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Wittywop
09-21-2013, 05:24 PM
I recently have been interested in getting more into Arch viz work. I know I still have a lot to learn but was wondering if anyone had any good tips or tutorials for getting better at Arch Viz work. I know a big thing is practice, practice, practice.

Is lightwave a good program for this?
Is LWCAD worth the investment?

I also flip through a lot of 3D world and 3D artist and have seen a lot more tutorials and examples for Maya and 3D Studio. They seem to be more mainstream. Would it be better to have Maya or 3D Studio than Lightwave?


Any thoughts, comments or suggestions would be appreciated.

tyrot
09-21-2013, 06:39 PM
Witty -

Plugins:

1- LWCAD is a MUST HAVE
2- Pictrix's SP_move (free) and some other SP plugins (SP Polygon, PX_PoLift) are MUST HAVE..
3- TrueFillet, Scale to Absolute size, Divide Edge are very useful - must have plugins.

These are really all we use for last couple of years. I think we do not even need any other tool any project.. LWCAD is that much complete.
And trust me friend - in terms of modeling LW modeler is an amazing program. I wasted two marriages, couple of occupations for Lightwave. So beware ! it is that much addictive.

And watch all the LWCAD tutorials, take a look at Erikalst's youtube video channel for millions of plugins workflows etc.

And last thing, BUY OCTANE plugin from OTOY (for Lightwave) then you are all set...Native instance rendering support will make you so happy. So you gotta buy a fast NVIDIA card.. If you have any question we are all here.

hrgiger
09-21-2013, 07:25 PM
I can echo Tyrot's assessment that LWCAD is a must have. But more then just for arch viz work. When you consider the myriad of things that LWCAD does, you'll find uses for it everywhere in everyday modeling tasks.

You're always going to see more examples and more tutorials for Maya and 3Ds max. Just a larger userbase so you have more people producing more content. It doesn't have a lot to do with which one is better. I can tell you out of the programs I've used between LightWave, Modo, and Softimage that I would rather do modeling with the combo of LightWave and LWCAD. I can't speak for Maya or 3Ds max because I've never used the former and the latter I haven't used since version 2 which was over 10 years ago.

Unfortunately I think asking the question here will get you a lot of biased answers in favor of LightWave. So trying to be unbiased as possible.... Overall, LightWave is pretty solid when it comes to modeling and for Arch viz work I can't imagine there is a lot it wont' be able to handle. It has instancing in Layout so if you need to render out lots of trees or other structures for visualizations you have that available to you. The unfortunate part is that LightWave Modeler has not been updated a lot in the last several years. There were some new modeling tools in 11.5 that show some promise but it remains to be seen how much of a focus modeling will be in the next few iterations of LightWave. For me, LWCAD has made up for a lot of the lack of progress we've seen in modeler. It's superb snapping, its precision tools, live booleans, work plane(UCS) as well as its ability to store custom shapes and assets has made modeling in LightWave much more enjoyable and efficient. If you're going to use LW and especially if you're going to be doing Arch Viz, you won't want to be without LWCAD.

Surrealist.
09-21-2013, 10:21 PM
I think of you are going to try and tackle rendering within LightWave this is a great study:

http://www.except.nl/lightwave/RadiosityGuide96/

As for interfacing with other teams and getting work it can not hurt to have 3Dmax as a lot of people do Arch Vis with that. There is a lot of 3P support in the way of plugins as well. Just depends on what you are doing. For just delivery to a client it is not going to matter too much. But if you can afford it and are really on the fence, don't discount the fact that a lot of people use Max for this. Investigate and you'll likely find why and make up your own mind. Nothing wrong with straddling two programs. Many people do.

And another plug for LWCAD. I did use it years ago in an earlier version. And you can not beat the functionality it gives you for this kind of work.

gcbotas
09-21-2013, 10:30 PM
www.mir.no

I read that they use lightwave.

geo_n
09-21-2013, 11:26 PM
lightwave - for exterior and animation
lwcad - modelling boost
kray - for fast and clean interiors

Read all vray tutorials they apply well to setting up lights in lw and kray.
Don't go for gpu renderers they are very slow compared to biased renderers like vray, kray.

Philbert
09-22-2013, 03:58 AM
If you're interested in LWCad I have an architecture tutorial on it in the current issue of 3D World (http://www.creativebloq.com/3d-world/hair-and-fur-award-winners-and-polygon-pinups-latest-3d-world-9134398http://), the one with the kid in the furry hat on the cover.

Iain
09-22-2013, 05:05 AM
I also flip through a lot of 3D world and 3D artist and have seen a lot more tutorials and examples for Maya and 3D Studio. They seem to be more mainstream. Would it be better to have Maya or 3D Studio than Lightwave?


Any thoughts, comments or suggestions would be appreciated.

If you want to be a freelance artist in any discipline, LW is fine. It is a good all rounder in a very competitive market. If you want to eventually be employed by an arch viz studio, learn Max and VRay. That is the industry expectation and they are a formidable pair.

JohnMarchant
09-22-2013, 05:15 AM
Archviz in LightWave, LWCAD is the way to go. These two combined will provide you with just about all the tools you will need.

JonW
09-22-2013, 06:21 AM
LWCad! As already said it is for a lot more than architectural renders!

Wade
09-22-2013, 10:54 AM
Lightwave is great for Arch Viz - LWCAD is nice but really LW can do it all LWCAD just speeds some things up I have it and use it - but again LW will do.

Philbert
09-22-2013, 03:44 PM
LightWave could technically do it all, but some things like roof tiles would take so long without LWCad I'm sure I wold bother.

Danner
09-23-2013, 02:22 PM
The roof tiles tool, stairs tool, fence tool, and interactive array tools are awesome in LWCAD, but since we got instancing in native LW roof tiles have become a bit easier without it.

Philbert
09-23-2013, 03:01 PM
A little bit easier with instancing, but that won't automatically cut the tiles to fit oddly shaped roofs. Like this roof that I just made in like 30 seconds.

http://screencast.com/t/55FcQvLr1

Wade
09-25-2013, 01:34 PM
Roof tiles are nice, stairs, fence, pipe.... Yet LWCAD is a nice add. But LW is very able on its own. LWCAD Volume - measurements have been great for doing calcs on the amount of soil to be remove for a lake! This was very helpful as the cost to move dirt is something like 7.00 a square yard and we move 10,000 of thousands of yards and need to know the cost of modifications to the land plan. I do like and use LWCAD but LW can get-er done often.

hrgiger
09-25-2013, 03:14 PM
Personally, I don't see the point of modeler anymore without LWCAD. Without much work in the last several years, modeler is showing its age unfortunately.

bobakabob
09-25-2013, 04:36 PM
OT: Don't do ArchViz myself but imho it's unfair to talk Modeler down despite its age and lack of recent innovation. For character and creative hard surface modelling, Modeler and ZBrush are a very powerful highly complementary combination. Agree Modeler needs more TLC and work to handle mega poly counts but its always been extremely fast and immediate to work in unlike some of the clunky alternatives out there like Max. Modeler's great strength is the simplicity of its handling of the fundamentals of points, polys, edges and splines which ZBrush for all its sculpting and surfacing prowess just isn't very good at.

In the end, just how many tools do you need? For Archviz, certainly LWCad adds a new dimension to Modeler but for other stuff... Taron's genius LW character work of the 90s was all done with a minute proportion of the toolkit we enjoy today.

Wittywop
09-25-2013, 05:11 PM
That's why i love this forum! You guys are the best.

Thanks for all the insight. Think I am gonna put LWCAD on my christmas list! :)

geo_n
09-26-2013, 12:24 AM
Someone is selling his kray license.
http://www.kraytracing.com/joomla/forum/index.php?f=3&t=4141&sid=61b7b9204c130578357dbd50f7889a5d&rb_v=viewtopic

If you want to see the absolute best numero uno of what lw can do with archiviz. This is it and its all kray.
http://januszbiela.com/

Waves of light
09-26-2013, 04:04 AM
Just to add to the LWCAD debate. You will slowly replace your native LW move and rotate tools for Move snap, Scale snap, Rotate Snap and there's also Live boolean operations, Engraver, Profiler. Then you'll start to look at some of the other functionality and try to figure out where you can use them in your current modeling workflow. Then, over time, you'll wonder how you managed to hard surface model without LWCAD.

