Rendering vs Presentation

Images courtesy of Steven Shell (http://scshell.wordpress.com/)

For years we considered RPC a “rendering” tool, designed to help create photorealistic imagery quickly and easily.  Photorealism was at the core of our DNA.  How deep? The “P” in RPC stands for “Photorealistic” (RPC = Rich Photorealistic Content)! Our ongoing observations of how imagery is created has led us to a broader definition of where and how our products are (or could be) used.  Many more people are creating “Presentations” as opposed to “Renderings”.  What’s the difference?  I think it has less to do with the technical definition than it does the workflow.  In the early days of design visualization someone created a 3D model and then created “renderings” in specialized software like 3dsMax where materials and lighting were painstakingly added to produce an image.  The workflow looked something like 2D Cad > 3D Model > Materials > Lighting > Rendering  where multiple specialists generally assumed roles along that process to produce visuals and the person creating the design was generally not the person creating the renderings.

I’ll claim the traditional world of design visualization changed when Sketchup was introduced.  Sketchup wasn’t about rendering, it was about modeling and for the first time (Another claim… the magic was the the push/pull feature – http://www.google.com/patents/US6628279) 3d modeling became accessible to every designer no matter the level of cad/graphics proficiency.  I can remember being at various tradeshows when Sketchup was first introduced and witnessing older architects (who had largely skipped CAD) almost giddy with excitement because they now had a tool that wasn’t intimidating or downright scary to use.  That’s software magic and anyone who was around Brad Schell and the @Last Software team in those early days knows exactly what I’m talking about.  I know for ArchVision it was a bit of a paradigm challenge as we worked to understand how RPC could and should play in this new world of design “modeling”.  There wasn’t a traditional “rendering” process to interface with.  We punted on trying to make RPC function directly inside Sketchup, recognizing the technical advantage of RPC at the time was in the “rendering” pipeline and not in this new world that was a hybrid of both modeling and visualization.  With the ongoing success of Revit we’ve changed our tune.  What we now think of as “Presentation” is here to stay and we believe will continue to be the dominant form of design visualization in the future.

I need to give credit to my friend Steven Shell, who I met at the RTC Conference (http://www.rtcevents.com) this past summer, for pushing me to think about this a bit more.  Steven does some incredible “presentation” and rendering work natively within Revit.  You should check out his website (http://www.scshell.com/) and blog (http://scshell.wordpress.com/) to see some of his work.  Steven is also a great teacher so if you get a chance to sit in on one of his classes don’t miss it!  He’ll be passing on some of his wisdom at Autodesk University later this month – https://events.au.autodesk.com/connect/speakerDetail.ww?PERSON_ID=31B2FC96BD614DDB34740336273DBBC2.  Steven is an architect who uses Revit to create great communication tools to share with his clients.  No external renderer, no Photoshop.  Pure presentation techniques from within Revit.

What used to be a multi-step (and often multi-disciplined) approach to creating visualizations of a design are now emanating from a single-step process; building a model.  All of the tools, previously part of a linear production line process for producing a rendering, are now “built-in” and the visuals are quickly becoming a byproduct of the modeling process.  This is leading ArchVision to look for opportunities to extend RPC to accommodate these new workflows.  Watch for new enhancements to the way RPC works in Revit in the coming months.  We’re adding the ability to display silhouetted views of RPCs within Revit as an alternative to the default photorealistic views.  Next up will be the ability to assign and manage varying geometric representations of content.  All of these enhancements acknowledge that design visualization is evolving and becoming more accessible.  Great news for the design industry!

About Randall Stevens
Randall is a serial entrepreneur with more than 25 years of software development, sales and management experience. Randall founded ArchVision in 1991, co-founded Mersive Technologies in 2004, Punndit in 2010 and AVAIL in 2016. In 2015, Randall helped bring the new Building Content Summit (BCS) to life, an industry gathering of BIM content professionals representing AECO, Building Product Manufacturers and Software/Service Providers. Randall offers a unique combination of expertise in software and graphics technology, coupled with a background and degree in architecture. Randall is the owner of ArchVision, a software development firm specializing in 3D graphics and content management technology for the design industry. In the late nineties, he successfully led the company in the development of software based on the emerging field of Image-Based Rendering (IBR) and launched the software technology Rich Photorealistic Content (RPC) currently being used by customers in more than 100 countries. Through ArchVision, Randall built relationships with the industry's leading design visualization software companies including Autodesk and Bentley Systems. Randall received his B.A. from the University Of Kentucky College Of Architecture and served as an adjunct faculty member at the College of Design at the University of Kentucky from 1991-2007. He currently teaches entrepreneurship at the University of Kentucky College of Business. Randall serves on the Board of Directors for the University of Kentucky Innovation Network for Entrepreneurial Thinking (iNET) and the Kentucky Governor's School for Entrepreneurs. Randall owns and operates Base163 and Base110, co-working office space housing small tech and creative companies in Lexington, Kentucky. He is a frequent lecturer on technology and entrepreneurship.

4 Responses to Rendering vs Presentation

  1. Reblogged this on Southern Arizona Revit User Group and commented:
    Thank you Randall!

  2. Pingback: Archvision Blog: Rendering vs Presentation | BIM: Integrating Art & Technology

  3. Pingback: Why Architects Hate Entourage | ArchVision Blog

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: