Christopher Malheiros, Visualization Pro of Week winner for February 17th, 2012 talks about how he created his Guggenheim at Night scene.
As the building already exists, this exercise had a higher level of difficulty in getting a final result that would correctly represent reality. Of course you will find problems on it. I've never actually seen the building, but I wanted to show my vision and a different framing to express the architecture. I checked many photos from many points of view, first to get an idea for the composition and second to get as much information about the building (textures, materials, sculptures, trees, lights, background, etc).
An important step was to get the titanium facade right. On the internet I found a high-res photo of the building where i could take a part of the facade and tweak it to get a texture. To get this texture right and realistic was the most time consuming thing, i created 5 or 6 different layers for bump and reflection until I found the right combination.
The software used was Cinema4d. I added an HDRI dusk sky and a soft ambient light to illuminate the scene. There are also several omnis inside and outside around the building. I also used a photo from the site mapped on planes around the building, this and the HDRI sky were adding to the titanium facade and glass to create a great reflection.
The most important tool was Photoshop. My first step was to reframe the image to a square format (more of a taste thing). Adding a new sky helps the composition. Everything done from now on is to add detail, lights and atmosphere to the image. First step was working the titanium facade reinforcing reflections, movement and bump, making it look more real. The second step was adding detail, more people, sculptures, objects, trees, background, etc. The third step was adding more lights, reflections on the water, making the stone dirty, etc. Everything is in the small details. Finally just adding light effects, fog and a color balance.
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