Praise for the CGI Artists

I thought I would mount my high horse and put a good word in for all the architectural CGI artists around the world.  They are a hard-working bunch and often overlooked when it comes to dishing out the praise!

Whilst it would be a disservice to this talented bunch to say I am a CGI artist, through my training and experience I know enough about the process of architectural visualisation to know what these incredible people can do.  I am constantly in awe.  It really is a wonderful thing to come into work to be shown some magical detail, new process or digital experiment that leaves you chuckling with wonder.  Too often their skills are undervalued and questioned and that is pretty sad, so here’s one for you CGI guy and gals.  There are some popular misconceptions about them too, so lets correct some of them.


They wear red dwarf t shirts and are computer nerds with poor interpersonal skills.

Well yes, some of them are, but some of them wear suits, some skirts some don’t care what they wear as their work speaks for itself.  Visualisation involves computers, high end ones that are complex and run even more complex software, these computers are linked to other computes making a render farm…its mind frazzlingly complicated.  They constantly have to adapt to new developments in technology, whether its updates to Vray or a new kid on the block, Corona.  They need to be IT experts as well as CGI artists.


They are artists with no concept of the technical elements of architectural design.

I was always jealous of the kids at school that were good at sport and able to achieve in the classroom too, it seemed unfair!  As I grew up and sporting prowess sadly mattered less and less I started to marvel at the people that managed to mix oil with water i.e be maths or engineering geniuses and also managed to be a creative artist at the same time.  Being a CGI artist is much the same, you need to know about the technical elements which are certainly on the left side of the brain.  But to be the best when it comes to visualisation you need to back up some serious technical skills with the eyes and creativity of the fine artist. They need to be technical and creative.


They trained in CAD, that is all they know.

CGI artists come from a variety of backgrounds, many are architects, many are product designers, photographers, or come from an Interior design background.  The CGI community benefits from this huge variety of backgrounds and training and while there are some great tailored courses out there these days many of the old guard cut their teeth in a far wider field.  In the production of a visual an animation or VR experience, visualisers may need to interpret information from architects, interior designers, lighting engineers, structural engineers, surveyors and landscape designers, the list goes on.  We regularly need to discuss the finer points of horticulture, the latest interior design trends and the most technical of IT set ups all in a single morning.  Often we need to think on our feet and fill in some gaps and if we don’t know our Pelmets from our Finials the interiors wont look their best.  They need to be a Jack (or Jill) of all trades and a master of them all too. 


It is all done with a few clicks of a button

Yes, it is all done on the computer isn’t it….isn’t it?  Well no some of it isn’t, a lot of it comes in the 3 minute pause away from the computer to consider how to light the scene or in the meeting to sketch out some ideas on composition, or on a photography trip to research materials or in the care, sensitivity and thought that goes into thinking about the messages behind the image.  Yes the computer does render the image and getting it to render is fairly straightforward but getting a realistic rendering that makes you want to be in the property intrigues you to find out more about the developer or architect is not straightforward.  The rendering packages are hugely complex and once the images are rendered there is highly complex post editing that is undertaken.  On top of this the whole field of visualisation is in a permanent state of revolution.

So in conclusion, take a moment, consider the complexity of what is involved in visualisation and then go shake your visualiser by the hand.  Technology has enabled wondrous things happen every day in our midst and we should all celebrate how visualisers have used this technology to help shape design communication, property sales and customer expectation.

Gregg StoneComment