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Digital Design & Production | IoA Institute of Architecture | University of Applied Arts Vienna

Advanced CGI 2017

The course will address various topics within the field digital imagery and CG production. By introducing advanced tools and techniques and through productive experimentation we will also address the ongoing discussion around the digital realm, image sciences and the iconic turn. Students are invoked to further develop their technical abilities as well as define/refine an attitude towards their style of visual communication.

Task One: Light and Colour

Task one is about the composition of an artifact within a physical landscape. We will learn how to submerge virtual content into a “real” environment. Techniques used are mainly based on 2D composition a.k.a. Photoshop and some basic 3D render output. We find methods tools for image composition, color corrections, visual effects and grading. We will discuss the impact generated imagery within the realm of architectural communication.

To accomplish:

  • Find a set of wide angle landscape shots, deep views, either abandoned or settled.
  • The image should be as „raw“ as possible, so stock footage is not recommended.
  • Add a hypothetical project on your ‘site’. Maybe some ready made, cloned primitives, an old project (3D of course).
  • Fuse the 2D Background with the 3D content into one image.
  • Care about the overall composition, scale, color scheme, plausibility.
  • Find various styles, experiment with effects…
  • Output: One main image (Resolution min. 3.5k Pixels), 3 Extra images varying in grade and style.
  • Presentations required before delivery : 2 at least!
  • Final submission as jpg images via email.
  • Please also submit your original background.

Task Two: Real to Real

The aim of the second task is questioning reality by the means of CGI. Based on our (visual) perception apparatus we tend to accept imagery as “real” when certain criteria are fulfilled. What are these criteria? What are the Tools to achieve “realism”? How close can we get to an underlying “original”?
We will register and reconstruct a “real” human scale situation, render it , and compare the outcome with its original counterpart.

To accomplish:

  • Find a scenic situation within your surroundings, which you can access physically.
    Your scene should be tectonic (not just one element),
    Your scene should be easy to reconstruct (in 3d).
    Avoid scenes which are (mainly) constituted by elements which are hard to reconstruct properly like cars, green stuff, people, huge geometries etc..
  • Register your scenario by the means of photography, sketches, basic measurements etc. (*)
  • Create a basic mockup (Low polygon count!) which describes your scene geometrically (Rhino, Maya, Max, C4d…)
  • Setup a basic digital stage with: Cameras, Lights, Backgrounds etc.
  • What  is the lighting condition of your scene? Try adjust lighting with Clay materialisation.(*)
  • Add geometric detail to your basic mockup based on a specific Camera setup.
  • Additional registration: Revisit your site to collect missing/lacking information (maps measures etc.).
  • Work out at least one image through finding a proper materialisation lighting etc.. Final Renderings should have at least 3k Resolution.
  • Finalisation: Try to stick to rendered output without too much Postproduction.(*)
  • Compare the original situation. How trustworthy is your copy! Comment your work.
  • Bonus 1: Compare the CGI with a Game engine setup.
  • Bonus 2: Freestyle progression.

Like in Task One: I want to see you in person during my course, all stages marked (*) need to be presented!


Q: Can i submit my personal work without joining the seminar?
A: No. There is no way just submitting “some work”.

Q: Do you check attendance during the seminar
A: Yes.

Q: Do i need to be an “arch viz expert” to join the course?
A: No.

Q: Do I need to finalize my work within the same semester.
A: Yes.


Sci Fi vision by Thomas Dubois (a project byThomas Dubois)
Gamma by Factory 15
Kisho Kurokawa’s 1972 Nakagin Capsule Tower in Tokyo

Thomas Dubois
Bertrand Benoit
Victor Enrich see in: Dezeen

Viz Studios:

Websites related to archviz:

Textures Free cutout 2d People (funny)  3d Displacement Maps Loads of useful textures (former cgtextures)

Open EXR Image Reader

Tutorials: Normal vs Bumpmaps, best explanation i could find. Gives you a better understanding how normal maps are made.

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