Contemplating Its Future - Architecture

Architecture... What does its future hold? Is it still going to be relevant or de facto deemed obsolete, replaced by other professions or disciplines? Are we watching the hour glass with architecture's time almost run out?

In the 19th century the study of architecture was also pursued as a course of liberal arts or humanities' studies. We certainly do not live in the romantic era anymore, for our times are undoubtedly very "realistic" and technocratic.

It is known that man preoccupies himself with the arts after his basic needs are met. Try telling a hungry man in Africa about SANAA winning the 2010 Pritzker Prize. Or, not going that far, try engaging him in a discussion about architectural styles.

The computer has unveiled previously unimagined possibilities to the engineer, the designer or the builder... Design has been a household word in the developed world, as attested by countless glossy magazines and television shows devoted to the subject.

It is challenging to even imagine any other discipline that can take over the baton. Indeed, the training of an architect is very idiosyncratic, with the cerebral and philosophical conceptual approach being his forte. Although architecture has been around for centuries, the role of the architect has diversified, as a result of technology and ecology, amongst other factors, that have emerged during the last two centuries.

The key words here being ecology and technology. It is contended that in the future, all buildings would be ecological, so "ecology" or "energy conscious design" wouldn't even be considered as a determinant. Once indoor plumbing or electricity were a novelty...

Additionally, keep in mind that ecology and technology in themselves are very inadequate, to define the whole of architecture, without considering the humanitarian influences on architectural form and space. The social basis of architecture today is frowned upon, neglected, not a fad, or, at best, not in the limelight. Gone are the sixties where such issues were popular, with the architect optimistically marching under the banner of the urban doctor (True, today we hold a more realistic and holistic view of the urban ills).

"Concluding, there is the need to redefine and 'protect' architecture, a momentous task to be assumed preferably by the architects themselves. This is the new challenge architecture is called to face. Needed is the Ana-synthesis of architecture before it is too late. We support that the founding of any '-ism' or any trend in architecture in the 21st. century, when wars will be waged for water, will arise naturally out of a painstakingly careful approach, combining a technocratic environmental vision in tune with the psycho-social needs of man...".

Enterprise architecture serves as a blueprint for a modern-day company's business process, such as the application and data, hardware and software infrastructure, and finally the knowledge and expertise. It is a cost-effective and long-standing solution for 'business ailments' like low productivity and high production costs. Thus, enterprise architecture has become vital for every enterprise in the information age. The biggest part of applying the concept is its planning to suit the requirements of the enterprise.

Enterprise architecture planning is a process that requires greater collaboration between business and technology stakeholders. Enterprise architecture planning is more sophisticated and advanced than the traditional system of planning. Here, a stable business model independent of organizational boundaries, systems and procedures is defined at first. The data is defined before any application, and it's the data that determines the sequence for implementing applications systems.

A set of processes are involved in enterprise architecture planning.

The data architecture, applications architecture, and technology architecture are the key architectures that have to be planned. Enterprise architecture planning is basically about planning these three architectures.

The first step is to analyze the current scenario, which includes the guidelines and the strategy. The next step is the documentation of the entire process, based on which a workable model is presented. The 'noises' of the new mechanism is then corrected. The task to revamp the organizational structure is next, and a new governance model is presented. The best practices in the organization are brought together after collecting relevant data from all points. The next is the most important step, where gaps in system are identified and a recommendation is made to develop the implementation plans. The implementation stage comes last, when the blueprint is complete in all respects. The resulting blueprint will provide a long-term strategy for the enterprise, accommodating both external and internal changes. The implementation stage also requires constant monitoring to assess the performance.

Architectural Photography is both a creative and potentially profitable area of professional photography.

Surprisingly, when amateurs seek to turn professional, often they ask the wrong questions about how to go about it. The questions they ask, more often or not, are technical ones to do with the making of the images. In the old days (before digital) such questions were frequently about what kinds of films should be used, whether to use specialised shift lenses and what kind of lighting techniques should be used in interiors. Today, in the digital era, amateur photographers are more likely to ask questions about how images should be processed on the computer.

The perspective correction tool in Photoshop may take care of some of the more straightforward issues of controlling those often unwanted converging verticals, but an obsession with such technicalities can blind the budding professional to the toughest issues facing a professional architectural photographer today, namely markets. Determining who your target customer base will have a major effect on both the kind of photographs you want to take and how much you are likely to be able to earn.

Today the whole architectural scene is very tough because of what has happened around the world with property markets. While I'm still working with clients with whom I have a long term relationship, even I've found that a lot of the random little commissions that paid for a frivolous bit of camera equipment or a shooting trip have dried up almost completely. For this reason, both established and new professionals need to keep their market focus as a primary area of concern.

