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As published in Worship Facilities, Jan/Feb 2012

A new church service provider, Voigt Creations based in Indianapolis, opened its doors in January of 2011 offering 3D animation for church projects. WFM caught up with owner Bart Voigt to learn more about the company’s church-centric mission and offerings.

WFM: Why does your company have a heart for offering services to the church?

Voigt: As the owner, I was raised in a church environment and have paid attention to how God has worked in my life. I have always had a desire to represent the Lord through my work—and the decision to start my own company with a large emphasis [on] supporting faith-based organizations is not something I take lightly. I wrestled with this decision for a number of years.

Then, in 2010, I felt a strong prompting that I could not ignore. In response, I made arrangements with my employer to transition out of my position and officially incorporated in December of that same year and opened for business in January of 2011. Finally, I joined the National Association of Church Design Builders (NACDB, this past summer. I felt a similar calling to their mission and wanted to be associated with an organization that was founded on Biblical principles and ethics and [that] vets prospective members accordingly.

WFM: How do you partner with a pastor to help convey his or her vision to the congregation?

Voigt: When working with a pastor, I first need to learn about the vision, the mission, the congregation, and their intended use of the renderings. Every house of worship has its own culture, needs, and expectations. If I am to provide the best work I can to support their vision then it helps to know about the scope and context of that vision, how it supports the overall mission and its importance to the congregation.

As an example, lets look at a simple classroom. If it's intended for primary education the layout will be much different than for group or family counseling. The camera location changes, the furniture arrangement changes, the lighting could be slightly different, the tempo, and so on. There are nuances that support an expectation and it's important to recognize and account for that. The vision is given to the pastor and the congregation. The renderings and animations I provide should be just as specific.

WFM: How will you fill a need that hasn't been met by other companies that offer 3D animation?

Voigt: I come from a different background than a lot of animators. I actually started in engineering, drafting, and computer programming. There is a high level of precision that is required in those disciplines to be merely functional. That mindset helps me to focus on the details of each project that make it unique. It's one thing to create a great looking image; it's another to create it in a manor that is also physically accurate—or, for instance, reflects lighting fixture BEGA-7612P as referenced in sheet A10.2 and E1.1.

Additionally, I attend American Institute of Architects (AIA) continuing education classes whenever possible, which keeps me current on building trends and techniques. This allows me to work with significantly less information than would otherwise be needed, which means I don't require a lot of specific details to complete a project. If that project is still fluid or in the early stages, I can fill in the blanks while still being faithful to the overall design and vision. In these cases a less detailed and more artistic image may actually be preferred over a photo quality image to allow for variability in the design process.

Alternatively, I can use items from manufacturers’ existing libraries. At times it has been necessary to develop custom elements such as pew-ends, cafe tables, pipe-organ facades, and stained glass patterns because the church knew they wanted custom items, but no designs had been fashioned yet. In several of these cases my designs were actually chosen as the final concept since they were not only artistic, but build-able. In support of those designs, I was also able to provide the architects and manufacturers enough information to create the required shop drawings, plans or details.

Ultimately my goal is to provide an accurate representation of their vision in a way that is consistent with reality and expectations. I like surprises from my family, not my contractors. When a pastor looks at the rendering or animation, and then two, three, 18 months later looks at the final product, they shouldn't be surprised. I want them to know that it wasn't merely an image, but given the available information at the time it was created as a faithful depiction of their future plans.

WFM: What other advice and information can you share with church leaders looking for vision-minded services like yours?

Voigt: I have a heart for service and love to find unique answers. The holograms Voigt Creations offers grew out of that concept. Scale models are great, but transportation, protection, and eventually storage are major issues. Printed holograms are much easier to manage in all these areas. Additionally, they show more detail than all but the most expensive, and fragile, models.

‘A heart for service’ means that I will work with the pastor, or A/V specialist, or trustees to provide whatever it is they need. If this means arranging for framing and delivery of a set of renderings for an art gallery-type of presentation—done. If it means generating a specific type of file for their projection system, website or Facebook page, then Voigt Creations will be happy to provide it.

‘Find(ing) unique answers’ means that I'm open to developing new concepts or ideas. If a pastor has a vision or concept for a display, promotion, design, or whatever, I'd love to talk with them about it—even if it seems slightly outside [of] our area of specialization. With my diverse background I may be able develop something that is a perfect match. If the concept turns out to be a service that Voigt Creations doesn't provide, we are willing to help locate a company that does provide it. A church has many diverse needs, and God has provided many roads to meet those needs—Voigt Creations is but one of them.

Finally, my sense is that there is a preconceived notion that all renderings are outrageously expensive and only major projects with large budgets can afford them. This is no longer the case. Currently, a church can commission a high quality 3D still rendering for less than the cost of an iPhone. Animations are more expensive, but are much less than they were just a few years ago. If a church has an expansion or even a small renovation, having something to show that is easy to visualize and understand can make a big difference in the flow of a project, and I would encourage them to investigate their options.

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