Philbert
09-26-2013, 04:13 AM
Actually I generally stick with the native LW tools unless I specifically need something to snap and be exactly in place. I do use LWCad in just about every model though. I've even used it on a character at one time or another.

Architex3D
03-01-2016, 06:18 AM
Thanks, this is a great thread, very useful! :)

BTW, we also have a selection of free Pro-Viz textures & cutout images for Arch Viz on our site:

>>> http://3drender.co.uk/free-samples/

Niko3D
03-01-2016, 06:53 AM
Hi, don't forget the Sunsky plug!!!!!!
http://dpont.pagesperso-orange.fr/plugins/Sunsky.html

prometheus
03-01-2016, 07:08 AM
I think revit is a very commonly used tool, a lot of companies over here requires that ..along with some architechtural educaction of course, then a combo of using that and max vray, sketchup too perhaps, the ads are full of revit requirements, and schools are offering education on it.

Lightwave/lwcad can probably do a lot for you as a single 3d artist visualizer for a specific client, but itīs not used over here inhouse by companies working on major architechtural projections anyway.

So when you got your porfolio of great 3d archviz renders finished to show..and you know the tools etc and you show it, the question comes if that alone will get you the job, or if you need to work with their tools and established pipelines.

HarverdGrad
03-01-2016, 07:11 AM
I recently have been interested in getting more into Arch viz work. I know I still have a lot to learn but was wondering if anyone had any good tips or tutorials for getting better at Arch Viz work. I know a big thing is practice, practice, practice.

Is lightwave a good program for this?
Is LWCAD worth the investment?

I also flip through a lot of 3D world and 3D artist and have seen a lot more tutorials and examples for Maya and 3D Studio. They seem to be more mainstream. Would it be better to have Maya or 3D Studio than Lightwave?


Any thoughts, comments or suggestions would be appreciated.

I'd give Blender a look.
Blender is free, and for about $250- you can get Andrew Price's "Architecture Academy" Training (I purchased the basic membership as I'm not interested in Material Libraries etc.).

He's got a 30 day unconditional guarantee on all his products, so you'd really have zero risk if you didn't like it after a couple of weeks.

It's got tons of training, and it will keep you focused. You'll be able to build on what you learn week to week (different building designs, lighting theory, color theory, room layout and what works & more importantly why).

I own LWCad, but never really used it because I never knew where to start (but from what I understand though- it is a great tool). However, buying training will keep you focused and I think you will learn faster. After the training decide on the software tools.

Andrew's training is really good in my opinion, and you can apply what you learn to different tools down the road.

Anyway- good luck!

Farhad_azer
03-01-2016, 07:48 AM
Thanks Architex3d for thanking, your thanking did bump up this thread which is a good one, I really enjoyed this discussion and am probably going to give it a try.

Does anyone know whether the gentleman did continue learning this aspect and has good result to share with us?

Luc_Feri
03-01-2016, 09:36 AM
10 Tips for ArchViz by ME.

1) Work to real world scale, I use mm units as most dimensions are given in this in the UK for materials, furniture, fittings etc.

2) Get some trees/plants/flower pack models with options for low poly and maybe a few high poly hero models.

3) Use micro bevels on geometry, a lot of self built tables, chair legs, beams will look crappy on renders if you don't add a little bit of finesse but keep it light on the geometry still. Try to be as light/low poly as you can get away with as scenes can soon get out of hand.

