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Where does hyperrealism stand among the other trends of digital archviz?
Where does hyperrealism stand among the other trends of digital archviz?
The best way to define digital archviz


For those who practice hyperrealism, it is important to define what unique traits make it stand out as a separate approach to digital architectural visualization. Some of its qualities are defined in comparison with the photorealist and neo-analog approaches. The most prominent of those qualities is the emphasis on the real-life experience of space, artistic and cinematographic references, and an aspiration to express the architect’s idea in a condensed form.


In the articles “Hyperrealism in art and archviz: are they the same?” and “Is hyperreal archviz a potential way out of hyperreality?” we have established that hyperrealism is a conceptual approach to digital visualization rather than a style or a trend. Such an approach is better defined by its mission than by aesthetics or drift towards realism or abstraction.

The mission of hyperrealism

Hyperreal archviz represents the architect’s vision in its fullest, most concentrated, informative, and structured form. Hyperrealism gives the clearest understanding of how the design works rather than how it looks.


Untrained viewers – clients, investors, members of grassroots organizations – can extract less information from a rendering than a trained professional. So, the image must contain more than random views of the exterior or the interior. Visualization structure itself must draw attention to the important details about the project’s shape, mass, layout, the relationship with the environment. Hyperreal visualization is a technical illustration first and foremost, so it utilizes methods of data presentation.


Informative visualization of the design proposal includes the potential experience of the physical space without the illusion that the image space is real. The emotional experience of the project’s atmosphere gives birth to the understanding of space and its critical evaluation. This is why the representation of emotional qualities of the design proposal is a practical rather than an artistic goal. At the same time, this experience must be conscious and aware – the viewer should actively interact with the project.


Illustration: "Shannan retreat" by Iddqd Studio. Almost achromatic colors convey the atmosphere. A structured composition draws attention to the spiral staircase.

The principles of hyperreal visualization

Since hyperreal images vary greatly in their methods, and artistic and cinematographic references, there are no easily recognizable visual markers to classify an image as hyperreal. The criteria by which to tell an intense hyperreal visualization from a glossy photorealist rendering may also seem obscure. Since hyperrealism is defined through its purpose and mission rather than on ‘aesthetics’ or ‘style’, the criteria by which to distinguish hyperreal visualization must also be conceptual rather than purely visual.


We have established the three leading principles that define hyperreal visualization:

1. the image should distinguish itself from reality;

2. the image should strive for visual harmony;

3. the image should ignite the multisensory emotional experience of space.


We will elaborate on each of those principles in a separate article. They may become the guidelines that help detect hyperreal a visualization regardless of its aesthetics and distinguish hyperrealism from glossy photorealism.

Header illustration: "Shannan retreat" by Iddqd Studio.