Bump etc. only go so far. A good example is bricks. Maybe some programs
can create bumps on edges, but in most of what I've seen, if only bumpmaps
are used (displacement is, as far as I know, just a procedural bump map,
not an actual surface deformer), the edge of the building doesn't look at
all like brick - it's just the same old knife-edge thing.
That annoys me.
So for my current exercise, I'm making "panels" based upon a particular
brick texture. I spent some time counting bricks on the sides of local
places, and it seems to go 30 bricks vertically for a one story house.
(I'll eventually just go buy some differnt bricks and measure them). So
each panel will be 30 bricks in height and have a corresponding real-life
texture. I can then use the panels to assemble the exterior.
THat way, at the corners, it will look like bricks, not that typical knife-
WHich is something else that bugs me. I like to use either the Chamfer
tool or the Fillet tool to soften corners, because in real life, building
edges can't cut paper.
Molding is another item where the corners and edges are telling.
The thing is that I got started by doing buildings for a game project (that
went belly-up due to lack of management, but that's another story). They
wanted things that would look right from any camera angle. I found early
on that sometimes, modeling is the only satisfactory way to go.
Also, there are instances where light and shadow simply don't interact with
"fake bumps" in the same way they interact with a modeled object. It's
like trompe l'ouil <?sp?>. The eye is fooled for only so long.
If it's creating profile, it isn't doing bump or the hot new normal mapping.
It would have to be doing displacement mapping.
They told you wrong. Displacement moves geometry. I think Splutterfish has
some good pictures...
You can really see the occlusion.
Oh! Okie Dokie, thanks! I'll certainly look into this in more depth.
(Interesting image BTW)
Well, the thing is that I like to do one model, and be able to have all
views from it - all angles and distances - be taken from it, as opposed to
making multiple models. If I need (or want) to have "innards", it's all
the same model - for one thing, I like to be able to see through the
windows. I know they can be painted planes with a shiny finish, tho', and
that satisfies most folks.
I understand that Modern Times emphasize fast and faster, but I've been
looking around to see whether there is still a niche for Detail Work.
OK, so, to make a short story long, it might help you understand if you
knew that, before my hands got trembly (a separate long boring saga), I
used to do pen-and-ink work ("wildlife art", in my case meaning birds adn
occasionally insects) using a 0.01mm-tip KohINoor pen, and under a
magnifying glass; a couple of professional artists saw some of my old work
and told me that I "needed" <!> to do it professionally, but the hands just
don't work they way they used to. I also used to so something similar with
oil paints on eggs, started as sort of a variation on the Ukrainian/Slavic
traditions of Easter egg decoration. At any rate, so, I'm a detail freak -
it's something of a sickness if you go by what other folks and the "medical
professionals" have told me, esp. since I also tend to be a perfectionist
when I decide to actually do something. ((Of course, I otherwise have the
attention span of a gnat and all the social graces of a carrot, tho' I'm
better than I used to be.)) Although the detail obsession made me a superb
analyst (since I was able to pick up on things that others thought
insignificant), I've yet to find any other earthly use for it - most poeple
I've come across just think it's annoying and, well, stupid because it's
not efficient, and tell me to "relax" <?> - but it's more of an unfortunate
compulsion than a choice. It's not "unfair" and it's not "everyone else's
fault" or any of that sort of crap - it's just how Life goes sometimes.
So, realistically, I also understand that I might (OK, will probably) end
up doing my 3D as just an insignificant hobby rather than professionally,
tho' I might possibly be able to sell a few models here and there,
buildings and/or landscapes etc. for Poser folks, or something like that;
I'll eventually put a few houses and whatnot up on a commercial "3D
consignment" site I know of, and see what happens. The thing is that the
3D (etc.) is what I do, and is what I will do, regardless of whether it's
for $$ or merely as a hobby. I love modeling buildings and their surrounds
- obviously, since I'm willing to forgo other things so as to plunk savings
down on a faster computer - and that's just how it is, tho' I might try to
expand a bit into critters. I do creative things because, regardless of
whether they are or are not good enough to sell, I'm not able to *not* do
them. So there ya go <fake theatrical sob!!>, my sad sad story <LOL!>
It'll be easier once I get a decent computer. My current graphics machine
is only a measly 1GHz Athlon Thunderbird with 1.5 GB RAM (tho' Win98 only
"sees" 999KB of it) :p . My Solstice <G!> present will prob. be a dual-
core Athlon FX-57 with 4 GB Ram and an NVidia *7800 video card, which will
make work and esp. renders go much faster. ((Plus be a heck of a lot of
fun!)) I'm also finally able to start getting back to my Webpage (well,
once I finish hleping with beta-testing a plug-in a fellow wrote for the 3D
will be better than what I had been trying, make a more "active" interface.
But I digress as usual...
