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jlyon
11-17-2007, 10:13 PM
I've been struggling with integrating higher end 3d rendering into my workflow. Basically, my workflow now is to start with rough hand sketches, refine the idea a bit more in Sketchup, and then final documentation in 2d (using Vectorworks now). What I want to do is find somewhere in there to incorporate more polished renderings. My questions boil down to: where in the process do the near-photo real renderings have the biggest impact, and how do you justify the time spent in creating them?

I'm doing exhibit design work, mainly for museums and small non-profits. I've seen the power the fine renderings have, I am maybe just to set in my current workflow to change with out some creative push. Any suggestions?

Thanks!

theo
11-18-2007, 12:24 AM
I've been struggling with integrating higher end 3d rendering into my workflow. Basically, my workflow now is to start with rough hand sketches, refine the idea a bit more in Sketchup, and then final documentation in 2d (using Vectorworks now). What I want to do is find somewhere in there to incorporate more polished renderings. My questions boil down to: where in the process do the near-photo real renderings have the biggest impact, and how do you justify the time spent in creating them?

I'm doing exhibit design work, mainly for museums and small non-profits. I've seen the power the fine renderings have, I am maybe just to set in my current workflow to change with out some creative push. Any suggestions?

Thanks!

I am not sure what you mean by- "where in the process do the near-photo real renderings have the biggest impact?"

What 'process' are you referring to here?

Are you an independent businessman/woman producing work for these orgs?

Are you producing these designs to eventually fabricate the displays if a bid is approved?

Are you producing these designs for the actual museum for them to build the set with in-house labor?

jlyon
11-18-2007, 04:41 AM
I am not sure what you mean by- "where in the process do the near-photo real renderings have the biggest impact?"

What 'process' are you referring to here?

Are you an independent businessman/woman producing work for these orgs?

Are you producing these designs to eventually fabricate the displays if a bid is approved?

Are you producing these designs for the actual museum for them to build the set with in-house labor?

I'm talking about the design process, from concept to delivery of final construction drawings for fabrication.

I work for a small consultancy.

Yes these things will be built by someone else, most of the time a third party specialty fabricator. Its rare for us to work for a museum with in-house fabrication. They mostly have in-house design too.

Does that clarify things a bit?

theo
11-18-2007, 08:17 AM
I'm talking about the design process, from concept to delivery of final construction drawings for fabrication.

I work for a small consultancy.

Yes these things will be built by someone else, most of the time a third party specialty fabricator. Its rare for us to work for a museum with in-house fabrication. They mostly have in-house design too.

Does that clarify things a bit?

A small section of my business offering consists of commercial/residential interior design and I use LW and LWCad for the entire process. LWCad is an essential plugin for LW that is used for professional-level architectural modelling.

LW and LWCad are really an outstanding duo in this regard simply because the total price point is unmatched. There are more powerful 'cad' programs, to be sure, on the market. But heavy cad tends to be serious overkill for the type of stuff we are discussing here, plus cad progs are not ideal for organic modeling where LW excels.

And combined with LW's excellent node surfacing and rendering solution you can't go wrong.

There is one slight caveat and this concerns the production of the actual blueprints. I have produced these within LW quite a bit and this task, for the most part, is arduous. The latest version of LWCad streamlines this somewhat.

The reason I am asking so many questions about what you do exactly is mainly to determine the justification for near photo-real renderings of the final piece.

You say you work for a consulting firm which suggests to me that it will be in your favor to submit renderings of very high quality to your clients.

Giacomo99
11-18-2007, 02:50 PM
My two cents: LWCAD is very, very weak and clumsy compared with Form Z, which is a LOT better at creating blueprints and, workflow-wise, is probably going to be a lot faster once you get over the initial learning hump. If you do exhibit design full-time, you will probably want more functionality than LWCAD can provide.

The only problem is that Form Z's rendering is pretty weak, though. If you want great-looking pictures, you will want to render in Lightwave.

Giacomo99
11-18-2007, 02:51 PM
Also, to answer the initial question: I try to produce the best-looking render possible at every stage of the design process.

bjornkn
11-18-2007, 03:34 PM
They have the biggest impact when "selling" your ideas/concepts.
How to justify time spent is another matter though. It may help sell the idea, and it may attract new customers.
You're already using SketchUp, which is a great tool for such projects, and with its Layout (not the LW version) companion program it allows you to present both 2D and 3D as well as text etc very easily.

