THE REAL-TIME REVOLUTION
Pierre Maheut, strategy director of architecture and design at Allegorithmic, explains why Substance is becoming integral to visualisation artists
SUBSTANCE HAS BEEN USED IN GAME DEVELOPMENT FOR YEARS, BUT WHAT IS IT THAT IS MAKING IT POPULAR IN ARCHITECTURAL VISUALISATION NOW?
For years there has been a larger revolution going on within arch viz where game technologies and real-time pipelines have become more important to the workflow. When teams look to the leaders in that field, they find us. And since PBR material creation (or sourcing) is now more important to them, we are able to meet that need in a visually appealing way. Most of the time we are replacing Photoshop, which can be an amazing tool for retouching, but not for PBR material creation.
VIDEOGAMES NEED TO BALANCE REALISM WITH TECHNICAL RESTRICTIONS, BUT ARCH VIZ DOESN’T NECESSARILY SUFFER FROM THIS. HOW DOES SUBSTANCE CATER TO THIS GREATER FIDELITY?
We are at a point where so many industries are using
Substance – over 150,000 users – that the product developments tend to have ripples far outside of their original focus. The one thing everyone likes is realism though, so when we create toolsets that produce higher and higher quality outputs, let’s say for film and game audiences where this is essential, other markets like architecture that also care about photorealism can build these benefits back into their work.
WHAT CHANGES HAVE OCCURRED IN THE ARCH-VIZ INDUSTRY THAT HAVE GUIDED THE WAY YOU DEVELOP SUBSTANCE?
One of the biggest revolutions in arch viz right now is the rise of real-time experiences. With Unreal you can create hyper-realistic experiences, images or movies in a few seconds compared to the several hours it used to take with offline renderers. When you combine this capability with a VR headset, adding immersivity and a ‘real-scale’ feeling, the design becomes even better.
HOW IS SUBSTANCE ALCHEMIST GOING TO HELP, SPECIFICALLY, THE ARCH-VIZ ARTIST?
Most arch-viz teams want some version of simple and powerful. Substance Alchemist is both. Using Substance Alchemist, arch-viz artists will be able to explore a large selection of Substance materials, easily create presets, generate variations based on mood board images, and mix or blend materials to create their own libraries very quickly. We call it ‘augmented material creation’ and right now, it’s about as simple as it gets for photorealistic materials.
WHAT DO YOU FEEL IS THE MOST INTERESTING OR INNOVATIVE ASPECTS OF FUTURE TECH, BEYOND YOUR OWN, TO LOOK OUT FOR?
I’m fortunate because I get to see the future being implemented/considered through the work of our development team. Ai-based algorithms will be a turning point for 3D artists. This is why we are working on applying artificial intelligence to augmented material creation in our upcoming product, Substance Alchemist. I’m also curious to see how 3D scanning and photogrammetry evolve, since that evolution will directly change how arch-viz artists create their work.
WHAT DO YOU IMAGINE TO BE THE FUTURE OF ARCHITECTURAL VISUALISATION?
The future of arch viz will refocus everything on the unique capability of arch-viz artists to magnify the work of the architects, providing the right emotion, mood and story in a more immersive and interactive way. It will be a true 360-degree experience, covering storytelling, interaction, usage scenario and co-creation.