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Thread: River House

  1. #1
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    River House

    Hi guys, I'm here to share the final version of my undergrad thesis project exploring UE4 as a medium for arch viz. You may have seen my previous forum thread, and while that was WIP, I felt like I'd make a new thread for the final product.

    This project began in September of last year (at least in the planning stages) and is essentially the culmination of my four years at college as an undergrad. I'm happy with where this project turned out. It was a real struggle trying to figure out proper lighting for both interior and exterior at the same time and I would say it's still not even close to perfect. At the same time probably equally challenging for me is the fact that I have no architectural background and have never taken a class beyond several art history courses which covered historical architecture. I drew a lot of inspiration from posts I see on this forum as well as other architecture and Arch Viz. forums around ilke CGArchitect and Evermotion.

    I'm always open to critique and questions. Hope you enjoy!


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    Really nice work! I have enjoyed seeing this project come together. The house reminds me a lot of the house they filmed Ex Machina in, I love the style. I'm considering applying to RIT, were you in IGM?

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    Quote Originally Posted by CBR0M3 View Post
    Really nice work! I have enjoyed seeing this project come together. The house reminds me a lot of the house they filmed Ex Machina in, I love the style. I'm considering applying to RIT, were you in IGM?
    Thanks! The Juvet Hotel, which was Nathan's home in Ex Machina, was my main inspiration for exterior design. As well the location was also inspiration too.

    I'm part of the 3D Digital Design program which typically focuses much more on, as the name implies, 3D design portion, although you're pretty open to whatever field you like most (e.g. games, film, etc). IGM typically covers programming, game logic, storytelling, etc. If you want to know more, please feel free to PM me.

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    This is amazing, the mood of the video is perfect, the song is perfect, the photography is great, its not ultra bright is dark and, well, I loved it!

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    Nice work! Your hard work and attention to detail is very apparent in this project. My only tweak would be that of the final video. You did a great job of showing the difference in lighting and the local scenery, but I didn't get a good understanding of the architecture of the space. Where is the front door? How many rooms are in the building? Is there a staircase?

    Again, fantastic work. What do you think your areas of improvement are?

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    Quote Originally Posted by SBiegun_PDG View Post
    Nice work! Your hard work and attention to detail is very apparent in this project. My only tweak would be that of the final video. You did a great job of showing the difference in lighting and the local scenery, but I didn't get a good understanding of the architecture of the space. Where is the front door? How many rooms are in the building? Is there a staircase?

    Again, fantastic work. What do you think your areas of improvement are?
    Looking back at this video, you're right it doesn't give a good impression of the actual architecture. I would probably say my shot choice was a direct result of what areas I felt were most polished in the scene; the shots not shown (stairwell, some hallways) I felt weren't up to par and would probably detract from the video when shown aside everything else.

    I think for areas of improvement it'd probably all come down to literally the architectural design which at this point I don't really have any interest in changing; I would rather move forward with a new project. As I had said in my original post, I have no architectural background, so designing the building itself was a challenge. I think when I try another project like this I'll try to scope down a little bit and base the actual architecture off of someone else's design. My design severely limited my ability to effectively set dress because a lot of the rooms just didn't end up making sense space-wise. I think that working off of someone else's design, assuming their design is good, would help to make the space feel more lived-in just because the space is built with that in mind (as opposed to mine where it's sort of arbitrary).

    I'm beginning work at a major Arch Viz studio in the states in a month so I hope that some of the projects we do there could excel way past this one.

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    First of all, congratulations on the job That's great!

    As you continue along in your work, you'll learn more about the architectural layout of buildings and what goes into a well-designed space. I don't have an architectural background either, so I can relate to this. The shots that you showed did a great job of showing what you are confident in.

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    Well, I disagree about the way SBiegun sees about the shots, I think that your view of the scene Thomas was artistic, not the camera style that is like a default on everybody's minds who works with architecture, I think that what you did was more cinematographic and that is what made it better, It's inspiring to see and it passes a feelingof nostalgy or something like that, really great.
    Last edited by leonnn1; 04-28-2016 at 12:39 PM.