How about showing us some of the designs/renderings?

jlyon
11-18-2007, 05:33 PM
LW and LWCAD would be my modeling and rendering tools. Vectorworks woukd be the drafting tool. This is the way the office works, I'm the one pushing for the rendering inhouse. On a few occasions it has been sent out to a third party.

My LW skills are marginal, but I have only been using it sporadically. So, while I have a very good understanding of my other tools, I'm hoping to gain some insight into using LW to create the renderings. Especially given some materials (like 3Form acrylics! one of my favs...) and doing more work with the lighting, I think LW could add a lot of value.

My initial question may have been to vague, let's try this:
1. When in your (exhibit) design process to you do the LW modeling and rendering? Two answers to this so far, both helpful! Thanks.
2. I have seen several different discussions about porting .lwo into cad packages, so I think I can figure that out if need be, but do you ever go that direction?
3. Do you do design explorations in LW or elsewhere?


And for those who asked:
My firm: www.thedesignminds.com (http://http://www.thedesignminds.com/ourcompany.html)
My personal portfolio: www.coroflot.com/jlyon (http://www.coroflot.com/jlyon)
Neither of which feature 3d stuff beyond a few sketchup models, but you can see where I'm coming from I guess.

Giacomo99
11-18-2007, 06:06 PM
1. When in your (exhibit) design process to you do the LW modeling and rendering? Two answers to this so far, both helpful! Thanks.
2. I have seen several different discussions about porting .lwo into cad packages, so I think I can figure that out if need be, but do you ever go that direction?
3. Do you do design explorations in LW or elsewhere?

To answer all three of your questions: If you're going to go the Lightwave route, you'll need to find a way to integrate it into your regular workflow--which means finding a way to convert VectorWorks files into a Lightwave-compatible format. (I often build sketch models in Form Z which I show to the client for the initial approval--but those models are eventually refined into the final product, not developed in parallel with the "real" design work.)

pauland
11-19-2007, 01:40 AM
Jlyon, took a look at your company website. I think you should try and unify the design so it doesn't jump between colour schemes and styles so much, it's really distracting and unexpected for a design company. The PDFs open in a tiny window on my laptop and won't allow me to resize them.

The whole effect stopped me looking further.

Just thought I'd give you some friendly feedback.

Paul

kopperdrake
11-19-2007, 01:59 AM
To chip in, we visualise exhibition stands on occasion. The latest one for Boots the chemist for a show in Paris was *very* roughly sketched out by their ad agency as a birdseye shot to get floor usage worked out. Mood boards were produced to communicate the overall feel and colourway by them, and that's what were were given. Pretty much the first visuals the client saw were three variations produced in LightWave. They then chose components from all three and we re-jigged the design in LightWave to produce the final version. Obviously, cost-wise, the amount of work you can do in LightWave for a project will depend on how quickly you can produce work in LightWave. For the three versions we produced it took a day, then another day to work the final version up. If you're quick enough in LightWave then personally I'd rough in that too, I wouldn't even bother with pencil sketches for a perspective shot - better to do it in a 3D package as it saves trying to shoehorn a design into its space that's been dictated by an inaccurate pencil sketch.

Just my thoughts :)

bjornkn
11-19-2007, 02:27 AM
1. In the end. I do most of my modeling in SketchUp and export selections as .3ds that I import into LW. It makes it easy to change an object and then re-export it if needed. I sometimes do some LW modelling too, but rarely export it to anything else.
2. Very rarely. I use Okinio NuGraf (PolyTrans) and Deep Exploration, which are capable of converting most file formats. Mostly I export from SU when I need CAD files. AFAIK Vectorworks can read SU files directly?
3. In SketchUp, mostly. But I do lots of texture and lighting explorations in LW.

Nice exhibitions BTW :) They were quite different from what I thought, with much more organic forms.
Here's a link to an online exhibition I made some time ago, made almost entirely in SketchUp, and rendered/lighted in LW.
http://sapmi.uit.no/

It's a 3D version of a real exhibition, so it's actually the opposite of what you're doing though...
Here's another example, where some of the windsurf boards were remodeled in LW (much easier to make curved organic objects) and imported back into SU. The LW render is from a small animation showing how the display unit "unfolds" .
The client mainly used printed SU "renders" for selling the idea though...