This week The Render Guy meets Nuno Silva of nu.ma in Portugalan Arch-viz artist I have been following for a while now since he also is a VRAYforC4D user.
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 Render Guy: Hi Nuno, thanks for taking the time; tell us please who you are and what you do.
Nuno Silva: Hi render guy, first of all let me thank you for this opportunity. About me, i’m a Portuguese architect and a 3D artist. I’m the CEO of nu.ma since 2010. nu.ma is a small office that is committed to deliver high quality 3D visualization images.
We target architects, designers, real-estate investors, the furniture industry and so on. Our experience in architecture and in the construction field, gave us a full understanding of the relationship between Architecture, Design and the 3D digital production.
2. TRG: how did you get in the field of Archviz?
NS: Very early, as an architect, I saw the huge advantage of using this powerful technique to convince clients and selling them architectural projects. With the advantage of being an architect, I decided to conjugate my skills with 3D art, and become better in the modeling and rendering of 3D images. By putting together these two arts (architecture and 3D) it’s our capital gain, because we know and understand what architects like and want, and we can help them to sell their projects, in a better way.
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?
NS: Well, the projects always start with a conversation with the client, so to understand what the main goal of the images is, what are these images going to be used for, which elements will be provided to us by the designer and which elements will need to be worked and designed by us instead. After that, we start with the research of some influences and inspirations, and only then we start going through the project. Every project has a different approach, meaning they don’t follow always the same line, however we try to develop a specific working method for each work. Also We always keep in mind that it is worth to loose some time thinking about the project before starting, than taking a lot more time doing and re-doing modifications to the same project many many times. The Italian Architect Achille Castiglioni used to say “I spend one year laying on the couch thinking… then and only then I pick up in my pencil…” .
In a general way, the work starts always with some sketches trying to imagine our final 3D image. With those sketches we try to show our clients the potentials of the project from our point of
view. It is obvious that the client always has some influence as well, after all they know clearly how the project should look like (at least in their mind) ;). After we agree on the general idea, we star the modeling of the project according to the provided elements (CAD existing 3d models and so on). The composition and balance on the image is performed already at this stage. The composition is very important when we look at a picture. If it doesn’t show an harmonious balance, it wont captures our attention. When the model is ready, the next step is the lighting tests. These tests are always performed in a neutral white base to clearly understand which and what kind of light we need. These tests are always performed though an hierarchy method: main light; secondary light; backup light. The principles of this method were acquired through the 5SRW course (which is a very good course and it is also available for c4d users).
After the light is set we will start applying materials. If the materials are not well constructed this could destroy the image. Finding out and understanding materials imperfections at this stage is very important. We work hard to make the materials we use, as real as possible. In the real world nothing is perfect, and for that reason, some imperfections must be added to the materials, to achieve realism. VRAYforC4D has some tools that are very useful and can be an important help you in this step. Then we finally get to the image optimisation and post-production, which I confess, is the part that I like less because of how unflexible it is when it comes to changes. That’s why I try to implement as much as possible in 3D, in order to minimize the post-production work.
4.TRG: Who is your biggest influence when it comes to finding inspiration?
NS: I have some strong inspiration sources for what concerns 3D. My biggest influences and inspirations come from photography. It is funny, that in photography, photographs try to “clean” the imperfections of the image whilst in 3D, we the 3D artists, try to introduce several imperfections into the image. One of the photographers that inspire me is Ferreira Alves, from Portugal. He was able to capture architecture in its true essence and pure beauty. The details in his work are very important. I also like the Fernando Guerra’s work (another Portuguese photographer). He turns the architecture into a spectacule. Not in the way he captures it, but in the why he transforms it. It is the artistic look that he gives to the buildings that is interesting to me.
These are two reference points that I try to get in my 3D.
5. TRG: You are obviously a VRAYforC4D user, what pushed you towards this software?
NS: The bases of my modeling work (for architecture and 3D) is done in ArchiCad. At the beginning I worked with 3DMax, but the conversion from archicad, made the process too difficult. That’s way I started using Cinema 4D. At the time there was no VRAYforC4D. When I discover that Laublab was working on a version of VRAY for Cinema 4D, I got very excited, I was one of the pioneers buying the very first version of the software. The render engine is very powerful and flexible, and can adapt to all the different situations. It is important that this render engine continues to evolve, because as the users increases so do their needs.
6.TRG: Can you tell us one of the funniest things that happened during your career as a 3d artist?
NS: Hum… there are not too many funny things, at least when they happen, but it is very common that the clients think that we are working with something like a photographic camera, and that all we do is pressing a button and just like this the image appears. Sometimes it happens that after the final image is prepared (with post-production and everything), the client says “please move the sofa just a little bit to the right”… and I think… really?
7.TRG: How do you think the industry will change in the near future?
NS: the 3D industry is moving very very quickly. Many things are happening. The render engines are increasingly more effective, faster and they allow a quicker feedback speeding up the whole workflow. However there are some things that will never change. For example the way that the images are created. This process cannot be fully automated. We will always need a person behind the computer making renders. Render engines as tools, can be compared to numbers that are processed. However the artist that might operate those machines will do in a different way from another artist, for that reason, the final images always will have a different human touch.
8. TRG: If you were to mentor someone about this career, what would you suggest or recommend? Or if you could go back in time to 10 years ago, what would you say to your younger self?
NS: I don’t like to impose any philosophy on each one’s career, because each one should follow his/her own taste and make things that make them feel good. I do think that one should always give their best, and not feel sorry about what you should have done or would have done at the end of a project. No regrets, try hard, improve your skills, be a step forward of everyone else, and respect your client.
9. TRG: Now on the geek side, what is it you do to give your image that final magic touch?
For me, the “final magic touch” is when I press the send button and the client response is “fantastic, we are very pleased with the final work”! I don’t think that there is a “final magic touch”. Sometimes we are few seconds away from sending the final images, and we go back to fix a bit the contrast, or take some saturation away… it is very relative.
10. TRG: Thanks a lot for doing this for us, if people wanted to contact you where can they find you?
Oh please, thank you for the opportunity. For all of those who wish to get in touch you can find us here www.numa.pt and obviously on Facebook at www.facebook.com/nu.ma.arq