3D Illustration is a 2d representation of a 3d object in the virtual world. The illustrators role is to convey in the best possible manner, the design of the structure, through a rendered perspective.
Modeling a building for architectural presentation and analysis is different from modeling cartoon character, aliens from distant planet. Nobody know what aliens look like so the modelers have an advantage in his interpretation. Almost everybody knows what a structure looks like, and those expectation should be met by the illustrator.
With the aid of the Architectural Software, the Architects, Interior Designers, and Industrial Designers – anyone who makes aesthetic decisions in 3-Dimensions, will find that 3D computer visualization is a very effective way of conveying design ideas.
Building a 3D illustration on a computer often highlights design problems, and can aid in the search for a solution, which are often overlooked during the design process.
3D Modeling Basic
There are a lot of ways to create your 3d modeling and almost everybody have their own way and technique of creating the same model. In architectural visualization, there are a few modeling types every illustrator needs to master in 3DS Max.
These are spline, shapes and meshes, although there are others namely NURBS, patches, they all cater for other industry, but a basic understanding of these modeling techniques will be useful in other parts of your 3d scene.
The basic foundation of every 3D scenes are the line works, which are provided by the architects or other design professional, in the form of hand-drawn plans or 2D Autocad drawings.
From there, it is digitized to form a spline or shapes, that can be used in the creation of primitives, compound objects, and other object that will complete the scene.
Some also prefer to model the scene in AutoCAD and export to 3DS max for the texturing, lighting, and rendering.
There are no basic rule to follow, whether using autocad or a 3D software, as long as you are able to produce the required output.
Since designers are used to the precision drawings of autoCAD, it’s no surprise that some illustrator engage in setting up the all the massing and modeling part in AutoCAD to take advantage of its accuracy in the 3D creation, and exporting them for rendering in 3DS Max later
Materials & Textures
Modeling is only the first step of creating Architectural Visualization. Materials and textures are the steps that attach a color and surface qualities to the 3D objects.
These textures comes from either scanned, painted, photographed, of actual materials and then projected on the 3D surface.
The main thing that you need to consider is the resolution of the bitmap that you will be using.
You must bear in mind that the bigger the bitmap, the bigger the file size, and your rendering will be slower. Analyze the scene, if the object is far away from the camera or is a minor element in the scene, you can use a smaller bitmap size.
Lighting & Rendering
Lighting and Rendering requires a keen eye for color and tone, as well as understanding of the technicalities and limitation of 3D Lighting Systems and Rendering Engines.
In order to achieve realistic Architectural Illustration, you’ll want to study basic photography, which is primarily a study of light and how it interact with surfaces and film, and cinematography, which deals with lights in motion.
Lighting in 3D requires a mastery of the basic light types – directional, point, ambient, area, and spot lights – as well as an understanding of how lights interact with surfaces and the creation of shadow in 3D.