Visualising the future of arch viz
3D software aiding visualisation artists is at a critical milestone. adam Barnes explores how technology and arch viz go hand in hand
take a look at any industry affected by the ever-changing technology of 3D software and it’d be tough to get a clear grasp on the things that are important across the board. What a VFX artist expects from their pipeline of tools is completely different to a videogame developer. Even needs within teams change – animators want their software and plugins to empower them in ways that lighting artists won’t, for instance.
Architectural visualisation, on the other hand, conjures an opposing sense of static stoicism, not unlike the very structures these 3D scenes are representing. For an industry arguably more reliant on photorealism than any other, it’s easy to see – perhaps mistakenly – how an end could be in sight. It might feel like there’s nowhere else for technology to take architectural visualisation, but in fact this niche of 3D artistry is heading into some dramatic and far-reaching changes.
“Architectural visualisation is fundamental to the design process, right from concept design stages through to detailed design,” explains Gamma Basra, the head of visualisation at
Foster + Partners. Like many of the world’s biggest architectural firms, the British studio has its own arch-viz team in-house that works on the projects internally. “Visualisations can help
communicate nebulous design ideas at the early stages of concept design, but also help towards the end of a project or at key milestones for presentation material.” But while the layman might have an idea of what ‘visualisation’ is, it’s actually far more eclectic than you might realise. Some may focus on marketing materials, for example, clear and concise messages to future owners of the intended lifestyle of the property. Others work with the architects themselves, getting creative with post-production or other techniques to help sell a dream of the building, rather than its reality, and with it win bids.
“For illustration work we like to leave a substantial amount of time between our first ‘discovery’ phase and our subsequent approval phase,” says Keely Colcleugh, CEO and founder of La-based Kilograph. “This allows us to implement the look and feel, develop our models sufficiently, and experiment with lighting, materials and compositions that really sell the project.”
Kilograph is a big name in the field, one of many specialised studios working with architectural firms to help them produce the necessary communicative visualisations. As creatives working with an architect’s vision, achieving something that all parties are happy with requires a degree of delicacy and subtlety. “Rolling clients in before sufficient creative work has been done never serves the outcome,” admits Colcleugh. “We do most of our development early on. This wouldn’t be possible without a well-crafted creative brief and look-and-feel investigations up front.”
And that is perhaps the greatest way to understand the purpose of arch viz – it isn’t always to impress with its realism or astound with bombast, but instead to enable an architect simply to express the ‘look and feel’ of their design, to tell a story of what the building will represent. The capabilities of 3D software and the technology that ties it all together is naturally a defining aspect of how this story is told.
We are constantly looking for new ways of representing architecture and urban design Keely colcleugh ceo and founder of Kilograph
By heading towards a more interactive experience, arch viz will be as much about creating believable spaces as it will be about imagination 3D artist gastón suárez pastor uses both substance and corona in his work