I need your advice

I’m an Architect graduated in 1986 and I’m 53 years old. I have experience in varied 3d software.
Because of emergency conditions in my country I was forced to move in other country.
I found my self in very difficult situation, at this age is difficult to find job opportunities in a company
so I’m thinking to try the freelance market.
I want your advice like expert about the time that I need to learn effectively and be in grade to use UE4 for Architectural real time visualization
and the expectation from freelance market after learning UE4.

Best Regards


Hi Walid,
I’m not an expert, but I’m trying to learn Unreal too. I think that no one can answer you, there are too many factors came into play.
I come from architectural renderings with Octane and Vray (but tried Mawell and Blender Cycles too)…the approach for the rendering settings was obviously specific for each software but they all have common “rules” in how light must be set (as all they are based on phisically correct light beahviour) in Unreal seems that the lighting behaves differently…and this is one of the most difficult thing (at leas for me) to manage for achieving photorealistic or at least good results, another particular thing is the material creation, all ne node have a “programming” name and this is another thing that often confuses me…furthermore there are other little things that , summed toghether, slow down my “learning path” quite lot.
Don’t border yourself with lots of questions, just start learning and asking into the forum for support…one day (hope not too far) all be revealed to you! :wink:
Cheers, Paolo

Paolo, thanks for your replay and for your advice.
I want to ask you if you perhaps tried to find sum job in the domain like freelancer.


Hi Walid!

1st, you have a great advantage being an architect. You’ll know how to read CAD plans and stuff like that. You should be good to see buildings in 3d just by looking at plans. It will also give you more credibility towards your clients I think.
Have you ever done rendering for architecture with a standard rendering engine like Vray before? Or you want to start from scratch learning Unreal engine 4 right off the bat? Doing Architecture with Unreal Engine 4 is quite a new thing and it may not be that easy to make a living off of it. You may have to convince your clients that it’s worth spending a bit more to buy a video, or a .exe compared to the traditional stills. The thing is that not everyone needs that. Usually a simple image or a set of images can be enough to communicate an idea.

In the architecture field, the most used softwares are 3ds max and v-ray because they can quickly produce photorealistic images and movies. Just have to see how much 3d content is being sold specifically for architectural visualisation. It’s a whole market in itself. If your clients only ask for stills for billboards and stuff like that, Unreal is not the way to go. If you client demands movies or virtual walktrough and virtual reality, then Unreal is the right thing. Ideally you want to learn both ways!!! Or, you can specialise yourself into one category of course.

I am currently starting a architectural studio with a friend and we decided that our focus would go toward movies, real-time and VR. Imo it’s much more exciting that just doing stills. That means I now spend most of my time learning Unreal. There are tons TONS TONS of great tutorials to learn from and demo projects to download and ‘‘reverse-engineer’’ if I can say that. We know that we may not have as much clients at the start but I think eventually it will be fine. It’s also our 2nd job, so not worried about money at all.

Also, like Paolo said, the way a game engine work is quite different from how an offline renderer work but imo Unreal engine is much much more intuitive than a software like v-ray. The material node system is very powerful, the blueprint system is fun and practical. You have a superb built-in video editor. You can do a lot of post work directly inside the engine, etc. Imo nothing beats the feeling of creating a building, importing it in UE4 and walking inside it!!!

I’ve been learning by myself, all things relative to 3d rendering, modelling, etc for about 2 years now. To give you an idea. I’ve only done 1 paid job but it’s because I want to master the field before even tempting to get more jobs. If you want I can show you the best ressources to learn UE4 fast! send me a PM.

Good luck

find job as freelance it’s not easy in general, but there are so many “sectors” in which you can be interested in (archivitz, boat design, furniture design, game assets…and so on) and so many firms that produce low quality renders (stills or animations) or simply await for someone (maybe is it you) who shows them something “new” (I didn’t knew the possibility to make archiwitz renders with a game engine and that you can produce interactive scenes till 2months ago)…the hardest part is to find them out

You must be the first person that believes in what you are going to do, and think another thing: at your age how many possibilityes do you have to find job as employee?; when you are a freelance no one cares about your age, it’s importatn what you are able to produce.

Good study and practice,

The key is going to make a stunning portfolio first. You do not need 38 projects to gain attention. Look at Koola, he only did a couple projects that showed the world how Unreal Engine can look good. Have a very professional looking website, with great demo projects and I’m sure you’ll get clients. You can work with anyone in the world, that’s the cool thing. As you said, it can be architecture, it can be industrial design (my paid job was for a Marina visualisation), it can be urban planning. Even if you don’t sell many playable projects or virtual reality projects (because the client require a good pc/ VR device but with the cloud possibilities it’s going to change anyway) you can always sell movies. Rendering a movie with a traditionnal renderer takes a huge amount of time and is costly. Rendering a movie with Unreal is instant and cost nothing! That’s a huge advantage in my opinion. A well made movie is always cooler than the best of the picture I think.

If you also want to learn an offline Rendering software I strongly suggest you to have a look at Corona Renderer. They offer a 45 days unlimited demo, and after that they offer monthly payment subscription for about 25$. It’s a very well made renderer, alot easier to learn than VRAY and can produce stunning results (have a look at the gallery in their forums). Instead of paying a 1000$ license to Vray and struggle with their 34 000 settings. With Corona you can do all kind of 3d viz jobs. With Unreal you can do even cooler stuff tho :slight_smile:

I’m totally agree with last heartlessphil’s post, the way you present yourself (a clean and professional website with few cool prjects) is the most important thing
As for the “offline” render engine I’ve heard about Corona (and saw a lot of great renders made with it) but never tried, I found myself really confotable with Octane Render because I was impressed about the speed that it can reach and the cheap price (the render time for the attached images vary from 3 to 11minutes at the lowest resolution of 5000x6000px on a machine with an I7processor with 12Gbram and 2 Gtx580 videocard…not bad at all! :o )
But as for I have understood, the render engine could only permit of being more “performant” but not else (a good “output” depend most on your artistic touch and to your ability to create good lighting, materials/shaders…that is asked in Unreal too)


…heartlessphil , If I send you a private message can you send me some link to some good learning resource too? :rolleyes:

Cheers, Paolo

Are you familiar with CAD and other 3D programs in your work? Many of the concepts in UE4 should be fairly easy to grasp if you’ve already got 3D experience. The Epic youtube channel has excellent tutorials that will cut the time needed to learn the software down by many hours. If you want to go down the archvis route, I’d talk to as many firms as you can to find out what their needs are, if they outsource, etc. Your many years of architecture experience could be a big selling point.

Is there any pathway for you to become licenced for architecture in this country? That could open up a lot of doors for you as well. There’s also the possibility that you could still offer services remotely to people in your own country where you are still licensed to practice through elance or other online methods (Just a thought).

I believe that you are still allowed to draw up floorplans and the like for sale in the US as long as they are signed off by a licensed architect (do your own research here, I’m not an expert). The reason I bring this up is, there’s a movement in the US for people who want to live in small, sometimes single room homes that they build themselves. There could be quite a market for well designed building plans to sell. Research the Tiny Homes movement for more info.

as I can see Paolo, you already have experience with rendering. I too use Octane from time to time. You would not have difficulty to learn UE4. I’ll answer in private message later tonight! cya around.

yes, I’m experienced in rendering but I don’t come from “graphical” study, it started as a “private” passion in 2007/8 and in 2009 had an opportunity to work as freelancer for a firm in my town (8 months ago, due to financial problems, they broke our relationship), now I’m simply trying not to be pushed out from the “world” of graphic by enhancing what can I offer.
What can you tell me about the difference that you have found between Corona and Octane?

It’s not really different but Octane require lot of GPU power and memory. I find it problematic when you want to render 10 000 pixel wide images. And since it’s unbiased, it can take a long time before clearing all noise and fireflies. And you can’t rely on cloud renderfarms for big urgent jobs. Corona is more reliable for this (unbiased and with cloud renderfarms easily accessible). But in the end, it all comes down to the artist behind the computer as you previously mentionned!!!

Oh and rendering a movie with Octane? without your own renderfarm… not really possible. That’s what turned me down because otherwise I like Octane, it’s easy to setup and produce nice results!

You are perfectly right, with some scene (in general interiors with lot of glossy materials) it’s needed quite long time to clean up the image, the method adopted in these cases is to render at x2 or x3 the original resolution and then scaling…but you can’t think of doing it with resolution needed of 10.000px :wink:

Cheers, Paolo

Hi Walid,

Thought I’d chime in here with some other advice, but I am only 31 so it’s probably wise advice you’re already aware of.
Like others have suggested you need to focus on getting a portfolio built, but that brings me to my suggestion in regards to presenting yourself.

While I am not sure, and please don’t take it the wrong way if I am mistaken, but from your post I am guessing English is not your primary language? The reason is that when I read it back, while it’s not too bad and most kids just out of school these days are far worse, that’s how it comes across. Once again, please forgive me if I am wrong and I don’t intent to offend you, plus I myself write poorly far too often, but IF the post is basically how you’d normally write then I’d strongly recommend that you also invest some time into polishing up those types of skills. Especially if you’ll be going down the freelancer path. If I was looking to employee someone who was generally on the older side with much more world and life experience it’d kind of be expected that individual would have really good communication (written, spoken, etc) skills. Regardless if that language is a primary language or not having top notch communication between parties makes life much easier.

I know general writings on the internet and forums doesn’t usually prompt well written sentences at the best of times and once again, I don’t intend to offend you, it’s just something I personally observed when reading the post.

PS… It’s really sad to hear about places in the world that force citizens to change their whole life and flee the country. I wish you all the best and hope some luck comes your way.