20 Architectural renders that break the mold

I’m waiting for until true artists take those realistic renderers and start to explore them in ways that no arch-vis technician have ever dreamed of before. I’m waiting.
This is also my opinion.
In painting there is cubism, pointilism, expressionism etc, and the same is true of cinema, sculpture and photography. 3D cgi encompasses all these fields but has yet to find its own style and language. In the same way photography started by emulating painting, so cgi is emulating photography and cinema. It is still a new art form and still does not understand what it is capable of. It needs time and a visionary artist to do the deed, but it will come.

I can say Arch-vis renders can be boring at times, but they can be interesting if you try to add an artistic-type design to the exterior, layout, lights, and furnature, not just some boring everyday house.

I don’t disagree with the broad strokes of your argument Yves, but any passing tourist? they’re framed and exposed much better than that, but you’re right, any reasonable amateur photographer could produce these…

I guess my main point is that what fascinates me in archviz is not the archviz but the architecture… I don’t worry about how hard or easy it is to render, I don’t particularly care if it is photo real or not…

Archviz is one of those areas that has become stupidly easy to produce great lighting and material response “push button simple”…

the more I think about this the more the content is the star… strong archviz needn’t “showboat”…

The things i picked above were amongst the most exciting i could find, I found hundreds and hundreds of worse images… bad compositions, dull as ditchwater architecture, nasty nasty antiseptic sterile environments…

Almost all of those were very well executed, photo realistic, but they didn’t make my cut! i picked three images from about 250 that i looked at!

If they’re not good then what is?

I liked stompin toms Zaha Hadid picture because it is unusual and does have something… the architecture isn’t to my taste and i prefer some of her older schemes,

Try and find “mold” breaking archvis though… it’s almost impossible!

so what you’re saying is that the architecture in the archviz has to be goood

That’s why i started with an 18th century arch vis practitioner that truly broke the mold in my first post in this thread…

But lets not forget that Archvis is not the same as “fine art”, it is there to promote and sell architecture to clients and architects reputations to the architecture crowd… it’s there to look pretty in a big oversize coffee table book…

the actual art is all in the design and implementation of the architecture, it’s impact on the city, the people that use it how it enriches the world around it… that is why the pretty pictures are just vacant!

Of the 20 renders chosen here I’d say that maybe about 14 or so are absolutely stunning. It is very easy for people to criticize, in response to those people I would suggest they look at their own achievements in 3d and make a direct comparison. With rare exceptions, I haven’t seen too many image posts on BA that come at all close to the work mentioned here, artistically or otherwise.

Yes.
I missed a step. I am indeed talking about 3D rendering rather than specifically archiviz.
So I think they are high quality renders if their aim is to mimic (architectural)photography, but I think they also fail to be mould-breaking for their lack of originality in merely mimicing an art form that we already have.

Michael W: It is that synergy that you mentioned earlier that is missing in most of the arch-vis renders. I don’t know how those arch-vis are produced. It might be done by some render technician in the architects offices or something. Or it might be that the architect himself did it but he fell outside of his confort zone. I don’t know. What I know is that I have a small collection of oversize coffee table architecture books in my bookshelves and I truely like to look at them. And I think it all amount to that synergy. That is the architecture is great but the photos were captured by great photographers who dedicated their art to photographing architecture and perfected that art by doing so for so long. The combination of the two talent creates that synergy and makes entertaining documents.

I like this argument when it comes out. Good try.

With rare exceptions, I haven’t seen too many image posts on BA that come at all close to the work mentioned here, artistically or otherwise.

While I generally agree with this observation (and there are good and less good reasons for this state of affair), I fail to see how this argument makes the vast majority of the arch-vis around better looking and more artistic.

I guess it’s also important to draw a distinction between pre-visualisation vs rendering what’s already built. For capturing buildings that already exist, CG visualisers are at an enormous disadvantage, compared to a photographer who can be in the space, feel how it is to be there, notice details in context, see how the light changes over time and how it interacts with the space, the shadows and shapes that it creates. Also importantly, photographers are much more open to serendipty - the accidental encounters and things that you might find just by chance, by being in the space at the right place at the right time and seeing something in an interesting or novel way.

I’m not sure if it will ever be possible for cg operators to experience that depth of sensation and interaction without actually being in the space. When all they have to work with is artificial, it’s natural that what comes out of it can feel artificial too.

As well as this, I don’t know what proportion of CG arch vis operators are trained in architecture or not (I’d suspect that some may have come from visual art/technical backgrounds), but many of the good architectural photographers that I know of at least have architectural experience or training. This allows them to speak to the architect about their intentions for the space in their own language, or understand it intuitively by looking at it in situ with a critical eye, capturing the essence of the space. If CG archvis people are mostly trained in how to make things look good using the technology, then you may well get results that look good, but without much substance or depth. I suppose that’s not any different to a photographer without architectural knowledge, but perhaps so far there have been more photographers than CG artists with architectural backgrounds, enough to raise the standards at the top end of the medium.

though it does have some merit, but im not calling you out or anything. i dont want this to turn into a stupid pissing contest. show me, dont tell me, though. are there any images in the arch. viz field that have caught your interest emotionally/mentally/viscerally/whatever?

i agree that synergy is very important: you can render garbage but its still garbage, or you could make the most boring rendering of (drop favorite piece of architecture here).

true, the subject is the architecture, naturally. but what tourist is gonna capture that atmosphere? although Hadid is far from my favorite architect, the way the architecture is represented here is more than just a snapshot of a model, it does get a response.

so. in that vein, it would be interesting to compare a) renderings of beautiful/crazy/unreal projects that fail to live up to the project and, probably harder but more interesting, b) good renderings/images of the mundane.

i think the art in arch. viz, as it is with much of photography, is, like broken says, that familiarization with the space, the light and all its moods and how those moods can be communicated through the image and different non-literal aspects of the design revealed.

i agree, with the onset of Maxwell there has been a whole wave of obsession with photorealistic, unbiased, physically-correct renderings, most of which arent all that great once you get past the realism. most of what ive seen doesnt even come close to some of the images they were using to promote Maxwell before its first official release. those were some images that sold me on their content and effect, not on their physical-correctness.

but thats beside the issue here, were not discussing the validity of arch. viz, just what constitutes ‘good’ arch. viz or ‘breaking the mold’. put beside the hordes of uninspired living room furniture exhibitions, they do break the mold because they are aspiring to something greater than just physically-correct and GI-filled shinyness.

Mmm, this is not meant as been directed at your self or anything, more retorical.

Do you have an opinion on politics, do you critize one party or another? Yet probably never run as a political candidate?

Do you have an opinion on music? Do you like some music but dislike others, critize certain bands? But do you play an instrument and a member of a band/group?

Do you like certain authors and types of books but not others, do you critize/critique yet not written your own novel?

Do you like certain films and dislike others, critize/critique others. yet never produced/directed a movie?

The answers are probably the same as mine and most other people here, we all have an opinion, we all have our likes and dislikes and no one should be concerned about voicing their opinion either? :slight_smile:

I’m firmly with StompinTom on this, and I couldn’t disagree more with Yves.

In fact, I suspect Yves’ objection to be partly explained by a lack of understanding of the process that goes into doing these images - forgive me if I’m wrong.

Pictures like Alex Roman’s are the fruit of both extraordinarily hard work and keen artistic sense. The first is a fact, the second is my opinion. That they are CG is almost incidental since they would be just as valid as works of art if they were photos.

I think there’s a tragic, but astonishingly widespread, misunderstanding surrounding photorealism in CG, which is the assumption that modern renderers have made things too easy for artists. It’s almost become an ideological discussion.

The opposite is true. The tools give you the capacity to achieve photorealism, yet very few people do so. This is because creating a perfectly credible lighting scenario or a perfectly nuanced and balanced material is a feat that requires tons of work and years of experience. If it were otherwise, how would you explain that the vast majority of works done with these tools are still crap? The vast amount of sub-par Arch-Viz work being produced these days is in fact a testament to the difficulty of the task. Creating the perfect concrete or wood flooring material is about a lot more than picking a texture projection and pressing render. And this is not surprising because the same applies to photography, which is why no tourist, regardless of the camera he has, could come anywhere near the great architectural photographs. Ever.

Sure, the quest for absolute realism, down to emulating the imperfections of cheap lenses no-one in the photography business would ever use, has its ridiculous side. But the notion that CG has no value unless it shows fantasy art, sci-fi or Pixar-like cartoony characters is just as fallacious. You may prefer one style over another but it is a question of taste, nothing objective.

That entire post is simply brimming with eloquence. I couldn’t agree more.

I prefer a “crap looking” 3d art that is really innovative and original, than photo-realistic boring 3d art any day.

For me what really excites me , in the imaginative part, not the technical part.

I am not questioning the fact that photorealism is hard work, but I am not questioning the fact that originality is hard work as well.

You can believe that if you whish so. But you are wrong.

The tools give you the capacity to achieve photorealism, yet very few people do so. This is because creating a perfectly credible lighting scenario or a perfectly nuanced and balanced material is a feat that requires tons of work and years of experience. If it were otherwise, how would you explain that the vast majority of works done with these tools are still crap? The vast amount of sub-par Arch-Viz work being produced these days is in fact a testament to the difficulty of the task. Creating the perfect concrete or wood flooring material is about a lot more than picking a texture projection and pressing render. And this is not surprising because the same applies to photography, which is why no tourist, regardless of the camera he has, could come anywhere near the great architectural photographs. Ever.

I have reead this over and over and I still fail to see where we disagree. It seems that this is what I’m saying too. The tools for photorealism are there but very few people are capable of using them to produce really interesting images. And as a consequence, the photoreal images we get to see are plain and boring. The skills required to use those rendering tools in an artistic way require much more skills than just pressing the render button. Yet we see a lot of photoreal renders where the artist have simply setup the scene, the camera, slapped a few preset materials and a lighting rig and pressed render and then post that around to showcase their immense talent. A lot of people think that doing that gives them talent. We know this is not so and that talent takes way much more time and effort.

Bertrand, you are one of the few who, IMO, really try to break the mold. Some of your renders are really good looking with a strong artistic research while some other are OK and yet some other are boring (maybe your earliest ones? Well I have the right to assume too). Some of your renders, that falls more in the “nature morte” category, are realy good looking by the way you play with light and reflections. Keep up the good work is all I can say. And don’t take this discussiopn as a personal critique or attack.

When you post something like this, you need to explain why you think they’re amazing. Who are you?? You can’t just pick anything from the net, post them, state that they’re perfect and not even bother to add captions on each. This is all subjective… WHY do you think this and that breaks the mold?

Yves, thanks for your considered reply (and for the flattering comments).

So perhaps we agree after all.

I certainly take your point about the use of presets and ready-made models.
I often find myself wondering how many images in the ton of daily submissions on evermotion show scenes that were actually modelled by the artist, including all the furniture and fittings. It seems a lot of people just play around, poser-like, with commercial assets. Which is fine, I guess, but not inspiring unless one’s a real lighting genius.

Coming from photography and traditional art originally I guess what I like about the advanced rendering engines is that they’ve put the artist back in the driving seat. The simpler and more powerful they get, the more artistic (composition, colour, modelling, design, etc.) skills you need to really make the difference. Just the way a great Leica camera is not the same depending on which hands play with it.

A couple of links:

http://events.animationblogspot.com/2009/02/06/imagina-the-maturation-of-architectural-visualization/

http://www.imagina09.com/content/The-4-sectors-architecture/the_4_sectors_architectureUK.php

A quick quote regarding arch animations::

With successful, cutting-edge examples from viz studios Tronic, Squint/Opera, and March, the issue was raised of the importance of narrative in the work. Common architectural visualization work consists of rendering simplistic walk-throughs and fly-overs of projected designs, with little utilization on cinematic tradition and vocabularies. The use of narrative as a means to strengthen the work while creating empathy and emotion was discussed. Matthew Knox’s collegiate architectural design studios, utilizing cinematic narrative to investigate and communicate architectural design, were shown as a beacon and waypoint for the field. The importance of intentional abstraction over photorealism was stressed, as the current reliance on global illumination rendering has created a homogenization of the visualization field. Lastly, films from Wim Wenders were raised to illustrate the masterful use of creating psychological space from physical space.

I don’t know about you guys (I didn’t read the thread) but arch-viz renders, when done correctly look amazing and inspire me, well to be honest a building which isn’t so inspiring, no matter how well rendered wouldn’t really inspire me, but some of the projects that you see, just making thing of how amazing it would be if buildings like that were actaully put into commision, some of the renders on that website were impressive becuase of the renderer, they were impressive becuase of the designs themselves, well that is my opinion.