4) Don't spend forever building up your furniture library or asset library, but sure get some basics in there, either free models or knock some up yourself. Reason why I say this, clients often asked for specific furniture, exact detailed tiles or fixtures, you will need to build your own models as you go along to suit the client. Yes there is turbosquid for things but clients or at least the interior design studios getting involved wanted exact looks and I had to build my own from scratch as the free models often had woeful or really heavy geometry. Also seeing as the designers use the latest furniture and equipment, fixtures and fittings often no free/paid models are available.

5) Certainly build a texture library, lots of textures for sure, use online resources, as much as you might need. Things like woods, concretes, brick, plastics, roads and fabrics. Concentrate and focus on just the bespoke/unique textures and hand paint/create them yourself, the other textures are a generic mainstay. Get some nice HDRI's, great for your renders but also can be used for backdrops or inside looking outside shots from a building.

6) Learn lighting and rendering as much as you can. You need to focus with rendering on your WIP's being quick and your final renders being the most efficient you can. Sometimes you might have to render 12 views overnight or something, mastering the art of what settings to tweak is a skill, you can put hours and hours on your renders if you just put maximum settings.

7) Scene management is essential. Even small factories/offices can soon get out of hand with all the bits of detailing. I liked to put things specific onto different layers, but I was using 3DS Max at the time. Put yout walls and ceilings, furniture on different layers, you'll be glad when you have to do an axo view and need to take the roof off to show the internal layout of the building or need to swap out some furniture.

8) Learn to eyeball model/size up things and use anything you can to reference the dimensions, (sometimes I've not had the roof height on a space but guessed it as a man was on the reference shot, these types of things because you just have to improvise the odd time no matter what) I've even built entire rooms and layouts from no reference, just good solid use of real world scale on items, windows or doors etc and gone from there.

9) Important. Stick to brief from client. I've sent in half decent renders due to time constraints and we landed the job over rival company that tried to be flashy and yes their renders were amazing but the client didn't give a crap. Remember they are not always 3D guys and often know nothing of what you do, the rival company simply didn't deliver what was asked no matter how amazing it looked.

10) Be prepared for last minute changes on anything. You need to have a flexible attitude and do not get too emotionally involved in this process or get defensive about your own designs or ideas, remember deliver what client asks for even it it looks bad by your standards or you think you could interpret things better yourself. These clients often know nothing about 3D, deliver the job that is asked for.

Kaptive
03-01-2016, 12:18 PM
Just a couple more to add to Luc's list

11) Because clients know nothing about 3D, they sometimes make request for changes... changes that fundamentally affect nearly everything. Be very clear to the client about getting it as close to right from the outset, and explain how costly changes can be. Architectural visualisation is NOT a playground for them to change their vision having seen how it looks. Unless they are totally willing to pay for extensive changes, then simply do not do them... however, ........

12) Let your client know what is changable within the bounds of the initial budget. Textures are pretty easy, lighting too. Furniture positions... camera angles etc, so long as you haven't already rendered it all out. Which also follows on to...

13) Show the client test frames and preview (openGL) animations, and most importantly, get sign off. If you demand sign off before progression onto the next stage, then the responsibility is then theirs and they have no come back. Any changes to what was previously signed off become chargable. Don't do free work. Play hard. Give them an inch, and they will take a mile. I can't stress this enough. Be flexable, but not a contortionist!

14) If you are working through a middle man/company (this is often the case) try where you can to stay in the loop on what they are promising the client. The middle man rarely understands the process and can make very stupid promises to the end client... e.g. Change the entire base model? Yeah! No problem!
They tell you about the changes, and you ask them if they realise what a massive deal it is... they will um and errrr... and then say oh... Then you ask them if they are being charged for it... and they um and errr even more... and then say no. If you do not stand your ground with the middle man, they will make promises on your behalf!.. and expect you to take the hit. The more time you spend on a project for free, your hourly rate will get lower and lower, meanwhile, the middle man is fine and dandy.

Be pleasant, but unwavering when dealing with the middle man. State your terms. Have sign offs. Make sure everything is written in email form, no promises over the phone! If you make any deals over the phone, confirm it by having them put it in writing and send it to you.

