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Photorealistic vs. Non-Photorealistic Renderings

This is from an article posted from the Philippine Association of Architectural Illustrators regarding different styles of architectural rendering…

Photorealistic vs. Non-Photorealistic Architectural Renderings

Runddy D. Ramilo, MSc, BSc (Arch) PhD (Architecture) candidate, Australia

 

Abstract

Design is a creative activity that is complex and influenced by numerous factors. The new trend in design presentations explore and takes place in a Virtual Environments wherein computer-simulated environment is used to communicate and perceive design. Most researches on Virtual Environments (VE) have been focused on Photorealistic (PR) simulation environments but there has been inadequate research on the use of VE in Non-Photorealistic (NPR) presentations to explore the most efficient method of interior design presentation.

This article discusses the use of VE to support the necessary means of interior design presentations i.e. Photorealistic or Non-photorealistic architectural rendering. Perception of spatial volumes within VE is assessed through comparison of representations using Photorealistic and Non-photorealistic means of presentations. A research was conducted to investigate the relative effectiveness of both Photorealistic and Non-photorealistic architectural rendering in immersive and non-immersive VE by interpretation and communication through design. It was found out that Non-photorealistic architectural renderings are still the most preferred method of renderings by designers and clients.

Virtual reality is a technology which allows a user to interact with a computer-simulated environment. Most current virtual  environments are primarily made for visual experiences that displayed either on a computer screen or stereoscopic displays with simulations which include additional sensory information, such as sound through speakers or headphones. Immersive Virtual Environments (IVEs) perceptually surrounds the user, increasing the user’s sense of presence being within it. Virtual environments have been increasingly used for a variety of contexts such as learning, business, engineering, architecture and design. As the modern world develops and utilizes design technology for architecture and interior design, the subsequent demand for digital presentations had popularly emerged. Current visualization research have focused on achieving Photorealism (PR) in which essentially concerned with architectural  rendering images as ‘realistically’ as possible through the integration of physics and algorithms (Halper et al, 2003). In virtual environments walkthroughs and picture-perfect simulations of objects have defined a practice where Photorealism  is considered as perhaps the most important measure of a successful representation (Roussou and Drettakis, 2003). Since its emergence, the field of computer graphics has concentrated on making 3d images that are indistinguishable from reality.

On the other hand, while most designers and researchers in design and computer graphics have focused on creating Photorealistic presentations some have concentrated on Non-photorealistic presentations. Some have evaded the use of technology and most are inspired by human drawing techniques that are water color, pen and ink, crayons, markers and pencils. With the traditional techniques and human skills a lot in interior design practice are still using these means of presentations as it relates to creative and artistic creations of designs. According to Mausch and Magdeburg (2002), Non-photorealistic architectural renderings (NPR) are beneficial in many ways as they can support story telling, expressive, giving the image a certain artistic look and feel. Masuch and Rober (2001) also encourage the use of NPR as a good alternative as it is more artistic and convey a creative sense of design. A number of research article (Harper et al, 2003), (Kang, 2000) and Klein et al, 2000) states that Non-photorealistic .renditions appear more natural and are perceived far more easily than complicated technical drawings.

Design Presentations in Practice

In the beginning of the emergence of digital presentations in interior design, many have been enthusiasts and have taken advantages on the use of technology for precise creation of design and presentations. Several designers have focused in 3d modelling and construction detailing and others started creating designs in 3d worlds. Several big architectural and interior design firms like KPF, Aedas, HOK and many others appears to intentionally trash out the traditional non-photorealistic means of presentations and have shifted to 3d modelling resulting to produce a Photorealistic rendition that range from still life to walkthrough animations. Ramilo (2007) points out that Photorealistic architectural renderings has been a good tool for visual communication wherein architects and designers can portray their imaginations into virtual reality. This provides the opportunity to extract the best from variety of different designs for built environment and realizing emotions of interior spaces.

However, as the field of digital media is becoming mature and virtual itself starts to develop a ‘picturesque language’ and even more realistic, there is a realization that in many cases what may interest is not so much about Photorealistic presentations but an image that communicates and easily perceive its underlying meaning. World’s leading interior design companies like Hirsch Bedner and Associates, Wilson and Associates, and Gensler are still using the traditional Non-photorealistic architectural rendering presentations and believed that it is about design as creating creative spaces and convincing environments, regardless if the imagery realistically emulates the physical properties of the world or not. Furthermore, as Photorealistic rendition is technically tedious and costly in which consumed a lot more time and efforts than Non-photorealistic rendering. In many small and medium size design companies, Non-photorealistic  presentations appears to be more efficient as it can be done with several styles and options that is water colors, markers and others; in a lesser efforts that can be done by most of the designers.

Nowadays, finding the most quoted efficient interior design presentations has been a difficult task. What may appear graphically good and meaningful to other clients might be worst to other people with different background. In this study, it is argued that design is not just about form and images but about different layers of meanings. Interior spaces can be associated with different functional activities and values which may form a rich environment and cannot be understood by just watching ‘photorealistic’ representation instead ‘imbuing’ the place. For a better understanding and experience in a virtual design environment the most engaging environment is required, which may not necessarily be the most graphically realistic environment.

