Sainsbury’s

Project deliverable:

3D Visualisation


CADS 3D has a strong relationship with Sainsbury’s. The team have produced concept store and car park designs previously, all of which help the supermarket planning team to visualise new store concepts before development begins.

The complexity of this project presented CADS 3D with a new challenge. The level of detail and precision required, the internal and external views, and the tight deadline offered a perfect opportunity to hone our skills under pressure.

Towards the end of 2010 Sainsbury’s approached CADS 3D with a very particular challenge – how to communicate best-practice car park design for supermarkets.

The aim was to quickly and efficiently demonstrate to architects the impact of store and car park design decisions. Sainsbury’s wished to highlight potential customer safety issues with using the car-park both when driving and on-foot.

The project involved creating 13 to-scale car park tracking route animations, showing cars following an exact path with both in-car and external views. Sainsbury’s tight deadline for completion was an additional challenge in this instance.

Faced with a short lead time and relatively tight budget, we recognised that the process of rendering this animation would be a challenge. There was not the time to produce each rendered frame with complex reflection and refraction included for realism.

To tackle this issue, the team rendered out the cars separately – as the only animated part of the project – enhancing them using Adobe After Effects, and placing them on a single back plate. This ensured the film was high-quality and photo-realistic, and yet produced in a fraction of the usual time. Creating a high-quality and photo realistic animation also meant that a car with rotating wheels, a correctly functioning steering wheel and a defined route might have coordination issues under normal circumstances.

For this project, the three objects had to function independently while also working in combination. We made good use of helpers to achieve this. By linking the car objects to the helper and then the helper to the spline we could animate the individual objects while they were still following a path. The final challenge was the in-car views. This was an additional request, which came after our initial brief and posed issues in keeping the drivers view from the driver’s seat while the car moved around the car park. Solving this problem came quite easy though because we could utilise the same helper system that had allowed us to set up a car to follow an exact path.

A set of 13 accurate car park tracking routes, highlighting potential design drawbacks and communicating key points for consideration. The animations helped Sainsbury’s and their chosen architects to avoid design mistakes which could prove costly later on.


If you’d like to discover more about CADS 3D Visualisation Services, please contact Guy Moates on 01493 412806 or email sales@cadesignservices.co.uk