J. Scott Smith Visual Designs, Inc. is a full-service design visualization firm.
That means that we take the ideas you have in your head, and we help you make them a reality. Our team of artists and specialists has aided many people just like you in visualizing their designs with a stunning 3D render.
But that’s not all we do!
We specialize in conceptual images with an emphasis on graphics for the many professions involved in architecture and real estate development. Our work includes architectural renderings, 3D walkthroughs, video compositing, conceptual design, photography, mapping, site analysis, and anything else related to 3D and graphics.
We are based in Traverse City, Michigan, USA. Founded over 20 years ago by Scott Smith, we have spent years mastering our craft, serving amazing clients such as large country clubs, housing developments, hotels, and more. We believe in quality work, which means our designs are as realistic as they get.
We use top-of-the-line equipment, working with our clients to provide high-definition results that they’re able to convert into real builds and physical designs. If you can dream it, we can build it.
But our company didn’t get there overnight.
It started in a high school in Michigan, one of thew schools in the country that offered AutoCAD classes. Scott Smith signed on, seeing it as an interesting option, blending both math and art.
We’re sure you could guess that he showed a great aptitude for it, and soon was becoming nothing short of a local prodigy.
Soon he was answering calls for local businesses, wanting to dip their toes in CAD, but didn’t have the resources.
And great Scott! They found one, in Scott Smith.
From there he worked at a surveyor company, doing installation and setup, but staying on to do drafting. This was done simultaneously with consultation work he completed on the side. These technologies were somewhat new, and they were just as exciting. And Scott knew this, he had a dream of what could be.
But it wasn’t ready to be seen just yet.
From there, Scott took on work utilizing his programming skills, soon offering programs to surveyors and engineers to speed up their workflow. After he felt his work was done there he leveraged that job into other fields including civil engineering and GIS.
By this time, this local tech prodigy had graduated high school and was going to college for tool design. He was immediately hired by a machine shop to design injection molds and diecast dies.
But his true calling and dream would yet to materialize.
Scott would then put effort into a side job – a custom design, drafting, and programming service, which he did full time for some years – still servicing previous employers as well as many other companies throughout the US.
But Scott also had something that others didn’t, which was an unusual background leading to a very diverse client base (mechanical, civil, architectural.) This client base still characterizes J Scott Smith Design Visuals today.
Scott shares a somewhat poignant moment in his life-
“I remember the day I had two significant meetings – closing on the mortgage for my first home and closing a deal to buy a coordinate measuring machine. Both deals were for roughly the same amount of money. (And fortunately, neither found out about the other!)”
But by possessing a CMM, it meant that he was now able to offer an additional service – high-accuracy reverse engineering of mechanical parts that were not documented and, in some cases, had broken.
And by talking with civil engineering clients, Scott often remarked how useful it would be to show their subdivision designs in 3D.
But the world wasn’t ready, even though many in the field couldn’t read a topographical map. There was an issue of miscommunication and it begged for a solution. This solution would have to be something that anyone could understand, it would have to break language barriers, and abilities.
Scott knew there was demand, he knew there was a solution that was needed, and he had an inkling he’d find it in 3D. However, nobody was interested!
That’s right, just like every great mind before him, many thought Scott was short of crazy, they thought it was a waste of time.
But people also thought colored television would be a waste of time. They thought “moving pictures” would be a fad.
And just like that, they were wrong.
Scott began to experiment with some 3D software, and he saw the potentials, and he knew that he’d be able to apply it to real problems that existed in his field, and other fields as well.
The possibilities were amazing.
Scott jumped into action, looking outside of his community-
“And clearly, there were interested people out there – just not in my neighborhood. I had plenty of experience in 3D. I wrote programs that did rudimentary 3D models in high school. I pushed that to the limit in creating AEC applications. I had learned CNC coding and 3D modeling for automating tool building. So, the pieces were all there – I just had to figure out how to apply it in a different way. I saw that the concept of this 3D rendering had potential, so I started calling on my old architectural contacts, since that is the discipline where I saw the most potential.”
And he wasn’t wrong, but it didn’t seem like it at first. However, Scott knew he had something, and he knew that the only way to make it happen, was to make it happen.
Before the world was attached to tech, it was a hard sell at first. This was before the time where you could Tweet via your refrigerator, mind you. The microwave had only been in homes for 20 or so years. People were resistant, and they were dismissive.
“Most people I spoke with didn’t see any reason to involve computers. Forget 3D modeling, many of them hadn’t even adopted CAD yet. Undeterred, I should be calling on architects in other states. Eventually I gained traction and gained clients all over the country. Over the years that client base has continued to grow – throughout the country and now closer to home as well.”
But the client base didn’t just continue to grow, so did the business.
J Scott Smith Design Visuals was born, and it has continued to grow not only in popularity, but in ability too.
We now offer everything from your standard rendering to aerial photogrammetry and laser scanning to create digital representations of the real world.
And we’re not stopping anytime soon.
We truly believe this diverse background has set us apart in several ways. We don’t just push buttons to create renderings. There are plenty of cheaper options overseas If that’s all you want.
Our team now includes people with backgrounds in areas such as gaming and architecture as well. We don’t just create renderings, but we also are interested in the accuracy of the architecture and the land as well.
We pay special attention to the artistic impression conveyed using special lenses, contrast, and light and shadow.
We are mathematical artists, and we take care of each design like it’s our child, because it essentially is.
These designs will live forever, and we want to build a great future, not only for us, but for everyone who uses our services as well.
We are concerned with showing accurate vegetation and construction materials and techniques to the area we are crafting an image for.
And most of all we give each client a very high level of service that they won’t get from the drive-thru companies online.
We have personal relationships with our clients that last years and even decades.
We love getting to get to know our clients, so they can rely on us to remember their individual preferences and so they know they can reach us at any time with concerns.
Who knows what the future holds! We are nerds. We like 3D. We like technology. We like doing cool stuff. And we like making our customers happy and successful.
Maybe in 20 years we’ll be doing holographic displays too, there’s no limits, and we plan to test the boundaries as we go. We don’t just create renderings; we are helping to create the future. We help to build the world we exist in, and the world others will exist in for years to come.
Where we’re going, we don’t need any roads.
But we haven’t forgotten where we’ve been.
And for over 20 years, we’ve been committed to helping architects and homeowners visualize their dreams.
What does your dream look like?
We’d love to hear from you, contact us today for more information on our past and our services.