Winter In A Summer Paradise: CG Architecture by Csaba Bánáti
One of the topics on last week’s episode of On Taking Pictures was Ikea – specifically their newest catalog, which is now approximately 75% CG. Let that sink in a moment. As you’re flipping through the pages looking for that new Skogaby sofa to complete your living room, three-quarters of the things you are looking at don’t really exist. Some called the decision a bold move on Ikea’s part, while I see it as a perfectly natural evolution. Some years ago I did a bit of 3D modeling in the entertainment industry, so I can absolutely see the draw – not just from the perspective of making tweaks and changes, but once you build and texture an object, you have it forever as part of your library. You don’t have to worry about finding sets, having things delivered and subsequently returned. You are free to mix and match colors, layouts, accessories, even times of day – without calling in a team of stylists and photographers to do reshoots.
While this move may be seen as bold in the retail space, architects have been using CG to pre-visualize (commonly referred to as “arch viz”) structures for years. I built a website about ten years ago for a luxury apartment building in Southern California and was able to implement a number of remarkably accurate CG fly-throughs of the building that had yet to be completed. Csaba Bánáti is a Hungarian 3D artist at ZOA Architects in Budapest who recently completed a terrific Arch Viz project for a private residence. Bánáti has put together a behind the scenes look at how the project came together, from modeling, texturing and rendering in 3DS Max (complete with HDR lighting and volumetric fog) to the final compositing and color grading in Photoshop. It’s a terrific introduction into just what goes into building these types of scenes that are steadily closing the gap on the uncanny valley.