Wayne Renshaw, Architect
commercial architecture
landscape & site design
rendering::rendering tips::paint or model?
 Architect
  A common mistake made by those learning to produce renderings is not knowing when to "paint" detail into a model instead of actually building the physical geometry. This is an important concept to learn, as some tasks such as modeling Corinthian columns, bushes and shrubs would be impractical--if not impossible--if they had to be physically modeled. Painting in the detail can also save lots of rendering time.
 
column flute
geometry

column flute in plan
 
 
 Consider, for example, the flutes on the shaft of a Corinthian column. It is not especially difficult to model the actual geometry of the flutes--draw a circle and remove semi-circular notches from it, and then extrude the result.
 
modeled column vs.
mapped column

modeled column and mapped column
 
 
 On the left, we see a rendered sample from column shaft model. On the right is a similar column shaft that was modeled by taking a simple cylinder and mapping a "flute" pattern onto it. This sample does an excellent job of simulating the physically modeled column, and more importantly, it rendered much faster. A group of 20 of the modeled columns took eighteen times as long to render than an equivalent group of 20 mapped columns--that's a 1774% difference in speed!
 
other uses
for mapping
 
 
 The illustration below shows some other areas where detail can be mapped into an image instead of being modeled. Among them are:
  • Window mullions--the windows in this 5 story building model are nothing more than a square. The mullions are painted onto the square with the texture map.
  • Doors and door frames are also painted onto a simple rectangle.
  • The grid on the kiosk is a simple box. The holes are mapped on using a transparency map.
  • The paving texture is a simple square with a colored stripe across the top and side. This texture maps into a giant grid pattern.
  • The trees use a texture map to place a leaf pattern on a triangular shape (see the virtual garden to see how I built the trees).
  • The ability to map detail into a model reduced the model of the high rise to little more than a simple collection of squares and extruded lines. All the richness of the environment has come from the texture and color maps.
entrance plaza of high rise office building
 
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