“A picture says more than a thousand words” – Arthure Brisbane
As Wikipedia puts it, the citation refers to the notion that a complex idea can be conveyed with just a single still image. This is a fact that we are confronted with from birth onwards. We can talk about things, describe them and basically try and paint a picture with words, but as long as they have not been seen prior, the meaning will be misunderstood.
To an architect or engineer, technical drawings can just as much convey a concept, as they are trained to understand the set rules and icons – the grammar of a technical drawing – and interpret them more or less correctly. The greater masses, however, cannot. They need a little help to understand the vision lurking in the stark technical lines.
This is where visualization comes in as an aid. Visualization of real and imaginary space has been a traditional strong point of creative education and practice. For instance, even when architectural design is removed from the influence of the visual arts, the architect makes extensive and intensive use of visual methods and techniques in the development of a composition, the specification of a design product, the communication of more abstract concepts, and the analysis of design ideas.
As a result, our knowledge of world architecture stems more from published photographs and drawings than from personal experience.
Composed visualizations overdramatisize certain aspects of a concept, usually to set a mood or an atmosphere and often these aspects are engineered in a way to attract, even if the sum of all circumstances are of improbable quality. Bottom line, visualizations are used to effectivly share and market ideas. Architects and designers alike rely more heavily on them the further the democratization of computers progresses. It has become common practice to work just as hard on the visualization of a concept than working on the concept itself. This is why the same rules apply:
If you can´t make it yourself, find someone who can.