Our studio had a busy start to Autumn which included a weekend away in the beautiful city of Venice at the start of October!
Sam and Nick kindly arranged for the whole studio team to take part in a weekend conference hosted by State of Art Academy.
We flew out of Manchester airport on the morning of the first day of the conference and after checking into our hotel the Double Tree Hilton, we headed straight to registration and the first part of the conference.
What is State of Art Academy #day8?
The state of Art Academy is an Architectural Visualisation school and training academy. They hold annual training conferences in Italy. The website describes the event as an opportunity for artists to “exchange views, learn from the best and keep up with growing technologies’” and the event delivered exactly that!
The whole weekend was jam packed with industry Leading experts in the field of 3D Visualisation revealing their best practice for processes and secrets to producing high quality CGI visuals showcasing aspirational projects and showreels.
This years theme for the event was Artist vs Machine. Speakers discussed how emerging technologies are quickly changing the way we work and (in some cases with the growth of AI systems – replacing humans). Artists were able to evaluate the role of both artist and machine in the workflow and how best to make use of the new technology available to us.
• professors in the field of neuroscience exploring the science behind viewing images,
• New technologies including VR, AI and neural networks,
• discussions about how to get the most from your render engines CPU/CG rendering,
• interactive tutorials on the latest industry software updates and plugins.
It was also a great opportunity to take inspiration, tips and techniques from cutting edge studios on their creative approach to image making. As a team we could reflect on our own studio processes and felt motivated to put into practice the lessons we had learned.
In between sessions Our Studio were able to relax and mingle in the sun shine with other attendees and catch up with some old friends as well as meet some new ones.
On our last evening the team strolled around Venice taking in the architecture and the sunset over the Canals whilst enjoying some fine Italian cuisine, wine and obligatory Limoncello!
With thanks to our very own 3D artist Owen (who has a keen eye for photography) who took some really great photos – Thanks Owen!
Our Studio has had the pleasure of having student Joseph Lynch working with the team over the summer months.
Joe got in touch with Our Studio as he was interested in interning opportunities and wanted to gain some experience in Architectural Visualisation and develop his portfolio.
We were more than happy to have him on board!
Our Studio Creative Director Nick Harrison and intern Joseph Lynch
We interviewed Joe about his time working in the studio and found out what he had learnt from his experience behind the scenes at Our Studio …
Tell us a bit about yourself Joe – what’s your 3D Background?
I started practising 3D about 3 years ago after a work shadowing day at Studio Liddell in Manchester. After a year of practising every night I was offered a position at Studio Liddell as an apprentice Generalist, I deferred my Uni offer and took the opportunity to gain some experience before moving onto the University of Hertfordshire to study 3d modelling and animation in September 2016. A year later and I have just finished my first year and have been very lucky to land an internship at Our studio.
What inspires/interests you about Architectural Visualisation?
The architectural side to 3D is one that I haven’t hadn’t much experience in. It’s something my portfolio was lacking and as a generalist I felt it important for me to have as wide a range of work and experience as possible. I was looking forward to working in an area that’s new to me and I’ve enjoyed it very much.
I’ve always enjoyed experimenting and having a go at things that are new to me. I’ve loved almost everything I’ve tried and that’s one of the reasons I’ve chosen the generalist route. I like the idea of having a wide range of skills as opposed to specialising in just one area. Because of this, I’ve managed to build up a comfortable range of software experience over the past few years including 3dsMax, Maya, Vray, Arnold, Corona, Zbrush, Marvellous Designer, Unreal Engine, Photoshop and After Effects as well as a bunch of smaller software and too many plugins to mention! Using this software I have tried to cover as many bases as possible in my portfolio including, characters, buildings, creatures, vehicles, games and props.
What new things did you learn whilst being at Our Studio?
Whilst at Our studio I’ve had the chance to work on crowd simulation as well as practicing the creation of procedural materials and shaders and a little bit of liquid simulation towards the end. I’ve also had the chance to work with Corona as well as Vray. Corona was completely new to me so it’s great to have that extra render plugin under my belt. I’ve learned a lot of new tricks and tips when it comes to material creation as well as learning how to simulate crowds which is something I had no previous experience with. I think the best thing I’ve learned is the inner workings of the studio and how they differ from those of other studios.
If you had to choose one example of 3D work which has inspired you, what would it be and why?
I get a lot of my inspiration from classmates work, I think seeing how hard everyone works adds some extra perspective to just how impressive that final result is and at the same time it pushes those around them to work harder as well. It’s a great motivator. There’s also lots of incredible inspiration I find online. Adam Skutt must be my all-time favourite sculptor, his work is incredible. As for my all-time favourite game it has to be the Witcher 3. I’ve never played a game as convincing of an imaginary world as the Witcher universe.
A sculpture by Adam Scutt
What have you enjoyed the most about working alongside the OS team?
The workplace at Our Studio is so comfortable and friendly, you couldn’t ask for a better working environment. I found it very relaxed which made asking questions and learning new things very easy. I never felt like I was bothering anyone when I needed a hand. To me this is one of the best things about working within the studio, it really makes the job a pleasure.
Joe kindly bought in some Krispy Kreme donuts on his last day to say thank you and of course -these were well received by the OS team!
