Full page photo

The Process: Renderings part one

Posted on August 21, 2013 · Posted in Behind The Scenes

After debuting the Forest Hills School District video renderings, we received a lot of feedback from the social media world wanting to know more about the process.   To give you an inside peek, we spoke with CADD Manager, Tom Harkins to explain it all.

What is a rendering?

A rendering is a photorealistic image of a building model that’s used to convey the design intent to a client.

Are there different types of renderings?

At Eckles we produce two types of renderings- still images and videos animations.  Both types can be used throughout the project depending on what the architect needs to convey at a specific time.  Renderings give the client the ability to more accurately see what the architect has in mind.  Still images are used to give a quick snapshot of a project at specific locations and to give a fairly accurate idea of what a space will look like.  Video animations are useful in providing a more global view of the project.

Traditionally, animated renderings were considered to be very costly and time consuming.  However, Eckles has the software and knowledgeable staff to incorporate animated renderings into its regular workflow and throughout all stages of design.

Quaker Valley Middle School- still image rendering

Do you have a particular process for producing renderings?

Initially, renderings used in a project are color-coded schematics that help to identify the different spaces. The process of producing more realistic still and video renderings can begin as soon as the architect has made final decisions about the materials that will be incorporated into the project.  Typically a project has been well developed before any still or video rendering has been considered.  Once the building is modeled, decisions must be made on what to render.  These decisions are based upon what the architect needs to represent to the client at the time.

Still image renderings are very useful in this early stage as they allow an architect to better judge if the materials they’re considering for the project will work with their design.  Animations are typically created later in the project.  Animations can take anywhere from 30 minutes to several days to generate the final video and any changes to the model typically require that the entire animation must be recreated from the beginning.  To begin an animation, a path is created that represents the viewer’s perspective- where it starts, where it ends, and the direction that it will follow.

Video animation rendering

How much input do you have on the renderings and how the spaces will look?

Decisions on what will be rendered change throughout the design process.  It may be necessary to show an exterior space at the beginning and an interior view later on.  In addition, if a client is requesting a change, creating a still image can allow the architect to show the client the effect a change will have on the project.

 When producing a rendering, the detail included becomes dependent on the elements that are the focus of the rendering.  For example, a detailed, close-up shot of the building’s façade demonstrates color and detailing.  Or, if needed, showing a building from afar or above demonstrates the layout and flow of the site on which the building is located.  In addition, proper settings, such as lighting and shadows are important to show the time of day the architect requires.

Conceptual still image rendering in the early stages of the design process

Stay tuned for part two of the rendering process which includes programs used and where we see the future of rendering heading.