If you are a 3D artist or you would like to become one and find employment in architectural companies, there are certain things you need to know. Here are 8 essential tips that will help you on your path.
3D artists in architecture are not a new concept, but only recently, this position has become obligatory in every architectural firm. This means that there haven’t been any exact standards until now and architectural firms didn’t exactly know what to demand from people in this position.
However, now they know what they want and it can be difficult to compete and get a job. Not only this, but it can also be difficult to do the job as architecture is unique and comes with its own set of challenges and specifics.
Architectural visualization and rendering are in a very specific and narrow niche. You need to understand modeling, animating, and rendering in the digital space while at the same time having knowledge about constructing and designing buildings. Luckily for you, today, we will share 8 tips that will help you find a job in architectural firms as a 3D artist and do it properly.
1. Learn Building Design
If you haven’t studied architecture and graduated from it, chances are you don’t have the knowledge of how buildings are constructed and designed. This is something you will definitively need if you want to work in architectural firms so make sure that you learn more about this before you try and get a job.
It is generally a good idea to learn how to look at and understand building plans, schematics, drawings, and documents for construction. You will often be required to understand plans from these kinds of documents and they help you avoid having to talk with someone for hours while they are explaining what they need.
Additionally, the more knowledge you have on how a building is built from scratch, the more realistic renders and visualizations you will be able to do with detailed modeling.
2. Don’t Be a Cookie-Cutter
Successful architectural firms are known for their attention to detail and coming up with amazing, creative, and innovative designs. As a 3D artist working for this kind of company, these responsibilities will fall down to you.
It’s OK to have a process of your own, how you render and design projects, but you can’t allow it to be repetitive and stale. A lot of companies use templates for different buildings, condos, or apartments and this is why they aren’t able to get to move their business forward.
Avoid doing this and make sure that you put your creativity to work for each project. Of course, it’s not always easy to come up with something new, but this is part of the job.
3. Pay Attention to Materials and Texturing
Texturing is a very important process that can either make or break a render. However, if you want to be a real professional, you will have to learn how to do this properly. Some of the most essential elements of texturing that you need to learn include:
1. Learning how to scale textures properly;
2. Learning proper texture positioning and orientation;
3. Proper texture tiling.
However, apart from these things, you also need to consider using certain effects that can help make your renders even more realistic but aren’t used that often for this purpose. Realistic objects are not perfect and they are not shiny and sparkly throughout.
Look to highlight certain imperfections, consider the materials you’ve used and how they will react with the outside environment, consider lighting, and the position of the sun. For material creation, always look to leave your brightness and your diffuse white light lower than 80%.
Most of the software solutions used in architecture have a library with materials and textures that can be instantly used for visualization. Still, not all of them are good and it’s generally a good idea to populate your library with the ones that work best for you.
4. Work on Lighting
No matter how good your models might look and how many details you might have, there is nothing worse than having no lighting or poor quality lighting in your work. When someone sees a render or a visualization with unnatural light, no matter how good the rest of the project might be, that person will not be impressed.
The reasons for this are quite simple. We are constantly looking at the world through our eyes and we see how light interacts with different materials and in different conditions. So when this effect is off, it can be painfully obvious for anyone that something is wrong.
This is why you need to spend a lot of time perfecting your lighting models so that you can recreate realistic physical and lighting conditions that you want to showcase in your renderings. Most software used for this purpose is equipped with tools that allow you to create photorealistic lighting, you just need to know how to use it.
5. Customize Your Project with Details
Adding a lot of details in a project is what makes it stand out from the rest. If you do this manually, you will be able to expose objects in a better way and highlight things that matter even more. Consider lighting, material, texture, composition, colors, scale, sun position, glass reflections, time of day, and every other element you find relevant to your render.
Think about things like whether the object you are presenting will look better during the day or night, do you need people in your render, do you need natural elements around the building, and so on. Consider the purpose of your project and who it is done for and bring it closer to them.
For example, if you are designing an office building for a finance company, make sure that all people are wearing suits, that there are separated office cubicles, and that the whole environment is tailored to their culture and needs.
6. Consider the Composition
Similarly to making art or taking photographs, the composition is also vital for architectural renders, 3D visualizations, and photorealistic renders. However, in this case, scene compositions start when you are trying to find the right scenes that you will render.
It is important to ensure that the scene looks interesting, intriguing and that it’s aesthetically appealing. You can use diagonals, perspective, or the rule of 3s to help you create a good composition.
If you are not skilled and experienced in doing this kind of work, use 3D models to create test scenes, show them to your coworkers, and discuss them to see what you’re doing wrong and what you are doing right. When you’ve nailed the composition with basic models and geometric perspectives, you can start adding details to your scenes and present them in a breathtaking way.
7. Don’t Create Sterile Projects
Professional renders and visualizations have the purpose of presenting a certain space in the most accurate way and help the viewer understand how that space is going to be used in real life, how practical it will be, and what are its functionalities.
However, this is not the only purpose of these projects and they don’t have to be only technically accurate. They also need to be personalized and adjusted to the needs of the client so that they can further immerse themselves in the visualization.
This includes having the freedom to add objects that the client will use and populate the area further so that they can have a clearer picture or suggestions as to what they can do with a certain space. If you are creating an interior, for example, leaving all the rooms empty with no furniture or decorations will make them look dull and boring.
8. Learn New Technologies
Technology has become a vital driving factor in modern business. This is especially true if you are using real-time software as there are constant updates and improvements that you can take advantage of to tell your stories in a better way, present them effectively, and improve the experience.
Consider 3D visualizations, various VR tools, and new software plugins and upgrades you can use to stand out from the rest and bring something new into the 3D art world of architecture. In this line of work, you need to be practical and set proper processes in place that will allow you to tackle any kind of project.
However, at the same time, it is about being creative as much as it is about being technical. Being creative in some cases means learning new technical skills that will allow you to explore other perspectives and approaches to your work.
Follow up on these 8 tips and we guarantee you that you will improve as a 3D artist working in architecture. Remember that your profession is all about improving constantly and being creative, but at the same time, you have to make sure that you have all the necessary technical knowledge you need to execute tasks perfectly.