10/05/2019No Comments

Finished Friday // Eastham CGI Architectural Visualisation

Finished Friday // Eastham CGI Architectural Visualisation

To help this property developer in their aim to refurbish, extend and re-use this London property, we created 2 images to help visualise the proposed changes.

Head over to the completed projects to find out more about this project!

And feel free to drop us an email or DM for a friendly chat.

19/10/20154 Comments

Udemy 3ds Max & Vray Arch Vis course coupon for FREE access

The guys over at Udemy have given me 50 free coupons to allow my lucky followers to receive this course for free!

https://www.udemy.com/intro-to-architectural-visualization-using-3ds-max-and-v-ray_zillus/#/

The course is aimed at beginners, but as always there might be some tips and tricks even the seasoned pro's might have missed.

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To receive the coupon, all you need to do is subscribe to the ard Digital newsletter, and in the comments section of the sign-up form type "free course", and I will then email the coupon code to the lucky first 50 subscribers!

Dean

05/06/2015No Comments

Interactive Configurator Launched

Over the past few months, I have been working with a web development team to create a new interactive application, which utilises the flexibility of CGI with some web programming magic. We wanted to create an application to allow users to interactively configure anything, then share, save or print their configuration.

The application has been given it's own brand new website, check out www.constructandconfigure.com to see what all the fuss is about, and to play with the two demo applications.

The application is a "configurator" and has been designed to enable users to change finishes, features and other options by clicking on buttons to access menus. In the kitchen demo, the user can change the kitchen finish, the door handles and the worktops, but almost any visual element of a product, space or architecture could be configurable. In the kitchen demo we could if we wanted to add the ability to change the appliances, the stools, or even the floor and wall finishes. This is one reason why using 3D is great, we can create these CGI variations quickly, store them digitally, and present them in a way which is quick and easy for the end users to see.

The interactive kitchen demo application.

The application has been designed to work on most modern devices, PCs, laptops, tablets, smart phones, iPads and anything else with a modern web browser and a reasonably fast internet connection. We wanted to make the application accessible to as many people as possible, so it made sense to make the application run inside a web browser, without the need for any software downloads.

As standard, we have added 3 features to the app, save, print and share. The save button will download an image, overlaid with a description of the configuration, to your device. The print function simply prints the configuration, and again with a description so you know exactly the chosen configuration. The share button is perhaps the most complex function, but something we felt was required to allow users to share their configuration quickly and easily. When the user clicks the share button, a pop up window is displayed with a unique web address. The user can then highlight, copy and paste this address to Twitter, Facebook, email or anything else. When the address this then re-opened in a web browser, the users configuration is displayed. For this app we wanted to avoid user log-ins and passwords as we wanted the experience to be fast and user friendly, and using a unique web address works perfectly.

The app works on touch screen devices, as well as a traditional mouse.

We see this app to be primarily used to visualise and configure products. A sales team could use the application to show potential buyers the various configurations of their product, which may help the buyers visualise their potential purchase, and hopefully secure a sale. Similarly the app could be used in show rooms, where it's physically impossible to show all the product variations, but with the app customers could quickly and easily see any configuration they wish.

The application could be used by housing developers to show potential house buyers their new home, and then allow them to choose fixtures and finishes, which many house builders now allow. The possibilities for the app is limitless!

Use the app on the go, but be careful using it on 3G or 4G as data charges may occur!

The application has been fully custom made to suit our requirements. We did this for one important reason, we can modify, change, or add features to the application when required. The application is web based, and with the advances in HTML 5, more and more is possible. As an example we could add a clip board, user log-in, or even link the app with an e-commerce website allowing the users to purchase directly from the app.

View the configurator anywhere.

Currently the configurator doesn't allow the user to build products, they can't alter the kitchen layout for example, but this isn't why we created this application. In order to visualise the products in a photo realistic manor, the app uses pre-rendered CGI images, layered on top of each other to create the users configuration. Advances in real-time visualisation has shown we can create almost photo-real visuals using technology such as Unity 3D or the Unreal game engine, however using this kind of software means the users have to download plugins or software suitable for their device, which is something we didn't want to do. In the future I'm sure this will change, but for now we believe our current approach is the best way!

So head over to http://www.constructandconfigure.com and play with the application demos.

If you have any questions or comments about the configurator, please get in touch!

Dean

16/07/2014No Comments

New London Award 2014 for Autor Architecure’s Junction Road

An architecture project I visualised a few months ago has won in the New London Awards for Housing in architecture, congratulations to Autor Architecture!

new_london_award-662x420

The house sits on a small site in London, but this didn't stop Autor from being creative, and designing an award winning house! The size restrictions and complex nature of the site made this house design interesting, well planned, and a contrast to the traditional London town houses.

Learn more about the project here -

http://www.autorarchitecture.com/projects/junction-road/

And of-course see the rest of the CGIs and visualisations here -

punch.digitalportfolio/junction-road-residential/

Check out the awards here -

http://newlondonarchitecture.org/awards_2014/winners-announced/

 

Dean

12/01/2013No Comments

Using photographic references is the key in CG!

It's no great secret that the key to creating beautiful images and animations lies with using great reference material. References come in all forms; drawings, sketches, videos, but the one area which is always very important is photography.

We all need direction, and it's often little use just relying on our own perception of something, or even using our memories. We are by nature, biased, and our memories can be hazy at best, and as such can't really be relied upon. So how can we be sure that what we are creating is correct if we only use our brain? Well to put it simply, we can't! This isn't to say that it's wrong to use your head and imagination, sometimes accuracy isn't important and we can create beautiful things without directly using reference materials at all.

However, as with many visualisations, including architecture and product based projects, accuracy is very important, and without accuracy often we find ourselves questioning each other as to what exactly is "right". One person's right might be another person's wrong, and all this leads to confusion, compromise and often wasting time. So this is where references are important.

