Journey of an Architect is a blog started by Tim Ung to document his journey to design 30 projects by the age of 30 (May 2020). His posts focus on his design process, thoughts, struggles, and successes throughout his journey.

One Seneca Tower Rendering - Trials and Errors

One Seneca Tower Rendering - Trials and Errors

Picking up from last week’s progress on 3x30 One Seneca Tower, I combined both my team’s model of the high rise building and the parking ramp structure with the 38 story skyscraper model. Before combining them, my assumption was that the Revit file would be too large and would slow down our navigation within the final model. However, I took a chance and combined the models into one master file, which didn’t impact the speed of navigation in the model.

With the final Revit model complete, I imported my team’s cameras to the model and moved onto adding entourage and materials for every view. As I went through each one, I ran multiple test renderings in Autodesk Cloud which is an amazing service for Revit, and updated settings and materials until I was satisfied with the final result.

Here’s what my process looks like with

1. Placing Cameras in Revit

After finishing the Revit model, my first step was to set a camera in the model, extend the frame of the perspective, and make adjustments using the view wheel in Revit. The view wheel is a very important part of adjusting my perspectives in Revit because it allows me to adjust the view without shifting the camera around. Once you get used to using the “pan”, “walk”, and “look” tools, you’ll be able to navigate within the perspective as if you were walking in the space.

2. Test Render 1 – Sun Settings

Once I finalized the perspective, I began setting materials on the major elements in the space; floors, walls, millwork, glazing, ceiling, etc. as well as the time of day for the render. My initial thought was to have the render be an evening view where the interior lights would be a soft warm glow with warm sunlight filling the space. So I set the render to June 21st, which is the summer solstice, and the time of day to 8:30pm. Usually, this setting would capture the sunset and the interior lights would have a stronger presence in the render.

However, in the test render below, we can see that the time of day was incorrect and it ended up becoming a night time rendering where the interior lights were flooding the space. Another error that needed to be corrected was the recessed downlights, which weren’t rendering correctly because there was a duplicate ceiling in the model.

3. Test Render 2 - Finalizing Materials

After correcting the errors mentioned above, my next step was to finalize the materials of the elements in the space. In this case, the only major change was the countertop material, which was updated to white granite.

4. Test Render 3 – Adding Entourage

During my review of test render 2, I noticed that I forgot to delete the duplicate ceiling the space. Again, the recessed downlights were hidden behind the ceiling and weren’t illuminating the space. So I immediately deleted the overlapping ceiling and saved the Revit model. Then, I decided to search for entourage models to place in Revit to be rendered with the view. This is something that I’ve never done on any of my previous renderings before, but I decided to try it on these series of renderings because I didn’t want to spend so much time in Photoshop on bowls and silverware.

This test led to an interesting discovery, which is that you can find so many entourage Revit families online. I found an entire dinnerware set, a fruit bowl, glass cups, and other items that only needed materials to be applied. I’ll definitely be doing this more often in future renderings.

5. Test Render 4 – Final Material Tweaks and Design Option

With all of the new entourage in place, I decided to remove the purple planters on the kitchen island and dinner table because I couldn’t change the Revit family’s material. In my opinion, the render would be a lot better without those planters. I also gave the fruits in the fruit bowl their correct colors and decided to lift the pendant lights 6 inches so that they weren’t so close to the countertop and table. Then, I decided to change the color of the fabric throughout the space to a neutral brown.

6. Test Render 5 – Going back to Grey Fabric

So the brown didn’t work well with the color composition of the space… I changed it back to grey.

7. Final Render – Post Processing in Photoshop

Once the process of applying materials and making minor changes in the Revit model was complete, I rendered the final view at maximum resolution. When the rendering was complete, I opened it in Photoshop and adjusted the lighting levels, added a background of Buffalo, NY, added a painting on the wall above the couch, and added a person at the dinner table. My initial vision was to add multiple people to the render to make it seem as if there was a gathering of family and friends. However, that idea would’ve taken the viewer’s attention away from the design and layout of the space.

8. Final Render – Detail Adjustment in Topaz Labs Adjust

Finally, I brought the rendering into a plugin for Photoshop by Topaz Labs called Adjust and applied a simple detail filter to the view. This plugin is very simple to use and my best description of the software is that it’s like using Instagram filters for a photograph. The difference is that Topaz Labs Adjust allows you to manipulate all of the different settings that create each of the filters. I’ve been an affiliate and user this plugin for a year now and I highly recommend using it to enhance any photographs or renderings!

So the simple detail filter that I applied to the view added contrast between the different colors in the rendering and also sharpened the edges of the marbling of the countertop and the edges of the wood planks in the floor.

Next Steps

My process of creating a final rendering of one view takes some time because of the constant revising and minor changes. Generally, creating a view like this kitchen and living room view will take between 1-2 hours from the base Revit model, to applying materials, and post processing in Photoshop. For this upcoming week, I’ll be focusing on finalizing all of the other views and drawings!

As always, thank you for reading!

P.S: Here’s a final render of the penthouse bathroom!


Final proposal for 3x30 One Seneca Tower

Final proposal for 3x30 One Seneca Tower

Setting Cameras in Revit for One Seneca Tower

Setting Cameras in Revit for One Seneca Tower