There are tasks that you cannot avoid doing in practice that will cause you to hate your job. And then there are tasks that you can pleasantly avoid in order to make your life a lot easier. One of these tasks that you should try to avoid at all costs is 3D rendering.
It sounds like blasphemy really. Most people these days will graduate from their university with a greater knowledge of 3D modeling software than their knowledge of AutoCAD. I really didn’t believe that this could ever be the case but its true. I can say first hand that some friends straight out of such schools as Yale, Princeton, Columbia and SciArc knew nothing about AutoCAD. While this may give you a heads up at Gehry’s office, it doesn’t help you in the overwhelming majority of firms that you will work in.
Here are 12 Reasons why your should avoid rendering in your office at all costs:
1. You Will Lose Track of Time:
You can really get lost in your modeling. A whole work day can go by without you even realizing it. Worst of all, you can spend hours on a task that you expected to take a half an hour. In the end, you will find yourself staying later into the night while your coworkers punch out at 6.
2. More Demands on Your Time
There seems to be a very unfair expectation that employers have on the amount of time that it takes to complete a digital model. I have seen employers consistently assign a brand new 3D model to be completed and rendered for print in a two day period. While that may not seem like a short amount of time, we can easily forget that a considerable amount of time is going to be spent tweaking the vantage points and materials. Also, the employer will inevitably be requesting changes to the design or look once they see your progress prints.
3. The Employer Doesn’t Have Knowledge of the Software
There in lies maybe the biggest problem. Most of your supervisors will be older and have not been personally exposed to modeling software. They often feel as though computers have made things more instant or automated, when the truth of the matter is that computers have really just complicated things.
So as mentioned above, the employer will give you these assignments and constantly make changes to the model before you are done. Often times, the changes that they request will require near full remodels, so they can really be detrimental to getting renderings complete. This brings me to my next point
4. You Will Find Yourself Re-doing Things Over and Over
As you present various schemes and changes to your clients, you will find that you will have to model the same things over and over again. It is not unusual to have to go through 3-5 different drawing files in one day.
5. You Have to Sweat the Details
Aside from actually constructing the forms that make up the building massing, you also need to concentrate on those tedious details. Reflections, shading, material colors, mullions… you name it, are all items that must be coordinated into your rendering in order for it to come off as a believable form. Clients have little capacity for imagination and you really need to paint as clear of a picture as possible. The details are going to take up most of your time.
6. You Are On Your Own: No One Else Can Help You
Unfortunately, digital models practically have individual signatures embedded into them. What I mean is that it is easy to tell that one person modeled one drawing and another person was the author of another. When you are presenting multiple schemes, the same person really needs to be developing each one. It is the only way to deliver a professional presentation to a client. This means that none of your colleagues can help you out with the work load.
7. You May Have Knowledge in One Software But Not Another
There are so many different 3D software out there. I could name nearly ten of them but there are constantly new programs coming out that trump the others. I personally was used to using Formz when I came out of school. My first firm used 3D Studio Max and expected me to hit the ground running. I ended up having to learn the new interface while trying to keep up with my assignments. This led to longer nights at work that I would have rather spent back home of at happy hour.
8. You Lose Your Personal Space
Because your boss will be wanting to make those changes, he is basically going to be sitting on your lap and punching holes in your LCD screen. They just get sucked into your computer screen while you are still sitting at your desk! They will be putting their faces 3 inches away from your screen so they can inspect your work and you will most likely get familiar with the smell of their breath. To make matters worst, they will just stand there while you are frantically making their changes, even though it may take you 10 minutes to do so. You really just have to sit there and take it because its hard to tell your boss to buzz off.
9. You Won’t Be Working on Important Tasks
So while you are making pretty pictures, your friends in the office will be doing real work. Creating presentation images is indeed important and you will still be a valuable member of the team, but, in the end this won’t amount to anything more than an image that makes your client “oooh and ahh.”
10. You Will Learn Less
This is similar to the last point. While you are modeling, you won’t be doing any detailing, space planning, or structural coordination. Really, you are going to be missing out on all of those “important tasks” that will make you a more complete architect. There is no 3d Modeling section on the exams.
11. You Will Be Under-Appreciated
Because you won’t be involved in those other tasks that really result in a final set of working documents, your contribution won’t be recognized as much. 3D modeling is expected to be a simple automated process and the crazy amount of time you pour into your assignments will be diminished by your employers high expectations.
12. Professionals Do It Better
Seriously, they do. You could spend a solid month on a model and it won’t look as good as when a professional renderer works a day or two on the project. You don’t have the skill-set or the digital library to trump the professionals. From personal experience, I have seen a professional rendering firm model the entire Dubai Waterfront Development overnight…from scratch. These are the images that you have probably seen for a few years now, including the early images of the new world’s tallest building. That’s right, they were done in a span of one night! Could you possibly compete with that?
If rendering is something that you enjoy and you want to spend your days doing so, then go into rendering professionally. You will probably get paid more and you will be much more appreciated for your work. The illustrator that my firm uses, who I talk to once or twice a week, was once an architect. He has enough knowledge about architecture that I can use industry terminology to convey my ideas. He also can work on projects from afar and can continually be challenged by different projects week after week.