Author Archives: 02 Phil Riazzi

Rendering Engines for Architectural Visualization – Individual Research

The field of research included rendering engines and how they apply to architectural representation. We also delved into why they are useful and under what circumstances you would want to use each program. There are many different choices when deciding what to use as your visual output on a project. You can strictly use pixel based programs like Photoshop or there is a wide variety of rendering engines which are much more dynamic and customizable. They are also used to create user define effects over a broad range of surfaces. We tested the waters in Revit, Rhino, 3ds Max, and Maya.

These four programs share a lot of similarities but vary in a couple ways. Revit is much more technical and a little less free form than programs like 3ds Max and Maya. Revit also relies heavily on its existing material base and isn’t as adapt to customization as other programs. Revit is also more realistic by nature, which can be good or bad. It’s easy to get a pretty solid rendering right off the bat but it is harder than other programs to customize after that. Revit does allow you to change the rotation, size, brightness, and intensity of textures. You can also manipulate transparency maps and reflection maps.

Being well versed in rendering engines is important for many reasons. Rendering doesn’t help in the design process but it’s essential to understand the feeling of a space. It’s also incredibly beneficial when it comes to selling your design. Renderings are easy to understand and can be very persuasive in addition to making for good publicity.

Experience in rendering engines also saves you time in the postproduction touch up stage in programs such as Photoshop. Also, rendering complicated shapes like curves in Rhino would be very difficult in Photoshop. At the very least, these rendering engines can be used for light and shadow to create a base image for manipulation in Photoshop. Specifically for Revit, the in house rendering engine is excellent for showing detail in a wall construction for example. Since Revit is a BIM program, it can get highly technical and it’s in house rendering engine is great at handling different materials and different construction assemblies.

For all the programs we set up an identical scene of a cube sitting in the foreground and a sphere in the background, both placed on a ground plane. In Revit these are created as masses inside of a building element. We then applied a wood material to the cube and a metallic finish to the sphere. To apply material, you must be in the edit mode for each massing object. The camera was then placed slightly above the geometry on an hypothetical floor plan. After that we manipulated variables such as field of view, type of light, etc. You can get very specific with the quality of daylight and the amount of sunlight based on the time of day and year. Most of the programs allow you to edit the output settings for quality, file type, etc.

Matt Lamm, Phil Riazzi, Keegan Riley, Chris Walker

Partition Final

Concept Proposal Lamm Riley Riazzi Walker

Matt Lambchops

Keegan Riley Coyote

Phil Riazzi

Chris Walker Texas Ranger

Cloud Concept – Lamm, Riley, Walker, Riazzi

Matt Lambchops, Keegan Riley, Chris Walker, Phil Riazzi


This is the Denver International Airport done by Fentress Bradburn Architects. The building consists of Teflon coated, fiberglass tensile-membrane stretched out over 17 masts held in place by two sets of primary cables, which run the length of the entire terminal. The result is a beautiful series of undulating dips and peaks serving a practical purpose while being visually interesting.

What I find interesting is the play between inside and out. The canopy structure is cantilevered outside of the curtain wall in many instances. These sometimes serve a purpose as covered walkways or drop-off areas. As you walk inside, you continue to interact with it directly and indirectly. The lower 10 or so feet of the building is air conditioned. All the hot air rises up and vents out the top. It also diffuses light nicely, giving the interior a warm wash of light. The Teflon-coated canopy has a UV refraction rate of 40% so it doesn’t heat up as quickly in the summer.