The SpectRoom brings you weekly sessions of insightful, honest and fun discussions with 3d artists, photographers, architects, software developers, content creators and creative professionals that will inspire you from all around the world. Created and hosted by 3d Architectural Visualization & Rendering Artist and Blogger Ronen Bekerman, he's on a mission to explore the creative minds of architectural visualization. Being ever curious about what it is we do, how we go about doing our work and why we do it in the first place! Ronen will try to find out the why, the how and the what of each of his guests.
Six Degrees of Freedom (6DoF) and More with Lon Grohs from Chaos Group
On this week’s session, I’m joined by Lon Grohs from Chaos Group in Los Angeles. You probably know Lon from his days at Neoscape, but today he’s an integral member of the Chaos Group executive team — overseeing company strategy, brand, and founder of the Chaos Group Labs. On this session, we focus mainly on the six degrees of freedom in VR as well as upcoming projects that are cooking up in the Chaos Group Labs. He’ll be in attendance at the SOA Academy Day this weekend, 6-7 October 2017.
Here is your chance to get to know a little more about Lon before then.
Big News in VR We kick off this session with big news — Chaos Group just announced that they would be joining forces with Epic Games to make V-Ray for Unreal Engine. Lon says it’s been on their radar for awhile, and now it’s finally happening. The goal with this merger is to make the dream of seeing ArchViz projects in real-time a reality. Although a timeline isn’t in place yet, they’re working to create as many ways as possible to improve the AR and VR experience by building a bridge to the real-time engines their customers are using.
Six Degrees of Freedom (6DoF) Lon also shares their plans to open up the doors to VR from three degrees to six degrees of freedom. Six degrees of freedom will give architects and their clients the ability to move around freely in their renderings. Lon calls this a “room scale” experience, and the most natural experience that you can have in a virtual space. He shares the technologies that will create the best VR experience, including Nozon and Lytro, and the differences between the two.
Artist or Client — Who’s Using VR? In my experience, VR is more user-friendly for the artist than it is for the client. When I asked Lon who should expect to have the most significant experience with these technologies, he told me it is for everyone. From the artists and their team to the client presentations, their goal is to create a technology that can easily be used throughout the entire project. Although still in the experimental phases of creating the six degrees of freedom in every VR experience, Lon and his partners at Chaos Group are definitely well on their way to figuring it all out.
We discuss the role that architectural education had in Lon’s career, upcoming projects, new technologies, and some of Lon’s biggest ideas yet. A whole lot is coming down the pipeline at Chaos Group, and you can hear all about inside this session of The SpectRoom with Lon Grohs.
[02:30] Big News in real-time and VR
[07:40] What does six degrees of freedom look and feel like?
[11:18] Achieving the most natural experience you can have in a photorealistic space.
[12:27] Technologies that create the best VR experience.
[21:43] Using VR from project beginning to end.
[26:00] Lon’s work at Chaos Group.
[30:17] Upcoming projects and technologies.
[32:57] The role architectural education had in Lon’s career.
[41:18] Transitioning from Neoscape to Chaos Group.
[45:26] Looking inside Chaos Group Labs.
[47:38] Hiring info and how you can connect with Lon.
“VR is an architectural superpower.” — Lon Grohs
“Showing a still image will always work.” — Ronen Bekerman
“I want to see ray-traced AR in a meaningful, fast way.” — Lon Grohs
“It’s very easy to have too many ideas.” — Lon Grohs
Chaos Group Labs
Chaos Group Blog
Chaos Group Podcast
TSR 010: Victor Bonafonte on Cooking Images in B&TB Kitchen, How to Grow as an Artist, As a Team and Having Fun!
Today I’m joined by a previous guest from TSR 002 — Victor Bonafante from Beauty and The Bit in Madrid.
Victor’s story in ArchViz started by being fired when he was working as an architect back in 2008, serving the first clients out of his big room at home, growing over time to form Beauty and the Bit with co-founder, Lina, to a team of seven people today. They’re all animals cooking images for big clients such as Big, COBE, and KPF.
