About The Author

Andrzej Drawc

I’m an architect and 3d graphic artist based in Poland.
I graduated in Architecture at Gdańsk University of Technology in 2009. Under DRAW a HALF-CIRCLE logo I work on architectural visualizations. My goal is to create high quality images showing non-existing architecture in an elegant and subtle way.

About the project


 
The Danbury House, designed by Tom Dawson of London based AFL design studio, is a small building, blending harmonically in its surroundings.
 
Plan
 
Architect describes his design as follows:
“The form of this new build house in Essex draws from the surrounding housing typologies of traditional pitched roofed properties and timber barns. The detailing is contemporary with frameless glass bays and herringbone cladding. The site offers a fantastic woodland environment and the design was determined by the house’s relationship with the garden and the views offered to the mature oak trees beyond. Internally, the design features white-soaped timber to create a dialogue with the woodland context whilst offering visual warmth and tactile surfaces. The landscape design includes a raised pond that surrounds the house. This will reflect views of the trees and also cast dappled light onto the ground floor ceiling.”
Google maps environment
Details

Getting started


 
When I organise and browse through the files received from the designer, first impressions of the final image appear. Walking in the vicinity of the site, where the project is to be executed, provides more stimuli and is absolutely necessary for creating valuable work and to transfer the atmosphere of the location. At first glance you might get the impression, that there is nothing interesting there, but it is advisable to look for characteristic features, like fencing, utility poles or paving. Yet when scouting the location is not possible, you might get help from Google Street View. This might sound cliché, but it is worth appreciating how Google Maps have become one of main tools improving our work.

Communication


 

Reference photos


 
Good communication between graphic artist and the designer is a cornerstone of successful commission. Without it, the work does not proceed smoothly and the final outcome might be disappointing for both parties. In order to avoid such situation, you should obey these basic rules:
Answer phone calls and reply to e-mails.
If you are not sure of something, ask.
Present progress of your work in regular intervals. Send drafts, print screens and test renderings.
You should remember, that we communicate through image. During my work on the project, every remark from the architect was illustrated with an easily understandable sketch or collage.
Along with the design of few simple drawings I have received a collection of photos of architectural details, colours, materials and furnishings.
Since then I always ask for this kind of reference even before I start work. It is an enormous enhancement, as well as an information, that the designer has thought his work through, which minimises the risk of unexpected and troublesome alternations of the project.
Reference images
Reference images

Modeling process


 
Modeling of this object was as simple as it’s shape. Still, there are some rules that you should take in the consideration, now matter how complicated the project is.
 Moving from general to detail.
 Keeping geometry neat. It helps you to introduce possible changes at the late stage of work.
 Appropriate naming of separate elements in the scene. It helps you to maintain order in the file
 Using layers instead of groups of elements. It helps the third person or, after some time passes even the author himself.
 Detail and recreating the imperfections of the real world has a great impact on final effect.
 Chamfer of the key edges – light will settle on them in more realistic way.
Modeling stages
To create terrain model I divided simple plain into road area and grass area. After that, I subdivided the geometry and added noise modifier to create some bulges. When the final frames were decided I used push/pull tool to enhance the effect of terrain imperfections.
3d Modeling details
3d Modeling details
3d Modeling details
3d Modeling details

Lights


 
HDRi Map
Light
I decided to prepare lighting setup at this stage to be able to create previews for textures in next step. I light the scene with Vray Dome Light and Vray HDRI.
In this case I have decided on two HDRI photos from Vizpeople collection. For daylight shots I conjoined Vray Dome Light with standard Direct Light in order to have full control over the shadow cast on the building facade. You should remember though, that Direct Light should exactly overlap the sun on the HDRI photo. Otherwise you will end up with double shadows, due to different position of two light sources. Also, to prevent sun from showing as a blank patch and to make it clearly visible in the viewport, reduce the Overall mult. value from 1.0 to, for example 0.2 in the Vray HDRI.

Settings


 
Render settings
I admit that my scene and shading settings are very basic and it is no use in looking for nothing inventive in that matter. That is why I decided not to describe it, especially that you can find lots of information on the topic on the Internet.
Bricks texture
Concrete texture
Glass texture
Roof texture
Wood texture
Water texture
Model library

Models library


 
Models library, along with hardware and software are your investment. You should take care of it and complement it regularly. The bigger it is, the greater the possibility of successful tackling the task given by the commissioner. There are a few companies, whose models I like to use. Among them there is Vizpeople that stands out, because of high quality of shaders and geometry, fair amount of free models, wisely devised sets, very convenient due to their variety.
Plants 3d models
Trees 3d models

Postproduction


 
In order to show you how I run postproduction I divided interior visualization into 4 steps, so you can see all of the small differences between raw and final pictures.
I use simple tools such as curves, color balance, brightness/contrast etc, which anyone with basic skills is able to use. One more thing worth mentioning is Render Elements. Except Alpha channel, VrayRefractions, VrayReflections and VrayRawTotalLighting I am using VrayZDepth, which does not only creates depth of field, but is also very convenient in creating fog or air perspective. Also VrayObjectSelect is very handy, because it is possible to render selection mask to any object in the scene by marking it with appropriate Object ID. Sometimes, when I need precise rays of volumetric light, I save VrayAtmosphere channel. One should remember, that the rendering of Environmental Fog effect takes some time and that is why in order to get an impression of sun filtered through the trees, I mostly decide on painting it manually and appropriately mixing layers in Photoshop.
Postproduction