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Rendering as a Tool to Restore the Glory of Ancient Chinese Architecture

Rendering as a Tool to Restore the Glory of Ancient Chinese Architecture

Heritage buildings are precious treasures passed down to us by our ancestors. They are also intangible cultural gifts for all mankind, a discovery of the past. Nevertheless, as time changes, ancient Chinese architecture, either destroyed by the forces of wars or nature, is gradually losing its original glory, making the protection and restoration of ancient buildings an urgent matter in this contemporary world.

A Tribute to the Past

With the rapid development of Internet technology, three-dimensional rendering is utilized frequently in real life, and its application in the restoration of ancient buildings occupies a large proportion. The ancient architecture restoration rendering can realistically reproduce the overall style of the ancient architecture through the digital form, and the ancient architecture is more well preserved so that people can better appreciate the charm of the ancient architecture through the virtual network technology. This article will briefly discuss how 3D rendering has been used in ancient Chinese architecture restoration.


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Summer Palace Digital Restoration. Image Courtesy of Yuan Ming Yuan (2006 Documentary)
Summer Palace Digital Restoration. Image Courtesy of Yuan Ming Yuan (2006 Documentary)

As a relic that records the trajectory of human history, ancient buildings are intangible cultural heritage, built in a specific historical period that reflects the culture of that period or the customs and habits of the region, and have extremely high cultural research value. However, in the process of changes in human society, many ancient buildings with high research value have gone through vicissitudes and lost their original style, which is regrettable.

A Gift for the Future Generations

In order for our future generations to appreciate the architectural style of our ancestors and save these cultural heritages that are on the verge of disappearing, relevant personnel has made great efforts. Computer technology is constantly developing. In today's society where information is highly produced, virtual reality theory and its technology are gradually being used in many areas. The application of virtual reality technology in the restoration of ancient buildings, that is, the restoration of ancient buildings, has promoted the development of virtual restoration of ancient buildings and made great progress in the restoration technology of ancient buildings.

Summer Palace Digital Restoration. Image Courtesy of Yuan Ming Yuan (2006 Documentary)
Summer Palace Digital Restoration. Image Courtesy of Yuan Ming Yuan (2006 Documentary)

Ancient building restoration rendering refers to the use of computer software, through three-dimensional modeling, virtual reality, and other technologies and methods, to show the shape, internal structure, and surrounding life scenes of the building in a movie. The restoration rendering of ancient buildings is no longer a static two-dimensional picture but is presented in a more intuitive and three-dimensional way, breaking the history of the use of plane renderings in the architectural display.

Summer Palace Digital Restoration. Image Courtesy of Yuan Ming Yuan (2006 Documentary)
Summer Palace Digital Restoration. Image Courtesy of Yuan Ming Yuan (2006 Documentary)

As the ancient building restoration rendering is multi-dimensional, it can display the three-dimensional effect of the building more vividly and enable the viewer to better feel the location of the ancient building, the decoration style of the building, the shape of the building, and the supporting facilities element.

Current Applications

For example, the documentary "Old Summer Palace" filmed in 2006 is the first large-scale use of 3D simulation movie animation technology in China, which truly reproduces the magnificent Old Summer Palace. This documentary also created several firsts in three-dimensional technology, such as the first time that field scenes and three-dimensional renderings are well combined in science and education movies.

Summer Palace Digital Restoration. Image Courtesy of Yuan Ming Yuan (2006 Documentary)
Summer Palace Digital Restoration. Image Courtesy of Yuan Ming Yuan (2006 Documentary)
Summer Palace Digital Restoration. Image Courtesy of Yuan Ming Yuan (2006 Documentary)
Summer Palace Digital Restoration. Image Courtesy of Yuan Ming Yuan (2006 Documentary)

In 2009, the nearly one-and-a-half-hour-long documentary "Daming Palace" was filmed, and nearly half of the time was completed with special effects, restoring the Tang Chang'an City, Danfeng Gate, Hanyuan Palace, and other things that only exist in history books. According to statistics, this documentary has restored about 500 football fields the size of Daming Palace. It is the first time that China has restored the world's largest brick-wood palace complex.

The Advantages of Using 3D Rendering for Heritage Restoration

The restoration rendering of ancient buildings has the characteristics of high accuracy, scientific and permanent preservation of cultural relics, and can use architectural rendering technology to make ancient buildings into a set of concrete, vivid, peripheral, accurate, and virtual simulation systems. Wherever possible, people can have a clearer understanding of the cultural heritage of ancient buildings, which is conducive to the spread of ancient architectural culture.

Summer Palace Digital Restoration. Image Courtesy of Yuan Ming Yuan (2006 Documentary)
Summer Palace Digital Restoration. Image Courtesy of Yuan Ming Yuan (2006 Documentary)

The traditional buildings in China are mainly wooden structures, most of them cannot withstand major renovations. Once the restoration work has started, any wrong calculations and restoration plans in the process will cause irreversible damage to the ancient buildings, which is not conducive to the multiple renovations of the ancient buildings. The ancient building restoration rendering uses computer simulation technology to restore the ancient building. Before the restoration work starts, you can perform reversible restoration exercises on the virtual ancient building model. In the process of simulation, possible problems are found, and the harm is minimized in time. This method can achieve the best restoration effect with less investment and reduce the harm to ancient buildings.

Summer Palace Digital Restoration. Image Courtesy of Yuan Ming Yuan (2006 Documentary)
Summer Palace Digital Restoration. Image Courtesy of Yuan Ming Yuan (2006 Documentary)

Ancient architecture restoration rendering can be applied to various fields. With the development of ancient architecture restoration rendering technology, it will reduce a lot of resistance when shooting some ancient architecture documentaries, and it can also play a great auxiliary role in the post-production of video works.

Summer Palace Digital Restoration. Image Courtesy of Yuan Ming Yuan (2006 Documentary)
Summer Palace Digital Restoration. Image Courtesy of Yuan Ming Yuan (2006 Documentary)

The restoration rendering of ancient buildings in the education industry also has very good application prospects. Teachers can use ancient building restoration renderings to show the cultural heritage of humanity to students in a more vivid and specific way, improve students’ awareness of ancient buildings and ancient architectural culture. In general, the ancient architectural restoration rendering promotes and publicizes the protection of cultural heritage advocated by various countries.

This article is part of the ArchDaily Topic: Rendering, proudly presented by Enscape, the most intuitive real-time rendering and virtual reality plugin for Revit, SketchUp, Rhino, Archicad, and Vectorworks. Enscape plugs directly into your modeling software, giving you an integrated visualization and design workflow.’. Learn more about our monthly topics. As always, at ArchDaily we welcome the contributions of our readers; if you want to submit an article or project, contact us.

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Cite: Scarlett Miao. "Rendering as a Tool to Restore the Glory of Ancient Chinese Architecture" 16 Apr 2021. ArchDaily. Accessed . <https://www.archdaily.com/960006/rendering-as-a-tool-to-restore-the-glory-of-ancient-chinese-architecture> ISSN 0719-8884
Summer Palace Digital Restoration. Image Courtesy of Yuan Ming Yuan (2006 Documentary)

三维渲染再现中国古建筑昔日光辉

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