We’ll talk about their image making approach and process, how to grow as an artist and studio, and why asking the client to leave the artist working on his own is key to getting the best results.
The Start of Beauty and the Bit You can hear all about Victor’s backstory on our interview from SOA Academy Day #6, found in The SpectRoom on session 002.
Today we’re diving right into the details of Beauty and The Bit, starting with the work Victor did for his first client and transforming that into his own studio. He began as a one-man show working from home but quickly grew into more. Just one month after starting out, Victor was approached by three other companies. The snowball started rolling, and the work hasn’t stopped since.
Refining the Work Beauty and The Bit have grown by word of mouth because clients were happy with the projects they were producing. Victor shares the approach that he takes to creating successful images and the changes that he’s made to the process along the way. He says he started out quite impatient, but as he’s matured, his images have improved.
We talk about the division of labor in the studio, ways that he’s kept the team from recreating the wheel, and why refining the work they do every day is the key to their success.
Growing Little by Little Victor says he’s satisfied with slow growth at Beauty and The Bit. He doesn’t believe in shortcuts, and that is the perfect approach to creating a quality, unique, or even iconic project. Those types of high-quality projects have put a seal of recognition in their studio, and Victor is always willing to research the best way to approach each project to get it done to their standards.
We talk about the animals in the studio, the things they do to keep everyone oriented in the kitchen, and what applicants need to do to be considered at Beauty and The Bit.
It’s all inside this session of The SpectRoom with Victor Bonafante.
[01:41] Meeting Victor (again).
[03:40] The beginnings of Beauty and the Bit.
[08:35] A look inside the studio and at its employees.
[11:10] The evolution of creating successful images and the division of labor.
[15:20] Victor’s main goal and major challenges in image making.
[17:56] The elevator pitch doesn’t mean much to Victor.
[20:22] Current projects at Beauty and the Bit.
[24:30] Applicants just have to wow Victor.
[28:12] Evolving away from Photoshop.
[31:09] Shifting the typical ArchViz approach.
[34:55] Timeline for creating a SketchUp concept and the workflow that follows it.
[39:28] Is animation in the future at Beauty and the Bit?
[42:45] The impact that being in Madrid has on Victor’s style.
[44:41] All about Image of the Month and ArtStation.
[48:43] Why the animals?
[51:38] What Victor does for fun (since he can’t dive in Madrid).
[53:21] Where you can find Victor this year and online.
“If you’re not an animal, you’re not at Beauty and the Bit.” — Victor Bonafante
“The main goal is to refine our work day by day.” — Victor Bonafante
“If you improve the way you do things, you will never run out of work.” — Victor Bonafante
“If you grow based on a formula, you are screwed up.” — Victor Bonafante
“Always question the way you work.” — Ronan Bekerman
“I don’t believe in shortcuts.” — Victor Bonafante
“Your best rendering engine is your brain.” — Victor Bonafante
TSR 009: Surfing the Waves of ArchViz with Pedro Fernandes from Arqui9 in London
Today I’m joined by a previous guest from Session 001 — Pedro Fernandes from Arqui9 in London. Pedro’s story spans Australia, Portugal, and London. We talk about his days as an architect in Australia and Portugal, and his gradual move toward visualization as he was teaching fellow architects in the Lisbon office about rendering, only to find out that he loves doing visualization.
Upon seeing that fork on the road, he went right and never looked back.
We dive into the Arqui9 way of making images, discuss why London is the best place for this, and talk about Arqui9 Learn teaching.
The Long Progression to Arqui9 Starting out at university, Pedro always had a passion for visually demonstrating the work he was doing. He really began cultivating his passion for 3D after internships in Lisbon and, and as his interest grew, so did his experimenting. He joined forces with three friends to create architecture, 3D, and design. As more information became available on the internet, he sourced as many tutorials as he possibly could, including many of the blog, which can be found here.
This started in 2008, when the economic downturn gave him the opportunity to depart from architecture and focus more on 3D design. After sending his portfolio all over, he started at Vyonyx in London and eventually formed his own company.
The Drive Behind the Work After working for several companies in different countries, Pedro decided to work for himself, and he never looked back. He gets to do what he loves, working for clients he loves, and he considers himself among the luckiest people on earth.
He has always worked toward the goal of working with certain people, and that desire has driven him to keep working harder and better, even on the days when he wishes that he’d never started down this road.
Crafting Visuals at Arqui9 Pedro creates unique images that always catch my attention, and have been featured on the blog several times as “Best of the Week.” On this session, we discuss how he has passed his unique vision on to his team, where he gets his inspiration, and how he incorporates the talents of each artist into the work that they do. He appreciates that his work isn’t better or worse than anyone else’s, and appreciates the differences in visuals. Recognizing this has helped him identify what he wants to accomplish with his work, and pushes him to achieve it.
You’ll be inspired when you hear about this and more — including why London is the best place for ArchViz and the why behind Arqui9 Learn — in this session of The SpectRoom with Pedro Fernandes.
[1:46] The gradual progression from Uni to 3D design.
[6:38] If you study architecture, you’ll be prepared for anything your career may bring.
[9:22] Why Australia? Pedro details the lessons he learned down under.
[14:58] From Lisbon to Arqui9 — how Pedro decided to take a risk on himself.
[18:10] The dream client in the elevator won’t see much from Pedro.
[20:21] The driving factor for Pedro starts with luck and love.
[25:18] The approach for crafting visuals at Arqui9.
[31:16] The workflow among their 7-person team is a collaborative one.
[37:00] Mixing still images and technology.
[42:35] Selecting a new artist starts with finding a good, moral person.
[46:37] Why London is the best place for ArchViz.
[48:58] Pedro highlights the managerial skills he gained in Australia.
[52:55] All about Arqui9 Learn.
[59:28] How you can connect with Pedro.
“Being able to show your ideas how you want to have always seduced me.” — Pedro Fernandes
“We are some of the luckiest people on earth.” — Pedro Fernandes
“You’re going to have good days, bad days, and days when you wish you’d never done this.”
— Pedro Fernandes
“The magic is the artist instilling their own experience into the image.” — Ronen Bekerman
“The 3D program may not seem like an essential thing, but it’s very essential.”
TSR 008: Santiago Sanchez on Blazing His Trail, Approach to ArchVIZ with METEORA and Tapping Into His DNA by Teaching
Today I’m interviewing Santiago Sanchez from Tresde ArchViz Studio in Ecuador. In this session we talk about his journey, starting out as an industrial designer as he was looking for a creative outlet, becoming self-employed after a bad work experience, and how being inspired by Alex Roman led him into the State of Art Academy Master Class.
After that, things took a new speed with the Best Of Week pick on the blog, and he reconnected with his DNA from home to become more of a teacher of ArchViz these days.
We’ll also dive into the process of making the METEORA project, which is featured on the blog here.
The Industrial Designer Santiago studied industrial design at university because he was looking for something related to design. The design degree concept was completely new in Ecuador at the time, and he was drawn to it. He knew that the creativity he had felt since childhood couldn’t be applied as well in any other field as it would be in the design field.
After a bad experience with an employer, he decided to go on his own and turn his attention to architectural visualization, and once he saw Alex Roman’s short film The Third & The Seventh there was no turning back.
The Journey to Improvement Santiago may not call himself a perfectionist, but after opening his own office, he set his standards very high. When comparing his work to images that were being created around the world, he knew when his work wasn’t good enough. That’s when he decided to attend a Master Class at State of Art Academy in Italy.
He was present at the first International SOA Master Class, and calls the experience “absolutely great.” It was there that he learned that approach and philosophy are the keys, and that everything else is just a tool.
Winning the Image of the Week was the ‘Beginning of Everything’ After winning Image of the Week in July 2012 with “Vanilla Room”, Santiago says everyone began to love his work, and his website exploded. The exposure he had on the forum was a complete turning point for him, and the momentum still hasn’t stopped.