So that's the story behind my High-Poly-Modeling.
I like it when I see it. IMO it's esp. important when I'd playing with
doing adobe-type of other "hand made look" things - I've been wanting, for
example, to model that mud Musque in, what, Timbuktoo I think, I saw it on
television and need to get some images to reference. Can't have knife-
edges on something that's been made and smoothed by hand.
Poeple have long recognized that textures can't be "too perfect", but it's
also true that computer-generated edges are often "too perfect". In this
respect, I think hand-drawn structures are often better. ((Plus as I've
mentioned, IMO at least some are in themselves an Art).
True. My own compulsion doesn't extend to what is not seen, only to what
can/will be seen at some point.
Anyway, thanks for that info re: Displacement - I'm going to go look into
it more closely. (Did I just make a pun...?)
Gadzooks! How old is it? My early 1990's one is a Pentium 450 MHZ...
Heh, you gotta stand some kids at road intersections with cans for The
Gruhn Relief Fund ;)
((That just comes to mind because one odd thing here is that the busiest
intersections are manned all day by people asking for $$. Everything from
people claiming to be homeless, to kids with the perennial "help our school
'cuz we can't milk more taxes outta you" campaigns.))
Got it when I came to PHX. 1998. It is a dual. re: your _early_ 90s 450,
somebody here is not remembering at least one number correctly.
I got my 486-33 in.. no earlier than 1990 I think. Right when the DX2-66s
were turning out to be broken.
see here: http://www.nist.gov/public_affairs/licweb/chiphist.htm
http://www.pcguide.com/ref/cpu/fam/g4I486DX-c.html April 1989. The 33 in May
When I got my 33 it was "getting old" and the DX2-66s were out but as noted
starting to oops. The timing's about right.
Note that back then something like the 486, especially with it's onboard
math proc. would have been "oh no, normal people don't need those. Servers
only." and that would have been "true" and actually observed for some time.
Somebody else will have to check, but the P5 would have still been rumour at
that point I _think_. (One google hit says 1993.)(Fall back to the "oh no,
servers only" argument)
I remember Range and me standing around outside the office on Kildare Farm
(:. 1993, 1994) talking about the almost afordable 1gig drives and how
luxurious those 3giggers just coming out sounded. I bought a maybe 320 Meg
jobbie around that time. Drove all the way to Greensboro to git it.
Are you sure about that 40G in '95? My dual 300 killer five grand machine in
1998 came with 6Gig.
That's a useful number of rams. I'm not sure any machine in this office here
has over a Gig. This very machine is 1 Gig. I think the newer one is only
haffagig. (The extra just isn't needed for what it's doing.)
See what I mean? You musta meant 40Meg.
I play with the 3d tools. 3d still will eat as much machine as we can throw
Yeah, but you also said you like to collect them. That I can see. I jsut
don't understand how someone can work on them. Well, OK, basic word
.....OTOH I *am* a graphics weenie <LOL!>
"Whaddaya mean I can only get teo measly GB of RAM with your Athlon dual-
core systems?!?! I'm going to look elsewhere!"
What can I say, I really do have to laugh at myself sometimes <G!>
Depends upon a lot of factors though. If you're far enough away it won't
matter. I'd suggest before you reinvent the wheel you look into how other
people handle it. (Just do a search of the Autodesk groups)
If you model it you're going to add significant modelling time and you're
rendering times will go up as well (as they will with a displacement map).
If you're going to render an animation than you'll be screwed! A short 60
second animation has ~1440 images, the more complex your lighting and
modelling solution is the longer each one will take. Even at a low
resolution it's fairly common to have a "render farm" do it overnight. If
you're not careful you could end up with something that takes 3
minutes/frame, which will take 20 days to render! Then, once finished you
realize there's a minor change or tweak necessary and you've got to
re-render the whole thing!
A good learning exercise, but almost every job will be different so don't
expect to be able to pop in panels. Bricks come in lots of different
sizes/shapes/coursing so you need to know how to do it for each job.
Add some "noise" to the map (try a "smoke" map scaled appropriately to make
it look more natural - slightly warped) and you can make it less "cartoony"
looking (if you really want to get REAL you could add a simple nailhead
bumpmap that's randomly repeated every 16" or so. The thing is, to make it
truely likelike does take time, and some projects (most?) don't need that
level of detail nor does the budget allow for it.
Another "trick or the trade" for Architectural Rendering is to only do what
you have to. For example, that means don't model the entire interior for an
exterior rendering. Sometimes things have to be "faked" rather than done
right, which doesn't make it wrong, as long as the output meets (or ideally
exceeds) the expectations of the client.
Yep. Radiosity is a great thing, but sometimes even that requires
"fakeosity" to look perfect.
