VisMasters Design Modeling and Visualization Conference & IMAGINA 2007
by Jeff Mottle
There are few conferences in the world where large numbers of professionals in the architectural and design visualization field all get together in one place to attend sessions and network with each other, but VisMasters and IMAGINA have been working to change this over the last several years. While independent organizations, both succeeded jointly this year in pulling off the largest event of it’s kind yet.
Hosted in Monte Carlo, Monaco, one of the most spectacular backdrops for a conference I think one could choose, hundreds of delegates flew in from all over the world to attend IMAGINA 2007 and the VisMasters Design Modeling and Visualization conference.
While IMAGINA is still a multi-track conference originally devoted exclusively to the entertainment and gaming fields, this year three full days were allotted to showcase an impressive list of speakers from the architecture and visualization fields.
Speakers from this year’s VisMasters Design Modeling and Visualization conference take a quick break behind the VisMasters booth between sessions. Left to Right: Randall Stevens – VisMasters, Jon Humphries – The Neighbouthood, Shrikand Sharma – Buro Happold, Sean Mei – ScreamPoint, Jeff Mottle – VisMasters/CGarchitect.com, Ben Davies – The Neighbourhood.
Day one of the conference started with six sessions focused on visualization and how it is being used in Landscape & Town Planning. Day two of the conference zeroed in around architecture and how rapid prototyping and model libraries are being used within the industry as well as a how visualization imagery can have as profound of an effect as to benefit the image of nations and high profile projects.
The final day of the Visualization conference was organized by VisMasters and covered a wide variety of topics within the professional architectural visualization field, ranging from the relationship of gaming and architectural visualization to 5D Spatial information management and architectural cinematography.
Laurent Puon, IMAGINA conference organizer, speaks with local television crews about this year’s conference.
One of the most praised sessions of the day was the session entitled 5D: 3D reaches a new Dimension presented by the President and Co-CEO of ScreamPoint International. Many people assume that architectural visualization is limited to photo-realistic marketing imagery, but Sean demonstrated an entirely new paradigm and way of thinking that gave attendees a glimpse of where visualization is really heading in the future. If one wanted to see a true visionary in our field speak about the future of the industry I think Sean would definitely be tops on that list.
So what is 5D you might ask? A term coined by ScreamPoint, 5D is simply the combination of 3DGIS + Time + Info.
ScreamPoint’s 5D paradigm has spawned proprietary tools that help some of the largest cities in the world to visualize city planning and scheduling.
While it would be hard to do his entire presentation justice in the few lines of this review, if one imagines managing and obtaining information about everything on planet earth visually, from the materials used to construct a building to the nuances of managing and placing high profile tenants within a new shopping complex, you’d only just be touching the surface. Using proprietary tools that rival the likes of Google Earth and Microsoft Virtual Earth, ScreamPoint has made huge inroads with some of the largest cities in Asia in becoming the defacto standard for visually managing entire cities. Screampoint’s goal, albeit a lofty one, is to model the entire world including every last road, building and structure with the intent of facilitating information management. You might think this an impossible task, but after seeing the progress they have made thus far, I would not be surprised to see Sean and his company pull this off. If ever you get a chance to see Sean speak, it’s most definitely an opportunity not to be missed.
Pulling from various inspirations, the Neighbourhood is redefining what it means to create architectural short films to help market real estate in Europe. From a recent film called CHIPS, they helped transform and give a new life to a well known Manchester Landmark building.
The second session of the day took attendees down the road of architectural cinematography. Two words not often put in the same sentence, Ben Davis and Jon Humphries, from the newly formed company the Neighbourhood, showed how these two words not only belong together, but how they have successfully managed to incorporate engaging narratives and clever cinematography into in architectural short films. Taking cues from 60’s advertising and cult films, the Neighbourhood demonstrated how it is possible to promote real estate projects with much more than a tired and uninspiring walkthrough.
Dr. Shrikant Sharma, the technical director for the SMART division of Buro Happold, rounded out the first half of the day’s sessions with a presentation on free form design. As architectural design become more complex and organic in nature, engineers are left to figure out how to actually build these structures. Without visualization and high end 3d graphics many of these designs simply could not be built. Shrikant showed several examples of complex design that their company has worked on and how they approached the design problem using home grown 3D modeling and visualization tools to aid in the design process. One of the most impressive projects was their work on the Convention Centre at Qatar Education City, which involved a massive support structure for a building’s exterior canopy where a Sidra Tree branch structure was used in lieu of pillars.
The Sidra tree was the inspiration for the main canopy support structure for the Convention Centre at Qatar Education City. Buro Happold’s SMART team took this very organic shape and turned it into a structure that could actually be built using 3D modeling and visualization.
The last half of the day ended with three concurrent sessions including Miles Walker of HOK, who spoke about the value of datasets and BIM within their organization, Brian Smith from 3DAS who presented the top 20 production tips that every professional visualization artist needs to know, and finally Dr. Andrew Hudson-Smith from the Center for Advanced Spatial Analysis. Dr. Hudson-Smith presented his current research where a number techniques using digital media, gaming and VR engines, can be used to help visualize cityscapes.
Brian Smith, from 3D Architectural Solutions, and one of the industry’s leading V-Ray instructors, outlines the top 20 production tips that every architectural visualization professional must know.
Using technology traditionally used in the gaming industry, Andrew Hudson-Smith’s research examines how these same techniques can facilitate visualizations of entire cityscapes.
Ending the week’s events, VisMasters hosted and after party for the entire visualization delegate, along with sponsor Autodesk, in the Karement restaurant overlooking the Mediterranean Sea.
What started as a single session at IMAGINA 2005, has now grown into one of the premiere events for the architecture and design visualization community. Event organizer Laurent Puons of IMAGINA had this to say during conference after party: "Arch Viz participation at Imagina 2007 was a great success and reached all expectations thanks to high quality conferences presented by renowned speakers. Arch Viz conferences program fitted completely Imagina's concept and I am sure that the Arch Viz conferences will take an important place in Imagina in a near future.” VisMasters is betting on exactly that and will build upon their second conference success and host a two day event on August 10 th and 11 th following SIGGRAPH this year in San Diego. For more information visit http://dmvc.vismasters.com
VisMasters and Autodesk host the industry after party for Visualization delegates on the final day of the conference.
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