These days 3D graphics are seen almost everywhere, most notably in the movies and tv commercials. But 3D is also being used more widely in sales presentations to create attention grabbing visuals, interactive training involving real-time simulations or Serious games, print work and marketing collateral. That being said, I think most people don’t really understand how 3D graphics are created. Which may be why my friends eyes glaze over when I start talking about my latest 3D project. In an effort to give you a better understanding of how these images or animations are created I wanted to outline our process for creating 3D architectural renderings and animation as well as identifying the tools we use to create them To simplify 3d artists could be called digital sculptors, we manipulate an object with until we get the desired look, much like a sculptor would manipulate clay…we just don’t have to get our hands dirty. And our tools are a little different. The pipeline of tools that we use for 3D renderings are as follows: – Autocad – to view and clean up architectural drawings – 3D Studio Max – 3D modeling software used to build the scene, setup cameras, lights and textures – VRay – Global Illumination plugin for 3D studio Max used for texturing and lighting and rendering. Uses real world calculations to provide the most accurate results possible…with some finessing from us of course. – Adobe Photoshop – Post Production work, used for fine tuning, color adjustments, effects in order to really bring the image to life. When creating architectural renderings the process typically follows these stages: 1. We receive architectural plans and elevations from the client, as well as cut sheets showing what furniture and lights are to be used.. At this point we also discuss a general direction and purpose of the rendering, ie: What is our main focus in this image? or What mood or atmosphere are we trying to convey in order to get people interested in finding out more about the project. 2. Once we establish the basic parameters of the project we begin the modeling process. At this point we import the autocad plans and elevations into our 3d software of choice, 3D Studio Max 2010 with the VRay plugin for lighting, texturing and rendering. For this beginning stage of modeling we mass out the basic layout and key components of the space. We add no lighting or textures in this stage. This is typically referred to as a grayscale or clay model. For this stage we also setup several different cameras in the scene for a “view evaluation.” These views are shown to the client in order to establish a perspective that will be developed further into the final image. This prevents us from having to model unnecessary parts of a scene that won’t be seen in the final image, in-turn saving time and everyone money. Sometimes we can go through several view evaluations tweaking the views perspective. But again this is better in the long run in order to save time. 3. After the final view has been selected, we will begin lighting, texturing and adding in the details of the image. When adding lights per the architects specifications we can access ies files from the light manufacturers. The ies files contain information about the lights shape, brightness and color. We can import this information into our 3D software to achieve accurate lighting results. For texturing we will typically get any specific materials from the client, scan them into the computer and with some tweaking import those into the 3D software. Once we have the image inside 3D Studio Max we can adjust any physical properties (ie: reflection, specularity etc) to achieve the most realistic texture. At this point we will render and bring that image into Adobe Photoshop. With Photoshop we adjust color levels, color balance, add glows and fine tune the image until we have the best possible result. At this point we will show the client an almost complete image and receive feedback to then make final revisions. 4. Once we receive final feedback from the client we will re-render any changes if necessary and bring the file back into Photoshop where we will fine tune, bumping up reflections, highlights and colors where necessary….until we have our final image. Hopefully this will give some insight into how we create 3D renderings as well as the tools we use. Feel free to post any questions, we would be happy to answer them.