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

Advanced CGI 2016

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.

Schedule winter 2016

  • 20.10 Introduction, Program issue
  • 27.10 About Colour
  • 03.11 Physical Artifacts workshop, crit
  • 10.11 Physical Artifacts workshop, crit
  • 17.11 Image Composition and grading
  • 01.12 individual support tba.
  • 15.12 individual support tba.
  • Holidays
  • 12.01 individual support, crit
  • 19.01 individual support, crit
  • 26.01 individual support, crit

Task One: Bodies and Landscapes

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: Your Project

The purpose of this task is to focus on a specific topic related to CGI within your work. The field is wide, techniques are endless the number of tools are expanding on a daily basis. So you are encouraged to enhance your visual style, extend you technical abilities, explore new techniques, gain knowledge about iconographic  background of visual communication. You propose a topic, work it out, summarize your results. Come back for ideas, critique, support and questions…

To accomplish:

  • Define a project within the field of CGI.
  • Collect your references.
  • Do your body work.
  • Document your work
  • Describe your project within a paper (see below)
  • Presentations required before final delivery : 3 minimum
  • Final submission as a PDF via email.

How to write your summary/paper

To communicate your ideas to a wider audience you need  to come up with a summary of your work. In most disciplines these summaries are called ‘papers’.
I expect you to generate a kind of  ‘down scaled’ version of a paper. Here are some points that might be helpful to accomplish our second task:

01 Find a topic

  • Based within the field of CGI you look for a topic that (truly) interests you.
  • Talk to someone about your idea (your grandma, classmates, me …).
  • Pose your topic as a question to be answered or a problem to be solved. Even if it is a purely ‘artistic’ idea you need a motivation ‘why’ you want to do it.
  • Look for references, sources, tutorials etc. For the sake of simplicity lets stick mainly with contentwith the web.
  • Narrow down your topic. – I will help you with that.
  • Consider questions you need to answer like: ‘What is your topic/project about?’, ‘What is interesting about…’, ‘Why are you interested in…’, ‘What purpose/relevance does your topic have’, ‘Whats your thesis?’…
  •  At least you need a rough outline how you agitate: What tools, and methods you are going to use (painting in PS, coding, photography 3d modeling/scanning, or maybe pure research/writing etc.).
  • A rough time wise estimation of your efforts.
  • Describe your project within max. 5 sentences. Why/what/how…

02 Doing the work

  • What are the foundations of your work? Mostly your topic will relate to some techniques, or artistic work, scientific theory etc.. Document the materials you relate to.
  • Become an expert in your topic. You should know what you are talking about!
  • Work on the body of your project, tools and techniques should be negotiated.
  • Show the progress of your work, document some steps or at least the milestones. A common concept documenting computer generated content are so called “VFX break-downs” .

03 Conclusion

  • Depending on how you work there is always some kind of conclusion.
  • If you worked on some imagery present your final outcome (at least).
  • In your conclusion you can  summarize the experiences you made while working, the advantages or disadvantages of methods and tools you explored, recommendations, suggestions where your topic needs further research.


Q: Can i submit my personal work without joining the seminar?
A: In general not. There is no way just submitting “some work”.

Q:What do i need to deliver to successfully pass the course.
A:You need submit the outcome of two tasks (see above) via email.

Q:Can you give us a list of topic for Task 2?
A:We discussed various topic within the seminar. As i want to keep the field of possible projects as open as possible, i want to negotiate your topics on a individual basis.

Q: Do you check attendance during the seminar
A: No unless it is not mentioned explicitly in advance.

Q: If there is no compulsory attendance why can’t i just deliver my work?
A: Your work is discussed and presented either within the seminar or  during personal consultations, in a face to face manner. We see each other at  least two times for the first task, and three times for the second task (see also above).

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: You are encouraged to do so.

Q: How can i learn “how to render”?
A: The aim of the course is not learning “how to render”. In case you want to get into the archviz-discipline i can support you within  the second task.

Q: If there are no hands on workshops an tutorials how can i learn “how to render”.
A: I strongly believe  in “online-learning”. There are thousands of tutorials, blogs and communities around supporting you with your individual needs. If you don’t know where to find ask me or some class mates for support.



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)

Compositing Tools Free CC Tool for AFX/Premiere Free Composite Black Magic Fusion 8 Adobe Kuler

Tutorials: Nice Tutorilas from Alex Hogrefe Still love his way of thinking about images.

Empty NY Street

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