Friday, 21 May 2010

Project Evaluation

I thoroughly enjoyed this project/ unit. Not only did we have the chance to work for a client outside Ravensbourne, but I feel that we accomplished a lot. We also learnt a great deal too. I learnt how to use mental ray and become familiar with some of its attributes. It was the first time I had really experimented with the physical sun and sky attribute and particularly lighting in general. I learnt a great deal when it came to creating cameras, altering their attributes such as their aspect ratios and film gate. But most importantly I learnt how to render effectively by familiarising myself with Maya's render attribute system and rendering colour and occlusion passes, which will come in handy for the third year animation course. I am proud of what we managed to produce which was an artistic architectural visualisation of a 3D model of a proposed building.

This project could also provide possible job opportunities for 3D architectural visualisation projects for Husband & Carpenter.

Critical Analysis

Generally, I believe we have achieved what we set out to do from the beginning. I feel we did a good job too. We successfully produced an artistic yet informative architectural visualisation film clip, that was well structured and nicely paced. I also feel that we did achieve the style somewhat that Alex Roman used with his film, "The Third and The Seventh".

Good Points:

I believe that our clip is crisp. There is effective use of lighting. I believe there is a good use of camera work as well as camera angles. The piece general is well structured and there is a sense of a journey/ narrative that is coherent due to effective pacing. The clip is well edited to the rhythm of the music.

Bad Points:

I would say that our clip may be on the short side. It may need more shots to explore a few more angles of the hotel. I think the intensity of the lighting is a bit over the top as the much lighter colours seem to become bleached, washed out and over exposed. These colours appear a brilliant white and differentiating between panel work and windows can be difficult, thus detail is lost. We did try to solve this issue, however there seemed to be no way to alter the intensity attribute of the sun simulation. The only way we could have decreased the level of intensity was by lowering the sun in the sky. However I did not want all my shots to be either during dawn or dusk as the harsh shadows cast would have concealed most of the detail on the 3D model of the hotel.

It may have been worth including some shots of an interior environment of one of the rooms within the hotel, however due to time constraints we simple ran out of time and were unable to undertake extra renders.

As an individual and team member I would say that I was hard working, committed and reliable. I believe my time management skills were good and that I was well organised throughout the project I experimented with new found knowledge regarding maya. I worked hard to produce a finished piece. I believe my strengths were directional abilities as well as camera work and editing.

I would say that our efforts were equal. Alex has always been a good team mate to work with, its not just because he's my brother and therefore its a safe choice in terms of friendship, but also becuase he is hard working, organised and we think on the same lines. In other words we know what we both want in terms of the look and structure of a piece.

Final Architectural Visualisation Clip Shots

The images below show the sequence in which the clip is structured.

Bars & Tone
Countdown Clock and Project Slate
Shot 1
Shot 2
Shot 3
Shot 4
Shot 5
Shot 6
Shot 7
Shot 8
Shot 9

My Involvement

For this project I was responsible for mapping out a schedule in order to time manage our project, I was also in charge of directing the whole project. I was also responsible for modeling and placement of the panel work/ cladding on the exterior of the building. I textured most of the exterior of the 3D building/ hotel of woburn house including core and panel tones. I was responsible for creating the and adjusting the lighting. I rendered all the shots and the entire project from colour passes to occlusion passes, due to the fact that my brother's computer was unreliable. He could have re-installed maya, however he was concerned that if he did so changed presets would affect existing .mb files. I was also responsible for editing the final clip using Final Cut.

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Editing (Final Cut)

I have begun editing the final broadcast safe clip. I have inserted all the necessary broadcast safe requirements to fulfill the assessment criteria for this particular unit such as the bars and tone and the clock.

I have attempted to edit the visuals to the music track (September Dawn). I have to say that it fits perfectly with the visuals. It is fortunate that the renders fit the rhythm of the track. I want a coherent narrative to inform the viewer of the building and environment, yet also exploring the building by capturing different view points. I have edited the shots so that there is a journey traveling counter clockwise from south to north of the building, exploring all its elements. I have incorporated some low angle still renders so that the viewer can see what the building would look like from roughly the eyes of a passer by. I have focused on slow pacing so that the viewer can absorb the entire environment easily. I did not want rushed shots that were far too quick for the viewer so that the viewer is unable to understand layout, this is a clip purely for architectural reasons after all. I have also payed particular attention to artistic presentation in terms of the shots chosen and the order in which they are presented.

Rendering & Compositing Complete & Broadcast Requirements

All Renders have been completed. I have given them to Alex to composite, which has also been completed. I shall now begin importing these files into Final Cut and editing where necessary.
Ben Keswick informed me of how to create a broadcast safe film. Phil Heron instructed me where to find the bars and tone in Final Cut, which are needed to make a broadcast safe movie. He also gave me a .mov file of a countdown clock which can be used to indicate when the clip will begin. He stated that you must overlay text of the project title, the director/ producer and start and end times of the clip as well as the full duration of the clip.

