Please tell us a bit about yourself and how you initially became interested in architectural visualisation?
My name is Yurii. Originally I’m from Latvia, but, at the moment, I live and work out of the beautiful city of Ericeira in Portugal. For me, it all started while working in architecture way back in 2006. The visualisation part was the finishing touch of every architectural project. I was and still am fascinated when I see architectural drawings come to life in the form of an image. So, in 2013, after many years in architecture, I quit my job and have been practising arch-viz exclusively since.
What software and tools do you use for your work, and why?
I use Cinema 4D and Corona for rendering, Affinity Photo for post-production. Cinema 4D is a very intuitive and versatile piece of software, and it works on both PCs and Macs, making things even easier when collaborating. On the other hand, Corona Renderer is an industry-leading render engine, so that says it all.
Why do you choose Affinity Photo for post-processing your images?
I’ve been working on Mac exclusively for the past eight years, and Affinity Photo feels and looks native to Apple’s ecosystem of apps; it just blends in flawlessly and works without hiccups. On the upside, it is priced very reasonably compared to the competition, so it was a no brainer to choose it as my go-to post-processing software.
How well does Affinity Photo work alongside your other software?
It is being used not only for post-processing but also to work on textures, tweak HDRIs, and different post-production scenarios along the way, so I jump between Cinema 4D and Affinity Photo a lot during the 3D process.
Can you give us an overview of how you create a 3D visualisation from start to finish?
I always start with pulling out my reference library and looking for the right pictures that resemble the mood and light I’m after. Without this essential part, the rest of the process would feel like a night walk in the forest. Simultaneously I work on finding key viewpoints and compositions for each shot.
Next up is a rough texturing process (sometimes adding only plain colour) and testing a couple of main lighting scenarios until it clicks into the planned direction.
Then the 3D work starts—texturing, vegetation, some assets, local lighting etc. At this stage, I tend to go back and forth between Cinema 4D and Affinity Photo to quickly check and adjust the 3D if necessary.
Once I’m done with 3D, I render the final image and finish it off in post-production. Post-processing is usually 95% complete at this stage, so there are only some tweaks left here and there.
Obviously, there can be some unexpected changes and adjustments from my side and the client along the way. For example, sometimes lighting or composition is not working as planned, and it needs to be readjusted in the middle of the process.
Does your process differ between architectural, interior, and product renders?
It doesn’t differ that much. The main difference is in the lighting setup for each of these scenarios. Also, product renders do require a lot more attention to detail when compared to architectural images.
Do you feel post-production is an important stage in the process?
It is crucial. I tend to start testing post-processing options while still working on a 3D scene. This gives me an overall picture of what should be further improved in 3D and what could be left for post. Overall, this is the stage at which each image comes to life.
“I tend to start testing post-processing options while still working on a 3D scene. This gives me an overall picture of what should be further improved in 3D and what could be left for post. Overall, this is the stage at which each image comes to life.”
Do you have any post-production tips for achieving realistic results?
Nothing can beat the actual world we live in; therefore, it is essential to observe and analyse the environment around us to recreate it as closely as possible in 3D and then fine-tune it in post. On a side note, a great image is all about composition and contrasts. More specifically, contrasts between light and dark, cool and warm etc. So, try studying and implementing colour theory in your workflow. It will make a day and night difference in the appeal of your visuals.
What would you say is the most challenging aspect of 3D visualisation?
The initial stage—deciding on which direction the image should go in and post-production—the part in which everything comes together. That’s the artistic side of the project, which always is an exciting and somewhat challenging process. The rest is pretty much technical stuff.
What is your favourite project / render that you have worked on, and why?
I love the thrill of the unknown that pushes my growth forward. Therefore, my favourite and most memorable projects are ones that lifted my skills to the next level, even if it was only in some specific parts.
“I love the thrill of the unknown that pushes my growth forward. Therefore, my favourite and most memorable projects are ones that lifted my skills to the next level, even if it was only in some specific parts.”
This was the point at which I started working with references. It completely changed my workflow and understanding of what makes a great image.
This was a project in which I took 3D vegetation work to the next level.
All images were great to work on for this project. What stood out, though, was this panoramic shot. Besides the building itself, everything else is photo-bashed together. I have completely broken down the creation of this visual in one of my recent blog posts.
Can you tell us what you’re working on right now?
Right now, I’m in between projects, devoting all my free time to surfing, hanging out with friends and just relaxing as much as possible. But stay tuned for some exciting new stuff in the coming months.