Architectural Visualization

Architectural Visualization – Big Plans, Many Players

Rendering is a deep and technical art that requires dedicated practice and an eye for detail. This is for design and engineering students enrolled in the numerous colleges and schools around East Africa who have the vision of becoming 3d/Architectural visualizers, regardless of software or style.

We all do personal projects. Some do it a lot as means for self-improvement, and for others those are few and far between due to the daily client work that never ends. Both benefit greatly when channeling the effort into a structured and scheduled personal project in the form of a challenge.

As you’ve probably discovered through your investigation of 3D animation software, modeling and texturing are just two components of a much larger machine. Rendering, the process through which your images are calculated and outputted into final form, is among the most important steps in creating realistic and visually appealing visual effects or animations. Learning to work with rendering takes years of hard work; there’s a reason studios keep rendering pros on-hand in addition to other niche experts.

If you’re looking to create more realistic work and you’ve hit a bit of a roadblock, looking at how you approach your renders could be a good step in evolving your work. With that in mind, here are a few simple tips for increasing the quality of your renders and achieving that professional polish:

Soften Your Edges

Basic cubes in 3D have exact 90-degree angles. Real-life objects, however, do not. Even a square coffee table isn’t perfectly cut with sharp corners; there’s always at least a little bit of softening. Beveling your models to soften corners and edges can go a long way toward making your objects more realistic and dramatically changing the way your renders turn out.

Tweak Your Materials

Renders rely entirely on your objects’ material properties to make the calculations necessary to output your image. Sloppy material creation is a prime cause of poor renders. If you’re seeking perfection in just one area of your work, seek it in materials creation. Renders of good materials will always turn out better than renders of poor materials.

Compose Your Scene

Avoid the urge to center your models. Make your scenes look realistic. In real life, objects are never perfectly aligned. Stuff gets disorganized, people leave things laying around, and camera angles shift away from dead center. Even high-quality renders of superb textures will seem unrealistic if the objects in the scene are placed in a way that doesn’t feel natural.

Include Spill Lights

Spill lights are lights that help add global illumination to a scene by softly extending the glow of a particular light source. Adding a spill light to your main lighting object can help soften the difference between light and dark and create a more realistic render overall. After materials, lighting is the most important element of a render.

Test Different Renders

Maya and 3DS Max both support a variety of rendering platforms. Mental Ray is generally the default renderer you’ll use when working with the applications as they come, but other rendering applications may provide for more realistic results. V-Ray or Cinerender, for example, are known for its photorealistic rendering of light and shadow and are a common render platform in visual effects and architectural visualization.

Start Small, Finish Big

It’s tempting to render your scenes in their full final resolution so you can get an idea of what they look like. This is a mistake. Instead, render scenes at 50% or 30% of their final intended size. Problems with your render will still be obvious and you’ll save an immense amount of render time. There’s a big difference between waiting ten minutes to make changes and waiting two. Rendering will require multiple passes so make sure you’re working efficiently.

Over the years we’ve seen how 3D Modeling benefits a student’s presentation, whether for a new build or the renovation of an existing system, and we want to share with you some of the best.  3D Modeling has helped students and their supervisors in numerous ways as far as understanding projects and their related infrastructure, from sharing concepts to showing and getting the rest of the class onto the same page. Not only does it help improve communications and set expectations, 3D visualization can ultimately help cut costs and increase efficiencies.

Improves the Ability to Share Infrastructure Concepts

Rendered drawings are incredibly beneficial in 3D, since they ensure that the designer, developer, and the public can all clearly visualize the end result and its impact on the city’s current infrastructure. The ability to create a detailed and thorough visualization and then easily share it with the class makes it easier to collectively figure out the optimal use of land, water, materials, and energy.

Improves Presentation Materials

The realistic images and details displayed in these renderings will ultimately enhance a digital presentation or stationary mock-up.  After school, the same skills and techniques used in 3D renderings will be an invaluable resource for presenting a project to municipal boards and commissions.

Improves Municipal Environments

Developing and expanding cities to achieve the best possible environments for the individuals who reside in it is a complex and challenging objective. The use of land must not only consider the most cost-effective and functional strategy, but also the one that will be the most beneficial to the residents of the municipality.

3D visualization can be used to depict the entire construction process, so residents and city officials are always updated on the rebuilding schedule. The infrastructure modeling will also outline the changes that need to be made to existing infrastructure to prevent further or future damage.

Less Chance of Costly Errors

BIM is designed to minimize the possibilities of errors regardless of how often the design is altered. Every aspect of the model will instantly adapt to account for any new additions.  Infrastructure modeling also allows engineers and developers to study various design options during the initial planning phase to make better-informed decisions.

Improves the Efficiency of a Team Environment

3D Visualization improves team collaboration by making it easier to share conceptual designs across various project teams and external contractors. Everyone involved is able to monitor, manage, and improve performance by taking advantage of 3D infrastructure modeling.

Overall the more you work to improve your rendering skills, the quicker those skills will feel like second nature.

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