I started this blog with the aim of becoming a trusted source for sharing & learning about all aspects of architectural visualization, regardless of software or style. That is why It was very clear to me that competitions… challenges as I name them, are going to be an integral part of it.

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.
All the big challenges being held on this blog are WIP style challenges… A Work In Progress, in which all updates are being shared among all challengers and visitors of the forums. This way one can truly benefit and become motivated form the feedback of his peers, as well as give feedback and motivate others.
It is remarkable and infinitely interesting to see this process during a challenge, sharing and learning as it evolves and reaches the finish line.

There was a time when no self-respecting rendering would allow itself to be seen in public without a zeppelin hovering somewhere in its desaturated sky. Supermodels in haute couture garments strutted across opera foyers, uninterested expressions and blasé attitudes adding to the exclusivity of the space.
These gimmicks are still widely used, but since its early days architectural rendering has seen major technical advancements that allowed it to appropriate cinematic techniques relying on color, lighting, framing, composition, and angles to convey moods. This disciplinary overlap between architecture and film is fundamental in the use of similar software and modeling techniques and has brought the two closer through the idea of storytelling, a notion inherent to both disciplines. In architectural rendering, if the spirit or the main feeling isn’t persuasive and engaging enough, the function of images is reduced to regurgitating information already provided through drawings and schematics.

An overabundance of visual content, brought on partly by the democratization of architectural publishing, has produced an almost pornographic fixation on architectural representation, rendering techniques in particular. Computer generated imagery is no longer an intermediary between an idea and its realization, but a finished product on its own. Different rendering genres have emerged over the years, similar in approach and style to recognizable cinematic tropes.
We came across an Israel based studio that visualizes and renders fabulous images of interiors and exteriors using 3d rendering software.
One of the challenges put before the firm was to visualize this Eco-Golf House that blurs the borders between its interiors and exteriors. The project brief also required them to create the dense vegetation surrounding the house, the ecological systems and the infrastructure leading to the house’s architecture and interiors. Here is a video walkthrough of the house and also some high quality images of the renders.

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, for example, is known for its photorealistic rendering of light and shadow and is 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.
Overall, rendering is a deep and technical art that requires dedicated practice and an eye for detail. The more you work to improve your rendering skills, the quicker those skills will feel like second nature.

Founded in 2002, Frontop Digital Technology Co., Ltd is an innovative 3D visualization and multimedia CG company headquartered in Guangzhou. Services ranges from simple massing 3d modeling, architectural rendering, photomontage rendering to architectural animation, 3D walkthrough, 3D flythrough, 3D property commercial, architectural visualization and multimedia presentation video.

For years rapid development, Frontop has become one of the most powerful digital enterprises in Chinese CG field, meanwhile, our markets spread out to the world! Our oversea long-term partners include Zaha Hadid Architects, Benoy, LEO A DALY, Woods Bagot, Aedas, DP Architects and so on.

Our clients range from architects, urban designers, master planners, landscape architects, local authorities and developers.
"Input Creativity, Output Satisfaction" is our tenet. We are ready for you at any time.

Grey Oak