Welcome to CG Record, When it comes to architectural visualization Neoscape ( www.neoscape.com ) is on top of the list. Neoscape Inc, is ...
Welcome to CG Record,
When it comes to architectural visualization Neoscape (www.neoscape.com) is on top of the list.
Neoscape Inc, is a creative agency for the built environment.
They are artists, filmmakers, designers and consultants who love the expression of architecture and environmental design.They have just celebrated their 15th anniversary and CG Record team had a chance to talk about their Studio,works and their plan for the future.
Tell us how did you start Neoscape?
Rob, Rod, and I went to college together at the University of Colorado. During and right after college, we worked for Parsons Brinckerhoff (engineering firm) creating presentations and other viz work. After a few years, we decided that there was enough demand for us to start our own business, and we moved back east to start Neoscape in 1995.
– Nils Norgren, Founding Partner and Principal
Neoscape, home of 2 Autodesk masters! From working in architectural visualization industry to an Autodesk master, what do you provide to your talented staff to ease their way of success?
One of the key criteria for an Autodesk Master is to contribute to the continued advancement of the industry and CG community, and Neoscape has always embraced this pursuit. Since the studio’s inception, we’ve encouraged our artists to be involved in teaching, user groups, conferences, and the broader community. The way that I see it, the whole Studio is worthy of the title. We’re always learning from each other and pushing ahead with a collective momentum.
– Lon Grohs, Principal and Autodesk 3ds Max Master
"If you wake up in the middle of the night and you still think about your job, you are right to work with us" is a quote from Neoscape, can you explain the thought behind it? how is the team work at Neoscape?
There is a lot of truth about that quote but I think the reasoning behind it changes over time. Neoscape has been fortunate to have been one of the pioneering studios in the field of
architectural visualization. When you're in that position, you're often making the rules up as you go along. There's no proverbial guidebook. In order to function in that context, and succeed at it, you learn to never turn the switch off. You are always looking for the next big idea, to keep things fresh in an industry that can often be fickle. We've also learned that inspiration can come from
anywhere and we've always tried to stay in the frame of mind that allows for an idea to enter the picture, no matter when or where you are. For some of us that means even the middle of the night. But as with anything else in life, things change. Some of us that have been doing this for a while have evolved. We have families and responsibilities that demand a delicate balance. The trick is to be wise enough to be able to spot the next generation of pioneering kindred spirits out there to bring in to the fold and keep our studio fresh and energized.
– Rodrigo Lopez, Principal
Visit Neoscape studio and see a day in the Life of Neoscape:
What software do you currently use and why have you chosen those particular applications?
We typically use Autodesk 3ds Max, VRay, and Adobe applications. We are most familiar with these applications, we find them effective, and they are the applications with which most of our
talent pool is familiar.
Who have/has influenced your works the most?
Our inspirations and influences run the gamut. We're constantly looking at a wide array of work—from illustration, photography, film, architectural and interior design, graphics, interactive media,
you name it. It's simply amazing how much great media is at our fingertips via the web; it's almost overwhelming. Beyond that, we're always seeking out compelling museum exhibits, screenings, galleries, and books for our ever-expanding library.
You have lots of starchitects-famous designers- developers in your client lists, how do you convince your clients to go for artistic impression images rather than pure realistic? Do you include any extra
promotional services in your packages? do you have young architects or small companies in your client lists, can they afford your services?
As a studio we've never adopted a signature style or technique—we're always looking for something fresh and innovative. We believe that the story is the most important aspect of our work, and the critical part of storytelling is understanding the audience. To go with imagery that's artistic vs. photoreal is merely a byproduct of understanding how to best tell a particular story. We approach our clients with open minds, but also as experts in this realm. They are looking to us to steer them in the right direction.
We work with firms of all shapes and sizes, and that includes a list of the most influential designers and developers, but also burgeoning young architects and smaller firms as well. For example, we recently finished a short animation titled Weathers Permitting for a MoMa sponsored young architects design competition with William O’Brien. You can check it out on our website at
"Arrivals" - a concept film produced by Neoscape based on work the studio completed for a competition entry in 2009
You actively participate in seminars such as SIGGRAPH, first of all how important do you think it is to attend these seminars, then which ones do you recommend to professionals and which ones to students to attend?
