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

CGI 22/23

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.

CGI production overlaps the domain of architectural production although approaches and methods are slightly different. Where architects need to measure and keep a consistency between the existing physical space and the artifact, CGI production just operates in the realm of visual content.  CGI tools are more derived from sculptors painters photographers animators than from constructors or engineers.  CGI production needs to be fast, imaginative, consistency is needed just when you can see it. Think of a set design from the movies.

  • 11.10.2022 – 10:00 bis 12:00 | Seminarraum 10 (OKPV, 1.OG) First Meeting
  • 18.10.2022 – 10:00 bis 12:00 | Seminarraum 10 (OKPV, 1.OG) Basics, attendance required
  • 25.10.2022 – 10:00 bis 12:00 | Seminarraum 10 (OKPV, 1.OG) Basics, attendance required
  • 08.11.2022 – 10:00 bis 12:00 | Seminarraum 10 (OKPV, 1.OG) Basics, attendance required
  • 15.11.2022 – 10:00 bis 12:00 | Seminarraum 10 (OKPV, 1.OG) Deadline First Tutorial (show me your skills)
  • 22.11.2022 – 10:00 bis 12:00 | Seminarraum 10 (OKPV, 1.OG) Advanced Technique, attendance required
  • 29.11.2022 – 10:00 bis 12:00 | Seminarraum 10 (OKPV, 1.OG) Advanced Technique, attendance required
  • 06.12.2022 – 10:00 bis 12:00 | Seminarraum 10 (OKPV, 1.OG) Presentation of your work so far, attendance required
  • 13.12.2022 – 10:00 bis 12:00 | Seminarraum 02  (OKPF, 3.OG) Presentation of your work so far, attendance required
  • 31.01.2023 and 07.03.2023 Deadlines for handing in final projects (per mail)

Summer schedule will be announced soon!


Step 1 Getting Started

Our first tutorial is about modeling:
This tutorial by Stefan Persson is quite a comprehensive guide into low poly modeling. Techniques and tools explained here cover key techniques when working with Blender. So please get started with Blender right now! Try to follow the tutorial and try on your own. I know it is a bit fast specially all the different shortcuts maybe hard to remember. Make your own “Cheat sheet” for some of the common keys. Using a standard PC-keyboard also makes life easier.
Becoming comfortable with Blender needs some while, so we will focus on the basic modelling mainly. You will find out when projects become complex that many tools and techniques build up on proper geometries and scene management.

After some training you can apply your knowledge on a series of simple Low Poly models:

  • The Box – like in the tutorial
  • A tree – like in the tutorial
  • A displaced landscape – like in the tutorial
  • The stone…
  • AND we do an extra object: A nice LIGHTHOUSE integrated into your scene
  • Ok. Finally we compose a scene out of the elements we created within this tutorial. Maybe design some extra objects, setup the environment, cameras (at least 2!), do some lighting, render out two images, done!

Keep all out-comings including variants (and failures too) in one file so we can discuss it during the course. I want to see you “Hands On” at least once! In case you are stuck please come back to me as often as needed. As soon as you own the basic skills and your “Masterpiece-Landscape” is finished, I will tell you to go on with your project…
For this “training phase” there is a deadline : see above!

To be more clear about the procedure:

You show me what you are doing (on your computer), when I have the feeling you are fine with the basics and i can see your progress you can finish the first task by sending me the outcome per email.

Techniques you need to know:

  • Using the different interfaces for modeling shading and texturing
  • Organizing the scene properly using collections, proper naming.
  • Joining and separating meshes, fixing broken meshes (doubles, normal issues etc…)
  • Low poly techniques: Loop cuts, insets, extrusion, basic knife.
  • Understanding Quad style vs. patch modelling.
  • Camera, light and material setup.
  • Rendering out an image.

Step 2 project: the Factory

For the second part we going to invent a (new?) archetype of a factory. What comes first into your mind when you hear the term factory? A huge building, noisy, dirty, strange machines. Or maybe super clean space more like a laboratory? Maybe futuristic organic, biomorph? Is your factory dystopian or optimistic? Do you like steampunk style, or should it be more modernistic? Is it an interior or exterior space you want to show? Maybe your factory is just a kind of information space? Whatsoever. But we don’t want to become too design specific or conceptualized. We just want to sketch it, generate it, play around, build it with tools we know so far and maybe one or two new techniques we want to apply.

  • Hints:
  • Find some reference images to have an idea where you are heading (show me), sketches etc. also welcome.
  • Your reference should also give a direction (interior, exterior, style, mood etc.).
  • Don’t plan too much modelling from your side. try to find elements that you can reuse (Kit bashing e.g.)
  • “scattering” is a super powerful technique to control your design without doing all manually
  • Also instancing weight painting etc. procedural generators are helpful…
  • Dome simulation techniques (physics, liquid simulations) are not really intuitive, i would not use them if there is no strong reason.
  • Try (and learn) techniques with a test setup before you apply it to your project.
  • Define your scenery as early as possible, up to 3 different views are fine, if you want to do an animation don’t make it too long (10-30 secs is good enough).

We will conclude the course-sessions with a short presentation (references, screenshots, test renderings) of your work done so far. Dates: see above!, each ~5 min presentation. After the holidays we can meet individually in my office (Mondays and Tuesdays from 10.30h – 14.00h).

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