3D-environmental simulation is a qualified method for communication between professional experts optimizing the quality of a project, information for citizens about a project to be discussed, and preparation for decision-making processes. There are various approaches to environmental simulation – ranging from a sequence of computer generated virtual pictures to endoscopic stills of simple scale models. As the communal budgetary deficit is growing it is difficult to convince the public client of the necessity of 3D spatial simulation and a qualified presentation in planning projects. By means of different projects the paper discusses three main questions. •3D-environmental simulation – quick and dirty: Which are the simple and reasonable techniques for the 3D-simulation of future urban design and architectural projects – as realistic as necessary but as simple as possible?•Target group oriented 3D-environmental simulation: Within one planning project different demands to the grade of reality apply to different addressees. How far can be simplified in a specific project?•Reduction of complexity by 3D-environmental simulation: Expert engineers usually tend to overload plans with information so that important statements regarding the environmental quality are not understood by laypeople. Can 3D-environmental simulation translate complex plans in order to make them comprehensible?