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Notes on Architectural Renderings

November 28, 2011

Finished architectural renderings usually look static and generally lack highlights. They want to be photographic quality but they cannot compete with photographs. Renderers try to show everything. A good photographer will select a composition that tells a story. Renderers should use the rendering quality to tell and enhance a ‘story’.

CAD renderers usually become bogged-down with the nature of the software – 3D Studio as well as SketchUp. They need to understand how best to use the software to create an “emotion”. A finished product that stimulates a “feeling” when exhibited to others. Of course this is not an easy task.

Iconic artistic paintings capture sensitivities because there are hidden ‘mysteries’ within the composition that stimulates viewers to question deeper goals. “Nude Descending a Stairway” by Marcel Duchamp evokes many queries that stimulate emotions. For example: Is she rushing down the stair? Is there an exhibitionist motive?  Is she trying to encourage a response from someone to whom she will meet? These subtleties are only apparent usually after the completion of the painting, but they are purposely embedded into the composition by the artist, although not with the same references.

Architectural rendering subtleties could lead viewers to wonder if the image has distinctive relationships between the inner and outer spaces. In this respect partial transparency in a tower could evoke anxieties related to the nature of the inside and what the experience is, to be on the inside.

Exterior renderings that depict a finished product are only a small part of a presentation. The activities within the perspective are important too. Random placing of people could distract the mood of the ‘story’. However, specific activities could strike interest. For example: A crowd looking in a store window or a queue of shoppers waiting to enter a store creates interest rather than passive visitors randomly placed in the perspective.

The composition of the perspective must be carefully planned. Frame the view with layers that include: fore-ground, middle-ground and back-ground, after all the elevations and sections of the presentations already depict the make up of the project. Plan the perspective as you would ‘frame’ a photographic view when you are using a camera.

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