Unfortunately we were unable to render an interior sequence as there was simply not enough time to render the shots. This was something we wanted to do as a bonus and if there was enough time to spare. Darren Price at Husband & Carpenter Architects clearly stated however that we should focus on an exterior rendered 3D sequence as the building still needs building permission. This clip could serve as a means of showcasing the proposed build.

Sunday, 16 May 2010

Copyright Free Music

I have obtained a track which is copyright free, which a friend of mine Semy Ingle from Sixth Form back in Bishop Challoner composed. The track was not made specially for our project, but I had listened to the track and thought that it would go well with the architectural visualisation clip. I asked him for permission to use the track personally and he agreed to the use of his track, as long as we credited him as the track's creator.

Tuesday, 11 May 2010


All that is left to do now is to render the shots we need for the final film clip. We have created all the cameras we need in order to capture the shots we deem would be most appropriate. When rendering we need to make sure we are using the correct camera setup, inserting the start frame and correct end frame. When rendering the colour pass we need to make sure that default lighting is turned off, final gather is selected and the camera has been updated to read the physical sun and sky presets.

So far rendering is going well. It is taking roughly 1 day to render a shot completely with the colour and occlusion passes. I fear however that we will not have time to render off shots of the interior of the hotel, despite the fact that a room of the hotel has already been modeled.

After a render is completed I will pass the targa sequence of both the colour and occlusion pass to Alex so that he can begin compositing the shots using adobe after effects. He will be in charge of overlaying the occlusion pass upon the colour pass and inserting a sky when needed.

Sunday, 9 May 2010

Problem Solved

The batch rendering problem I have found can be easily solved. Although the physical sun and sky is still not visible, I believe we can replicate the sky shader by creating a background layer in adobe after effects. The problem seems to be that there is an alfa channel present. The only way to get the sky to appear is by converting the targa stills into .psd or .jpg files.

Trouble Batch Rendering

For some unknown and frustrating reason my brother's version of Maya will not allow him to render models that are too complicated. When a render is complete it is totally blank. So we have decided to render using my laptop, as transporting .mb files on to my version of Maya seem to be renderable and there are no problems.

I am attempting to render a time lapse scene where the sun Arch's from East to West over the hotel model. However when I batch render the physical sky disappears. I learnt that I needed to reconnect the physical sky attribute to the newly created camera. Hopefully when I re-render the physical sky shader will be present.

Model at Dawn
Model at Noon

Monday, 3 May 2010

Polished 3D Render

Below are more advanced renders using an occlusion render pass on top of a diffuse layer with colour textures. A sunlight simulation/ physical sky has also been used to demonstrate realistic daytime lighting. The renders where merged together using photoshop. The occlusion render was overlayed above the texture map.

A simple, low resolution occlusion render.

I prefer the second attempt above as it looks far more real in terms of lighting. The colours are more vivid and the contrast between light and shade enhances the for of the model. The reflections in the windows also bring a new dimension to the model.

Below is the first attempt at executing a couple of renders in order to create a professional looking 3D model and composite. I liked the way this first test attempt came out, until a fellow student showed me a different way to render the model and still achieve a better looking result in terms of quality. I learnt how to use the physical sky option which automatically recreates realistic sunlight lighting. We also touched on HDRI Maps for reflective surfaces using blinns for example for windows. We also went through the 3 point light setup to effectively light your model, by using a directional light cluster, a spot light and an ambient light. Although for the above composite I did not need to use any additional lights or have to use an HDRI Map, it was nice to learn something new.

The images below make up the initial test composite.

A high resolution occlusion pass.

A simple diffuse/ colour layer
The initial test composite consisting of the diffuse layer and an occlusion pass overlayed on top using Photoshop CS2.

Tuesday, 27 April 2010


The image below shows the completed model in its early stages of being textured.
Roughly 98% of the model will mainly consist of simple one tone lambert textures. These lamberts will be applied to the panel work, support struts and window frames. The other 2% consists of glass/ windows where blinns will be applied so that their surface is reflective.

The image below shows the model completely textured. We have used colour samples from the architectural office as reference to apply the correct colours to the exterior panelling.

Test Occlusion Renders

Below are several different perspectives of the 3D model of the Hotel. We have used occlusion renders in order to enhance the form of the building itself. These images will also help us to decide what sort of camera angles we may wish to include in the final render.

These are purely test renders which will also help us to determine if there are any faults with the model and the mesh.

I wanted to concentrate on capturing some interesting and dynamic angles of the structure. I want this render to ultimately be a piece of art but also demonstrating its form and layout.


Wireframe of 3D model of Hotel.
Wireframe showing detail and density of mesh. The is perhaps an easier way to model this building with half the polygons, however I believe we have done well in creating a model extremely close to the drawing that is also to scale, bearing in mind that this is the first time we have ever built a model this complex which demands accuracy.