The markets listed below are just as start point, and as I'll tell you later, you will need to be as creative about how you construct your business model as you are about how you make your pictures if you hope to succeed as a professional architectural photographer in the tough markets of 2010.

Very often, an amateur begins architectural photography by focusing on the exteriors of iconic public buildings. It can be a little disillusioning to discover that only a few architectural photographers can earn a living taking photographs of this type. In general while having photographs of these subjects can liven up and make a new portfolio look great these images are hard to take professionally because there is so much competition to make images of that kind.

The reality of a successful business in architectural photography is to know who your customers are and to provide what they want. There are many sub-markets which have radically different needs, here are a few of the main ones.

1. The art market

If you really can't stop taking those pictures of iconic buildings (who can!) then one place you may find a market for them is in art galleries or via art consultants. This is probably your best bet if you want to produce images that are not performing an explicit commercial function.

2. Property developers and real estate agents.

I've put these two together but they encompass a wide variety of possible customers and uses. Your average local real estate agent will use a lot of architectural and interiors photography but in general they will shoot it very cheaply and its far from easy to make a living today shooting work of this kind. At the other end of the scale a developer of a $20 million dollar building will want great final photos of the construction. Surprisingly even these customers may pay quite poorly and be price sensitive on occasion, but find the right way to sell to them and there is the possibility of earning a good income from this work.

3. Architect's Studios

I've put this third only to make the point that today working directly for architects is only one of the ways to make income from architectural photography. This is what I thought it was all about when I started. Today, its harder to get this work, simply from the point of view that architects are themselves visually literate and highly skilled designers. The advent of easy to use digital cameras means that many of them can take incredibly good architectural photographs themselves. As a result of this, only busy architects and architects needing a very high or specialist level of quality will use freelance architectural photographers.

4. Architectural journals

These are closely allied to the architectural studios and act as journals for the profession. For an architect to see their work in one of these publications provides a stamp of quality like winning an award. However, these journals will often want to split costs with the studios, or won't have a huge budget for photographs, so you will need to build up a relationship with a specific journal over time so that you become a regular contributor in order to generate a reasonable income.

5. Consumer magazines

Interior and women's interest magazines like Elle Decoration and many more broad market based publications are frequent users of freelance interior photography. The earnings here can be consistent because the magazines have a continual thirst for more material. However you really need to know what the editors like here. Many interiors photographers work as a team with a stylist (usually but not always a woman) who will have a deep understanding of interior fashions and how the articles are constructed.

6. Construction and engineering consultants.

Many firms of all shapes and sizes are involved in construction. Many of them will want pictures of the architectural projects, often from a specific aspect of the construction that they were involved in. So often I will sell my services to an architectural studio, but then sell additional picture usage licenses to the various contractors on the project. Doing this can sometimes add as much as 100% to the amount I can charge for a commission. So the message here is make sure that you don't give a royalty free license to your customers, or the right to distribute your pictures or you may lose as much as 50% of your income off the bat.

7. Picture libraries.

There are a number of picture libraries such as Arcaid, View and Construction Photography which address architecture. There are quite a few interiors specific libraries as well. In general you already need to be working consistently on commissions to generate enough images to make submitting to these stock libraries worthwhile. However if you do have the material this can provide a useful additional income stream, but don't expect to retire on it.

8. 3D visualisation companies

These companies work often for property developers and will sometimes use freelance photographers to shoot background shots for laying on a 3D model rendering of a finished property. The needs vary widely here and I've even been commissioned to shoot time-lapse movies of London which were then used in a rendered 3D video of the great new skyscraper 'The Shard' designed by Renzo Piano which is currently under construction.

9. Roll your own.

Over the past few years I've got to know a large number of successful professional photographers in a number of different fields. The one thing that stands out about these successful people is that they have carved a business niche and a market as distinct as their own photographic style. This makes it very hard for others to compete with them. In today's tough and competitive world of professional photography try to find your own distinctive type of customer and photograph... and be prepared to reinvent yourself every few years. If you find yourself blindly attacking one or more of the markets I've mentioned here, you are probably not being distinctive enough. You need to be perceived as either a specialist in a particular area of architectural photography, or have a skill in a rare technique, or take pictures in a way that is hard to copy without the person copying looking like a plagiarist. It's a tough goal to aim for but a rewarding one. Remember, if it wasn't so hard to make a living, architectural photography would be a much less rewarding career than it is.

What is 3D Rendering?

3D rendering or photo-real rendering is a nomenclature of producing an image based on three-dimensional data stored within a computer. 3D rendering can be designed to be abstract or as realistic as painting or photograph. Unlike photography, however, everything is imaginary and scenes need to be created. 3D Rendering requires a lot of work usually boundless amount of creative control over what may appear in the scene and how it is graphically presented to achieve good results. Before it could be done you first need to do the Modeling or Animating process. It is said to be "real time" because the computer makes the rendering without delay time, at each movement or modification of the 3D model.

