Stan Zaslavsky

Top 5 Reasons to Choose Whether Your Project Needs Photomontage or Artist Impressions

In this article, we decided to discuss a finer point of 3D imagery for projects – Photomontage or Artist Impression. This often comes up in deciding the number of images as well as how to achieve the highest photorealistic quality and effectiveness of the imagery for marketing your development.

So what’s the difference and why use one over the other?

3D Photomontages are images that have been 3D generated with the same lighting and weather setup and then superimposed on top of an existing photo of the nearby street or context. Artist Impression on the other hand is a totally 3D generate image with everything created in the software and rendered out with realistic lighting and weather conditions to create photo-realism.

Have a look at a couple of images below and see if you can spot which image has been photomontaged and which image is an artist impression.

To make our 3D Artist Impressions look photo-realistic, we go through a fairly extensive process and add texture elements in 3D generated images to create imperfections to simulate how in the real world there is dirt, leaves and rocks on the ground amongst many others.

Photomontages follow a different process of creation because the attention is more on matching the model to the existing conditions. Artist impressions have a lot more flexibility with the conditions but require a lot of attention on the landscaping and environment to make them look like a photo. So in both scenarios, the extent of work is considerate and quite different in nature.

But inherently there are reasons why either one is chosen for the project marketing process. So here are the top 5 reasons why you would choose one versus the other.

Reason 1.   Planning versus Marketing

This is the most likely reason why you would choose a 3D Photomontage over an Artist Impression. As discussed in some of our previous articles, a planning photomontage has a very different purpose versus a marketing 3D artist impression.

And this is basically it – when it comes to planning and VCAT application imagery – the stakeholders (ie the councillors and the residents) will want to see how the development is going to fit into the existing street and whether it will add or detract from the neighbourhood character.

The 3D photomontage in this case is much more appropriate than an artist impression which would not necessarily represent the existing street exactly how it is right now.

For marketing of projects off the plan, however, it is a much more grey area whether to use a photomontage or an artist impression.

Reason 2.   The Layout of the Development

In marketing projects and using streetscape renders – sometimes the layout of the development is such that it is hard to work out access to individual units within the project.

In this case, perhaps an aerial artist impression is more appropriate and effective.

As you can see in the case of the development of 9 townhouses below, we produced the following image for the VCAT appeal process for the developer:

However for marketing, we advised to follow a different line and make the image more exciting as well as take an aerial view to allow the potential purchasers to work out which townhouse they would be more interested in as the layout of the development was a bit more complex.

The artist impression image created is below:

Reason 3.   Neighbourhood and Surrounds

In some cases, if the street character is not very complimentary to the development, then for marketing purposes it is definitely more useful to have an artist impression of the streetscape rather than an artistic photomontage.

In the following example – everything in this image created is in 3D as its part of a large townhouse subdivision so there is virtually no streetscape present:

Reason 4.   Real vs Artificial Landscaping Requirements

Similarly when the current landscaping (trees, grass and any other plants) on-site currently don’t look all that good or if the imagery is being developed while it’s winter and the deciduous trees look pretty bare – it gives another reason to produce an artist impression of a lush green presentation of your development.

Have a look at the example below where we focused a lot on creating lots of lifestyle landscaping to create an emotional connection for the future purchasers of the development.

Reason 5.   Late Stage Project

Another reason why a photomontage would be considered over an artist impression is the current status of the building of the project.

Sometimes it’s easier to use an existing photo and alter the landscaping and the buildings to match and showcase the ultimate result of the development. For this example below, we assisted a resort development in Fiji to showcase their main pool and beach area to the potential visitors whilst the renovation was still being done.

The image below is what the resort looked like and what we were able to do with matching the photo and adding 3D elements into the picture.

So in conclusion, I just wanted to thank you for reading through the article and hopefully, it has provided some valuable insight into the marketing or development approvals process for your project.

Let us know how you found it and we’d love to know your thoughts.

To your development success,


Stan Zaslavsky

BEng (Mech with Honours) / BTech (Industrial Design), LREA, VPELA

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