By: Aaron Neal
There is no better way to show off your design than with a well-made rendered perspective. Clients and the average layman can relate to the human scale, and they can easily imagine what the space or building will look like once built. These perspectives have been used for ages to sell the ideas of the designer. Like everything else in the profession, these images were created using hand drawn techniques. The media used ranged, from color pencils, ink, pastels, markers, and paint. Watercolor for example was a really popular choice for most architects. These images gave the space a bit of human quality, giving the viewer an image that captures the feeling and essence of the space. As the computer age entered into the profession, architects figured out how to create these rendered perspectives using software to artificially simulate the space. As technology progresses, advancement in lighting texturing, bump mapping, ambient reflections, and refraction help create more realistic images. CGI is now advanced enough that people can create near photorealistic images and renders. At first this seams all really cool and impressive – which it is – but this also leads to an unexpected issue. When a designer gives a client a photorealistic image, the client will either love it, or they will find everything they don’t like about it and will complain about it. “Why are the bricks that color?” “How come you are using that kind of tree?” These are questions asked by the people who don’t realize that this is just an idea of what the final product will look like and not a simulation of what is actually going to be built. While the old media only were loosely sketched or painted, they provided something that most architects renders lack – the character of the space. This character is what is really important when trying to sell a designed space. What will this room or lobby feel like? Now this isn’t to say that computer renders cannot capture the feel of the space, but it becomes a little bit harder than just hitting the render button. Renderers need to understand the importance of framing the right shot, the composition, the color scheme, and other fundamental art theories to be able to really breathe life in their renders. By using and understanding these basic concepts, the artist can capture the right scene that will allow the client to understand their space. The other thing that older hand drawn media has over the computer is that human quality to it that lets the client know that this is only a concept. To give that same feeling to computer images more work has to be done in post processing. You can use a filter that gives the image a hand drawn look, but that is only falsely imitating another form of media. Other people digitally paint in some effects to give that hand touch to the images while some other artists choose to add line work over the drawing to give the image that concept feel. There are many methods in successfully creating a digital render, but it takes a lot more work and knowledge than just hitting the render button and having the computer spit something out.