Today, his studio is as busy as ever, and Santiago is teaching even more than he is creating projects. He has created a post-production training and a Corona Renderer training, both of which are available online, and he shares his philosophy on the amount of work that he believes students should be doing in each.
All about the Making of METEORA Santiago has been showcased on the blog three times, with the most popular images being METEORA. In our conversation, we dig deep into the process of making of these images, how Santiago did what he did, and what he learned along the way.
Discover all this and more, on this session of The SpectRoom with Santiago Sanchez.
[1:15] How Santiago came into the ArchViz business.
[6:30] The Alex Roman short film that inspired Santiago to open his own office and attend SOA Master Class #1.
[11:27] The journey that started with winning Image of the Week.
[15:18] What the Tresde studio looks like today.
[17:25] Finding the balance between post production and renderer work.
[26:10] Diving deep into the making of METEORA.
[41:10] What to expect when using Corona Renderer in interactive mode.
[45:10] The workflow doesn’t change for commercial projects.
[47:30] Other tools in Santi’s toolbelt.
[49:15] Investing time in creating physical reactions give you the greatest results.
[55:32] Life outside creating images.
[58:45] The spot-on elevator pitch.
[1:00:58] Future plans for Santiago, and how to connect with him.
“After I saw The Third & The Seventh, I decided this is what I want to do for the rest of my life.” — Santiago Sanchez
“Approach and philosophy are the keys, everything else is just a tool.” — Santiago Sanchez
“I feel that I have more freedom inside the artistic approach; inside the 3D.”
— Santiago Sanchez
“The faster you can develop a project, the better result
TSR 007: Luis Inciarte on His Journey to London, Things Learned at Hayes Davidson and Making Killer Images
From the time I last interviewed Luis, at SOA Day #6, he has left Hyas Davidson to create his own London-based architectural visualization studio arsvisualis. In this session, we’ll talk about his journey as a graphic designer, from his home country in Venezuela to London, the major stepping stone that is Hayes Davidson, and all the way back to his initial passion, which is creating a killer image that tells a story.
The Investigator of Architecture Even though he considers himself more of an investigator of architecture than a participant of architecture, Luis says he doesn’t spend loads of time designing architecture. But he does recognize the emotion that architecture can inspire in people, and the way it can make them feel things based on the composition and lighting of the image, and such. He calls it psychology, I call it the driving factor for his ability to create such good art.
Making the International Leap When Luis decided to move from Venezuela to London, he started researching some of the most inspiring 3d artists of the time, including Alex York and Ian Becks. He quickly discovered that they had one major thing in common — their time spent at Hayes Davidson. As soon as Luis moved over to London, he applied at the leading studio, and not long after, he was hired on as a freelancer. It was there that he learned many of the essentials, from using architectural images as references, to the psychology behind the images. All around, Hayes Davidson gave Luis the necessary education to get his skill set where it needed to be.
The Process of Creating A Killer Image Luis approaches his work like an investigator. Ask the right questions, figure out the target audience, and always let the project dictate the style of the image. He explains why early images don’t need to look as stylized and complete as the final images, and it all has to do with getting the clients to see the the journey the images are taking. Luis himself is comfortable with the entire process from early design stages to the high end marketing, and considers any image that makes people feel when they see it, a successful project.
Luis shares three essentials for getting clients on board, and it all starts with listening. Patience is essential — being really disciplined and honest with yourself about what it will take to get the results that you are looking for. And always keep an eye out for inspiration, because it may come in the most unexpected places. You’ll want to hear the details of his creative process and more, so be sure to listen to this session of The Spectroom, with Luis Inciarte.
[1:44] All about Luis and how he got into the ArchViz business.
[8:37] The transition from lonely Venezuela to thriving London.
[14:47] A look inside the business at Hayes Davidson.
[17:07] Scratching the ever-present self-employed itch.
[18:52] The creative process from asking questions to eliciting all the feelings.
[23:36] Getting clients on board starts with listening.
[25:25] The elevator pitch for Luis Inciarte (and yes, even the phone battery is dead).
