What Is Rendering
Cinema 4D for Creating Photorealistic 3D Visualisations
By Paul Doherty
'Vray' is a plugin which has been developed for many different 3D
software packages. In simple terms Vray is a virtual light simulator
combined with a virtual camera and an advanced material creator.
These materials can be customised to create any type of surface and
react to light in a very realistic way. Vray works in conjunction
with the 3D software and replaces its native render engine and
material editor allowing extremely high quality renders to be
Vray for Cinema 4D uses 'Tags' which are applied to lights, cameras
and geometry within the 3D environment. These Tags are mini managers
which give the user a multitude of extra options and settings and
tell the 3D package which elements are lights or cameras etc. The
camera tag for example allows the virtual camera to act as an SLR
camera. The camera Tag includes iso settings, F-stop, shutter speed
and vignetting effect etc, etc. Light tags allow the lights to
behave more realistically and include 'Physical sun and sky' with a
multitude of settings which can create very realistic lighting
The Vray bridge rendering dialogue box can be a bit intimidating to
new users compared to other rendering engines on the market which
rely on a less customisable setup. It is on the complicated side but
once mastered, extremely impressive results can be achieved. The
render settings dialogue requires an understanding of complex
terminology, and a lot of time to begin to understand how all the
settings affect the images produced. An understanding of photography
is helpful with the camera settings and an understanding of image
editing will speed the learning process.
Vray's main advantage over the many other rendering engines on the
market is it's fast render times. It uses global illumination and
raytracing to produce spectacular images in a fraction of the time.
It also includes the feature of 'network rendering' which allows
vray to connect to other computers over a network and utilise their
processors to render the image faster. Each processor is allocated a
'bucket' which is a small area of the image which is being
processed, 4 processors equals 4 buckets, so connecting to say 5
other quad-core pc's over a network means that the image has 24
buckets processing it at the same time. This obviously means much
faster render times, so when the deadlines are looming vray can help
you meet them on time.
The Use of 3D Visualisation in Advertising
By Paul Doherty
This is surely the age of technology based information, we are
utterly surrounded by it, moreover, we are deeply and inextricably
part of it; sharing information on the numerous blogs and the
cacophony of social media outlets. Advertising firms are well aware
of society's ever-growing need to access immediate information and
they tap into it relentlessly.
We are engulfed by advertising every minute of everyday, some get
lost in the bland fog of imagery pumped out by the advertising
machine, but on occasion there are a few glimmering moments that
shine through and succeed in their purpose; grabbing our attention.
In an attempt to stand out from the crowd, advertising agencies are
increasingly employing the talents of creative design agencies and
firms to help produce much more engaging means to communicate their
message and products. One very common approach is the use of 3D
Visualisation in advertising. For some, this is a bad case of using
technology for technology's sake, instead of taking the message and
using the most viable and effective means to communicate it.
When used right, there are some very advantageous reasons for the
use of 3D Visualisation in advertising. Logistics is the first that
springs to mind. To overcome the burden, cost and planning of a
photo-shoot on the far side of the globe, entire 3D scenes can be
produced and through the use of compositing and green screen
technology, actors or products can, in the right hands, be easily
That idea can quite literally be taken much further and used to
create 3D Visuals of new and exotic worlds and planets, for example
the Carling 'space nightclub' advert, or the O2 'thinking of you
The use of 3D Visualisation in advertising does not always have to
be about the creation of new or exotic settings; We are seeing an
increasing surge of advertising that uses 3D visuals of products,
either because the product is has not been released for mass
production, or to show animated inner workings in a way that real
life never could. This 'hyper real' approach, I personally believe,
a much more effective and astute reason for using 3D visuals in an
advertising campaign. It is using the technology for a concrete
reason, solving a real problem (for example: 'how do I show the
moving inner mechanics of a combustion engine using live recording
Evolve this further and we begin to touch on the creative realm of
advertising. Take Honda, Audi or Guinness' advertising. All three
employ the skills and creative flair of designers, 3D modellers and
animators to create a dynamic mix of 3D visuals and live action, or
exclusively 3D visualisation's on their own to produce exciting,
fresh approaches to showing their product, or the end-user
Of course, most of what I have mentioned above is based on
screen-based examples. The use of 3D visualisation in advertising is
also prevalent in print campaigns. To me this is a less intrusive
approach, and as with the screen based examples, does not have to
simply serve the purpose of displaying a product. Print based
advertising seems to allow 3D visuals to merge and sit in more
natural harmony, rendered 3D objects and shapes can be used as
graphical elements, or allow typography to take on a braver and
bolder (no pun intended) persona.