Thanks Joe and we wish you all the best with your future ventures into the world of 3D.
If you are interested in interning or work experiences with Our Studio we would love to hear from you – please email your interest to firstname.lastname@example.org
Our Studio delivered a series of marketing cgi and a bespoke APP for Catalyst Capital’s latest commercial development, 26 Cross St. Working closely with 5Plus‘ interior design team, Our Studio produced two Axonometric CGI and two 360 degree panoramic cgi to be used online and for their sales app.
The App will be used by the sales team on location as a marketing tool to sell the boutique office spaces.
A transformation is under way. 26 Cross Street, the 1930s jewel of Manchester’s commercial and retail heart is undergoing a major refurbishment to be completed and presented in early 2015.
Our client QDOS fitness have launched their first gym in Heald Green. We produced some interior visuals showing its unique gym concept designed by interior designers NoChintz. We thought it would be interesting to show the CGI alongside actual photography of the finished build.
We are pleased to announce that two of our recent projects have received planning permission.
Willesden Green Cultural Centre by AHMM was issued a resolution to grant planning consent this month. Incorporating a much-loved Victorian library building and responding to the rich architectural context of the local Conservation Area, the Centre’s many facilities include a library, cafe, customer services, training, arts and community function spaces, as well as the Brent Archive and Brent Museum.
Developer London Square’s Upper Richmond Road received planning permission earlier this year. Designed by architects AHMM the mixed-use scheme is composed of a cascading series of dovetailing volumes sitting atop a retail and office space podium, the project will provide 76 double-aspect apartments and an array of balconies, wintergardens and terraces. New landscaping, a public forecourt and a south-facing private garden will complete the mix.
The interactive touchscreen app we developed for Manchester Art Gallery has gone live in the Galleries entrance hall.
We were approached by design agency Hemisphere to help develop an interactive app. The touchscreen will allow visitors who may not otherwise have been able to access the upper levels to view the newly hung paintings on the first floor balcony for the Myth, Dream and Reality exhibition. The app also lets the user learn more about the history of the hall, and view the details and decorations on the walls and ceiling.
Using a combination of 3Ds Max, After Effects and Flash CS5, we took Hemisphere’s UI design and turned it into a fully functioning application which lets the user take a 3D tour of the space, stopping along the way to view the artworks on the wall. You can touch an artwork and then zoom right into it (using a similar method to Apple’s Pinch to Zoom gesture seen on iPhones and iPads) to see the incredible detail of each artwork.
Take a look at the images below to see some screenshots of the app and a short video of it in use. If you visit the Gallery please have a go on the app and let us know what you think….
HDRI (High Dynamic Range Image) lighting was developed to help create more realistic lighting and reflection conditions for matching computer generated images and animations to photography and filmed footage. The technique involves capturing multiple exposures of the same photo by bracketing the exposure time from under exposed through to over exposed. This allows the camera to capture a much larger contast range than can be captured in one photo and tries to mimick what can be seen by the higher contrast ratio of the human eye.
Once the photos are captured (usually between 3 and 8 seperate exposures) they can be merged together into one HDR image or radiance map. This will have much more information than a standard photo allowing it to be used in 3DS max to calculate the lighting for your scene. The HDR image is captured using a reflective sphere or light probe. This allows you to take multiple exposures from a fixed position whilst capturing almost a full 360 degree image of the surrounding environment. This image or light probe (once processed) can be wrapped around a 3D scene and match the same lighting and reflective conditions as the original photo or filmed footage.
The two images below show the computer generated mirrored sphere matched into the original reference photo. At this stage some final colour/contrast adjustments can be made in 3ds max to match the render with the background as closely as possible.
We are currently in the process of creating a christmas animation using this lighting technique, so check back soon to see the finished piece or work.
We have recently tested out the new V-Ray RT rendering engine from Chaos Group to see if it can speed up our production process and most importantly allow for faster feedback when setting up lighting, cameras and textures in scenes. Chaos also allowed us to trial the full beta version of V-Ray RT GPU which utilises the Graphics Processing Unit or Graphics Card for rendering instead of the usual CPU (Central Processing Unit) or processing power of your computer.
The advantage of V-Ray RT is that you can get almost real time feedback on your scene without waiting to render the scene each time. You can move the camera, change objects, lighting, materials etc and they automatically update within your viewport . The other thing i wanted to test is whether render times would also be improved and if Graphic Processing rather than Central Processing for visualisation was the way forward. Using the GPU isn’t a substitute for the production Vray renderer, but as a tool for quickly setting up your scene ready for render. The CPU and GPU spec of my computer can be seen below:
The CPU processing power used was Dual Intel Core 2 Quad processors @2.83GHz (8 cores)
The GPU processing power used was ATI Fire GL V7700
I got a very similar result in terms of render quality and time taken when using either the CPU or GPU renderer. The computer used for the tests has been set up with high central processing power needed for rendering and animation, which is why it was quite surprising to get a similar result from a fairly standard graphics card. The next step if we are to go with GPU processing will be to upgrade our graphics cards for increased render power and next generation GPU’s like the ‘NVIDIA Quadro Fermi’ will take visualisation workflow far beyond current capabilities.
I have added a couple of links to videos by Peter Mitev below showing the process in more detail: