Today we are going to deal with the topic of realism, or if you prefer, the representation of photographs in architectural
visualisations, it is a river topic and people argue about it like console fans, I will try to give you our view on the matter.
To begin with, perhaps let us say what this ” realism” is
Many 3D artists who create 3D graphics for advertising purposes place achieving an appropriate level of photorealism
as one of the primary objectives they must achieve in order for their work to be successful and appealing to the many viewers.
Despite the availability of a whole range of programs to create 3D visualizations, achieving a high level of reflection of
the real world in a computer generated image (CGI) is not at all easy and requires a huge amount of work and many years
Render made by Noreststudio- left side 🙂
Artists creating their works of art focus in particular on :
– appropriate modelling of the scene in 3D space, allowing for faithful representation of proportions and details of the
depicted objects; buildings, 3D objects, interiors of rooms, etc…
– giving sufficiently realistic materials to reflect the physical features: wood, metal, glass, plastic, car paint, etc.
With the help of a computer and the right software, of course. In our office we used Vra-y software until recently,
but now everyone is working with the Corona renderer. Many inexperienced people search for the ”best” rendering engine
looking mainly at the time it takes to produce a visualisation, there are several leading brands on the market whose products
have one and the same feature – the light calculation system.
Render made by Noreststudio – left side 🙂
Global illumination (GI), or indirect illumination, is a group of algorithms used in 3D computer graphics that are
meant to add more realistic lighting to 3D scenes. Such algorithms take into account not only the light that comes directly
from a light source (direct illumination), but also subsequent cases in which light rays from the same source are reflected
by other surfaces in the scene, whether reflective or not (indirect illumination).
Theoretically, reflections, refractions, and shadows are all examples of global illumination, because when simulating them,
one object affects the rendering of another (as opposed to an object being affected only by a direct source of light). In practice,
however, only the simulation of diffuse inter-reflection or caustics is called global illumination.
As you can see there is a bit of ”fun” with this, fortunately it is the computer that fights it, not us 🙂 I attached these diagrams
to show that not every program can calculate the light using to this physical accurate which occurs in the natural environment.
If you want to buy some program, which manufacturers praise to the skies and whose render time is shorter than many times the
best programs on the market then know that it will not be a good choice. Many cheaper programs do not have in its calculation
method of global illumination, if it does not have this one thing is not worth reaching for something like that if you really want
to develop towards visualization. Ok, so we have explained what ‘photorealism in visualisations’ means and you know my point
of view on the subject. But now let’s look at another option we have if we are not interested in photorealism in visualisations
but we just like to do it and we want to show architecture at its best.
A matte painting is a painted representation of a landscape, set, or distant location that allows filmmakers to create the illusion
of an environment that is not present at the filming location. Historically, matte painters and film technicians have used various
techniques to combine a matte-painted image with live-action footage (compositing). At its best, depending on the skill levels of
the artists and technicians, the effect is “seamless” and creates environments that would otherwise be impossible or expensive to
film. In the scenes the painting part is static and movements are integrated on it.
Render made by Arqui9 Visualisation
Once, when I started my adventure with visualisation, I had a certain period when this technique started to appeal to me and
I saw my future in it. I used it a lot when developing architectural concepts, thanks to it I could quickly transfer my notes and
vision onto the computer. Unfortunately, the spell was broken when it came to interior visualisations, as you can see for yourself,
most of the time matte painting tutorials are conducted on outdoor visualisations, this is because the human eye is easier to
deceive when there is a lot going on around, natural sunlight also has an influence on it. Using the matte painting technique we
can perfectly present our competition work or show our client the concept of his building, of course we are talking here about
the conceptual stages, in my opinion this technique is completely unsuitable for showing projects already in the phase of submitting
them to the office. There are, of course, offices in the world that can balance between 3d rendering of the model and matte painting
at a later stage, but it depends largely on the concept that the client has on the work that needs to be done, as you will see many of
the work of such offices is actually a photo and the building placed somewhere on a distant plan, which is barely visible, usually
such orders are not done and you can only envy these studios such opportunities. Matte painting is great for making images for
games or films where you are actually creating something virtual, without it being built on or affecting people’s lives.
Render made by Unique Vision Studio
Render made by Bartłomiej Dziedzic
In my opinion architectural visualisations should correspond as much as possible to what will be built later, we
should not as artists lie to people and create something that completely does not resemble what will be built one day. What is
the point of creating something like that at all, apart from making money for the artist of course. It is a quick technique to create
an image, but unfortunately it entails hiding imperfections, materials by means of a mostly
– very dynamic perspective, the more dynamic the perspective, the less detail you can see in the picture
– adding many effects in photoshop, including flares, mixing different colours of brown and red, in the visualization of the
evening too much saturation of the interior, the effect of ”bomb explosion ” in the middle of the room
– unrealistic depth of field to hide the lack of detail in the foreground
– creating a phenomenal aura in the picture covering up the imperfections, as my friend from the office where I used to work
used to say – ”let’s make a hailstorm :D”
But what is the effect of such visualisations, what happens later when the building is already constructed. Of course, most
people begin to realise that what they have seen for so many months on visualisation does not reflect what has been built.
In my opinion, it is a reprehensible thing to make such visualizations for clients of flats, that is actually the good we work for
all our lives, lying to inexperienced people with such visualizations should not take place, of course there are many companies
and the client can choose such a graphic studio that suits him, although I urge all buyers of flats to check well what they see
Render made by Noreststudio – left side 🙂
Sometimes it is even better to see elevations done by architects than to follow such a picture where the
pavement is pink and the sky looks like during the attack on Hiroshima. I know, not everyone may like my opinion, people
are different and in no way do I want to call for banning such visualizations, a person should have the right to choose, however
I just wanted to mention that in my opinion it is cheating people and such visualizations are not worth anything when it
comes to projects at the stage of construction where every material was carefully selected by architects. From my experience
I know that the developer, if he is aware that his project is good, will always want to show it as realistically as possible because
he knows that this will improve the overall perception of his product.
Realistic visualisations give people the opportunity to explore what is not yet there, help people make choices much earlier
and plan for the future more quickly.
Render made by Kropka Studio
In my opinion Matte painting style visualizations should not be used too often
in architecture, they should be rather for internal use in offices, to show the concept to the client – although it is also your
risk if it turns out later that the building looks completely different 😀 However, when it comes to visualizations that are
supposed to make people spend hundreds of thousands, they must be as accurate as possible and there is no room for
cheating to the extent mentioned above. I hope I haven’t offended anyone here, but unfortunately we are not very open
in our office on this issue and we have a rather one-sided position on it.