The use of 3D Visualisation in advertising is here to stay, and with
new emerging technologies like Augmented Reality and WebGL the use
of 3D visuals is going to increase. We will see some inspiring and
breathtaking developments but brace yourselves, because before that,
it is inevitable that there will be a blinding swarm of pointless,
vapid and banal manifestations as some companies clamber over each
other like an army of crabs trying to stick their claws in and use
the technology just because it is there.
Things the Advanced Sketchup User Should Know When Creating
Models for 3d Visualisation
By Paul Doherty
Google Sketch-up is a great modelling tool, complex models can be
produced in record time frames, although a drawback would be that
it's inbuilt rendering engine is very limited. It has no global
illumination or ambient occlusion options, the only lighting option
is either sun on or sun off.
Because of its limitations the best way to integrate Sketch-up into
a 3D visualisation work flow is to use it solely as a modelling
tool, then export the model to a separate 3D package for lighting
and rendering. But in using this work flow you will come up against
If you are modelling to export to an external 3D package you need to
be aware of exactly how the model is constructed in sketch-up before
the export stage. When modelling always try to avoid creating 'n-gons'
(n-gons are polygons with more than 4 sides) - these cause issues
when at the render stage and can make the surface react abnormally
to light. Always try to work in 'quads' (4 sided polygons) or
triangulate the mesh.
The best work flow for the material application stage is to apply
the materials in an external package but in order to do this you
need to firstly denote which materials go where in sketch-up first
before the model is exported. The way this is done is by giving
every surface which is to be of a certain texture a specific colour,
for example all the glass need to be the same colour, all the brick
needs to be the same colour etc. You need to also make all the
geometry to do with each material that particular colour - not just
the front polygon. Make sure to name the colours as e.g. glass. Then
when exporting the model you choose 'export by material'. When the
model is imported into the external rendering package the geometry
is then grouped by material and groups are named - brick, glass etc.
so material application becomes a breeze.
The geometry needs to be checked for the orientation of 'normals'
before export as well. 'Normals' refer to which direction the
polygons are facing - 'in' or 'out'. A speedy way to do this is to
set-up a 'reverse faces' short-cut in sketch-up switch to
'monochrome mode' and flip any faces which appear blue. This means
that the normals will appear correctly in the external package and
there will be no texture problems.
Glass can often cause issues when using this work flow, the best way
to avoid this is to always give the glass thickness - usually 5 to
10mm. Be sure to check that all the polygon normals on all 6 sides
of each pane face out (not just the external polygons) Happy
5 Photoshop Effects to Add to Your 3D Visualisation Images
By Paul Doherty
Naturally there are an infinite range of effects and post-processing
techniques you can apply to your 3D visualisation images and every
artist/designer has their own methods of creating these.
This list has been limited to 5 and selected to give a range of
effects that I personally use more frequently and that are
reasonably compatible with each other.
The most important thing to remember when applying any
post-processing effect in Photoshop is to create 'non-destructive'
effects. Non-destructive editing means you are altering and adding
visual effects to an image without changing the original image data,
meaning you can always return to it. There are two main ways to
achieve this in; Duplicating a layer 'control + J' or using
adjustment layers. Personally I prefer making a duplicate of my
original layer but it's up to you to find a way that works best for
you, and there really is no right or wrong here.