Photographic references can be used for just about every part of a visualisation project, from how something should look in, to how a visualisation feels, is lit and graded. CAD drawings and sketches are great for accuracy, but sometimes can be very clinical, or perhaps missing the finer details, so using photographic references along side other material will generally result in a much nicer and more accurate finish.

When lighting, grading and trying to achieve a certain "feel" to a visualisation, photo references are still just as important. Traditional photography can be very straight-laced, or very creative and experimental. These varying styles used in traditional photography filter down to the CG industries and artists, and using these photo references for all styles of visualisations is important, not only for the creative, moody visualisations, but also the typical day-time shots too. Again it's all about seeing the finer details, as well as the whole picture, and not relying on memories and experiences to direct us.

I would say however, that photographic references are probably most important when it comes to working with other professions. Using references through-out a job can give clear direction to both clients and professionals. Both sides know what to expect and what to aim for. More often than not, the desired out-come will be achieved quicker and to a much better standard.

So what really prompted me to write this post? Well I initially thought I would share some references I recently found useful, and also possibly go through the best places to start looking for them for future projects, but then I thought that just showing others what I've found isn't overly useful, unless you understand where I'm coming from, and you might think I'm a bit strange posting links to random photos!

I came across this set of photo references of metal cladding when looking for references for an architectural project. These images are absolutely perfect for reference images, and well worth bookmarking, but why? When I'm looking for references, I want to see how the thing looks close-up, far away, in context, in different lighting situations, variations, and pretty much anything else that gives me a better understanding on how to recreate things in 3D. The resolution of the photographs isn't always that important, if you are using a reference for lighting or mood, then low resolution images are fine, but if you want to see every detail of something, then obviously the higher the resolution the better.

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Flickr is great for reference images, the content is great, and often the photographs are of high resolution. Also Flickr supports the Creative Commons licencing, and user can choose to opt in if the wish, allowing their images to be used in commercial projects if the licence allows. Flickr is usually the first place I look and often does the trick.

Googling for photographs can also bring nice results, although it is very hit and miss, and often the images are of low resolution as these images are usually from webpages where they have been re-sized. Also anything gathered from Google will generally be under copyright, so you wont be able to use the images other than to look at.

Various other blogs exist that are useful for references. Just Google search for a blog, and one will surely come up, but here are a few I check regularly. Architecture Paste Book is almost like a digest of other blogs and websites, and provides you with a mix of subjects and styles. Although it isn't too useful if you have something specific you need to find, it can be great if you are looking for inspiration or new ideas. Design Boom is a mixed genre blog which I find inspiring to view. It can often lead you astray with interesting articles and fascinating designs, but that's half the fun with this blog, you are never sure what it'll take you too! Finally in this short list is Architonic. It nicely describes it's self as "The Independent Resource For Architecture And Design", and like Design Boom has a mixture of architecture and design, but Archit0nic is more structured and designed to be an aid to professionals, making it easy to search by manufacturer, designer, material to name a few.

I hope that gives an insight into why I think using photographic references in CG is so important, some of the on-line reference I find useful, and just a general overview too. This post has focused on what the web can bring to using photographic references, mainly because the web is so easy to use and will often give brilliant results, but don't also forget to surround your self with books and magazines and also pick up your camera and taking some pictures yourself!

Deano!

15/03/2012No Comments

Interactive Test 002

Here is another interactive test, this time with a more traditional exterior environment.

Click here to have a play around!

I wanted to keep the emphasis on the building it's self, but also to explore some of the nice features of Unity Pro, and to see whether it is worth the price, or whether to stick with Unity Free. Unity Free is brilliant, and I love the fact that you could build an entire game just using the free version if you wanted to. However the features that Unity Pro has that are missing in the free version, are the lovely, juicy bit we all love, such as real-time shadows and post-effects.

In Interactive Test 001, I built the scene using 3Ds Max, Vray and Unity Free. With this test, I used 3Ds Max and Unity Free, and a very small amount of Vray (only for the reflection cube maps). With Unity Free, you don't have real-time shadows, so all the light info has to be rendered to a separate pass, and don't get me wrong, this can often be a great way of achieving great results, but the time spent unwrapping objects, tweaking UVs, rendering, and then realising that something isn't right, and going back through the whole process again and again can be very long and tedious. With Pro, you have real-time shadows, which eliminates the need to bake lighting, but can give flatter results, due to lack of GI, but for exterior environments like this, I think the advantages of real-time lighting out-weighs the benefits of baking lighting and GI. I may do a test with the Interactive Test 001 scene with real-time lighting, and see how they compare. I'm guessing the real-time version won't look as nice, but, the time saved might be the key to making this process one that could be put into a production work-flow.

So far I have barely touched the surface of what Unity can offer, but already I think I am achieving nice results, that should run across many different PC, and other platforms too such as iOS and Android. I am finding it hard however to program in any features, but the Unity forums are great and answer pretty much any question, whether or not I understand the answer!

I also had a quick play with the built in tree editor (hence the crappy trees, I need more practice!), which again added some nice flexibility, and the fact that they slightly move with some added wind, makes them a nice little touch. I added a quick function to hide the trees also just in-case they killed any PCs (please let me know if you have any trouble with the file!) but this also made me realise how useful real-time shadows are, as when the trees are hidden, the shadows also hide, something that would be very tedious, although do-able, with baked lighting.

So, that's test 002 done, let me know what you think, what would be nice to add and to do, and whether or not you can brake it!

And before anyone asks, I really don't know if the Pro version is worth the extra cash over the free, I guess a few more tests and I might be able to tell you!

Updates will follow!

 

Deano

 

 

 

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