Well, technically, yeah, you're right. It also depends upon screen
OTOH, any work - whether it's an architectural illustration, or a movie, or
a painting, or any other visual work - is supposed to draw the viewer into
its world, and allow the viewer to suspend disbelief. However, for this to
be done successfully, the work must be Internally Consistent. If it sets
up a certain internal logic, it has to abide by its own logic.
So, let's say one models a structure that is an elongated inverted U of
brick, and "inside" that another inverted U of glass panes divided by small
protrusions of concrete, and inside that another inverted U again of brick,
and the glass U is set in from the others. The sun is at an angle that
shows the changes of depth. But let's say this depth is created using bump
So, the front view looks fine, all well and good. But the client asks you
to rotate the model to show what the sides look like - and suddenly, all
those depth changes disappear and the edges are all flush and sharp.
The "world" of the image is internally in-consistent. And the result is
crap. Doesn't matter how far away the camera view is. The inconsistency
is there and also, it fails to show what the thing will actually look like.
Now, the *client* might not realize this right off the bat - after all, the
entire, the only, reason one presents 3D or perspective views is quite
simply that the vast majority of people do not have good *2D* visualization
abilities, never mind 3D.
However, the modeler should know better. It's the modeler's responsibility
to do better than the average person.
Now, one can argue that the client won't notice if a whole-structure view
doesn't show a slight ripple/"nubbiness' indicating bricks at the edge.
OK, maybe that's "good enough". I don't know. All I know is that it
wouldn't be good enough *for me* - meaning, if I did my render and all I
saw was knife-edges, it's bother me a lot because that wouldn't be how the
thing actually looks (or would look).
Even if one is modeling a SciFi scene, the rules of Internal Consistency
still hold. Sure, there are movies that get put out where things get
skipped over, and sure, probably most audience members don't notice - so
it's "good enough". But *I* see them. I've seen it in any number of
films, even some big-budget films, and it feels in my brain the same way
fingernails on a blackboard sound. It makes my teeth hurt.
What looks "fake" is having a textured (brick, clapboard, etc.)
siding/envelope illustrated, or something with stringcoursing, etc., and
then seeing those knife-edge corners in the renders. That's what's in my
old renders I'm sad to say, and I've been deciding whether to go back and
re-work everything I wanted to load up onto my website, because it really
irritates me. But what's far worse is that I've also seen that in renders
that are supposed to be professional. What can I say, it's just something
that bugs me <shrug>.
Anyhoo, I have to look into those displacement shaders...
It can be a very good wage, it also can be a crappy wage. Depends upon how
your pay is structured (i.e. hourly, per project, a combination, etc.) If
you charge on a per project basis what happens when the cliet wants to make
changes? What happens when the changes never end? I'd recommend charging a
flat fee (say for 4 still images) and then an hourly rate for any additional
changes, supplimental views, etc.
When I said "mechanical" i guess I meant a bunch of different things. To
clarify, forget "mechanical" and let's use the term "non architectural"
(that way it'll include CAD/CAM, manufacturer renderings, game rendering,
etc.) Basically, architectural renderings tend to serve a different purpose
than some of the others. A solid understanding of what makes a rendering
successfully for the client and their application is important (i.e. an
Architect wants accurate lighting, especially if you're doing daylight
studies. A developer OTOH wants an appealing picture to show
investors/buyers and total realism isn't as important. So if one side of
the building is going to be perpetually dark because next to it is a 10
story office tower, the Architect might want it shown with the dark side
while the developer wants to make his project as nice looking as possible.
Clear as mud?
People in renderings..... that's a whole discussion by itself. Some people
love em, some hate em. People can give a better sense of scale but there's
other ways to (i.e. vehicles, trees/plants, furniture, camera height/angle,
etc.) What makes a building rendering "architectural" is that the building
is rendered in such a way as to show off the building. That means sometimes
"fudging" the lighting, showing/not showing landscaping (i.e. don't show
that tree right in front of the house! Well, unless you screen it or just
outline it), etc. Entourage is the term for this "fluff" but like lighting,
it can make or break a rendering.
When I first got Viz I wanted to learn it from the standpoint of eventually
offering rendering services to my clients. I worked through some tutorials
to get a feel for just the basics and then decided to try a "real" job for
free. I talked to one of my Architect clients and explained what I wanted
to do, and asked him for a CAD file of a project that I hadn't worked on (I
wanted something to work on where I'd have to ask the right questions). In
exchange for him answering my questions I'd give him any renderings I did
free of charge. He sent me the file for his personal cabin (which actually
worked great because it was a small building but very high level of detail
and custom elements). I worked through modeling and rendering it and
learned a lot. Unfortunitely I had to move on to paying work before I ever
got it finished but it was a great learning experience. Another one of my
early renderings was for a pergola, very simplistic modeling but it allowed
me to really play with lighting and materials (this also was done for free
for one of my projects). All told, I rendered 3 of my projects (I was doing
design/construction documents for the projects) for free. The clients all
loved them (and when it's free they can't complain that they wanted green
carpeting when I was showing it brown!). This was a great way for me to
learn rendering while also being able to add them to my portfolio and also
"advertise" my work to the Architect/Builder/Homeowner (one of the renders I
did was for basement remodel and the homeowners put up the rendering on the
wall of the basement so the subs and all their friends could see what the
finished space was going to look like). Free work is a great way to learn,
it's also great "advertising" but it isn't going to pay your bills this
week, so for some people it might not be an option.