15) If the job is big, and you know it is going to take a month or two, then make sure you ask for a decent percentage of the money up front.... working capital. If you haven't worked with them before, increase the percentage. People make all sorts of promises and can seem really really nice, but then mess you about when it comes to pay time. If they are worth their salt, they will pay you the percentage. If they get all funny about it, see that as a big red flag. Don't be afraid to say no thanks.


Not all clients are bad, but the building market and those who ship out archviz work for it "can" on occasion be slippery. If you ensure you have a good framework in place to cover yourself before taking on a job, you'll have more control over it. You'll also come across as much more professional. Take no messing about by middle men, or they could be your undoing. Play hard and straight. Lay out your terms. Ask for an up front percentage of the pay if the job is big. Work smart, get sign offs on any major milestone.

Big archviz jobs can be exhausting, so be prepared. What might seem exciting for 2 weeks can feel like a living nightmare if it goes beyond 4-6 weeks. Again, unless you maintain control, they can spiral out into a series of never ending changes.

On the upside, the bigger jobs usually pay well... but as I say, only if you can keep it under control. All of these things could be said of any 3d work, but I've found that archviz is the absolute worst for miscommunication and expectations... which is why I say all this stuff.

If on the other hand, you're just doing a few stills of houses... don't worry about this stuff. The above is largely to do with big animations of hotels and complexes, with interiors, exteriors, different weather conditions, build animations etc. The ones where there is a lot of work!!! Ignore the above, and find out the hard way! :)

erikals
03-02-2016, 01:29 AM
a few LightWave - ArchViz related links >

http://forums.newtek.com/showthread.php?139419

sukardi
03-02-2016, 02:27 AM
Well said Kaptive,

Middle men are a no no. There may be exceptions but it is a risk not worth taking ...

Kaptive
03-02-2016, 02:57 AM
Well said Kaptive,

Middle men are a no no. There may be exceptions but it is a risk not worth taking ...

If you want the big fish, it is quite difficult to get the work directly. Usually the big developers have a go to supplier who ships out the work to a smaller studio... typically they also charge the Earth, take the largest cut and do very little work. These big developers rarely seem to care about reducing the cost. They want to minimise risk by going with the company that has been reliable in providing all aspects of their marketing. It keeps it simple for them. Sad but true.

I worked at a place a few years back, and I was given a brief for a pretty simple archviz job. If I'd have quoted for it, then the bill would have been around 6-7k maybe... but I got a look at the quote the salesmen had given the end client... it was for 40k... I kid you not. The end client went for it because they didn't know any better. The middle mans profit margin was fat on that one! Beyond a couple of meetings and a dinner or two, that was their contribution to the work. Did I see any of that fat pay cheque? Nope. They didn't even pay the bonus they promised. I said goodbye to them in the end. Salesmen... though I sometimes wish I had the balls they have, I'm not sure I could live with myself... I'd also probably be bouncing down the street too.

S0nny
03-02-2016, 03:09 AM
I'm also selling my Kray licence, if anyone is interested look at my signature!

For archviz, this is also everything lightwave native: www.blueprintstudio.it

Luc_Feri
03-02-2016, 04:58 AM
Great additions to the list Kaptive!!

In fact I think your additions are the most important for any freelancer or person thinking of starting a studio, it is a very important not to let yourself be exploited and these are great survival tips.

I myself am still owed monies on work that I did from last year. It is why I acted up late last year and that and maybe that came across on the forums a bit too. I was mighty annoyed with myself for being taken for a mug!!

Kaptive
03-02-2016, 06:04 AM
Well, sadly, those are the experiences that teach us the most... doesn't help though once it's already happened. There is a lot of work and money in the archviz waters... and lots of sharks ready to chew on the good nature of most 3d artists. Speaking of exploitation, having had a very quiet period for a while now, I thought I'd take a look at the freelancing websites... my god! If you want to avoid depression, do not go there. I find it sickening what people value an artists work at.

