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How NOT to make visualizations

An interesting article from Flying Architecture that states the framework of good 3d visualization….

10. Ultra-wide camera angle

When your client asks you to make the camera angle wider… and wider… and wider… wanting to capture the whole interior and, if possible, even the exterior in a single image, you know something is wrong. They pay you per image, so they want to get the most for their money. Artistic approach, composition, idea behind the image, and storytelling be damned! Just make it wider!

09. Watermark

Covering half of the image with your email address and/or telephone number just isn’t an effective way to advertise or protect your artwork… it just doesn’t work. You’ll just end up distracting the viewer away from the artwork.

08. People

There are a couple ways to fail in using people assets:

Shiny happy people

Your images are full of commercial s**t, like a happy cheering crowd on a new, 50x50m concrete platform. What made them happy? Being in the image? The concrete itself? If you are going to use such happy people, give them a reason to smile. Create a story.

People staring at the photographer

Simple. Don’t show the fronts of their faces, don’t make them look at you. It just leaves the observer feeling embarrassed, stressed, confused, guilty and weird. That’s not a feeling you want your client to have. Become invisible as a photographer, don’t clue anyone into your presence. Be a ghost—an invisible, calm viewer.

07. Odd displacement – fake grass

Yeah, some people still use it. Fake grass using displacement, which looks artificial, unrealistic and odd. You have tons of realistic 3D asset resources online—learn how to use them.

06. Transparent assets

Have you ever seen transparent people, trees or a ghosted neighbouring house? My guess is no. This is a common sin among many architecture studios, using 50% transparency for trees in front of their building, so they don’t conceal their creations. And you, as an artist, are supposed to assist in that. Next time send them an image with the tree and one without it. Let them blend it if they want to.

05. Low quality assets

A chain is only as strong as its weakest link. Cliche, but true. Low quality assets lower the quality of the overall image: low-poly people, low-res textures, out-of-place vehicles, trees, or even white blocks for neighbouring buildings. These all detract from the image and leave it uninteresting, forgettable.

04. Odd Cutouts

It takes just 5 extra minutes, but it’s worth it. Avoid white halo and ghosting effects. Remove border pixels and blur the edges, so the cutout fits better.

03. Light

Sun direction from the back

This is a very common request for commercial projects: positioning the sun behind your back, avoiding any shadow.

Vignetting / Edge blur

Don’t misuse and go too heavy on the photographic effects. If your image isn’t realistic to begin with, effects won’t save it.

Various light sources

Use natural light, put it in a logical place and at a normal intensity. This is not something that you can compensate for in post-production.

Missing shadows

This is pretty obvious. Assets without proper shadows will just bring the overall quality down.

02. Color palette on LSD

Always think of the color palette in advance. Combine, observe, analyze. Get inspired. Be very careful with your colour palette, as it’s the very first element the naked eye can observe. After that come detail, composition, textures, lights, but colour palette is definitely first.

01. Lens Flare

Some people just want to watch the world burn…


Design to Inspire: Packed Pavilion

Packed pavilion takes CAAD drawing to its limits at the exhibition 3D paperArt, part of the final leg of the Shanghai World Expo.The overall goal of the pavilion is to demonstrate how architects can use CAAD to customize the design process. Here, each step was optimized by selfmade computers, from design to production, packing and shipping.

sketch_02 packed_projekte_galerie_half01 4

Ever wonder how can you model this?

This is call displacement in rhino modelling language. Some modelers prefer to do it through the material rendering engine and others prefer to model it.


Learn how to create displaced mesh objects using procedural textures in Rhino 5. Displacements can be used for rendering purposes or extracted and edited for fabrication.

This is a good tutorial to get you started:

Also this one:

The best way to import from SketchUp to Rhino


The best way to get 3D I have found from sketchup to rhino is to use the obj export filter – this is a free download from the sketchup site. If you have textured the model the textures ride along with it and can be seen when rendered in rhino (V3 or 4). You need to look at how the model is put together in sketchup, esp if using layers to get the model into logical individual pieces in rhino – do a few tests. This is a smaller and cleaner file than going through dwg. Once you are in Rhino:

To open, import, insert, and attach a file as a worksession

1. From the File menu, click Open or Import.
2. In the Open dialog box, select the supported file type.
3. If the import can be configured, click Options to specify import settings.
4. Click Open, or press Enter.

Note: When Rhino opens a non-3dm model, the title bar reflects the name of the model that was opened. When the model is saved for the first time, this model name is entered as the file name.

  • SKP Import Options
  • Import faces asTrimmed planes
  • Imports objects as planar trimmed NURBS surfaces.


  • Imports the objects as mesh faces.
  • Join on import
  • Determines whether or not objects will be joined on import.
  • Edges
  • Joins edges.
  • Faces
  • Joins faces.
  • Weld angle ___ degrees
  • Sets the angle between faces to determine welding.
  • Embed textures in the model
  • Applies textures to the imported mesh.
  • Always use these settings. Do not show this dialog again.Saves the current settings and turns off the dialog display.

To turn the message back on Click Options in the appropriate Save, Export, Open, Import, or Insert dialog box.

Alternatively you can use this tutorial for model cleanup: