My try on cinematic arch viz

Hey there, I’m an architecture student based in the US.
Been playing in UE4 for about two months and this forum has been of great help.
I just want to share my exercise in architectural composition and mood making.
The work is mostly inspired by Koola’s stuff and I use his concrete material and Speedtree from his demo.

Please check it out:

Looks good. Where are you going to Architecture School? I went architecture school at Ohio State.

An architecture school in California.

well done bro. :slight_smile:

Hi ExpiredYogurt,

Fantastic job ,keep up with the lighting very nice.

I’m an architecture student and i have a solid understanding of material layering ,but my only weakness is lighting and that’s where most people are stuck,so if you don’t mind sharing your lighting workflow please, i dont know if you gays are using special things with the .ini file or so, or maybe the post process volume is special .

It would be a life saver for me if you share these lighting points ,since my lighting is preventing me from producing a reasonable video ,i have no problem with matinee.

Thank you for the video it’s awesome ,and thank you for inspiring me despite the fact you share your lighting values or not .

Best Regards,


Thanks Daniel!

Lighting is very simple. It’s only a Skylight and a Directional Light.

No .ini file is being tweaked. I’m not using light portals either (I should to reduce build times but this is a simple scene).

In terms of parameters Static Lighting Level Scale is low around 0.1, Num Indirect Lighting Bounces at max, Indirect lighting quality at 8-10, and indirect lighting smoothness at 1.

Post processing is mostly color grading. Look into Epic’s documentation on that (LUTs). They completely change the mood of your scene.

I read into a lot of Koola’s threads and the Lightmass thread in this forum; those helped a lot.

Most important though is composition. Understanding space, form, light, shadows, etc. Look at how famous architects like Tadao Ando and or Louis Khan form their space with light and shadow. Light and shadow define your space more so than the walls.

Good luck.

Thank you ExpiredYogurt for your clarifications .

one more thing to ask you about when you were talking about light,shadows and composition one thing i know about the last one is the rule of thirds and so on…but i Thought composition was just for stills like v-ray rendered static images where you choose where to place your objects in the scene following composition rules.

Or do you mean by composition the direction of light and position where it hits the scene ,for instance in your scene exactly around 0.06 minutes if you stop the video you can see on the right where the light hits the big wall and the ground, is this composition in arch viz fly through or what ??? Please clarify this…

…Since i spent over a 6 months now learning UE4 i can handle modeling, uvs,PBR texturing ,but lighting is a mystery for me…!! and i also over this short period ,if one thing i learned is that mastering the software and getting around the technical aspects of it isn’t enough ,you need the artistic side of things to produce something powerful .

For instance, this scene which is interior : - Viennese apartment - YouTube ,the realism achieved here i guess isn’t with just directional light and skylight alone without some secrets hhhhh…some tweaks i don’t know you tell me…cause kooola is saying he is not doing anything fancy, and other remarkable arch visualizers said the same ,i don’t know i feel like they 're hiding something …hhh.

Am i able to reach this one day …or am i dreaming it seems like far from reach…everybody is making tutorials about the obvious things that you can learn on your own over some time, but no one shows us the real deal even if you pay…???



how long did you took to render it?
I’m planning on use UE4 on my product design project for college.

Hey ExpiredYogurt,

Would you like to take a stab at doing something like this for my archviz project?

Let me know by email at nathannasseri at gmail dot com


Try looking at Berlin Flat demo by xoio on the marketplace. Study the lighting done by them. I’m sure the scene in the link you provided pretty much uses the same lighting set up as xoio’s.

Beautifully composed and lit - I think you demonstrate exactly why an architectural education helps with arch viz.

My one minor quibble is the level of glossiness on some materials - those Ando-inspired cast in-situ concrete panels are not quite that shiny in real life. They definitely do have more reflective sections, but they tend to be a little “flatter” and softly blend between the more rough parts. I see you’ve used Koola’s material, so I assume it can be easily played with? Just the roughness map needs to blend between the darker and lighter sections a little more progressively.

I’m doing my masters in architecture, specialising in arch-viz using UE4 and have spent the last 8-9 months trying to get Zumthor (Thermal Baths at Vals) and Ando (Chichu Art Museum in Japan) into UE4 so can totally appreciate where you’re at. Great work, nice to see some more “elemental” arch-viz work, somehting that isn’t the ubiquitous white Scandinavian apartment.

Hey everyone,

Thank you very much you are really casting light on the subject.

So from your latest 2 posts ExpiredYogurt , eliotbnz , what i can understand is that to achieve this realism in this scene : - Viennese apartment - YouTube , i can totally rely on the marketplace and the learn section arch viz examples lighting setups

and try to produce more realistic real life like materials tweaking the roughness and so on . but one thing is confusing me if the learn section examples are intended to be ideal learning resources why they are not looking so realistic like the youtube arch viz videos ?!.

please i need if you have answers ,cause i need to decide if i can persevere the arch viz as a full time job at an architectural firm .

Thank you.

Best regards,


Have you got any architectural visualisation experience? Or experience studying/working in architecture? If not, you can’t expect to be able to just create high-quality work. It takes years of work to be good at this stuff - not just working in a game engine, but accumulative knowledge. Studying light, material properties, how spaces are composed in terms of their mass and dimensions, how atmosphere manifests in the great buildings of the world - not to mention the technical knowledge of programs.

Get a job as an entry level arch viz artist and work your way up using more traditional tools (ray-tracers such as vray). Read books and visit buildings by the great artists - take photos and study them. There is no silver bullet, every space is different and the hidden settings don’t exist - you have to know how to manipulate the program to suit the story you want to tell.

Hey eliotbnz,

Actually right now i’m studying architecture, it’s my 3rd year.

Did you mean by studying light ,doing research about how light interact with material surfaces !!!..if so i did red pixar’s and siggraph’s documentations +i spent nights awake undestanding building shaders for materials ?and i

have a Great knowledge about substance and layered materials . I understand Mari painting capabilities and layering system ,it’s about 2 years now that i have been digging into Texturing and Shading not yet coding or writing

shaders . But i have no experience with Lighting and mood .

Or did you mean how light behaves in real life which requires observation and checking researches about light behavior in universities ??

and about your question if i have arch viz experience ,i have with unreal engine ,i’m capable of manipulating Blueprints to tweak materials ,not a superficial understanding (like i know what exactly mathematically Material

expressions are doing , and how to control them to get the result that i want ) from here is just a matter of testing and following as you said the studies results about material properties . So i feel like i’m ready concerning Materials

creation my only problem is tweaking Lighting ,and i don’t know i guess others are tweaking the"ini" files or something ,since i c’ant achieve the desired lighting mood ,i mean not the lightning shown in epic’s learn section but

achieving my own controlled lighting mood .

I clearly distinguish Between getting control over softwares (the technical aspects of Digital Content Creation) ,and having a sense of the artistic side of things and above all that studying the harmony of reality to achieve near photo realistic Art.

I feel like i can produce something professional if i just get the lighting right , but to get the job where to start i don’t know !!!. meaning i don’t have a subject , but if someone tells me to do something specific in such way i

totally have control over software and i mean it because it’s a matter of testing for instance you have the Add node and Multiply node used sometimes in the same spots but when you should use one over another this takes

experimenting and testing results and it’s pretty much how things go in material graph not to mention hand written shaders that’s another thing that takes years to get around.


The concrete is from Koola’s demo. And yes, I do agree that it’s too reflective. That can easily be adjusted.

I think Zumthor, Ando, and Kahn-esque architecture brings the best out of UE4. I plan on producing more of these exercises in architectural composition. There are so many talented UE4 arch viz people but it’s a bummer they’re stuck doing apartment rooms for corporate delivery firms. It’d be game changer for UE4 if the high-caliber progressive firms that design dynamic large-scale buildings realize the potential game-engines can bring to both the design process and marketing/selling their projects.

agree + 1 000 000! The high-end architecture firms are doing crazy stuff nowadays though. Using drones for spectacular pov, merging real-life footage with cgi and even adding green-screened live actors in their videos.