Ok, now on to the effects:
1. Increased contrast. For me the simplest way to achieve this is
using levels ('control + L' or 'command + L' on a Mac). Using the
black, grey and white pointers click and drag these around to alter
the percentage of the image in each tonal range (black pointer for
shadows, grey pointer for mid tones and the white pointer for
highlights). A good all round setting that I have found is to pull
both the black and white pointers in to the inside edge of the
numerical value box below each respective pointer; The numerical
value below the black pointer should be around 30 and the numerical
number under the white pointer around 223. This is a quick way to
add punch to your 3D visualisation images.
2. Colour Balance. Pressing 'Control + B' opens the colour balance
dialogue. At the bottom of this dialogue box there are three radio
buttons allowing you to select which tonal range to adjust; Shadows,
mid-tones or highlights. Simply click on these in turn and use the
sliders to increase or decrease the colour values to your liking.
3. Adding a vignette. Navigate to Filter > Distortion > Lens
Correction. A new dialogue box appears, quite simply click and drag
the Vignette slider until you are happy. Sliding to the right
creates a bright vignette, sliding to the left creates a subtle
shadow effect around the frame of your image, useful for drawing the
viewer into the focal point of your image.
4. Adding Depth of field. This gives additional focus depth to your
image, drawing focus to the predominant area of your 3D
Visualisation. The most effective means of creating depth of field
is to click on your channels palette and click new channel. Make
sure you now make your RGB channel visible so you can see what you
are doing. By using the gradient fill tool (Right click on the paint
bucket tool to toggle it on or off) and add a gradient of your
choice, radial or reflective. Now navigate to Filter > Blur > Lens
Blur. Use the Source drop down menu and select Alpha 1. If the area
of your image you want in focus is blurred out simply click the
Invert check box. Now you can adjust the Radius and Blur Focal
Distance sliders to achieve the desired result.
5. False H.D.R. This effect adds a false High Dynamic Range look to
your 3D visualisation image. Duplicate your image layer and rename
it Black and white. Make this layer grey-scale by pressing 'Control
+ Shift + U'. Now Invert this 'Control + I' and set the blending
mode to Overlay. Next navigate to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur and
increase the amount until there is a slight 'glow' to the edges of
your image. Now select your original layer and duplicate it again
and rename it 'Linear Light'. Click and drag this to the top of your
layer stack, set the blending mode to Linear Light and set the
opacity to something between 10-40%, whatever looks good.
As with any creative image production process, the final outcome
differs drastically from project to project. Various factors come
into play; is the project a personal piece created for fun, a
commercial piece with strict brief guidelines, is the final output
for print or screen based media, and numerous other deliverables
that will determine a specific style treatment or approach to your
work. The above effects and techniques allow you to experiment and
add a little more impact and post-processing punch to your 3D
Visualisation images. Just remember to give things context and
reason, and not just to apply an effect for effects sake.
What Is Rendering
''Where do architects and designers get their ideas?'' The answer, of
course, is mainly from other architects and designers, so is it mere
casuistry to distinguish between tradition and plagiarism?
A building is akin to dogma; it is insolent, like dogma. Whether or no it is
permanent, it claims permanence, like a dogma. People ask why we have no
typical architecture of the modern world, like impressionism in painting.
Surely it is obviously because we have not enough dogmas; we cannot bear to
see anything in the sky that is solid and enduring, anything in the sky that
does not change like the clouds of the sky.
Gilbert K. Chesterton
A doctor can bury his mistakes, but an architect can only advise his clients
to plant vines.
Frank Lloyd Wright
A modern, harmonic and lively architecture is the visible sign of an
A structure becomes architectural, and not sculptural, when its elements no
longer have their justification in nature.
Ah, to build, to build! That is the noblest art of all the arts. Painting
and sculpture are but images, are merely shadows cast by outward things on
stone or canvas, having in themselves no separate existence. Architecture,
existing in itself, and not in seeming a something it is not, surpasses them
as substance shadow.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
All architects want to live beyond their deaths.
All architecture is great architecture after sunset; perhaps architecture is
really a nocturnal art, like the art of fireworks.
Gilbert K. Chesterton
All fine architectural values are human vales, else not valuable.
Frank Lloyd Wright