One of the biggest contracts on there was for $1000... so I thought, ok, let's have a look. For $1000 they wanted 1000 animations.... ANIMATIONS. Animated logos, with logo design for $50... The chumps who actually answer this call do themselves and the whole industry a diservice. Unbelievable. I'd actually take very late pay that is decent over that. Anyways, I'm going off topic, but man... wow.

squeegie
03-02-2016, 12:18 PM
That brings up a very good question concerning the "going rate". I have seen ranges from as low as $500 - $2500 for a small single family home exterior. I never really know what to quote, and tend to quote on the lower end of the spectrum only to kick myself once I am weeks into a project. A lot of my time is wasted because I am not a proficient as the guys that do this day in and day out, so I really cant charge the client for my own inefficacy. However, I am a freelance graphic artist ( 2D), and I know all too well the effects that industry cut-throats and competition sites have had on my side of the fence, so I want to be more in-line with what the standard is so that I don't muck it up for everyone.

Should I charge by the square foot like most architects do? Flat fee? Hourly rate + overtime? Work for Red Bull and Doritos?

sukardi
03-02-2016, 05:03 PM
I just like to add a bit on the 'going rates' from my experience.

In archvis, 90% of your rates/prices depend on your clients. For example, an interior design may pay you $1000 (if you are lucky) for set of 5 interior images on an apartment. A luxury developer may not blink an eye to pay $2000 per image for such an assignment. I am quite certain I have lost a few jobs for quoting too low.

Construction and property development is a cut throat business anywhere in the world and you try to get what you can (ethically of course). I think you should really consider charging different rates to different clients.

erikals
03-03-2016, 01:09 AM
One of the biggest contracts on there was for $1000... so I thought, ok, let's have a look. For $1000 they wanted 1000 animations.... ANIMATIONS. Animated logos, with logo design for $50... The chumps who actually answer this call do themselves and the whole industry a diservice. Unbelievable. I'd actually take very late pay that is decent over that. Anyways, I'm going off topic, but man... wow.

and the quality of the work produced?
i bet not very high.

but these days the competition is harder, after all, the whole world is available via internet


my advice, if you don't want to work for $5 an hour... > don't

Philbert
03-03-2016, 01:14 AM
Way to resurrect a 3 year old thread just to post a link to your site.


Thanks, this is a great thread, very useful! :)

BTW, we also have a selection of free Pro-Viz textures & cutout images for Arch Viz on our site:

>>> http://3drender.co.uk/free-samples/

erikals
03-03-2016, 01:38 AM
ironically, on that very website, the bottom text reads... "we hate spam"  http://erikalstad.com/backup/misc.php_files/smile.gif

Kaptive
03-03-2016, 02:14 AM
and the quality of the work produced?
i bet not very high.

but these days the competition is harder, after all, the whole world is available via internet


my advice, if you don't want to work for $5 an hour... > don't


Oh, no doubts! The quality would be awful I'm sure. But $1 per animation? I'd never seen such insanity. Absolutely DON'T. :)

THIBAULT
03-03-2016, 04:03 AM
www.mir.no

I read that they use lightwave.

Lightwave and... 3DS Max !

kopperdrake
03-03-2016, 11:39 AM
Oh, no doubts! The quality would be awful I'm sure. But $1 per animation? I'd never seen such insanity. Absolutely DON'T. :)

I just can't believe anyone would do it, even in the lowest of lowest jobs in the cheap-as-chips economies, you just couldn't keep your kit going for that money, let alone earn enough to eat!

Arch viz is weird - some people appreciate the effort and time, some don't. Some expect a house visual for Ģ100, some are happy to pay much more. At the end of day, I have work I'm happy to do - if I take on a job that's too cheap, you can end up resenting the client and the work, and you won't do your best, and realise you'd be better off working in MacDonalds, seriously. Work out how much you'd like to earn, work out the hourly cost you need to earn that, including overheads and downtime. That's your price. You can be flexible for longer projects, as whilst you're working on them, you won't be looking for work, and you can ask for more for last-minute fire-fighting work - many clients appreciate that - I even had one client insist on paying more recently for just such an assignment, which was wonderful!