Render of the Keck Medical Center of USC. By AHBE Landscape Architects.

The Keck Medical Center of USC. By AHBE Landscape Architects.

The word ‘render’ comes from its Latin root reddere, meaning ‘to give back’, and is often used to describe either an action or a noun related to a ‘representation’ or ‘performance’. Its origins, however, are more associated with the concept of ‘serving’, ‘helping’, or the ‘providence of a service’. And that is exactly what the design disciplines do when executing these visualization services: they portray what a finished product would be to a client. Sometimes virtual illustrations are also generated for studying the design and composition options, or even for mere portfolio purposes.

An artistic rendition of the Crafton Hills College. By AHBE Landscape Architects.

A traditional, non-software artistic rendition of the Crafton Hills College is used here to show plans in relation to site. By Steinberg Architects.

Although a service, rendering includes a very significant artistic constituent, in which the visual artist imprints their style and sense of aesthetics to the product. Unlike art pieces, these are subject to revisions by the clients and by the supervisors, and its ultimate goal is to display the desires of the stakeholders, rather than the communication of emotions, ideals, and expectations of the artist.

We need to think of rendering as a very unique situation were a double artistic goal is expressed, in which the display of two aesthetical elements are involved:

  1. In the design field, the primary goal most of the time is to showcase a design solution, whether architectural, urban, landscape, interior, industrial or graphic. The design itself becomes the artistic object. Such design intent must be clear at all times.
  2. The secondary goal is to represent this solution in an attractive way. It becomes the frame, media and canvas of the art piece, which could potentially add or subtract interest. The render sells the product and advertises the idea using layout, graphic styles, and composition.
Render of the Taiwan Urban Park. By AHBE Landscape Architects

A overhead site plan render of the Taiwan Urban Park. By AHBE Landscape Architects

This complex conjunction of items leads to the situation where the visual artist, when receiving input, cannot deal with critiques such as “it seems a little bit off”, or “something doesn’t read right”. Critique meant for feedback needs to be objective at all times, clear about which goal-element needs to be addressed, whether it be the design component, the representation component, or both (and how, if possible).

It is important to recognize that software and workflow plays an important role in the artistic execution of the process. As any other digital art, the quality of the product will be directly proportional to the skill level and proficiency of the artist using the software.

In Part 2 we’ll explore the different types of 3D-rendering visualizations and the different purposes they serve in landscape architecture…

 

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  1. The Field of Virtual Representation: Visualization Modes – Part 2 | AHBE LAB
  2. The Field of Virtual Representation: Mainstream Rendering Styles – Part 3 | AHBE LAB

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