Visualization Issues

Despite of comparable technical research (Strothotte & Schlechtweg 2002) within non-photorealistic architectural rendering (NPR), research doesn’t exist in evaluating psychological knowledge regarding its effect on human cognition and perception in interior design presentations. While the Photorealistic image is defined by the singular principle of appearing as realistic or ‘life-like’ as technologically possible, the Non- Normal 0 photorealistic image is virtually infinite and artistic and appears to have variety of styles (Harper, 2003).  The visual flexibility of Non-photorealistic holds inherent, though still undefined, potential to influence viewer responses in a variety of manners.

Conclusions

Non-photorealistic architectural renderings (NPR) have long proven useful in the fields of architecture and urban planning: presentation techniques initiated by the Berkeley Environmental Simulation Laboratory (Appleyard & Craik 1978) have been designed to improve user needs when viewing planning alternatives. Additionally, communication between experts and laymen has also developed due to improvements in CAD, visualization, and simulation (Linneweber 1993). In terms of laymen—citizens, investors, and future users, participatory designs must facilitate interactions as well as basic design understanding.

Schumann et al. (1996) demonstrated that Non-photorealistic architectural renderings (NPR sketch-rendered design qualitatively improves the dialogue between architects and clients, in contrast with dialogues elicited from Photorealistic renderings (PR) images. Psychologically, sketch-rendered designs maintain different affordances (Gibson 1977; Munz 1989), wherein sketched images appear preliminary, unfinished, and therefore open to change. Thus, the client is more likely to consider and suggest changes to the design. NPR can also be employed to guide behavior. Halper et al. (2003) demonstrates that increased levels of detail can effectively influence both navigation and exploration behaviors, wherein subjects asked to choose a path to explore or reach a goal in the distance tend to select the path with the higher levels of detail PR images. Potentially, subjects view in an increased level of detail PR is more interesting for exploration, relative to lower level of detail NPR.

Core Zero Creative specializes in NPR or Non-Photorealistic architectural rendering. We create architectural renderings for residential and commercial projects, helping our clients market their developments for many different applications, such as: sale, client review, city reviews, community introduction, etc. We pride ourselves on creating beautiful “digital watercolor” architectural rendering.

 

Photorealistic vs. Non-Photorealistic Renderings

in Virtual Environments

Runddy D. Ramilo, MSc, BSc (Arch) PhD (Architecture) candidate, Australia


Abstract

Design is a creative

activity that is complex and influenced by numerous factors. The new

trend in design presentations explore and takes place in a Virtual

Environments wherein computer-simulated environment is used to

communicate and perceive design. Most researches on Virtual

Environments (VE) have been focused on Photorealistic (PR) simulation

environments but there has been inadequate research on the use of VE in

Non-Photorealistic (NPR) presentations to explore the most efficient

method of interior design presentation.

This

article discusses the use of VE to support the necessary means of

interior design presentations i.e. Photorealistic or Non-photorealistic

Renderings. Perception of spatial volumes within VE is assessed through

comparison of representations using Photorealistic and

Non-photorealistic means of presentations. A research was conducted to investigate the relative effectiveness of both Photorealistic and Non-photorealistic in immersive

and non-immersive VE by interpretation and communication through

design. It was found out that Non-photorealistic renderings are still

the most preferred method of renderings by designers and clients.

 

 


Keywords: Virtual Environments, Design, Photorealistic, Non-photorealistic Renderings

Virtual reality is a technology which allows a user to interact with a computer-simulated environment. Most current virtual  environments are primarily made for visual experiences that displayed either on a computer screen or stereoscopic displays with simulations which include additional sensory information, such as sound through speakers or headphones.

Immersive Virtual Environments (IVEs) perceptually surrounds the user,

increasing the user’s sense of presence being within it. Virtual

environments have been increasingly used for a variety of contexts such

as learning, business, engineering, architecture and design.

As

the modern world develops and utilizes design technology for

architecture and interior design, the subsequent demand for digital

presentations had popularly emerged. Current visualization research

have focused on achieving Photorealism (PR) in which essentially

concerned with rendering images as ‘realistically’ as possible through

the integration of physics and algorithms (Halper et al, 2003). In

virtual environments walkthroughs and picture-perfect simulations of

objects have defined a practice where Photorealism  is considered as

perhaps the most important measure of a successful representation

(Roussou and Drettakis, 2003). Since its emergence, the field of computer graphics has concentrated on making 3d images that are indistinguishable from reality. Figure 1 and 2 are examples

of Photorealistic interior design presentation from Wilson and

Associates, world’s leading interior design firm.