[28:13] A look inside arsvisualis staff and workflow.
[35:37] The makings of a killer image.
[43:03] Effective images start with good storytelling.
[46:04] How Luis is minimizing the learning curve in his studio.
[50:23] Luis needs two new employees — here’s what he’s looking for.
[53:38] Current projects at arsvisualis.
“I’m a slightly impatient person.” — Luis Inciarte
“It’s a lot easier to get your message across when you have beautiful architecture to go with it.” — Luis Inciarte
“As long as you get people to feel when they see your images, then you’ve succeeded.”
— Luis Inciarte
“Always keep an eye out for inspiration.”— Luis Inciarte
“I want people who have a continual thirst for learning.” — Luis Inciarte
TSR 006: From 3d modeling a Valtra Tractor to Visualizing Architecture by Rem Koolhaas and Isay Weinfeld with Jakub Cech
Today I’m joined by Jakub Cech from eesome in Slovakia. He’s well known on the blog and has worked with architects like Rem Koolhaas and Isay Weinfeld. This session comes out after one year, in which Jakub took time off to create a collection of 30 images in his book Beautiful Computer Generated Images. This effort recently culminated with a new website and brand called eesome.
In this session, we’ll discuss how he started with CGI, Alex Roman, the phone call from Watson&Co. that made a big change and more.
Teenage Passion Turned ArchViz Career Jakub’s work on behance.net was noticed by a major American branding company when he was just 18 years old. He received a phone call from Watson&Co., created a rendering for them, and began working remotely for them. That was a turning point for the direction of his career, but he has always maintained the overarching goal of creating images that he likes.
Jakub’s Approach for Crafting Visualizations As someone who has only had three or four clients so far in his career, Jakub’s approach to each client is understandably varied. The workflow starts with understanding the project and the type of people that are being targeted. He has discovered that understanding his client’s perspective is essential to getting the best images created. He can spend up to eight months with a client in America, while a client in Slovakia may only require up to six weeks of non-stop work to produce the same images. While the approach may vary, the work that is done is always completed to his personal and unique standard of satisfaction.
Working with a Branding Company Even though he’s never worked in an office with multiple CGI artists, working with a branding company like Watson&Co. gave Jakub a different view of the overall process, from fonts and color to lighting and branding. While there, he worked with designers, graphic designers, web designers and more, and he calls his time there “very intense.” Interacting with multiple disciplines was very enriching for him, and helped to widen his point of view while crafting his images.
All about Beautiful Computer Generated Images In comparison to the time spent on commercial projects, Jakub is working more now than ever. His decision to take time off from work to focus on a project that he believed in was inspired in part by Alex Roman. In our conversation, he shares his comprehensive goal of always creating images that he likes, as well as his desires for future collaborations.
Key Takeaways [02:20] Jakub details his first encounter with 3D imaging, and the path it took him down.
[8:25] Visualization became the subject of Jakub’s work while he was still in high school.
[20:00] Jakub’s goals and challenges in the architectural visualization field.
[22:17] An elevator pitch to a dream client.
[24:58] Jakub’s approach for crafting visualizations.
[33:15] How working with a branding company enriched Jakub’s view on the overall process.
[38:20] Jakub’s tool-set has a surprising component in it.
[42:08] All about the Beautiful Computer Generated Images series.
[48:16] Thoughts on VR and real-time technologies.
[55:05] If still images alone aren’t enough anymore, add this to your client offering.
[57:40] How you can connect with Jakub.
Main Quotes “I’ve always felt different a bit in terms of how I see things.” — Jakub Čech
“My main goal was always to do a picture that I’m going to like.” — Jakub Čech
“I like totally different elements in pictures than I think most people do.” — Jakub Čech
“I always try to represent my own taste.” — Jakub Čech
“I don’t think still image is going to die … it’s going to be there for ages.” — Jakub Čech
Software Mentioned 3DS Max
Name Dropping Watson&Co.
Sponsors AXYZ Design
Quixel / Megascans