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© Narrativ
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4 free websites to download architecture scale figures

Discover where to find free scale figures and master their use to enhance spatial understanding and convey emotion, creating impactful visual stories.

In this blog post, we will explore the importance of using scale figures (also known as 3D people) in architectural visualization, their role in understanding spatial relationships, and how they help provide context, visualize scale and size, convey moods, and tell stories in the images artists create.

We will also showcase four free websites where you can download scale figures, delve into the selection process, and offer valuable tips for maximizing their potential. Sound useful? Keep on reading.

The role of scale figures in architectural visualizations

Scale figures are essential in architectural visualization as they convey a sense of proportion, add realism, and enhance the overall visual appeal of images. They also aid in a viewer's understanding of spatial relationships within images, provide context, showcase human interaction with the built environment, and visualize scale and size.

Fancy a fun exercise? Browse through our gallery of archviz renders and try to visualize how you would incorporate silhouettes in the scenes. Picture yourself making a collage with shadowy contours interacting with the space. Think about things such as the size and placement of the silhouette, the stance, the emotion you want to evoke, as well as how you will lead the eye to follow them through the story you want to tell. Will they be leaning on a tree relaxing or peering through a window observing the traffic below? Or are they tired and hunched over in a corner after a hard day at work? It’s up to you to decide.

By drawing and incorporating silhouettes strategically, artists not only accentuate the architecture of the building and communicate its function but also tell a powerful story that captivates the imagination and evokes an emotional response within the viewer.

© Prompt Collective. 4D person from anima®

The evolution of scale figures in archviz

The evolution and use of scale people in architectural visualization reflects a transformative journey from traditional figures based on physical models to the figures used in the current digital landscape. Historically, scale people were often based on meticulously crafted physical representations that added human context to renderings, taking architectural drawings to the next level by offering a glimpse into how spaces would be inhabited and experienced in 3D. Today, scale people have managed to seamlessly transition into the virtual realm, becoming dynamic elements that infuse archviz renders with human presence, interaction, and emotion.

Advances in 3D modeling and rendering software, along with the rise of asset libraries such as Cosmos and character animation and crowd simulation software like anima, have empowered architects and designers to integrate scale people into environments with unprecedented realism.

© Prompt Collective. 4D people from anima®

We've come a long way from tedious photomontage work in Photoshop, relying on static photographs. With advancements in scanning technology and modeling tools, we've transitioned to using 3D people, achieving remarkable levels of realism. In later years, since the introduction of anima software, we're taking it a step further by incorporating cutting-edge animation technology. The new animated characters available in the software not only add depth and scale but also enhance storytelling, seamlessly integrating into architectural visualization scenes and projects.

Diego Gadler, Director AXYZ, part of Chaos.

© Chaos 3D Team. Scale figures from Cosmos.

These asset libraries provide a wide collection of 3D models tailored specifically for archviz renderings, offering highly detailed scale people that enhance the visual storytelling within architecture designs and add diversity in the images. Artists can now select from a wide range of poses, clothing, and accessories, allowing for the portrayal of realistic human activities in their visualizations.

Top 4 free websites for downloading scale figures

Apart from anima and Cosmos, we have prepared a list of four free websites that offer free scale figures for download. Make sure you check them out and see which one offers the best style of 3D people for your next project:

  • TurboSquid is a website that offers a wide range of high-quality 3D models, including a selection of free 3D models for architectural visualizations. The platform provides a diverse collection of 3D models, and apart from scale figures that come animated and rigged, their library includes architecture, vehicles, interior furnishing, and more.
  • Free3D is a popular online resource that offers a diverse range of free 3D people, as well as buildings, furniture, vehicles, and more, that cater to the various needs of archviz artists. The platform provides a user-friendly interface and an active community of 3D artists from around the world, allowing users to engage with the community, share, and get feedback on their work.
  • Viz-People's free stuff section offers a variety of high-quality 3D models, including cut-out people and 3D models for architectural visualizations. The platform provides a diverse range of free 3D models, making it a valuable resource for architects and artists seeking realistic human figures for their renderings.
  • Renderpeople provides a diverse library of free, high-quality, and easy-to-use 3D people captured using 3D scanning techniques. These assets are photorealistic human models not only used for archviz, but also VFX, AR applications and games, advertising, and print media, making them a valuable resource for artists in all fields.
© Narrativ. 4D people from anima®

Best practices for using archviz scale figures

In the realm of archviz, it is essential to consider certain aspects that contribute a lot to the overall visual appeal and realism of the renders created. Remember to keep the following best practices in mind when using scale figures.

Firstly, artists should remember to ensure the correct placement and scaling of scale figures within their visualizations. Maintaining consistency and realism in the placement of the figures is crucial for effectively conveying spatial relationships and enhancing the overall visual appeal of designs.

Seamlessly integrating scale figures into different architectural elements is also essential for enhancing the project and overall design aesthetic. Artists should focus on harmoniously blending scale figures with architectural elements to create visually compelling and realistic visualizations. For example, when placing scale figures into a retail or commercial site, positioning them near storefronts or standing on the street, within shopping areas conveys a sense of activity and human engagement, thereby enriching the scene and visual narrative.

When incorporating scale figures in archviz renders, artists should, of course, also consider the cultural and contextual relevance of the depicted individuals. By incorporating diverse scale figures representing people of different ages, backgrounds, cultures, and activities, artists can enrich the visual narrative, reflecting the inclusive and dynamic nature of real-life human interactions within the built environment.

Last but not least, artists can creatively utilize scale figures to emphasize specific architectural elements within their designs, such as placing a scale figure next to a grand staircase to showcase its scale and grandeur, or positioning a scale figure within a public square to illustrate human interaction with the space. By incorporating scale figures into various design scenarios, architects can enhance visual storytelling and convey human interaction with the built environment effectively. 

© Chaos 3D Team. Scale figure from Cosmos.

Elevate your archviz renders with scale figures

The use of scale figures in archviz renderings is not just a necessity but an opportunity for creative expression and visual storytelling. As you dive into your next project, we encourage you to start to explore the spatial relationships between different objects in your scene and incorporate scale figures strategically to add greater realism and visual appeal. Eager to get started? Happy rendering!

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