any request from relief from the zoning ordinance. variance hearing. The specific building materials are replicated for use in viewing contrast between building and signage.
The tours can be viewed on any computer without any specific software, when saved as a MP4 file. This file can be shared with all stakeholders or at variance hearings.
To fully engage in the virtual reality aspect of this software, VR Goggles can be used with most iPhones or Androids to allow a self-guided tour. This is typically utilized by the design team to allow for complete navigation around all angles of the signage. You may have used this technology in an interior architecture environment or in an entertainment venue.
Whether this article has opened your eyes to opportunities, or at least affirmed your current thinking, we can all conclude that 3D Virtual Reality technology adds a level of visual field perspective in the convenience of your office. Even the most straight-forward, simplistic signage project will benefit from this added level of expertise that 3D VR provides. You can virtually be anywhere you need to be.
To learn more about how Egan Sign uses 3D VR to enhance our clients signage effectiveness, please contact me: