I was part of the last generation of architectural students who didn't use computers (we’re only talking the early 1990’s here; there was electricity, color TV’s, rockets, just no renderings.) In my final year at college I miscalculated how long it would take me to finish my thesis project. As the deadline approached, I realized it was too late for me to match my fellow students’ presentations. At the time Zaha Hadid, and her deconstructivist paintings, set the style for architectural illustration. That meant many student projects being rendered in oil paints on large canvases.
Virtual reality offers benefits that, just years ago, were hardly even imaginable. Projects can be walked through before being built; the interiors fully visualized before all the details are decided. It allows architects and clients the ability to work as true collaborators in the design of a project.
Which processor? How many graphics cards? How much RAM? For architects, engineers, civil engineers, BIM managers, and other CAD pros, navigating the computer workstation marketplace can be an arduous task, hindered by unknowledgeable sales reps, inaccurate information, and other pitfalls.
Throughout history, architects have used sketches and paintings to display to their clients the potential outcomes of the projects rattling around their minds. Since Brunelleschi’s adoption of drawn perspective in 1415, architectural visualizations have painted hyper-realistic imaginings of an ideal, where the walls are always clean, the light always shines in the most perfect way, and the inhabitants are always happy.
With technological advances in 3D modeling and digital rendering, this ability to sell an idea through a snapshot of the perfect architectural experience has become almost unrestricted. Many have criticized the dangers of unrealistic renderings that exceed reality and how they can create the illusion of a perfect project when, in fact, it is far from being resolved. However, this is only the natural next step in a history of fantastical representations, where the render becomes a piece of art itself.
Below is a brief history of the interesting ways architects have chosen to depict their projects—from imagined time travel to the diagrammatic.
Since 2015, the tribal community of Apetina in the south Suriname jungle have added a women’s center and seven chicken coops to their village, and there are plans underway to realize a high school, elevated treehouses for ecotourism, a visitor center, housing projects, chicken coops, and more.
Paul Spaltman is the one-man operation behind the designs of these structures, but “everything started with these nice renders made in Lumion," he explains. "It wasn’t enough to show 2D drawings or simply tell them what the project was going to be. When they saw the actual 3D renders, it helped them believe the project was possible. They already had the design. They could see the construction and that the entire project was, more or less, thought out. They could see that the project wasn’t just a dream, but one step further.”
It’s no mystery why we put people in our designs. People are the quickest way to an emotional connection. With the right visual cues, you can evoke deep feelings, turning a simple image into a source of awe or aspiration. In architectural visualization, we try to shape those feelings, working off the perceptions most of us share. While we are all creatures of circumstance, using our experiential knowledge to guide us day-to-day, a lot of our conditioning is the same. Which is why it is so important to consider how you use people when you create visualizations of your designs.
Entourage are your visual guides, alerting the viewer to the story or feelings you want to convey. Sometimes that story is one of usage, an explanation of how someone interacts or moves about a space. Other times, it’s a bit more abstract. Whatever the direction, the art of entourage is really a study of composition, conditioning, and narrative. The more you know about each topic, the better your visualization will turn out—especially when you have a complicated brief.
In this piece, I’d like to show you how we approach entourage at Kilograph. Since our backgrounds are diverse—artists, architects, brand experts, and VR technicians—we are constantly having discussions about how to make people stand out, from a psychological and aesthetic perspective. Here’s what we’ve found.
Cape Town native Alexis Christodoulou is a winemaker by day but also dabbles in the art of 3D visualization. His Instagram (@teaaalexis) is a striking composition of intricate spaces rich with color, light, and materiality. Crafted entirely from scratch, each of Christodoulou's digital worlds appears to be influenced by many of the modernist masters. In a recent interview with Curbed, Christodoulou lists Aldo Rossi, David Chipperfield and Le Corbusier among his inspirations.
Much has been said about the new "Instagram aesthetic." Put that together with the emerging role of Instagram and other social media platforms in the design process, and the result is a new type of digital art form. Christodoulou's page is the creative collection of a year-long personal challenge to regularly create and publish images of his own fantasy worlds, which has resulted in a community of nearly 20K followers.
Get lost in more of the images below.
In the 1990s, the field of architectural design was transformed by the widespread adoption of computers and CAD programs. This revolution affected the entire design process from start to finish, including presentation techniques. Traditional watercolor paintings were replaced by computer-generated images that could show the design from multiple angles. A virtual camera could even fly through the design and produce a video tour of the yet-to-be-built concept.
