"Have You Ever Seen a Render With a Dent in a Car?": Juanito Olivarria on His Process Creating Renderings

"Have You Ever Seen a Render With a Dent in a Car?": Juanito Olivarria on His Process Creating Renderings

The Midnight Charette is an explicit podcast about design, architecture, and the everyday. Hosted by architectural designers David Lee and Marina Bourderonnet, it features a variety of creative professionals in unscripted conversations that allow for thoughtful takes and personal discussions. A wide array of subjects are covered with honesty and humor: some episodes provide useful tips for designers, while others are project reviews, interviews, or explorations of everyday life and design. The Midnight Charette is also available on iTunes, Spotify, and YouTube.

This week David and Marina are joined by Architectural Renderer & Partner of Luxigon's Los Angeles office, Juanito Olivarria to discuss his process of creating renderings, collaborating with architects, beauty, video gaming, taking risks, ugly trees, rendering styles, and much more!

Highlights & Timestamps 


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Managing the summer heat of Los Angeles and video gaming ‘in the office’ during the pandemic. (00:00)

Socializing with coworkers during the pandemic through video games and the graphic aesthetics of video games. (04:49)

Juanito discusses how he started at Luxigon, pivoting from architecture to architectural rendering. (12:22)

The many different valuable lessons learned from architecture school, the design freedom that comes with producing a rendering, the importance of light in a rendering and creating something beautiful versus having a critical concept. (18:30)

Which is more impactful, the representation of architecture and the architecture itself? (25:25)

“To a certain extent, architecture is not accessible to the general public. It's quite a luxury to be able to travel around as a hobby and visit spaces. Just because they exist, it doesn’t mean that you necessarily have access to them.” (26:32)

Opening and managing the Los Angeles office of Luxigon and their staff makeup. (29:00)

The challenging part of rendering, fear in design, and working with architecture offices in different countries. (32:50)

“I think people are living in a lot of fear right now. Not just necessarily this year, but leading up to this (2020)… it seems like creativity has been on a decline. I would say people (designers) are more client-based. I think people are losing what they want to do to please the client and make sure they get paid, which I understand, but it (architecture) has lost its momentum. Even eight years ago, you could tell there was must gusto and energy. [...] You can see that architecture is lacking creativity. You can see that it’s not great”. (33:15)

The different kind of clients and what they want from the renderings and why Juanito hates ginkgo trees. (37:50)

Maintaining artistic vision and how it relates to using 3D components or 2D images to create a rendering (40:53)

Juanito describes the style of Luxigon and working with Morphosis. (44:45)

“We like to focus more on moments as opposed to the grand gesture of everything. We try to express to our clients that it would be more interesting to show one person going up the stairs with the lighting hitting them in a certain way as opposed to having an entire school on a field go up to the steps of a museum. [...] That’s what we are always chasing after… eliminating the noise to focus on a moment.” (45:11)

Juanito describes what it’s like to take on and render someone else’s project and the competition with the rendering industry. (51:32)

“It (the rendering industry) is getting super saturated. A lot people who have worked a bigger rendering firms have left and started up their own thing. A lot of those people are charging much less, so it’s becoming much more competitive”. (51:40)

Blade Runner and Blade Runner 2049 and the pros and cons of video renderings and still-image renderings. (56:28)

Juanito describes their typical workflow and the most challenging part of rendering for other offices (and it’s parallels to architecture offices and their clients). (01:03:30)

Weird and borderline racist requests to place or remove things in rendering and architect’s relying on renderers to complete the design work. (01:11:25)

“There are a lot of times that we will get a bare bones model. Literally bare bones, just floor plates and glass… no mullions, no furniture, no people… Especially for masterplans. I don’t understand what people are thinking when they give us two forms and a bike path. [...] We’re designing a lot of their projects most of the time, because so many things are only a grand gesture of what they want.” (01:13:29)

Juanito discusses capturing beautiful moments of everyday life through photography. (01:19:35)

Realistic rendering is most often not real at all and the beauty of real life. (01:24:20)

“People talk about how they want realistic renders, but when they ask for realistic renders, they’re not real at all. They’re polished, they’re shiny, everything is in its place. If you want to talk about hyper-realistic, let’s get deep, let’s go for it. There’s the junkie on the street, there’s the trash on the side, there’s the car with a scratch. Have you ever seen a render with a dent in a car? You haven’t. You see Audi’s and Bugatti’s…Get fucking real dude. If you want to talk about real, let’s do a Honda Prelude from 1994 on cinderblocks and somebody’s taking a piss. That’s reality. [...] That is the reality that surrounds architecture. [...] I think there’s something beautiful in that.” (01:24:25)

Finding ways to do the work that you want to do and folding small fun projects into the office. (01:28:38)

Is it hard to render a bad project? Why a client who likes your previous work may still not be the right client for you. Why having better financial support leads to more creativity. (01:33:05)

Check out The Midnight Charette Podcast's previous editions.

About this author
Cite: The Midnight Charette. ""Have You Ever Seen a Render With a Dent in a Car?": Juanito Olivarria on His Process Creating Renderings" 18 Oct 2020. ArchDaily. Accessed . <https://www.archdaily.com/949714/have-you-ever-seen-a-render-with-a-dent-in-a-car-juanito-olivarria-on-his-process-creating-renderings> ISSN 0719-8884

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