The production and use of visual representations form just one part of a complete visual impact assessment and in turn one part of the wider Environmental Impact Assessment. Visualisations help the specialist consultant to identify and assess potential significant visual impacts and help the public and the planning authority recognise and understand the impacts. Preparing visualisations and undertaking a visual impact assessment are directed by specific guidelines and legislation. How are the visualisations created?
The specialist visits the site and selects key places from which the development may be seen. A high quality photograph is taken from this location for which an accurate grid reference is taken.
Computerised digital terrain data for the area are used to generate a computerised image of the surrounding landscape. Using grid references, electronic drawings of appropriate turbines are scaled and located accurately on the computerised landscape. The image can be moved around and viewed from any angle or any location.
The coordinates for the point where the photograph was taken can be added to the model and the computerised landscape will be shown from this point.
The original photograph is then electronically added and aligned with the computerised landscape. Using special computer programmes, the turbines are rendered to look realistic, then the electronic wireframes are removed, resulting in the finished photomontage.