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    Amazing work. I agree with leonnn1, the cinematic approach was well executed, and I even feel that a step-by-step tour through the home would have felt at odds with the building and context - in any case, a walkthrough is as simple as providing the scene and allowing the client to wander about as they see fit.

    Do you have any knowledge of eastern aesthetics? Your focus on the darkened, shadowy areas and textural imperfect elements (aged timber for example) seemed to hint at that. I'm specifically thinking of Junchiro Tanizaki's "In Praise of Shadows". Check it out sometime, it's quite a short but interesting read and provides a good counterpoint to the idea that all spaces must be well lit at all times.

    I'm a masters of architecture student in New Zealand looking at a similar topic. I'm specifically interested in a critical viewing of the typical architectural perspective rendering approach - that of the idealised building in perfect 3d space, presented as a 2d image. I should probably start a thread... maybe when my work looks half as good as this.

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    Quote Originally Posted by eliotbnz View Post
    Amazing work. I agree with leonnn1, the cinematic approach was well executed, and I even feel that a step-by-step tour through the home would have felt at odds with the building and context - in any case, a walkthrough is as simple as providing the scene and allowing the client to wander about as they see fit.

    Do you have any knowledge of eastern aesthetics? Your focus on the darkened, shadowy areas and textural imperfect elements (aged timber for example) seemed to hint at that. I'm specifically thinking of Junchiro Tanizaki's "In Praise of Shadows". Check it out sometime, it's quite a short but interesting read and provides a good counterpoint to the idea that all spaces must be well lit at all times.

    I'm a masters of architecture student in New Zealand looking at a similar topic. I'm specifically interested in a critical viewing of the typical architectural perspective rendering approach - that of the idealised building in perfect 3d space, presented as a 2d image. I should probably start a thread... maybe when my work looks half as good as this.
    It's great right eliontbnz?!, I made a project kind of inspired in what I saw here, I loved the dark feeling in the scenes, so I made one with a project I was working on too, here is the thread if you want to check it out.
    https://forums.unrealengine.com/show...6-Meeting-room

    I loved this scene from Thomaz, it's really unique, I'm kind of tired of the usual way that everybody do architectural presentations, including myself, his video gave me new ideas of approaches.

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    great projetc! just one thing - how did you do the water in the flowing river? - I haven't seen anything looking this nice around stones etc within the river. As UE4 is notoriously bad with its "water" features (non-existent except for the Learn tab contribution) it would be great to know if you made this yourself, or got it from somewhere else? Either way, hows it done??

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by thomaswalker View Post
    Hi guys, I'm here to share the final version of my undergrad thesis project exploring UE4 as a medium for arch viz. You may have seen my previous forum thread, and while that was WIP, I felt like I'd make a new thread for the final product.

    This project began in September of last year (at least in the planning stages) and is essentially the culmination of my four years at college as an undergrad. I'm happy with where this project turned out. It was a real struggle trying to figure out proper lighting for both interior and exterior at the same time and I would say it's still not even close to perfect. At the same time probably equally challenging for me is the fact that I have no architectural background and have never taken a class beyond several art history courses which covered historical architecture. I drew a lot of inspiration from posts I see on this forum as well as other architecture and Arch Viz. forums around ilke CGArchitect and Evermotion.

    I'm always open to critique and questions. Hope you enjoy!

    Nice work but overall it's too dark imo. Keep in mind that the job is to sell the project to the client, artistic work is fine but don't lose sight of the goal.

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    Amazing ... congrats

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    Awesome!!!

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    His goal wasn't to sell a house. It was to visualise his personal viewing/understanding of appropriate lighting and materiality. The setting and context don't lend themselves to an over-lit, westernised viewing of idealised architectural space, so I would say he's got the level just right.

    Who is to say dark spaces are of any lesser value than bright? What if the client requests that? What if the setting and context demand it? I'd suggest (and my thesis is concerned with this specifically) that we are too focussed on presenting place and space in a hyper-clinical, overly bright manner with no critical viewing of why we do so.

    Food for thought!

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    You are so right eliotbnz. If you don't know them already have a look at http://www.mir.no/work/. They are able to impose their style and mood and not follow the established pseudo ''rules'' of what architecture viz should be.

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    Quote Originally Posted by heartlessphil View Post
    You are so right eliotbnz. If you don't know them already have a look at http://www.mir.no/work/. They are able to impose their style and mood and not follow the established pseudo ''rules'' of what architecture viz should be.
    I'm willing to bet that a lot of the work on their site is just for their portfolio and not real commissioned work. I like their work but I don't believe that a lot of it is for a client.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by eliotbnz View Post
    His goal wasn't to sell a house. It was to visualise his personal viewing/understanding of appropriate lighting and materiality. The setting and context don't lend themselves to an over-lit, westernised viewing of idealised architectural space, so I would say he's got the level just right.

    Who is to say dark spaces are of any lesser value than bright? What if the client requests that? What if the setting and context demand it? I'd suggest (and my thesis is concerned with this specifically) that we are too focussed on presenting place and space in a hyper-clinical, overly bright manner with no critical viewing of why we do so.

    Food for thought!
    Just wait until you have clients! After 40 years in the field I can say there isn't anyone that would accept that work as good that I know. Some of the scenes are pitch black, that isn't showing anything.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RI3DVIZ View Post
    Just wait until you have clients! After 40 years in the field I can say there isn't anyone that would accept that work as good that I know. Some of the scenes are pitch black, that isn't showing anything.
    I've been in the industry for a decade or so. What you're saying totally resonates with me because I've heard it a million times, albeit from untrained clients and land developers. The problem with archviz (and architecture to a degree) is the tendency toward letting untrained people with zero creative nous dictate terms in what is a creative field. It's absurd. We (though I'm not sure of your background) train for years and years in how to do the work we do, then let it go for snuff when a client demands a pretty, happy picture with a smiley little sun. Embarrassing and an indictment on the industry. There's a process that should be followed that is aligned with the view of the designer, and the work itself. One size does not fit all.

    Your comments on MIR's work lead me to believe you probably run in circle concerned with a different approach to my own so I'm probably hitting my head against a brick wall. They are a hugely successful firm - they have simply positioned themselves well and stick to their guns with regard to a creative direction. We deal with subjective stuff here so it is what it is - I'm not at all implying you dont have ability in any regard btw, just that the system we work in encourages those who don't to encroach on our work.

    As a side, I didn't see a single scene that was pitch black entirely that wasn't intended to be - some elements of scenes were, but I believe that was intentional to a degree. It works as a compositional element right? What is obscured vs what isn't.

    Are you familiar with Juhani Pallasmaa's writings on phenomenology? I think he deals with these things well - we work in a visual world, so how can we bring in some of the other senses? This is why this piece is successful - it has that haptic feel to it, it's not some clinical white room with disconcertingly perfect lighting that seems to be genre du jour right now. I can smell the timber and remember the sound of the pine trees in the wind. There's so much more to our field than making pictures that a rich developer thinks is good.


    This is good chat, it's good to challenge what we think is true! Can you link me to some of your work that you really like?

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by eliotbnz View Post
    I've been in the industry for a decade or so. What you're saying totally resonates with me because I've heard it a million times, albeit from untrained clients and land developers. The problem with archviz (and architecture to a degree) is the tendency toward letting untrained people with zero creative nous dictate terms in what is a creative field. It's absurd. We (though I'm not sure of your background) train for years and years in how to do the work we do, then let it go for snuff when a client demands a pretty, happy picture with a smiley little sun. Embarrassing and an indictment on the industry. There's a process that should be followed that is aligned with the view of the designer, and the work itself. One size does not fit all.

    Your comments on MIR's work lead me to believe you probably run in circle concerned with a different approach to my own so I'm probably hitting my head against a brick wall. They are a hugely successful firm - they have simply positioned themselves well and stick to their guns with regard to a creative direction. We deal with subjective stuff here so it is what it is - I'm not at all implying you dont have ability in any regard btw, just that the system we work in encourages those who don't to encroach on our work.

    As a side, I didn't see a single scene that was pitch black entirely that wasn't intended to be - some elements of scenes were, but I believe that was intentional to a degree. It works as a compositional element right? What is obscured vs what isn't.

    Are you familiar with Juhani Pallasmaa's writings on phenomenology? I think he deals with these things well - we work in a visual world, so how can we bring in some of the other senses? This is why this piece is successful - it has that haptic feel to it, it's not some clinical white room with disconcertingly perfect lighting that seems to be genre du jour right now. I can smell the timber and remember the sound of the pine trees in the wind. There's so much more to our field than making pictures that a rich developer thinks is good.


    This is good chat, it's good to challenge what we think is true! Can you link me to some of your work that you really like?
    I understand your view point but the norm is about making money, selling a project, pleasing a client - the projects M.I.R., Dbox and others show and do are not the norm they are the exception. You can adopt the stance of the" I make renderings to make renderings not to please clients" and then if people like your work you'll be hired that is certainly doable.

    I am an Art Center person (design and photography) and worked for Gensler for 17 years, Walt Disney Imagineering for 3 years and have worked for many top 25 Architecture firms over the years as well as film and TV studios.

    This is a portfolio piece of mine, it's okay but most of my work is by paying clients, I don't pad my portfolio with a lot of personal projects.Name:  1.jpg
Views: 655
Size:  273.1 KB
    Last edited by RI3DVIZ; 05-30-2016 at 07:53 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RI3DVIZ View Post
    I understand your view point but the norm is about making money, selling a project, pleasing a client - the projects M.I.R., Dbox and others show and do are not the norm they are the exception. You can adopt the stance of the" I make renderings to make renderings not to please clients" and then if people like your work you'll be hired that is certainly doable.

    I am an Art Center person (design and photography) and worked for Gensler for 17 years, Walt Disney Imagineering for 3 years and have worked for many top 25 Architecture firms over the years as well as film and TV studios.

    This is a portfolio piece of mine, it's okay but most of my work is by paying clients, I don't pad my portfolio with a lot of personal projects.Name:  1.jpg
Views: 655
Size:  273.1 KB
    I agree it's about selling a product and making money, but every project in the exact same style seems wrong to me - there's a disconnect to the design process. It's all a bit homogeneous in our field at the moment, and I think we can do the selling and making money in a more interesting manner, one where we create a product that is informed by what came before us. It's not gonna be for everyone anyway.

    That's a great image - I'm certainly not questioning your credentials now either!

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    Hi guys, I appreciate all the critique.

    In hindsight some shots are fairly dark (the first interior shot in particular), and would probably not be a great selling point for a house. For this project I went a more exploratory/learning route as opposed to making something that was intended to literally show all of the architectural elements -- I suppose I would classify this less as Arch Viz and probably more as just a normal UE Scene. In the future I hope to focus more on the architectural component and probably work off of someone else's design as this was all my design and I have literally zero architectural background.

    MIR is a huge inspiration for me. I love their unconventional approach to the mood and atmosphere of their renderings.

    Again, I appreciate all the comments and glad you guys enjoy the work but I'm also glad that there can be a discussion about design and purpose.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by eliotbnz View Post
    I agree it's about selling a product and making money, but every project in the exact same style seems wrong to me - there's a disconnect to the design process. It's all a bit homogeneous in our field at the moment, and I think we can do the selling and making money in a more interesting manner, one where we create a product that is informed by what came before us. It's not gonna be for everyone anyway.

    That's a great image - I'm certainly not questioning your credentials now either!
    My favorite studio at the moment is Labtop, if you like unconventional yet it still does what a rendering should do and that's create excitement and sell a design/project they are doing it.

    http://www.labtop-rendering.com/
    Last edited by RI3DVIZ; 05-30-2016 at 11:41 PM.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by RI3DVIZ View Post
    My favorite studio at the moment is Labtop, if you like unconventional yet it still does what a rendering should do and that's create excitement and sell a design/project they are doing it.

    http://www.labtop-rendering.com/
    I think that your oppinion is getting too strong here, this work is unique in many levels, archiviz today is boring, like most of the ideas you showed, today we achieve realism allready easly, and all you pointed about what archiviz "is", it's not, it's just what almost everyone thinks about it now, this, until somebody that sees and makes different show us a better way to do it, don't be so retrogade aprecciate art where you see it, not on a product allready done and set to be a standard, for me that is ridiculous.

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    Quote Originally Posted by leonnn1 View Post
    I think that your oppinion is getting too strong here, this work is unique in many levels, archiviz today is boring, like most of the ideas you showed, today we achieve realism allready easly, and all you pointed about what archiviz "is", it's not, it's just what almost everyone thinks about it now, this, until somebody that sees and makes different show us a better way to do it, don't be so retrogade aprecciate art where you see it, not on a product allready done and set to be a standard, for me that is ridiculous.
    Let's keep it civil here. It's ok to have a different opinion.

    Thomas, for someone with no architectural background, you have produced some really beautiful work. I think this shows the benefit of disciplinary cross-pollination - a different way of looking at work in an industry that is in my opinion, a touch staid and boring right now. Look forward to your future work.

    Quote Originally Posted by RI3DVIZ View Post
    My favorite studio at the moment is Labtop, if you like unconventional yet it still does what a rendering should do and that's create excitement and sell a design/project they are doing it.

    http://www.labtop-rendering.com/
    Yeah these guys are great! I think this actually exhibits my point quite well, that being - every building/environment demands a different response, and I think the project Thomas has produced would not at all suit a hyper-lit, idealized representation style you might see from the standard archviz studio. Of course, you may disagree, and we've now got a good conversation going, which is the point of posting on a forum!
    Last edited by eliotbnz; 05-31-2016 at 06:57 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by eliotbnz View Post
    Let's keep it civil here. It's ok to have a different opinion.

    Thomas, for someone with no architectural background, you have produced some really beautiful work. I think this shows the benefit of disciplinary cross-pollination - a different way of looking at work in an industry that is in my opinion, a touch staid and boring right now. Look forward to your future work.



    Yeah these guys are great! I think this actually exhibits my point quite well, that being - every building/environment demands a different response, and I think the project Thomas has produced would not at all suit a hyper-lit, idealized representation style you might see from the standard archviz studio. Of course, you may disagree, and we've now got a good conversation going, which is the point of posting on a forum!
    My only critique of the OP's video is that when the image is 90% black imo it does not serve the purpose of Architectural rendering/video. That has nothing to do with what is current in terms of style or pushing the envelope, the fact is that it is about the Architecture and you can't lose sight of that no matter what the style.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RI3DVIZ View Post
    My only critique of the OP's video is that when the image is 90% black imo it does not serve the purpose of Architectural rendering/video. That has nothing to do with what is current in terms of style or pushing the envelope, the fact is that it is about the Architecture and you can't lose sight of that no matter what the style.
    Respectfully disagree on multiple aspects of that statement but I don't think I'm going to convince you of anything anytime soon and vice versa.

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by eliotbnz View Post
    Respectfully disagree on multiple aspects of that statement but I don't think I'm going to convince you of anything anytime soon and vice versa.
    Just curious what's your background, are you an Architect? Do you work in the field? For how long and with whom? Post a link to your work, I'd like to see it.

    Since everyone has agreed MIR does good work here is one of their very dark images yet you can still see the forms of the building, the only thing that is black or almost black is across the river. I think it's successful in that they didn't lose the building in blackness, that is the difference imo of what makes it acceptable.

    Name:  mir.jpg
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    Last edited by RI3DVIZ; 05-31-2016 at 09:56 PM.

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    Cinematography, stile, authorial art, that is why I don't like fast food a boxed something that is allways the same, that is really sad, but I will not argue against that ,it's indeed a matter of opinion or understanding, i think I do understand, but some people may not.

    I work with architecture for about 10 years, and I'm amazed with this work, congratulations.

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    I think this facebook post by MIR explains their workflow. It's pretty much how I imagined they would work with clients.

    https://www.facebook.com/mirnorway/p...type=3&theater

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