hi runddy images to follow


On the other hand, while most designers and

researchers in design and computer graphics have focused on creating

Photorealistic presentations some have concentrated on

Non-photorealistic presentations. Some have evaded the use of

technology and most are inspired by human drawing techniques that are

water color, pen and ink, crayons, markers and pencils. With the

traditional techniques and human skills a lot in interior design

practice are still using these means of presentations as it relates to

creative and artistic creations of designs. According to Mausch and

Magdeburg (2002), Non-photorealistic renderings (NPR) are beneficial in

many ways as they can support story telling, expressive, giving the

image a certain artistic look and feel. Masuch and Rober (2001) also

encourage the use of NPR as a good alternative as it is more artistic

and convey a creative sense of design. A number of research article

(Harper et al, 2003), (Kang, 2000) and Klein et al, 2000) states that

Non-photorealistic .renditions appear more natural and are perceived

far more easily than complicated technical drawings. Figure 3 and 4 are

examples of Non-photorealistic in water color and figure 3 and 4

interior design presentation from Wilson and Associates and Designphase

Hospitality respectively.


Design Presentations in Practice

 

In the beginning of the emergence of digital presentations in interior

design, many have been enthusiasts and have taken advantages on the use

of technology for precise creation of design and presentations. Several

designers have focused in 3d modelling and construction detailing and

others started creating designs in 3d worlds.

Several big architectural

and interior design firms like KPF, Aedas, HOK and many others appears

to intentionally trash out the traditional non-photorealistic means of

presentations and have shifted to 3d modelling resulting to produce a

Photorealistic rendition that range from still life to walkthrough

animations. Ramilo (2007) points out that Photorealistic renderings has

been a good tool for visual communication wherein architects and

designers can portray their imaginations into virtual reality. This

provides the opportunity to extract the best from variety of different

designs for built environment and realizing emotions of interior spaces.

However,

as the field of digital media is becoming mature and virtual itself

starts to develop a ‘picturesque language’ and even more realistic,

there is a realization that in many cases what may interest is not so

much about Photorealistic presentations but an image that communicates

and easily perceive its underlying meaning. World’s leading interior

design companies like Hirsch Bedner and Associates, Wilson and

Associates, and Gensler are still using the traditional

Non-photorealistic presentations and believed that it is about design

as creating creative spaces and convincing environments, regardless if

the imagery realistically emulates the physical properties of the world

or not. Furthermore, as Photorealistic rendition is technically tedious

and costly in which consumed a lot more time and efforts than

Non-photorealistic. In many small and medium size design companies,

Non-photorealistic  presentations appears to be more efficient as it

can be done with several styles and options that is water colors,

markers and others; in a lesser efforts that can be done by most of the

designers. The table 1 below is a simple graphical representation that

shows considerable types of design presentations that is currently used

in interior design practice.



Table 1. Graphical representation of design presentations by the Author

Nowadays,

finding the most quoted efficient interior design presentations has

been a difficult task. What may appear graphically good and meaningful

to other clients might be worst to other people with different

background. In this study, it is argued that design is not just about

form and images but about different layers of meanings. Interior spaces

can be associated with different functional activities and values which

may form a rich environment and cannot be understood by just watching

‘photorealistic’ representation instead ‘imbuing’ the place. For a

better understanding and experience in a virtual design environment the

most engaging environment is required, which may not necessarily be the

most graphically realistic environment.

Visualization Issues

Despite

of comparable technical research (Strothotte & Schlechtweg 2002)

within non-photorealistic rendering (NPR), research doesn’t exist in

evaluating psychological knowledge regarding its effect on human

cognition and perception in interior design presentations. While the

Photorealistic image is defined by the singular principle of appearing

as realistic or ‘life-like’ as technologically possible, the Non- Normal 0 photorealistic

image is virtually infinite and artistic and appears to have variety of

styles (Harper, 2003).  The visual flexibility of Non-photorealistic

holds inherent, though still undefined, potential to influence viewer

responses in a variety of manners.

 

Conclusions

Non-photorealistic

renderings (NPR) have long proven useful in the fields of architecture

and urban planning: presentation techniques initiated by the Berkeley

Environmental Simulation Laboratory (Appleyard & Craik 1978) have

been designed to improve user needs when viewing planning alternatives.

Additionally, communication between experts and laymen has also

developed due to improvements in CAD, visualization, and simulation

(Linneweber 1993). In terms of laymen—citizens, investors, and future

users, participatory designs must facilitate interactions as well as

basic design understanding.

Schumann et al. (1996)

demonstrated that Non-photorealistic renderings (NPR sketch-rendered

design qualitatively improves the dialogue between architects and

clients, in contrast with dialogues elicited from Photorealistic

renderings (PR) images. Psychologically, sketch-rendered designs

maintain different affordances (Gibson 1977; Munz 1989), wherein

sketched images appear preliminary, unfinished, and therefore open to

change. Thus, the client is more likely to consider and suggest changes

to the design. NPR can also be employed to guide behavior. Halper et al. (2003)

demonstrates that increased levels of detail can effectively influence

both navigation and exploration behaviors, wherein subjects asked to

choose a path to explore or reach a goal in the distance tend to select

the path with the higher levels of detail PR images. Potentially,

subjects view in an increased level of detail PR is more interesting

for exploration, relative to lower level of detail NPR

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