The Architecture Drawing Prize received 166 entries from 26 different countries, offering a fascinating cross-section of approaches to and uses of architectural drawing today: from highly sophisticated design drawings to lyrical hand-drawn sketches, and everything in between. The exhibition retains a sense of this variety so along with the three category winners, it was decided to showcase the ten entries that received commendations from the judges.
This article was originally published by RenderPlan as "9 Powerful Photoshop Tips for an Effective Workflow."
A powerful software like Photoshop can turn an average looking image or drawing into a stellar asset for a project. The trick is to learn to use some of its best features and optimize your workflow for maximum efficiency.
Over the years Photoshop has become the go-to tool for architects for any kind of image-based editing. The software has become indispensible thanks to its versatile features. It is a powerful tool for tweaking renderings or create them from scratch. Some of the most renowned visualization artists rely heavily on Photoshop and use very crude masses done in 3d programs as a starting point. From photorealistic renderings to editing photographs of built projects and beautifying line work, Photoshop can be an architect’s best friend.
Jože Plečnik is often described as Slovenia's greatest architect despite his passing over seven decades ago. The trace of his hand, which was trained in Vienna under Otto Wagner, can be seen across the country – and especially so in Ljubljana. Although Plečnik is often most keenly remembered for his restorative work and renovation of Prague Castle in the 1920s, the impact he left on the Slovenian capital is unmistakable.
Today, the city is dominated by a medieval castle, sat definatly atop a hill. It was for here, on this particularly charged site, that Plečnik proposed a radical intervention in the mid-20th Century. He wanted to build a new Slovene Parliament – a structure of State to house the legislature of the People's Republic of Slovenia within the second Yugoslavia. With this plan rejected by the authorities, Plečnik proposed a second design—known colloquially as the "Cathedral of Freedom"—here rebuilt and animated for the first time by Kristijan Tavcar.
At Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) today, the US-based tech giant announced the latest slate of performance updates to their software and hardware products. Targeting software developers and other high-end users, the event was highlighted by the announcement of significant upgrades to their computer’s graphics and processing capabilities—or in architect’s terms—the components required to work on projects like creating content within a VR experience or real-time 3D rendering.
The representation of architecture is important in the absence of tangible space. Throughout a lifetime, even the most devoted, well-travelled design enthusiast will experience only a small percentage of architectural works with their own eyes. Consider that we exist in only one era of architectural history, and the percentage reduces even further. Many architectural works go unbuilt, and the buildings we experience in person amount to a grain of sand in a vast desert.
Then we consider the architecture of the future. For buildings not yet built, representation is not a luxury, but a necessity to test, communicate and sell an idea. Fortunately, today’s designers have unprecedented means to depict ideas, with an explosion in technology giving us computer-aided drafting, photo-realistic rendering, and virtual reality. Despite these vast strides, however, the tools of representation are a blend of old and new – from techniques which have existed for centuries, to the technology of our century alone. Below, we give five answers to the question of how architecture should be depicted before it is built.
Italian architect and photographer Francesca Perani decided it was time to address the issue of garbled copyrights and tired stereotypes in architecture cutouts. With her site cutoutmix, she explains that she and her "creative gang" of female designers are, "improving the rendering visualization world with the help and talent of international artists." Right now users can access two of the collections for free, under a creative commons license.
Did you know Pngimg has a large number of free images available for download in .png. The best part? They are perfectly clipped and background-free! The collection is divided into categories that includes trees, people, objects, appliances, sports, clothing, and a host of other strange but perhaps useful animals/things. Just when you needed fresh trees in your renders, Pngimg comes to the rescue.
Adding contextual objects and scale figures can really give life and added value to project visualizations. See the .pngs here here and check out other tools that might be helpful, below.
Murphy’s Law, right? The thing is, since technology moves so fast, chances are you’re using slow and/or outdated hardware to build and render your models. Of course, those software crashes always get you when a client needs to see your work. And yet, when you tell the bosses you need better hardware, or updated software, they often scoff and lecture you about the costs. Perhaps one day they’ll understand the struggle of the production staff, but it seems like for now, not so much. So, good luck at the office today, hopefully, everything will work.
THE ITALIAN TRAINING CENTRE
FOR ARCHITECTURAL VISUALIZATION.
Complementing the many websites that already provide people for renders, PimpMyDrawing is a growing online database of vector drawings of people. The site was started by three recent graduates of architecture school. After realizing the amount of vector drawings that they had produced during their academic career, they decided to share them for free.