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

CGI 23/24

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.

SHEDULE (preliminary)

01: 10 October 2023, 10:45–12:45 SE 10 (OKPV, 1.OG) (preliminary discussion)
02: 17 October 2023, 10:45–12:45 SE 09 (OKPV, 1.OG) Krit Tutorial
03: 24 October 2023, 10:45–12:45 SE 09 (OKPV, 1.OG)
04: 31 October 2023, 10:45–12:45 SE 09 (OKPV, 1.OG) Deadline 1 postponed
05: 07 November 2023, 10:45–12:45 SE 09 (OKPV, 1.OG) Deadline 1 first Tutorial – 24.00h!
06: 14 November 2023, 10:45–12:45 SE 09 (OKPV, 1.OG)
07: 21 November 2023, 10:45–12:45 SE 09 (OKPV, 1.OG)
08: 28 November 2023, 10:45–12:45 SE 09 (OKPV, 1.OG)
09: 05 December 2023, 10:45–12:45 SE 09 (OKPV, 1.OG) Speakers Corner see below!
10: 12 December 2023, 10:45–12:45 SE 09 (OKPV, 1.OG) Project Krit Show me your proceedings.
11: 19 December 2023, 10:45–12:45 SE 09 (OKPV, 1.OG) Representation – Composition
12: 09 January 2024, 10:45–12:45 SE 09 (OKPV, 1.OG)
13: 16 January 2024, 10:45–12:45 SE 09 (OKPV, 1.OG) Deadline 324.00h

Extended final deadline to: 05 February 2024 24.00h


01 Tutorials

Choose a Tutorial (one of the recommended) either from the list or by your own choice. We need to get into “Low Poly” modelling, Scene setup and basic Light/Materials so the tutorial should focus on these topics. In case you are a complete Beginner in DCC software please come back to me to find appropriate lessons.

For the next two sessions i want to get an impression of your progress so please bring your laptop with the current stage of your work to the course. When done you send me your final outcome per mail (3 images, screenshots and the file).

Skills required after the fourth session:

-Navigating in Blender knowing the Basic Interfaces
-Setting up a Scene (Lights and Camera)
-Making basic Materials (Material Qualities without Texturing)
-Understanding the basic Concepts of Low Poly Modeling (Quads, Topology, Loops, Snapping)
-Scene Organisation (Right Scale, Copy/Instance, Parent/Child, Modifier, Collections
-Rendering a still image in EVEE and CYCLES (differences?)

02 Project “Environment and artifacts”

Part 01 Environment

We are looking for abandoned landscapes. Places without extensive vegetation, no infrastructure, no trees, maybe formed by extreme weather conditions. I guess comparing different types of a desert is a good idea. Find a landscape type you like, get some references and try to understand how your chosen land was formed by the forces of nature. Then try to reconstruct your typeof landscape. take your references just for understanding landscape qualities, your project should not be based on a real location.

When done with the conceptual research about landscapes we can step over to the artistic/technical side of our project. As landscapes are always defined by forces (Gravity, Erosion, Wind, Weather etc.) we are dealing with physics. And with in the cartesian math we know two of three coordinates stay fixed (x,y) and only the z (Elevation) needs get modified. Good enough even when hangovers caves, and manmade infrastructure are not considered.

There is a multitude of tools and techniques to work with landscapes in 3d. They are all build around the concept of transforming the z coordinates. Landscaping can be done by hand like sculpting or painting, with “texture displacement” and so called “hight-maps” and last but not least in a procedural way by generating (mostly noise) patterns which then transform the z- coordinates of your geometry.

3rd party tools like World Machine, Gaea, Terrascape etc. are optimized for these operations but mostly come with a price tag. Within Blender we can use all three ways of creating landscapes and we can can even combine them!

As the world is big [sic!] and we are dealing with huge scales we also need to track our geometry sizes. There are techniques mostly invented by the games industry to tackle exceeding face count issues. In short: What we should learn: Be detailed where you need it (e.g. Foreground, Horizon) stay vague for the rest!

Btw. i updated the Repository with landscaping/BIM Tutorials, just search for “Landscape”.

Good luck with experimenting!

02 the artefact in the landscape

Done with the landscape? No? First do your landscape! This part is separate from part 01 landscaping: We need an artifact. Invent a new building, Dante’s retreat, a biogen castle (please no pinnacles!), an Alien Kibbutz, Eagles Observatory, a constructivist cathedral… Find a name for it. Combining two interesting terms is a good technique (maybe).

-Imaginary but not a sci-fi cliche.
-Poetic not prosaic, but- tectonic!

Use your architectonic vocabulary and! use the modelling tools learned so far. Think of the idea of “Gestalt”, as we will place out artifact in the landscape. Maybe one maybe more than one, think of variants or clustered elements, but a cityscape would be too much for my idea.

03 Composition

90% done! Not really. I want you to spend a fair amount of time of bringing things together. Composition! Go through Chapter 9 of Neil Blevins Art lessons here ! Try out variants of where to put yourself as an observer and how to intervene with the landscape. Maybe your Building is submerged with the horizon, lost in deep fog, overcast by an abnormal sun intensity. As you might know i am super interested in your horizons.

Prepare for output: 2:1 Aspect ratio at least! 4K Resolution at least. Color Grading, Post effects like DOF, CA, Lens effects. SUBTLE! Full Realism is the Benchmark. We need to beat the AI.

Try out Blenders new realtime Compositor, no extra tools needed.

04 Speakers Corner: “Blender and I”

Normally done at the beginning of a course we should catch up with a short (personal) presentation. 2- max. 5 minutes you can talk about anything regarding you and your experiences with blender so far. I want you know more about your relation to Blender. Show us your favourite tool, some trick, something you found out, maybe a personal achievement you are proud of, CGI jokes or memes. Whatsoever. Either just talk or show us something in Blender. Technical questions are not allowed! positive! no lacking features bugs etc..

Looking forward hearing from you!

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