Architectural visualization is a tool which gives us a usually unattainable glimpse into the future, and is a key step in urban planning. With the skills, knowledge, and imagination of architects and visual artists, it’s possible to see the future of a square, street, or any other piece of empty land, and to easily visualize life to come.

Basic information about the project

Name: Noyau Central
Client: Topaze
Location (city / country): Abbatucci Square / Huningue / France

Project description

The project in question was obtained through an open call for submissions of ideas for an addition of a new building to the Abbatucci square in Huningue, France. The main requirement was to incorporate a new building into the square, while using a specific type of material – namely weathering steel (also known as corten steel).

The task

There was essentially only one task for this project – to accurately depict the existing environment of the Abbatucci square, and to incorporate the new structure so that it effortlessly blends in with the other buildings on the square.

To achieve this, we needed to first become familiar with the architectural styles used on Abbatucci square, as well as materials and the overall atmosphere of the site.

The challenges

One of the challenges for us was to find enough up-to-date source material to learn more about the square in question. When we come across this type of issue, we often turn to Google Maps and its Street View option to get a better idea about the environment. Since those shots were taken relatively recently, and they include shots of people, vegetation, animals, etc, it proved to be an extremely useful resource.

Another challenge was time. The deadline for the project was extremely close, and in a very short period of time, we needed to research the current state and appearance of the Abbatucci square and to model and map a considerable amount of assets on the scene.

Lastly, using corten steel as a shader in V-Ray proved to be quite challenging considering that its appearance changes depending on atmospheric conditions. Photo-referencing produced different results with each image we sourced, so it was extremely important for us to match the atmospheric conditions in the rendering to the appearance of the material, since that would greatly affect the final product.

The process

The input: Material preview

The only initial input we received from the client was a 3D model of the building made in Sketch Up, from which we got the general idea regarding the materialization in question (namely the corten steel). Once we completed the first material preview renderings, we received further input from the client about the materials used.

Black & White phase

Further input included the Clay & Wire, or Black & White, phase of the rendering, as a key step in creating any rendering, which helps determine the position of the camera, the shadows, and the time of day or night.

We also received several renderings depicting the original idea for the building, from which we were able to learn more about the materialization of the object, and better understand our client’s wishes.


3ds Max 2016, V-Ray 3.5, Adobe Photoshop CC 2017

The team

The team comprised a total of 3 people – one senior 3D artist, one senior post-production artist, and the client menager. The team formed a tight-knit unit, making sure to assist each other during every step of the process. The client’s availability made the cooperation effortless and the communication smooth and professional.

The final result

Upon receiving the final renderings, the client was contented with the results, but more importantly they were granted the opportunity to work on the Noyau Central project.

It was an absolute pleasure working on this project. Although we enjoy growing our skill set and expertise through challenges, we take most pleasure in knowing that our work can contribute to the community in a positive way.