This week The Render Guy meets Grischa Fischer an Arch-viz artist I had the pleasure to get to know in 2013 at an event in Vienna.
We have been spoken regularly ever since. From that time his rendering production has become absolutely beautiful. Being myself also a Cinema 4d and Vray user I was very interested in having a small conversation with him that I could share with you guys. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
1.The Rendering Guy: Hi Grischa, thanks for taking the time; tell us please who you are and what you do.
Grischa Fischer: Hi my name is Grischa Fischer and I’m running a small studio for architectural visualization called studiohometown located in the south of Germany.
2. TRG: how did you get in the field of Archviz?
GF: It’s been quite a journey. Like many others I have an architectural background. I studied architecture & design at the State Academy of Art and Design in Stuttgart (Germany).
Very early in my studies I came in contact with 3D software and have been excited about it ever since. Although back then I was more interested in computer generated design and form generation.
Probably I spend most of my time during studies figuring out how things work as there haven’t been many tutorials around and we worked in Maya which isn’t the easiest piece of software.
I’ve always enjoyed the end of the project the visual representation of it the most.
I did some images for diploma projects of my friends without taking it very serious. I already had some thoughts in the direction of architectural visualisation but it should take six more years to finally figure out that this is what I like to do most.
To some extend because it was frowned upon among colleagues and professors to do renderings, but also because architecture is a long and intense study and I just could not let go right after I finished.
So after I graduated I got a good job offer and started working for LAVA (Laboratory for Visionary Architecture) doing mostly parametric design studies, competitions and some in house images.
During that time I got to know the work of MIR and Luxigon and was fascinated by it but still not sure which way to go.
Back then I started to feel the passion for images but I had no clue I would end up making a living off of it.
So before I went more into the technical direction got a bit into coding and freelanced for DesignToProduction a company for digital fabrication.
In 2011 I started to work for Holzer Kobler Architekturen an architectural office in Zürich. My position was titled “3D Specialist” which I thought would be the right thing for me. A bit of everything.
Besides Modelling, parametric Design and competitions I started to do more and more in house visualizations and got more and more interested in it.
Then finally after 6 years in the architectural business I said good bye to architectural design and moved on to the field of architectural visualization.
That was in 2013 where a couple of things happened; I attended my first architectural visualization conference which was the SympIn Vienna (which has now become the famous d2 Conference) where I was really mind blown and knew that this was the right direction to go. At that same time I was working on a competition and I somehow convinced my bosses to do the visualizations with MIR. I was very excited about it and it’s been an experience of great value.
It ended up that I had to do two additional images which had to be on the panels next to the MIR ones. So I tried my best not to suck to much. And as I had no one to really judge the images on a professional level I decided to send them over to MIR and asked for
their opinion. They have been really helpful. One of the images turned out quite good and made it onto the panels. I also pushed my technical skills and attended the VrayForC4D Training again in Vienna with Stefan Laubto get some deeper understanding of VrayForC4D.
At around the same time me and my family decided to move back to Germany to my hometown (that’s where the office name is coming from) and I started the office at the end of 2014.
3.TRG: Can you tell us a bit more about your work, how do you approach it, what do you try to achieve, what do you like about it and when do your consider a project ready?
GF: At the beginning of a project we try to gather as many information as possible. About the project in general, the design ideas, location and context, what the images are needed for as well as the expectations of the client.
We also start looking for references and inspiration which can be anything at this point.
From there on we don’t really have a straight workflow because it can be quite different from project to project.
Sometimes the views are quite obvious and we try to show a specific mood with a first sketch. On other projects finding a good view might be quite a challenge and it takes more time and testing.
We like to work with very simple Models in the beginning. That way we can quickly test a couple of options. Also regarding 3d vs 2d we are quite flexible. We have some full CGI projects and others were we rely heavily on photoshop.
Once we have the views we narrow down the references decide on the direction of the image fine tune lighting and materials as well as the context and start finalizing it. Sometimes we start very early to work on the post-production to see if everything is working the way we want or to test some different moods.
First of all we like to help the architects or whatever client we have to stage their project in the best possible way. We consider us and the client as a team with the same goal. Of course the architects are usually into their design and want to show everything they did.
We try to step back and look more for photographic potentials of the project and find an image that contributes to their idea or which is just strong in itself. If we can compliment the idea with a visual that tells a story and evokes emotions we did our job.
It’s hard to tell when an image is done. To me it’s not about details could be quite sketchy. Of course it shoould not look empty. But that is more often a problem of too clean cgi images and sometimes a few brushstrokes can make a big difference.
