Tips for creating life-like visualizations

Before I begin, let me say first that this thread is NOT about what settings you need to use, what 3D modelling programs to use, or anything of that nature. This is merely a post about what I feel is the number one reason why almost every animation / video / picture I see screams “CGI” to me.

To give a bit of a background, I have an associates in multimedia, specializing in CGI work. While in school, I took several classes in CAD and architecture. I am also an avid post-production enthusiast (hobby), and I namely use After Effects for all of my post production work. Of course, living where I do, not much work in the field, but that is besides the point of this thread.

I have followed the works of Andrew Kramer over at Video Co-Pilot for a very long time now, and he posted something which helped me immensely. “The real world is not perfect, so why are your renders perfect?” is the basic gist of it. So for TL/DR people, there you go.

For ease of reading, I will be using “compositions” instead of visualizations, games, gobbleygoops, etc…

Tip 1: In the real world, wood, drywall, tiles deform with age. Even during the manufacturing process, no two things are exactly alike. It could be a tiny amount, or it could be a hugely visible amount. Either way, we may not see the imperfections, but our brain picks up on it. In a composition, when you see something perfect with no imperfections, it screams “FAKE!”. Take the time to add even a tiny amount of noise to the edges, a small dirt smudge decal, even a fingerprint on a window, and it will go a long way.

Tip 2: I only know of a small amount of people that live in a sanitary environment. While I do like having a clean house, there will always be dust, dirt, cobwebs, something to say that I shouldn’t open up a hard drive casing in the area… and so should your compositions. Unless you are in fact, designing a clean room :wink:

Tip 3: I have never seen a camera that has a perfect lens, even if it was brand new. A good resource I found describing this is here:

Tip 4: Composite the ArcViz elements on top of a real environment, add HDRI, and use it as a background (Skybox). Why? To make it look like your composition exists in the real world. Some research links:

Tip 5: Randomize your composition. You see that chair behind that perfect desk you made? Instead of having it at exactly straight, rotate it by a degree or so. Make the environment look alive.

Tip 6: (im)Perfection takes time. Start a small project, let’s say, your bedroom. Take pictures of it, look at it, notice every detail. Create a short video of it. Just a camera on a tripod that moves in a circle showing the room. Now… create it. An exact duplicate (with the camera). Once you cannot tell the real one from the fake one, you should have learned everything you need to know :slight_smile:

Well, that’s about it I guess. Hopefully this is of some use to someone out there :slight_smile:

I guess you don’t do Archviz for a living. Hahahahaha All kidding aside, sure if the budget is great and you have time those things are great to do, reality is a far different experience though. You have to draw a line as to how much you’re willing to spend in terms of time vs how much the fee is. Archviz is a low paying profession for the most part. The beauty renders you see on the interwebs are usually personal projects, people fuss with them with no budget constraints.

I agree with SaviorNT, in a perfect world.

I now add dirt/leaks/wear to almost all my scenes!!! Vertex painting is just fun anyway! I will experiment more with walls deformations. I would really like a thing like round corner (for edges) from Corona render too.

In a perfect world you wouldn’t be handed a drawing and get told, “We need this by tomorrow.”… qq

To be fair, it should be a “goal” to build up a library of assets to which can be used. 3D models, textures, etc… That way you won’t need to redesign that wall/door/etc… for the 10th time. This is one of the many use cases where I have been harping on Epic to put in a per-studio content vault.

I find the biggest bang for the buck is textures and lighting in addition to really good models. I don’t have a library for UE4 yet but do for my still rendering work. The time consuming thing is modeling the space and holding the clients hand. :open_mouth:

Agreed SaviorNT, I haven’t searched yet (too busy learning oher stuff) but I would love to find some case studies or recommendations for good project workflows and asset organization.
…the next project should be easier than the last.

I think that the best solution right now would be to have a “Content Project”, where all of the re-usable content is stored in a demo fashion. One level could be “Doors”, another level could be “Stairs”, etc… Then you would just select the item you want and migrate it to the project your working on.

I have not worked on any projects where there are any reusable components like doors, windows, guard rails etc. - it’s all custom for my clients.

That said a library of furniture and materials is what I am trying to build up. I just wish there was a better way to organize them, maybe I just don’t know how though.

Asset reuse/sharing in UE4 is well… bad. A simple vault like in UE4 launcher should be enough I think. Even the very old BSP editor such as Hammer or Quark had much better asset sharing/reuse tools. You can turn your assets into prefab, a real time saver when building levels.

That is exactly what I am doing now. Making a “gallery” project to store all of my assets. Especially modular components such as wall, ceiling, floor, and material instances.

Came here to say this. There’s a lot of dillisional people here. Someone should do a post along the lines of: the realities of actually working in Archvis. All my post are regarding furniture modeling as these fools pull furniture out there butts and I have to figure it out. Stuff you never even heard of and you have it modeled by yesterday. N