Why Architects Hate Entourage

Most arch visualization folks hate entourage. They hate seeing people in their renderings. They hate that they have to try to reproduce the world “around” their structures. They hate anything that breaks the realm of photorealism. They hate having to painstakingly place individual people in their scenes. They hate that the model of car they personally drive isn’t readily available to drop into their model. Haters gonna hate.

But you know who loves entourage? Clients! They love seeing their mall parking lot full of cars (customers!). They love seeing rows of semi trucks docked behind their warehouse (customers!). They love seeing life brimming in their restaurants, concert halls, sports venues and retail shops (customers!). We can talk about how entourage helps communicate scale; blah, blah, blah. In the end, customers want to feel great about their new project. Anything you can do to convey warm, happy thoughts about how well the project is going to be received transmits those happy thoughts. Architectural entourage can help.

In late 2013 I wrote a post titled Rendering vs Presentation that outlined our view of the changing visualization workflow in the design industry. The democratization of visualization is changing who is creating the communication work-product, what tools they’re using, and the usefulness in various parts of the design/customer-interaction process. No longer is visualization relegated to “that guy in the corner” who is the only one with the tenacity (read crazy enough) to master the tools used to create photorealistic renderings. Rather, visuals generated from 3D models are being used to convey design intent in presentations at key points throughout the design process.  A new generation or two of new hires joining the workforce with 3D skills combined with less costly software solutions translates into  value understood by practitioner and client alike.

Entourage WorkshopOne of our goals in 2014 was to increase the usefulness of RPCs within Revit by providing users with the tools they need to customize the look and feel of the RPCs in their scenes. Entourage Workshop was born. Entourage Workshop is a Revit add-in that lets you create and apply Styles to RPC people and trees in your model. These Styles control the type of geometry and appearance (color, transparency and brightness) of the RPCs in your model allowing you to achieve photorealistic and non-photorealistic presentation results.

Entourage Workshop lets you create reusable Styles for achieving silhouettes of people or trees, control the model-view geometry of the RPCs in your scene including removal of the “base” and fine-tune the brightness of the RPCs to better match your scene in the various rendering modes.

There’s a love/hate relationship with entourage. We’ve heard thousands of stories over the years. The goal of RPC and Entourage Workshop is to help you learn to love entourage. Give your clients visuals, chocked-full of entourage, with your own personal Style. What’s not to love!

Fresh Update: V-Ray 3.0 for 3ds Max Now Supports 3ds Max 2015

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A new update for V-Ray 3.0 for 3ds Max 2015 is now available for download. In addition to support for 3ds Max 2015, Chaos Group has added a new VrayPointParticleMtl material. This is a free update for current V-Ray 3.0 for 3ds Max users.

This update also includes:

  • V-Ray: Added option to the .vrmesh exporter to automatically create a Multi/Sub-Object material when exporting multiple objects in a single file
  • V-Ray RT CPU: Added lights include/exclude list support
  • V-Ray RT: Implemented showing Safe Frame when rendering in a viewport
  • VRayProxy: Added option to render particles as points
  • VRayProxy: Added option to enable/disable Alembic full names support in visibility lists
  • V-Ray MetaballsVRayProxy: Added support for hair and particles color channels from Alembic
  • VRayProxy: Make the “Animation offset” parameter animatable
  • To purchase additional licenses or for more information, please visit: ArchVision.com for the latest on feature update availability. Click product version for current purchase options.

    Licensed users may access the update directly from Chaos Group here.

    Autodesk 360 Rendering Support Enabled for ArchVision RPCs

    ArchVisionDashboard_CloudSupport

    LHB Minneapolis Office Renderings Submitted for LEED® CI Platinum

    Gathering Space,  LHB, Inc, Minneapolis

    Gathering Space, LHB, Inc, Minneapolis

    LHB is dedicated to being environmentally responsible, reducing long term operating costs, and improving the quality of life for their clients. This is true even when they are their own clients. LHB is pursuing LEED® CI Platinum certification for their Minneapolis office.

