Indoor/Outdoor Architecture/Engineering Animation

Hello all,

I’m working on an animation, the purpose of which is to show design intent for the HVAC equipment for a building. The animation starts outside the building and will go “inside” the building, although the facade won’t be there so it’ll just be the floor floating in space, and some interior walls.

The point isn’t artistry or real-lifeness, but to clearly communicate the design to non-engineers. I’m looking for feedback in two categories, but any/all critique’s are extremely welcome:

-Lighting strategies that work and will render fast enough to be able to put together an animation. I’m worried that I’m not going to be able to put something together that will be able to crank out 1000+ frames in a day or two.
-General critiques and advice in terms of visual communication/composition. I’m no artist, I’m just a dumb engineer.

I’m running into a few specific issues that if anyone has guidance on, I am all ears. I’m also all ears on any feedback whatsoever you guys have for me.

  • When I just have the mechanical equipment turned on, Cycles seems to render things pretty snappily. But when I turn on the floors or interior walls, the render time blows up to get to a decent level of quality. There is no detail to my floors, they’re just diffuse materials: I don’t understand why it takes Cycles so long to render them the way I have them set up, and how I can improve it.
  • I’m struggling to get a lighting solution that works for both the outside and the inside portion of the animation. The background is white with a strength of 1, and my only current light is an emission plane (check out the .blend to look into it). I’ve also tried a sun lamp, but that doesn’t seem to work out too well either. Any suggestions for indoor/outdoor lighting strategies in cycles?
  • Is trying to do all the architectural stuff (floors, walls, etc) as mostly transparent a dumb idea? Could I use that approach to get decent render times?
  • Should I just say eff it and do the animation in BI?

Having some trouble uploading the .blend - it’ll be up asap…


Well you said that you want to be able to do an animation from this right ? so lets say you would leave the comp running for 48 hrs that means 2880 minuntes. So from what I see you were able to get 79 samples in 6 mins. That is no good. If you can manage to pull 100 samples in 2 minutes per frame you might be able to get something like 1440 frames in 48 hrs.

  1. Try having the scene to real life scale or close.
  2. Manually set all the integrator settings to 1 and no caustics checked.
  3. Make the emission plane really close to the floor and ceiling , something like a portal to simulate light comming through the windows.
  4. Try not to use reflective or refractive materials they are slow to render.

See if this works for you if not go BI !

Thank you for the guidance reC - I’ll try your recommendations.

I currently have the scale of the project at 1 BU = 10 feet because it made modeling a bit easier on the brain - I’ll see if scaling everything down to 1 BU ~ 1m makes a difference.