Christchurch Airport 2040 Vision

Christchurch Airport 2040 Vision

Like all of our 3d visualisations, the creative process for Christchurch Airport began by asking a ton of questions. We need to intimately understand what the final described “vision” is.

What will make it unique? What are the features?
What lasting key messages do you need to hit home?
What should it “feel” like?
Who are the audience?

We’re great listeners.

Christchurch Airport Drawings

Boffa Miskell had already done a brilliant job of developing a future master plan describing the future airport in regards to transport routes, access, avenues and large key architectural “moves”.

CIAL also had 2d plans outlining the roading network for each of the outer precincts, plus a schematic plan showing what the end goal was for passenger flow through the terminal.

It was a great base to start from.

CIAL animaton storyboarding


From a collection of scribbled notes, ideas and concepts we then began developing a visual storyboard that outlined a rough sequence of how the 3d animation would unfold.

This storyboard evolved over the course of a number of iterations before arriving at the final sequence that everyone loved.

It was at this point that a voice over was developed in sync with the storyboard.


Once the creative process was worked though it was onto production where our team of Architects, designers and 3d artists constructed two individual 3d models represented both current and future versions of the airport.

Every building, road, curb, tree, bus, 3d person was developed as a 3d model then  combined into a single massive virtual 3d scene. This overall 3d scene was then used to connect and visually tie the whole animation together.

While it’s impressive to see any large scale development flying from above – to get a full understanding, a viewer needs to experience the future airport from within down on ground level.

High resolution still images were created from various parts of the 3d animation that can be used in both print and web.


Throughout the process an incredible amount of 3d detail was amassed and it wasn’t until the last few weeks of the project that the process of rendering began.

A total of 8 full days processing time was spent rendering out all of the final shots using Buildmedia’s in-house render farm. All up a total of 45 render nodes, working 24/7 processed around 9000 hours of animated sequences.

A total of 1500kWh of electricity (the equivalent of 3 months of usage for a 3 bedroom home) was consumed in the process.

“A total of 1500kWh of electricity (the equivalent of 3 months of usage for a 3 bedroom home) was consumed in the process.”

2.5D labels further enhance the key messaging within the voice over.

Post Processing

Once processed the frames were then post processed, together with the voiceover, soundtrack, titles and labels into the final animation you see here.

What was previously hundreds of individual PDF pages, is now conveyed within a succinct 3d animation presenting a concise future vision of the Christchurch Airport.

“What was previously hundreds of pages is now conveyed within a succinct 3d vision…”

Huge thanks to Boffa Miskell who provided a masterplan of the development that was then used as a base to develop a compelling 3D model of the future vision.

Shortened version of the animation without voice over.

The CIAL press release can be found here.

The full version of the Animation here.

A brilliant job making us look great!

Justin Watson - Chief Commercial Officer
New Zealand

+64 9 3666 468


 +61 1800 98 28 08

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