Recently, I was asked to render a couple concepts for billboards that would appear to blend in with their surroundings as opposed to just being placed on site. The following images were created to show what landscaping the existing site would do to create this effect. The ads were just place-holders as their was no end client at this stage.
The first concept rendering above shows the site coming up to meet the signage. There is a neighborhood in the background that would also be exposed to the advertising so consideration was taken to hide the signage from their perspective while giving them a barrier both physical and visual between their property and the road.
The landscape grows to support the structure. Retaining walls were used to step the site and raise it to a level just below the sign. The site for this project was yet to be determined, but it was planned for suburban Philadelphia. This houses are used for context to understand how the design would effect a typical suburban Philadelphia community.
The second option revised the initial concept in a more compact and less organic design. The landscape is still terraced, but incorporates more natural materials. Both options utilize water elements. The smaller footprint of the second option can be seen in the aerial rendering. The use of two renderings per concept allows the viewer to see a perspective of the design as it would be experienced in real life. The use of aerial renderings provide context and allow the viewer to engage the design by quickly orienting them. This is especially useful when explaining your design to people that may not be able to read elevation and plan drawings.
Architectural visualization and Architectural photography are very similar. Creating an interior rendering is basically shooting an architectural photograph of an interior. The only real difference is that in the case of the rendering, the artist is building (digitally) the space and the objects in it. Both artist and photographer light the scene and stage it to create a visually appealing image. Both need to understand light and form in order to bring out the subtle and essential details in the design.
These days photographers are more digital artists than photographers. Taking as many as thirty shots of the same view, in order to composite them together in post production. The photographer is spending more time “creating” the image than “capturing” it. There is no right or wrong to this approach, however there is something to be said for being able to get the shot right “in camera”. This means that little post production work is needed other than basic image adjustments similar to what one would do in a dark room.
Rendering too can sometimes rely heavily on post production work to create the image. In some cases this approach can be quicker, however it often locks the artist into one view. In many cases trying to change the view during the revision process can mean essentially starting over. Getting the rendering right in the render engine is not unlike getting the photograph right in camera. A new angle means placing a new camera and generating a new render, but knowing it will turn out identical in feel and look to the original means that there will be less work in post production.
No Matter where you are in Bucks County, you’re only a few minutes from a great outdoor space. I had planned to get up and shoot the sunrise, but the weather didn’t cooperate. Completely white sky, no clouds, no sun, just a lot of wind. So, I went back to bed. An hour later the weather had changed (slightly) and though I had missed sunrise, I still wanted to get out and shoot.
My original location was no longer going to work. Instead, I drove 5 minutes over to Churchville Nature Center. The preserved space is on Springfield Lake in Southern Bucks County. There are a few trails, but nothing difficult. There is a boardwalk that can accommodate a wheelchair and most of the trails are flat with very little obstacles. Great for kids, but no dogs allowed.
The nature center itself is pretty cool with a lot of info on the local wildlife and plantlife. Behind the center is a bird blind. I don’t know much about birding, but there always seems to be a few people hanging out with binoculars and little bird identification books.
I walked around the top half of the lake to get the shots shown here. All were taken on the opposite side of the lake from the nature center. The boundaries of the preserve are not that well marked and if you keep going, you run into “no trespassing” signs. I think I wandered along a game trail that may not have been part of the trail system. Looking at satellite images of the area there is a lot to explore, but it’s not clear what is public land and what is private.
I found a deer skeleton near where I was shooting and incorporated the skull in one of the shots. I’ve seen a few of these in this area over the years. Elm Ave runs along the northern border of the center’s trails. Deer get hit by cars and stumble a few yards into the woods before falling near the edge of the lake.
When the light is still good, but there is not much color, black and white images can bring out the details and textures.