All young professionals know the importance that perspectives play in design communication and the architecture practice. Of course in architectures digital transition, this has equated to 3D modeling. Photorealistic renderings have become an extremely important representational strategy for the architecture field.
Yet an architects ability to create a 3D rendering is different then in the old days when an architect physically drafted a perspective to which different techniques were then applied. Complex modeling and rendering software is the new equivalent of the architects pen, paper, and watercolor brush.
Personally, I have worked diligently to keep up-to-date on rendering techniques and software. Rendering software is always ever changing, and so it is important as a professional to always be evaluating the software. Recently I finally tried out Podium 2.7 for Sketchup 8. Within minutes I was sold and questioning how much time and frustration Podium could’ve spared verses my previous experiences with VRay for Sketchup.
This lead me to take a personal inventory of all of the rendering software I have used during my architecture career. Freshman year I began using FormZ as a modeling and rendering program that was already far obsolete when Northeastern taught it in the spring of 2007. Of course I then had to teach myself how to use Kerkythea, a rendering plugin that hasn’t been updated in over 7 years. Frustration with this program lead to a brief trial of an application that I ran through parallels called iRender nxt. Using this on a trial basis meant that I eventually put the time and effort into learning Kerkythea, and became fairly adept at it, despite the bugs, flaws, and limitations of the platform. Senior year of undergrad, feeling a bit of urgency to learn more established rendering platforms I took the plunge and purchased an educational copy of VRay for Sketchup (OS X). Finally, today I tried to experiment with Podium, and will probably stay with this platform for the forseable future.
Of course my foray into Revit will present yet another rendering platform, though through witnessing colleagues Revit renderings, I have been fairly underwhelmed in terms of photorealistic representation.
Ditching VRay for Podium likely won’t be a permanent change, as I still think VRay is an incredibly powerful rendering platform. The problem lies within the specific VRay for Sketchup client that I was using and it’s particular differentiation from other VRay clients. In trying to take my photorealistic renderings to the next level, I grew increasingly frustrated with the lack of controls that the VRay for Sketchup client had compared with other VRay clients. With essentially no online tutorials for this small niche software build, using this left me dead in the water. A significant amount of differences even existed between VRay for Sketchup PC and OS X, which makes little to no sense. I’m unsure why all of these differences exist, and certainly the non-uniformity that VRay has across different modeling softwares represents a huge oversight on the companies part.
The lesson that I learned is that it is always important to be expanding your software knowledge. Furthermore, no matter how comfortable you feel in one software platform, never feel too dedicated to that platform to write off competitors or to test-drive out other solutions. In the course of my career already I have used half a dozen different rendering platforms, and the more I familiarize myself with the easier it is to transition to new ones.