Attendance at seminars like SIGGRAPH is important to attend as an educational tool, but almost more as a networking resource to meet like-minded people in the industry. Autodesk’s AU is also a useful conference where new ideas and content are presented. Smaller conferences, like the former Vizmasters seminars, seem to be better to meet people since their size was more conducive to personal interaction. Really, if you can afford it, it’s always good to attend any conference you
– Rodrigo and Nils
What projects are your favorite and why?
We have a lot of favorite projects, and they tend to be those in which we have a close collaboration with the client, a creative synergy, that allows us to explore new avenues to create even more effective visualizations.
Lon Grohs and Nils Norgren presented the workflow and approach Neoscape takes when creating their cinematic architectural films. Starting with your approach and storyboarding techniques right down to the types of camera moves that make a successful film, can you tell us a summary of those methods for our readers and for the ones who did not attend 2010 Siggraph?
There’s no real formula to our filmmaking process—the minute it becomes too formulaic, you lose creativity. That said, we base our process on typical filmmaking procedures: pre-production phase of intake discussions with the client to learn about the story they want to tell, storyboards and/or shot outlines to develop the film sequence; a production phase of 3D modeling, green screen shoots, compositing, lighting, and texturing; and a post-production phase of audio mixing, text overlays and treatments, and final color corrections.
Neoscape at Siggraph 2010. Images courtesy: Tay A. Othman
Each film, though, has to be made specifically with each client’s needs securely in mind. We look for unique ways to tell their stories, thinking beyond the visual to the other senses (as in sound and experiential design), all the while maintaining a sensitivity to the cinematic approach.
- Rodrigo, Lon, and Nils
Where do you see the future of the architectural visualization industry?
We’ve found that the architectural visualization industry has become less isolated and more integral to the design process. The way that clients review information has changed—we live in a visual society, and they expect to see a representation of their project as it will look throughout the design process. Architectural visualization now affects the direction of the design. And the new generation of architects has been trained in these skills, bringing them to design firms as a valuable skill and ultimately placing greater emphasis on the industry.
- Rodrigo, Lon, and Nils
What challenges are you facing at current situation?
We certainly face challenges as photorealistic rendering technology becomes more readily available, and more companies are doing better work than ever before. But we also know that technology is only as good as the minds manipulating it. For us, we have used architectural visualization as a creative jumping-off point. We have become, in effect, visual storytellers. The boundaries between media disciplines are blurring, and we must emain agile enough to constantly move between them. We can’t just be specialists in architectural visualization anymore—we have to use all the outlets available to us to tell the best stories possible.
- Rodrigo, Lon, and Nils
How do you find the talents who work for you? what does it take for young passionate people to work in Neoscape?
One of our challenges is finding talented artists who also have skills in related media disciplines—it’s really just as important to have traditional art skills (photography, painting, drawing, etc.) as it is to be a an amazing digital artist. We focus quite a bit on personality and attitude, looking for young, passionate artists who want to collaborate and explore the art.
- Rodrigo, Lon, and Nils
What type of project are you looking forward to working on? What projects are you working on now?
We work on so many different types of projects—renderings for luxury condos, marketing assets for existing office buildings, films to show off available retail space, interactive applications for the iPad, animations for ad agencies, to name a few… As for which projects we look forward to, that would have to be any project where we get to break new creative ground.
Best Film of the Boston Film Race 2010'I ♥ U' by Neoscape
Can you give our readers some tips to improve their architectural renderings?
Architectural renderings are just one part of the ever-evolving bigger picture. Film, photography, design, media, it's all woven together into one, and it requires a broad set of skills, flexibility, and passion to master. But never stop learning, never stop being a student, even if you think you're a master.
Neoscape's 15th Anniversary Pary
Thank you for your time Nils Norgren, Lon Grohs, and Rodrigo Lope. Congratulation for 15th Anniversary!
Thank you CG Record