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The Perfect Render: Understanding and Mastering Rendering Techniques

The Perfect Render: Understanding and Mastering Rendering Techniques

Render: Houses in Rio da Barra. Image Courtesy of Estúdio MóduloRender: Communal Housing in Sobradinho. Image Courtesy of Estúdio MóduloRender: Promenade and Furniture in Búzios. Image Courtesy of Estúdio MóduloRender by Mariana Bastos. Image Courtesy of CURA+ 27

Rendering has become indispensable to most architectural offices. To understand how these images can assist during the design process, how they have evolved, and especially, what aspects should be considered to create an outstanding visualization of a project, we talked to Guilherme Bravin and Marcus Vinicius Damon, co-founders of Estúdio Módulo, and coordinators of {CURA}, an open architecture school focused mainly on architectural visualization.

Victor Delaqua (ArchDaily): What are the most important tips to turn an average render into something impressive?

Guilherme Bravin and Marcus Vinicius Damon (CURA and Estúdio Módulo): This is a complex question, but to create impressive images, we recommend checking out the following aspects of your imagery:

Style and Language

Render: Ágora Tech Park. Image Courtesy of Estúdio Módulo
Render: Ágora Tech Park. Image Courtesy of Estúdio Módulo

First of all, I would say that an impressive image doesn't necessarily need to be rendered. Regardless of the style and visual language, whether a collage or a rendered visualization, the main goal is to build an atmosphere for the image, in other words, to convey a sensation of impact and well-being to the viewer.

It is worth noting that an image should not be considered a separate component from the rest of the presentation. The whole set of images needs to relate to each other and the overall graphics of the booklet, boards, or slides.

Atmosphere

Render by Nicholas Holanda. Image Courtesy of CURA
Render by Nicholas Holanda. Image Courtesy of CURA

Does the image convey the feeling you are envisioning for this space in the project?

As mentioned above, building an atmosphere will help communicate a sensation, both in indoor and outdoor environments.

These sensations are made possible by combining many factors, which we will continue to list below, such as lighting, both natural and artificial, position of the camera, materials, and human figures. 

Light and Shadow

Render: Ágora Tech Park. Image Courtesy of Estúdio Módulo
Render: Ágora Tech Park. Image Courtesy of Estúdio Módulo

Rendering images requires a lot of patience when adjusting the sun position because a specific setting for day and time can completely change the way the light enters the environment or projects onto the architecture.

Lighting must contribute to the interpretation of the project. In this regard, Le Corbusier was right when he said that "Architecture is the learned game, correct and magnificent, of forms assembled in the light."

When it comes to night scenes, we always look for references from skilled architectural photographers to help develop the right chromatic palette for the colors of the lights and the sky.

Camera View

Render: Communal Housing in Moscow. Image Courtesy of Estúdio Módulo
Render: Communal Housing in Moscow. Image Courtesy of Estúdio Módulo

Does the image clearly convey the depth of the spaces? Are the important openings and gaps legible? 

If you like photography, you should strongly consider applying the basics of this knowledge to the construction of your images. The right framing of architecture and its environments will help to better tell the story of the project.

Tip: follow the profiles of professional architectural photographers.

Materials and Textures

Render by Marcele Eller. Image Courtesy of CURA
Render by Marcele Eller. Image Courtesy of CURA

Are the materials specified in the project clear, and are their basic characteristics being well represented? It seems an obvious question, but from our experience, it is a very common mistake in image production.

For example, regular glass is transparent and reflective (depending on the light and camera angle), so your image should show these basic characteristics. Another example is exposed concrete, which can have different casting techniques and molds. Which one are you specifying in the project? Is it well represented in the images?

Objects and Vegetation

Render by Alana Pacheco. Image Courtesy of CURA
Render by Alana Pacheco. Image Courtesy of CURA

Good libraries are very important, especially for objects such as furniture and decorative elements.

Objects in the foreground of a scene need to be well modeled, i.e. upholstery needs to convey the appearance of softness, not all flat and faceted.

As for vegetation, a classic mistake is inserting trees at the wrong scale. Remember that trees are big! The landscape project must be respected, but be careful not to cover important parts of the architecture with a tree canopy or a poorly positioned camera.

Human Figures / Cutout People

Render: Hope Dental Center. Image Courtesy of Estúdio Módulo
Render: Hope Dental Center. Image Courtesy of Estúdio Módulo

Have you chosen the appropriate scale figures or people?

Being a little edgy can be fun, but be careful not to get cheesy.

If you don't have time to search for quality cutout people, it might be better to opt for vector figures and silhouettes.

Render by Franciele Bortolassi. Image Courtesy of CURA
Render by Franciele Bortolassi. Image Courtesy of CURA

VD: Many people think of rendering only as a final image for presentation. How can it impact the design process?

CURA: In our office, we use 3D and rendering as part of the project development process, not only as an element for presentation. Based on the renders, we can make better decisions on the layout and openings. It also helps us to define materials and colors.

But this has only been possible because we are continuously updating our work processes as new software comes out. Currently, both in CURA and in Estúdio Módulo, we have been using Enscape, which is a rendering plugin for SketchUp that allows us to render in real-time, that is, we can navigate through the rendered model. But we can also render camera views very quickly or produce panoramic scenes that the client can access through a specific link.

Render: Competition for Urban Furniture in São Paulo. Image Courtesy of Estúdio Módulo
Render: Competition for Urban Furniture in São Paulo. Image Courtesy of Estúdio Módulo

VD: After years of teaching on the subject, how do you see the evolution of renders, and what are the newest rendering techniques?

CURA: CURA started in the middle of 2014, and we are happy to see an evolution in the quality of the renders since then, as we believe we have contributed a lot to this improvement. Even before we launched our online courses, we already had students coming from all states in Brazil. We know that we are not the only ones responsible for this overall progress, but we believe we may have inspired and sparked the creation of other courses throughout Brazil.

Render: Houses in Rio da Barra. Image Courtesy of Estúdio Módulo
Render: Houses in Rio da Barra. Image Courtesy of Estúdio Módulo

About new techniques, we strongly believe in the use of digital media for project presentation, such as animations and virtual reality. With the advance in hardware and software technology, it has become increasingly simple to produce this type of visualization. As a result, the architect has become more self-sufficient in the production of this content, introducing these elements in the development stages of the project and no longer only in the presentation. We believe this can lead to better results.

Render by Mariana Bastos. Image Courtesy of CURA
Render by Mariana Bastos. Image Courtesy of CURA

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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About this author
Cite: Delaqua, Victor. "The Perfect Render: Understanding and Mastering Rendering Techniques" [Em busca do render ideal: como compreender e aprimorar o uso dessa tecnologia] 07 May 2021. ArchDaily. (Trans. Duduch, Tarsila) Accessed . <https://www.archdaily.com/960779/the-perfect-render-understanding-and-mastering-rendering-techniques> ISSN 0719-8884

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