UNDERSTANDING THE 3D RENDERING PROCESS
UNDERSTANDING YOUR NEEDS AND VISION
In order to provide you with a product that meets your needs in terms of budget and level of detail, we first need to understand you project. After deciding on the scope, time line and direction of the project our clients transfer plans, sketches, and reference images. We then import this data or begin creating the 3D models of your project in our 3D software.
At this point we like to get an idea of how your work will be used and displayed. Is it on an 11x17 for a meeting with the city, on a website, or printed 8 foot billboard? The exact dimensions of the final work have a huge impact on the aspect ratio of the cameras and resolution. It is important that we have this information before we begin choosing your camera
CAMERA AND DRAFTS
Within 24 hour you will receive your first draft images. These images are to make sure the building of the project is accurate and also to establish your ideal camera angles. You can expect anywhere between 4 and 10 camera proposals before we continue adding detail to your project. The camera angles are very important to the scope of the project so nailing them down early will help to save time. Generally speaking the 3D artist will place details according to the camera shots. In animations level of detail is more demanding as every inch of the 3D space needs to be accounted for.
The drafts that are provided to the you for camera selection are generally screenshots of the user interface as lighting has not yet been defined. The following drafts for feedback are low quality renders using the same process as the final render, lower resolution images calculate much more quickly order to speed up the revision process.
TEXTURES AND MATERIALS
After the 3D modeling is finished the rendering artist starts applying texture and physically based materials to the models. Often times clients have very specific materials they will be using from their suppliers. It is important that you send us links to the websites of your suppliers. Often times they provide photographic samples of their materials. With this information we can create custom textures and materials that will realistically match the real physical materials you will be using on your project.
After the textures are established the rendering artist creates physically based materials and applies them to the models. The materials are a collection of texture information that work together to mimic real world material properties. These collections of materials include a Diffuse or Albido texture which gives the color information, A roughness map which tells the software to calculate the surface as rough or smooth, A bump or normal map which gives the object a sense of 3D relief, A metal texture for reflective materials, an alpha map for transparencies, and an emissive or glow map for object like light bulbs that must glow in the scene.
Draft images will be sent for material approval while we get to work on the lighting.
This is the stage where most of the the magic happens. The render artist sets up lights in the 3D scene to replicate lighting in the real world. Physically based lighting offers incredibly realistic lighting solutions. Artists have the use of daylight systems which mimic natural day light, and can be used for lighting ad shadow studies. IES files are lighting industry standard files for interior or artificial lighting. HDRI files can be used to create dramatic lighting situations and stunning reflections. The direction the lighting will take depends on the direction we have decided for the project. For a simple architectural project who's aim is city approval, the best lighting situation is a simple daylight system showcasing the materials used on the building in natural afternoon lighting. This is also the quickest lighting scenario to set up so it is perfect for those who are in a rush. For marketing purposes and early evening or morning scene tend to work best offering a lot of drama and realism to your scene. These effects are usually set up with a combination of HDRI lighting and IES lights. This is where the artist can turn your rendering into art.
Draft images will be sent for approval before we render out the final image.
At this point the project should be complete and ready to render in High Resolution. Changes after this point can become time consuming so it is best to have everything accurate before the render begins. Depending on the software used and the level of complexity rendering can take anywhere from several seconds to several days. This process is completed solely by the computer. In some cases this will be done on large rendering computers called render farms.
Usually the final images or video sequences go through a final process in Photoshop or video editing software to adjust the final lighting, details and realism. More time is spent during this phase for marketing images than for basic architectural images in order to save on time and budget.
The agreed-upon final 2D images or videos are provided to the client, ideally, by no later then the agreed upon deadline. Depending on the desired resolution the images will be provided in a specific format to support the way in which the image will be displayed.