I think if there is nothing that distracts the eye and the image has a good balance and flow you can consider it done. I would say if it has all the essential elements composed in a pleasing way
I really like the mixture of technical and artistic challenges.
If I want to dive in deep into technical stuff the door is open on the other hand there is a lot to learn on the artistic side.
I also like that although it’s a very competitive industry people are vey nice and open minded. I learned a lot through the community and hopefully at some point I’ll be able to give something back.
4. TRG: who is your biggest influence when it comes to finding inspiration?
GF: The first book I bought before I started to study architecture is from Erich Mendelsohn. I love the way he captures his buildings with a few lines.
This always reminds me that things don’t need to be complicated but focused.
In the beginning it was mostly other 3D artists or studios from within the Industry. Which is good to some extend but stops you from thinking to do something else.
And I do like the quote from Edgar Degas “I’m glad to say I haven’t found my style yet. I’d be bored to death.” Same is true for me. I like to test things and do new stuff.
Recently I started to look more into other disciplines like matte painting, cinematography, traditional art, concept art and of course photography.
There is so much to learn from those people it’s never ending and hopefully I can do something with it.
These days the problem I think is not so much to find inspiration as it is accessible everywhere from everywhere but to take it serious, focus on it, really study it and make something new.
5. TRG: You are obviously a VRAYforC4D user, what pushed you towards this software?
GF: As an architect I used to work in Rhino and Vray (for Rhino) and I still use Rhino quite a bit for modelling as it is really powerful in that sense.
But I never really liked working with Vray for Rhino so I started to look for alternative options.
I wanted a solution with a good solid exchange to Rhino and Cinema4D in conjunction with Rhino.IO is very fluent in that sense.
Also Rhino is a very stable software and so is Cineme 4D. If you are used to a stable software everything else is a nightmare.
As I already knew Vray continuing with VrayForC4D was a no brainer.
In my opinion Cinema4D is really an underestimated software in the ArchViz industry. Although lately it got more attention at least from my point of view.
Many good artists are pushing it forward. So keep going!
6. TRG: Can you tell us one of the funniest things that happened during your career as a 3d artist?
GF: Nothing funny about it. You know I’m German and I take my job very serious.
7. TRG: How do you think the industry will change in the near future?
GF: Ok I really don’t know! I think the easier the usability of tools and software become the more we can focus on other more fundamental things of the image making process. Like for instance story telling, composition, color and light which would be a good thing. The industry will probably grow and new tools will attract a lot of people but I don’t think the still image will be obsolete in the (near) future. People in general start realizing that our world is getting too fast so what’s more relaxing than looking at a well done image?
8. TRG: If you were to mentor someone about this career, what would you suggest or recommend? Even better… if you could back in time to 10 years ago, what would you say to your younger self?
GF: Be passionate about what you do and believe in what you like doing. People will start to know you for what you are doing and at that point you should better like it.
Ask questions, don’t give up and find the right people you like working with and have some fun. At least that’s my thought about it.
Besides respect your body and mind and get away from the computer from time to time. The real world has a lot to offer as well
To my younger self I would tell the same don’t listen to other people and follow your intuition, ideas and passion. But then again that is
easy to say… I have only now realized what it is I want to do. I wish I had started to do images much earlier on the other hand I needed to make all the experiences to end up where I’m now.
Which I enjoy a lot. Enough of that I like it more to look into the future otherwise I would have become an archaeologist not an architect nor a 3D artist.
9.TRG: Now on the geek side, what is it you do to give your image that final magic touch?
GF: How the heck did they do that? When I started to do architectural visualizations on a more professional level that kind of question was one of the driving factors for my work. And it still is to some extend, as I always like to test new things.
In the meantime I figured out that the magic button is still missing from all software package. What I have learned is that “the why” and “when” to do something is even more important than the how. So to answer the question it totally depends on the image. Sometimes a single adjustment layer is enough and sometimes I spend 80% of the time in Photoshop to get things right.
What ever works I would say. But a lot comes from experimenting. There really is nothing scientific about it and as I said it’s different for each and every image.
Otherwise there would have been some sorts of “MakeTheMagicTouch” script to download somewhere since a long time.
But as you can push and pull the image in a lot of directions the most important thing is to have a clear idea of where you want to go with the image since the beginning of the process.
10. TRG: Thanks a lot for doing this for us, if people wanted to contact you where can they find you?
GF: Thanks guys, my pleasure check out my work at the links below: