Page T1.1 . 20 November 2002                     
ArchitectureWeek - Tools Department
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    Rendering la Sechman

    by Michael Sechman

    A high-end digital rendering of an architectural project may look like it was drawn loosely by hand but may nonetheless be the result of a careful process of manipulating precise geometric elements.

    I create images in a three-stage process: modeling the basic geometry of a building in AutoCAD, setting the lighting and composing the rendering in 3ds max (formerly 3D Studio), and adding entourage and detailed touch-ups, so-called "postproduction," in Photoshop. There are many other applications that perform the same functions, but these three make up the preferred toolkit for my company.

    The time required at each of the three stages is divided approximately equally between the three applications. This was not always the case. In the past, modeling and rendering each required about 45 percent of our time, with the final 10 percent spent in postproduction. This has changed over time as 3ds max has become better at modeling and Photoshop better at rendering and creating lighting effects.

    For instance, we used to apply most of the lighting, textures, finishes, and entourage (people, trees, cars) within 3ds max. Now we do most of this postproduction in Photoshop.   >>>

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    ArchWeek Image

    Digital renderings may have a hand-drawn look, but they are the result of a careful, technical process.
    Image: Michael Sechman

    ArchWeek Image

    Architectural models are unnecessarily detailed for imaging purposes, so the renderer may build a new, minimal model.
    Image: Michael Sechman


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