Below is an image which shows the wireframe as well as the mesh, showing the shape of the structure.

Despite the fact that progression has been slow, the 3D model of the Hotel exterior is almost complete. The immediate hotel environment surroundings have also been constructed.

We have carried out a test render with simple preliminary lambert textures. We discovered that there was a problem rendering as the render came out completely black. We thought that it may be due to the fact that our render settings were wrong. However everything seemed to check out. We also tried adding a light. This didn't work either. We also thought that it might be due to the fact that we were rendering using mental ray. But the render still came out the same way when we rendered using Maya Software. We also tried re-saving the maya binary file on someone else's computer and then re-importing it on to our laptop. This didn't work either. We rendered a simple cube which rendered out fine, however the 3D model of the building still rendered out as a black image. We tried exporting it and rendering it on someone else's computer and it rendered out perfectly. The problem seemed to be some anomaly on Alex's version of Maya which we were unable to rectify even with assistance from various students familiar with Maya. We have decided to texture the model on Alex's computer, but render the model using my laptop.

In order to indicate scale we have included a 3D model of the human form that can be seen dotted throughout the environment. This will inform the client/ viewer of how large various elements are. In this way we can create a 3D environment which is accurate and life - like in terms of scale.


Alex and I were contemplating of how best to light our building and environment. Tom Ritchie and Andy Kinnear showed us various ways of lighting effectively using a spotlight and a basic 3 point light setup using a directional light cluster, a spotlight and an ambient light. Although these setups were quite useful, it didn't seem to do the building justice. There were occasionally horrible light seems and dodgy pixelated shadow marks. The lighting using this setup also in my opinion looked quite flat.

Fahran Younas however showed us how to use a simple built in physical sun and sky simulation within Maya as well as using a final gather preset in the maya render options. This way of lighting for this particular project seemed ideal. This was because the lighting seemed more realistic despite the fact that in areas faces were over exposed. Reflections were also enhanced which differentiated the panel work from the windows. The shadows which were cast were also realistic. This way of working made the renders crisp and aesthetically pleasing.

Friday, 23 April 2010

3D Architectural Visualisation Walkthrough/ Fly-Through Examples

Below are a few examples of 3D Architectual Visualisation Walkthroughs/ Fly-Throughs found on YouTube.

All the three examples are well done and to a high standard. I am hoping I can create a render to the quality of these but obviously not as huge in terms of poly count and as detailed. The two former examples use both particle dynamics/ morphing filters. They also demonstrate to the viewer how the models were constructed level by level. These particular examples have been put together for showreel purposes but not ideal to show to a client. My reason being that the camera shots are too quick which means the viewer cannot appreciate the environment as effectively. I believe the particle dynamics giving the illusion of structures and objects morphing into their final form are both unnecessary and over the top. The particle effects are purely for appealing visuals and not to show the overall form of the structure. I am not too sure of the choice of music either. I understand that the morphing of the building is in keeping with the beat of the music however it just doesn't seem to fit. I would have gone for a more calm and ambient track which would have enhanced the form of the designs. The last example was the animation which stood out among the rest purely because it showed various perspectives of the building complex. The camera angles were nice and well balanced with good composition, however I think the camera shots were a little fast.

When putting together an architectural visualisation demonstration using 3D models, the focus should be on informing the client of the design of the whole structure and then going into more detail. The pace should be moderate so that the viewer can get a feel for the environment.
Further more a walkthrough should be accurate. There should be an indication of scale by including a simple model of a car or a figure of the human form.

Industry Research: 3D Architectural Visualisation

Architectural visualisation using a 3D package such as Maya or 3ds max is a means by which a 3D artist-modeller/ architect or designer demonstrates a proposed design of an architectural structure or landscape, interior space, furniture items, site plans or floor plans. The latest digital technology and techniques allow to quickly generate the most detailed, accurate and to scale results quickly. Architectural rendering allows the client to understand the layout and environment of the proposed design. 3D modelling enables both the architects/ designers and the clients to envision the design more clearly, particularly as nowadays, photo-realistic renders/images are possible to create.

Professional 3D visualisation architecture modellers use 2D plan and elevation drawings as reference and templates in order to construct accurate and to scale models of proposed building designs.

The images below were found on the internet. These are examples of 3D models of building designs.
The images above demonstrate how 3D models are constructed using the 2D plan drawings as templates/ reference.
The image above depicts real 3D models made from foam-board and card that have been made using the 2D plan drawings. There are also a few different perspectives of a virtual 3D model constructed using the 2D drawings as templates.

An occlusion render of a tower block. Occlusion renders are useful as default lighting is used to define the form of the overall structure. Basically a virtual 3D version of a real foam-board model. The virtual model however has more flexibility as it can be easily changed and fly-through or walkthrough animations are made possible to explore the entirety of the design in more detail.

A 3D model of a floor plan demonstrating layout.