Yep. "Rumor" has it that a couple years ago she had a problem (IIRC,
Autodesk(?) used one of her renderings in a magazine ad without her
permission). Anyway, I think of rendering like photography. My mom takes
snapshots, but the goal should be to take pictures you'd want to blow up,
frame and hang on your living room wall. The "subject matter/model" is the
same but the lighting, lens, focus, framing of the subject, background, etc,
etc, all makes the difference.
Yep. I don't follow the Viz groups very frequently but when I'm working on
a project there's no better place to go to get feedback and help. I don't
know if Ted and Daniel still hang out there but there's nothing like being
able to ask the author a question about something in one of their books
(Google "Ted Boardman" or "Daniel Douglas" to see some of the best books
written on 3D modeling and rendering).
True. One thing to keep in mind though is that a lot of factors effect the
finished rendering (i.e. fee, how it's going to be used, time alloted, etc.)
Fran's work is amazingly real (look at the coffee stains on the inside of
her mug) but she also tends to spend more time on them. Michael (CDI) and
Fermi are doing this stuff day in and day out so their work is maybe a
better example of actual professional work being done. Their stuff doesn't
normally look as appealing as Fran's but it's also done in 1/3 the time and
tends to serve a different purpose (i.e. for a developer who's going to have
it blown up to put on a billboard or large jobsite sign).
OK, here's some of my "portfolio" bookmarks (in no particular order):
http://www.kitchensinkstudios.com/ - Annoying flash site but great
http://www.vize.com/ - Slow slide show but nice work
If that doesn't keep you busy for a while look at:
http://www.cgarchitect.com/default.asp - Sort of the "portal" to start at
if you're not sure what you're looking for. Lots of good links to anything
to do with CG (textures, models, portfolios, tutorials, etc).
Is that any help?
Or, alternately, and I've no idea at all whether this is any help, but my
3D prog is supposed to be able to open, and save, DWG. If you want, I can
send a msg with an attached DWG file and, if you can open and edit it,
maybe I can try to open and then save the DWG you were sent...? Or would
it be a problem since I'd be exporting it from a 3D prog rather than from a
2D prog...? Anyhoo, if you want to try it out, let me know.
Sorry, the only other idea I can think of is to scan it and then save it
I'm not quite sure how you are using the term "designer". Are you
using in regards to the pure aesthetic design of the building? All
architects are designers in some sense. Sometimes specialty in certain
aspects occur due to someones specific skills that have developed over
time. It all depends.
Example: When my firm does a project in the US, we typically will do
ALL of the documents, from Concept all the way through Construction
Documents. This is pretty standard. So we cover the range of what the
building "looks like" and presentation drawings to how it's actually
put together and constructed.
OTOH, when we do a project in another country we will typically only
take the drawings from Concept thru to Design Development, with a local
architect or contractor doing the Construction Documents. Usually due
to different local standards found in each said country which would
make it nearly impossible to do the technical documents from the US.
In this case we are considered the "Design" architect. This
specialization has also happened on some US projects, usually due to
certain expertise on a particular type of project that the client is
doing. You'll see this happen on large mixed-use projects where there
are many different building types involved in one development. You'll
sometimes see a firm brought in that specializes in doing say Hotels,
Retail, or Office. In that case, different design firms will be
working and coordinating together.
We also work with many other consultants who are "designers". Such as
landscape, lighting, interiors, and enviromental graphics. You name
it, every project is different. In the case of these types of
designers, they usually fall under our scope of work contractually. In
other words, they have been contracted by us, to coordinate with us.
Just trying to clarify what you are asking when you use the term
Designer. Hope I haven't added confusion to your question.
Concerning 3D visualization. In my particular case, 3D design is part
and parcel of everything I do. There is not a project I work on that
some form of 3D isn't done. In Concept and Schematic design we
typically do all of our own 3D and visualizations. In certain
instances we will go "out of house" if we need a really "fancy" 3D
rendering done. Usually at the specific request of the client, or we
are just too damn busy to do it ourselves. I remember a different
thread covering this topic a while back in this group. Everybody seems
to have their own "process" on how they design, so I'm sure you'll get
many different answers. This is just my particular corner of it. Hope
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