    In this project, RPC Content helps communicate the size and the new collaborative environment the Minneapolis LHB offices offer. The design features of the space, such as overhead fabric ductwork and LED lighting, are part of an effort to gain Leadership in Energy and Environment Design (LEED) Platinum designation for commercial interiors from the U.S. Green Building Council.

    We always enjoy seeing customer projects and how they utilize RPC Content. In this project, renderings were completed in Revit. ArchVision RPC Content was ‘ghosted’ in Photoshop and then merged into the Revit scene for final output. Project design by Bruce Cornwall, models by Nick Vreeland, and renderings by Daniel Stine.

    For tutorials on RPC lighting and techniques, please visit our help site. To see how to place RPC Content into Revit scenes, view our video tutorials. Get started using RPC Content, download ArchVision Dashboard here.

    Meeting Spaces Final 03

    Meeting Space, LHB, Inc, Minneapolis

    LHB ranked as one of the top engineering and architectural firms in the nation by Engineering News-Record (ENR), Architectural Record, and as a 2013 Hot Firm by ZweigWhite.

    LHB ranked No. 381, up from No. 463 two years ago, in the ENR Top 500 Design Firms List. In addition, LHB placed No. 249 on Architectural Record’s Top 300 Architecture Firms List, and No. 45 on The Zweig Letter Hot Firm List.

    Phone Booth Final 01

    Phone Booth, LHB, Inc, Minneapolis

    Want to see your firm featured?

    Share your project with us. Contact us at dfife@archvision.com

    V-Ray 3.0 Launches: Faster Ray Tracing and Rendering Performance

    Image Credit: Artwork by FAMA, Courtesy Chaos Group

    Image Credit: Artwork by FAMA, Courtesy Chaos Group

    V-Ray 3.0 introduces a powerful set of new features and improvements. If you’ve been waiting to upgrade, now is the time to invest in an improved production-focused rendering engine:

    Artist-friendly Controls
    Designed with new and experienced users in mind, V-Ray 3.0 offers a simplified user interface with fast access to common settings.

    Render set up is now faster and easier with V-Ray 3.0’s Quick Settings. Artists can choose from a variety of production presets and fine tune quality with slider controls. And a new V-Ray Toolbar puts all popular V-Ray tools in one place.

    Faster Ray Tracing and Rendering Performance
    Optimizations to V-Ray’s ray tracing core make rendering in V-Ray 3.0 significantly faster. Depending on scene complexity beta users are reporting speed increases up to 5X.

    Faster Feedback
    Using a powerful path-tracing engine, V-Ray 3.0’s new Progressive Image Sampler delivers instant feedback to artists and makes look development faster and more intuitive.

    An improved V-Ray Frame Buffer adds Lens Effects and advanced color corrections for Contrast, HSL, and Color Balance.

    Production-Focused Tools
    New tools designed to give artists more control and flexibility include Max Ray Intensity, Probabilistic Light Sampling, Reflection/Refraction Trace Sets, and Render Mask to specify exact render regions with an object selection or image mask.

    Open Source Workflows
    Support for open source tools and formats include Alembic 1.5, Deep Images and OpenEXR 2.0, programmable OSL shaders, and advanced color management with OpenColorIO.

    V-Ray 3.0 also introduces new licensing and pricing policy:

    Here are the highlights:

    • Universal render nodes to be used across multiple 3D platforms (V-Ray 3.0 for 3ds Max and Maya will be the first tools to support the universal render nodes).

    • Workstation Licenses to reduce the cost for an individual user license.

    Purchase Options
    Workstation and Bundle Licenses available here.

    Have more questions?
    We can provide quotes to you for your studio, assist with set-up planning and help you determine what will best meet your needs. Contact us at support@archvision.com or call us Monday – Friday, 9am-5pm ET, +1 859.252.3118 ext 117.

    Learn How to Render RPCs in Autodesk 360 RaaS

    Join us tomorrow December 12, 2013, 2:00 pm EST for a live webinar – Rendering RPCs in RaaS. We’ll show just how easy it is! View it here: http://archvision.com/live #A360 #AU2013 topics.

    ArchVIsion December Webinars

    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!

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