Interview with Blackhaus
Please introduce yourself and tell us about how you got into the industry.
I'm Fernando Gasperin, co-founder and owner of Blackhaus studio, a specialized studio for the creation of high-end digital sets.
I got into the industry seven years ago. From the first moment I had contact with CGI I fell in love by the endless possibilities it gives us. Even starting as a hobby, it got serious when I realized I could make a living working in something I really did enjoy doing.
Along my career I worked as Senior Lighting Artist for ArchViz studios, Freelancer - to publicity agencies, architectural and CGI companies, such as: KPF,Neometro, SymmetryDevelopment, DkStudio, Dreambox-tv, Studiome, Globalcomm. Nowadays I'm running my own business with my partner Deisi Bernadi.
Can you tell us about the history of Blackhaus and its history?
After years of working in the industry, I felt the necessity to tell my own history. In 2013, I brought the idea to my partners and asked if they would like to join this adventure. They instantly accepted the challenge, and Blackhaus was born.
From the beginning, Blackhaus' philosophy has been: produce high-end materials for the real estate market. Our background in architecture, cinema, photography and design provides a more holistic perspective on the brand communication process, which we can then use to help our clients communicate their visions effectively.
As a creative boutique, we believe we can deliver a high-end product if we maintain a small and qualified team, the right team. Right now, we are composed of four specialists in areas such: Project Management, Lighting Development, Technical Modeling and Art Direction.
The company's name is a reference of the discovery of the principles of the camera obscura.
While studying for a master’s degree in photography, during a lesson on the oldest surviving camera photograph - Nicephore Niepce’s "view from the windows at le Gras” - we built a camera obscura in the classroom to understand the process behind the picture. I was amazed by that experience and his discovery, so, when my company was created it felt like a natural idea for the name - a poetic interpretation of that moment and its principles.
What does your production pipeline look like?
Every job has its own necessities, but we established a base structure that helps us during the process.There are no secrets to it; we split our work into phases such as: creative direction, modeling, photographic direction, lighting and final delivery, every project phase is followed by client feedback.
Our common tools at work are: 3ds Max, V-Ray, Photoshop, After Effects, Premiere.
You appear to have a very distinctive clean look to most of your work. Is this reflective of the work your clients are requesting or is this a specific studio look?
Our clients want us produce to high-end visuals experience for their projects, but they usually don’t request a specific look. We do have a studio taste that involves a natural, clean white look in our non-commissioned jobs, but in real projects we don't overdo it - every project has its own necessities.
It's an aesthetic language we appreciate at Blackhaus, but our commitment is to build captivating visual experiences.
Natural Lighting helps us do this, and is undoubtedly a language we'll continue to pursue in our images/video. This is how we believe we can portray unbuilt architecture in its natural form.
Please walk us through one of your favorite projects and break down some of the elements of your production workflow.
I'd like to introduce you our newest project called Reflection Project.
As in every job, we start developing the project concept and its creative direction.
Once we are happy with it, we start collect as much references we can to help us through the process; this is an essential phase of our work. We usually collect our main references from known photographers, designers, cinematographers and architects.
Once finished, we start our production process: Modeling, lighting, texturing and camera direction until its ending.
Lighting and texturing/shading are inseparable in our workflow, and because I have a solid background in lighting, this is the most exciting phase of the project to me. To be able to produce a convincing lighting atmosphere in our images we do a lot of research on this phase, such as, how the light impacts a specific surface we’re trying to recreate, how the light bounces through a white/black scenario, etc. This helps us understand how we can create a believable world where the client can feel himself astonished by our visualization.
South America is one of the larger arch-vis markets in the world. Tell us what it’s like running a visualization business from Brazil.
We have a competitive market running in Brazil, where you have a large number of studios offering this kind of service, so you have to be adaptable every day to be able to compete with them. We also face a strong competition for international clients, too.
What’s helping us in this process is the creation of valuable connections with our clients. As Brazil is a relative young market and this process takes time, our market culture still is one of quantity not quality. Our client still thinks they need a large amount of visualization to “sell” their project. We believe a good image that’s been extremely planned can communicate its audience with much more efficiency.
Our clients are not only expecting good images from us, they are looking for a fluid and easy communication through this process.
What are your thoughts about the arch viz industry and where it’s headed from both an artistic and technology standpoint?
Personally, from the technology standpoint, I'm very anxious about the forthcoming years.
Thanks to hardware’s evolution and its massive improvements, real time and biased calc solutions for rendering will be used on every phase of the project with the highest quality possible.
The possibilities are endless, from a modeling point of view you can see and interact in real time with how the model responds in real lighting situations; in shading/texturing you can have instant feedback with regards to how Shaders are been shown; and for lighting you’ll gain more instant feedback into how the lights reach an surface and respond to camera angles, helping us judge the best camera angle for the space and its lighting.
I do believe it'll change the industry when it comes for new tools, possible usages and new products.
From an artistic standpoint I really believe technology will have its best benefit getting us away from parameters, making our workflow easier and organic without the complexity inherent in render engines.
Artistically, we'll always need a strong base on the traditional arts. This is the real advantage for us at Blackhaus, since we established our bases into the traditional arts, technology helps us through this process as a tool.
What sort of skillsets are you looking for in new hires?
People who share our artistic vision and are capable of build captivating visual experiences have a strong advantage. It’s essential to us that they are able to work in a team, have good communication skills and display pro activity at work.
Our recommended standard programs are: 3dmax, V-Ray, Photoshop, After Effects, Premiere
What advice do you have for those looking to enter the industry?
I'd suggest studying the fundamentals as much as you can - photography, painting, cinema, art, design, architecture.
Developing an artist’s eye is the hardest part of this process and probably the hardest to be taught. The technical knowledge comes in parallel to it; it's also important to have a strong knowledge on the main principles rather to be only technically qualified.
What are your sources for inspiration and research when working on new images?
I get inspired by a lot of things, such as: photography, design, cinema, architecture, movies, music, etc...
The research for my projects is usually made online.
My main sources are: Google, Pinterest, Archilovers, Architectural photographers.
What’s in the future for Blackhaus?
We’re very excited by the forthcoming years at company.
Blackhaus’ re-branding will be launched during the second semester this year; we’re very excited about the launch since there are some exciting materials we plan to debut, which should communicate our company values to the main public. Our reel is slated to be launched at the same time. It’s a great opportunity to show our clients and the community our latest projects as part of a cinematic narrative.
From the project perspective, there are some unbelievably great commissioned projects being produced inside the company that we’re honored to be part of it, hope to share them soon with the community. There’s also a portfolio piece we’re creating at the studio to show our capabilities that I really believe it’s going be a breakthrough to us in terms of quality, should be released soon.
We want to spread the word about our business philosophy.
We believe that with passion, personality and above all commitment to a qualified service, we can change the way people perceive unbuilt architecture.