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Tips for creating a winning arch-viz scene

By Paul Hatton

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Date Added: 11th May 2017

Check out Paul Hatton's general advice for making your architectural visualization stand out from the rest...



How to create a winning architectural visualization is at first glance potentially quite a difficult question to answer. Why is that? Well there is an incredibly huge amount of variety in the arch-viz world. Artists right across the globe are pushing the boundaries of not only technical ability but also artistic ability. There truly are some beautiful pieces of work out there and today I want to take a look at what some of the never-fail elements are that unite the best artists out there now. So, let's dive in. Just to note that all of the images in this article are from Double Aye. They have got some amazing work which is not only pushing forward the visualization industry, but also illustrates many of the points I make in the article.

The curse of premade props

There are a huge number of free and paid for 3D models out there. The provision of off the shelf resources has really exploded in the last 4 or 5 years. Much of it is free, even for commercial use, and so there has been a major uptake in their use. This is all well and good because it speeds up the workflow. The curse is that you run the risk of your scenes looking the same as many other artists! Where possible try and create your models from scratch. A lot of work but often worth it.

© Double Aye

Work on your composition

The layout and composition of your scene will go a long way to communicating your design and your vision behind it. Take care over the way things are laid out. That means that you'll need to get used to set dressing your scenes, not just randomly placing objects here and there, but making it believable and making sure there are reasons behind why objects are placed in a certain position.

© Double Aye

Avoid anything that detracts

You'll also want to avoid anything in your scene that detracts from the quality of your image. So, if you've got a model that you know is just not up to scratch and it's really obvious. The rest of your scene is top draw but this one model and maybe its texture is just really lacking. If that's the case either improve that model or just remove it from your scene. You'll want to make sure that everything in your scene ties together well. Make sure your textures also sit together well. There's not much worse than a single texture that screams out ‘amateur' when the rest of the scene is so good.

© Double Aye

Use camera angles that communicate emotion

Often the following advice is given: "Use creative camera angles” but what does that even mean? Let me put a little flesh on the bones and even give you a better idea of how to use camera angles effectively. Watching and studying films is probably the best way to do this. The best directors use camera angles that communicate the emotion they are trying to convey. So why not going and watch a film or two and write down how the camera angles make you feel!

© Double Aye

Attention to detail

When putting your scene together, and especially in the modeling and texturing phases of your workflow, it is important that you give a lot of attention to detail. Where possible try not to cut corners or to rush the process. Artists like Bertrand Benoit are famous for putting the extra effort into the modeling and texturing of his scenes and it really pays off. That being said, you'll obviously need to work out where the payoff is for the time you've taken.

© Double Aye

Be yourself

This is probably the best advice I can give you. You've just got to be yourself. Be a voice, not an echo. Sure, grab inspiration from others but try to avoid copying! There will be elements and styles that you might want to borrow from other artists but try as much as possible to do your own thing. This will take courage and boldness but there is nothing better than knowing that what you've created is unique to you. Be free!

© Double Aye

Do something different

Following on from the last point a little. When you create something try and create something that is different. Far too much arch-viz is very samey and to a certain extent this is unavoidable. I so love seeing work that is different because it's new and fresh. If you want inspiration then I would encourage you to look at other art forms outside of arch-viz. This will help you stand out and apart.

© Double Aye

Have a style

As you grow as a 3D artist you'll do well to develop your own style. It's not to say that all of your work has to look the same but every great artist has a style. It sets them apart and the viewer knows whose work they are looking at. This might be something that takes years of crafting and refining but it's definitely something to aim for.

© Double Aye

Bring personality into your scene

Far too many visualizations are technically brilliant but they lack any sort of personality and emotion. They can be appreciated for how well they've been put together but they're not causing me to be moved or to contemplate and think about what it's communicating. Bringing personality such as people, or playfulness can really bring a visualization alive. You may also want to communicate negative emotions and I would encourage you to play with that if it suits the mood you're going for.

© Double Aye

Aim for the best quality

Hopefully this one goes without saying but obviously, it's important to aim for the best possible quality. This is especially true if it's a portfolio piece and you're trying to put it into a gallery. There is such a huge amount of incredible quality work out there that you've got to do something that really stands out to get accepted in. It's worth taking longer over a piece to make sure it shows off your skills to their maximum.

© Double Aye


Hopefully that's been a helpful overview of some of the things to think about. Most of them can be boiled down to thinking about why you're doing each thing. It's always good to have a motivating reason for why you're setting up a particular camera angle or even why you're placing an object in a certain position. This will go a long way to helping your visualizations be believable and will give them a huge amount of extra credit with the view. But this list is in no way exhaustive; why not add your own thoughts in the comments below.

Related links

Check out some arch-viz tutorials from our site
See more of Double Aye's work

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