Creating renderings for client presentations are lots of fun, but can be a real nightmare when the design is still under development. Making decisions about forms, materials, and details can have a negative impact on the further development of an idea. Once the client sees the “pretty picture”, they form a strong and often unchangeable opinion of what will be built in the field. I’ve been a strong beliver in a balance between realism and that loose, watercolored, soft-focus look. The goal should be to let the client focus on the design concept and not get caught up in the details. After all, with tight deadlines and budgets, who has the time? Thus the need for non-photo real renderings, or NPR.

There’s a large array of NPR tools available. Most of us have heard of and use Piranesi, SketchUP and AutoCAD 2007’s new feature – visual styles, but have you seen the latest rendering tools such as: finalToon™(an add on for 3Ds MAX), Maxon4D (a standalone renderer with a plugin for toon shading), and with the aquisition of Alias, Autodesk now offers an interesting product in Sketchbook Pro. Sketchbook Pro allows the creation of 2D sketch-based illustration in a digital environment, and supports digitizing tablets & the TabletPC. In the content department, one extensive library I’ve explored are the offerings from Entourage Arts

There are also some interesting technologies coming down the pike for creating non-photo 2D architectural rendering. Imagine creating hand rendered look, directly from a model or 2D CAD data. At the 2006 AIA convention, Google, after recently acquiring AtLast and their SketchUP! modeler, showed a demonstration of a layout and presentation tool named Grizzly. And at Autodesk University 2005, attendees were shown a sneak peak of preview technology code-named Vespa. Both of these do not yet have a public release date, but those who wish to can sign up to test Vespa, and participate in it’s development.

Back in the day, I remember playing Quake at lunch with some co-workers. I always wanted to explore the idea of using it as a real-time simulator, sans gun of course. The following article goes way beyond what I was thinking some 8 years ago…
Expressive 3D Components for Building Simulation and BIM – by Fred Abler of

So, go out and win those projects…

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