The rendering and shading technology was first started during 1960's by venerable designer William Fetter who was attempting to devise a new process in order to maximize the efficiency of the layout inside an airplane cockpits. Over the years on the road of realism goes, 3D rendering was re-develop to increase complexity of the scene. It was called other names such as "Gouraud Shading Model", "Phong Rendering and later on "Ray Tracing" name by their developers until it was named "3D Rendering". I personally like the euphony of the word 3D rendering compared to the other names it was called.

The latest technology for photo realistic renderings wade beyond basic ray tracing, through the stimulation of technology, faster computers and a new birth of talents photo realistic 3D rendering has been ubiquitously used among artist.

Why 3D architectural rendering is a niche nowadays?

3D allows you to stimulate your creative horizons with movement, depth and animation. Over the years companies realize how to debouch the power of 3D visualization adds tremendous value to their presentations and other marketing campaigns, resulting to high volumes of sales for their products and services. It is important to heighten the awareness of what 3d can do for a business's growth. In 3d architectural you can easily presents your project/product in a turpitude or more appealing form then gives you an edge over old mediums. 3D photo real renderings play major role in real estate sales. Potential clients repose on the final product, so in order to sell you project its bes to present it realistically through 3d architectural rendering, animation or walkthroughs.

Qualities Of A Good 3D Architectural Rendering?

3D Rendering is a great way to display your products or ideas and deliver visual concepts ostentatiously to your potential clients so it's important to know how to achieve good rendering. Your ideas are translated in 3D to create Photo-Perfect 3D images. The 3D rendering artist must control all aspects of the scene such as Texture, Lighting, Transparency, Getting the right Angle, Detailed Model, and balance of Entourage in order to create a perfect result.

Texture - a method by which you add details, where you specify a color, a level of reflectivity and even a degree of bumpiness to scene. Textures allow 3D models to look significantly more detailed and realistic than they would otherwise. In order to achieve a higher level of realism make sure that the edges match closely to your model, have a larger number of smaller polygons and don't forget to to achieve good accuracy. Textures can also be repeated horizontally and/or vertically across a surface (with our without a degree of rotation), a technique used extensively for modeling surfaces such as brick walls, grass, roads, fences, etc. It can be applied in two ways: either the texture replaces whatever colour is already inherant to the polygon, or the texture colour is blended with the colour and surface properties of the polygon

Lighting - is an important aspect of scene setup in making it look realistic, this is the process where you create lightning sources to your environment, shade, shadows and refections. Lighting effects can contribute greatly to the mood and emotional response effected by a scene and can be a difficult art to master. The visualization of light in space, its effect on model cubature and scenery, is one of the great challenges in architectural rendering. The best bet to gain complete control over your lights is to experiment ,ignore standard practices and investigate exactly how your lighting instruments perform and react. A good lighting means everything in the scene is brightly lit so you can see every details.

Transparency - Transparency and light refraction within a transparent material are the key parameters in order to get a realistic rendering of a material like solid glass. In creating your scene photo realistic put simply, you can see shadows through your elements.

Getting the right Angle - having the right angle is one of the most important factor to consider, you have to make sure the important views are viewable in the scene and should not be distorted.

Detailed Models - Building models, is an extremely labor intensive process, even more so than our 3D models. It requires scrupulous attention to small details in order to achieve perfection. Basically a 3D model is a computer simulated wireframe representation of an object. In creating a good 3d models you need a powerful computer and processor to run most of the sofware. You can then output your 3D model by rendering it. A process that allows you to create a flat image of the model with texture and lighting added to the model to complete your work.

Balance of Entourage - in order to create a realistic rendering you need to populate your scene with people, cars, landscaping, etc. The trick is to find the right balance of elements, and avoid objects that are too unusual or detailed no matter how appealing may seem.

Last but not the least if your aiming for perfections, create a bit of imperfection to the edges of your scenes such as floor tile, glass, dirt on the street and walls to make it realistic.

What makes a Good Rendering?

  • The true measure of good rendering is the ability to accurately and persuasively depicts the client's ideas.
  • Good rendering should capture details.
  • Each is met with a fresh look, based upon extensive experience with a diversity of media and building types, to create a singular expression for each project.
  • Has the benefit of making clear and accurate presentations.
  • It should be easy to understand, high impact and quick to inspire architectural renderings which can communicate about a proposed architectural design in the best possible manner.
  • Evocative works evolves from an open client-artist dialogue which aims to create visage appearance that faithfully reflect designers' and developers' intentions and aspirations.
  • Express the intangible emotional and spiritual qualities architecture can possess.

3D architectural rendering brings new designs to virtual life, allowing you to see everything in it's glory as though it was already built. A renewed interest in humanistic architecture has significantly enhanced the value of architectural rendering as a means of linking concept to reality.

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