This video was created during an experimental workshop in digital visualization at Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture Planning and Preservation.

A4782: Fast Forward

Instructor: Jason Ivaliotis, Adjunct Assistant Professor of Architecture

Student: Jamie Abrego

Software: Vray RT by Chaos Group
3D Studio Max by Autodesk

Course Abstract:

The evolution of digital visualization over the last decade has enabled designers to articulate powerful visions of space, manipulate components, isolate significant moments and generate provocative renderings of a given space at a given time. Often, the generative process of digital modeling remains exclusively in the hands of the creator with the potential of these virtual environments frozen in the presentation of a static image or a scripted animation. In this way, there has been an inherent disconnect between the intelligence embedded within the dynamic process of generating 3D virtual environments and the presentation of static CGI images which are meant to represent them. Fast Forward blurs the line between process and product where the virtual model acts as both a generative design tool as well as a dynamic interactive simulation that is able to exhibit changes in geometry, object lighting and material quality of the virtual environment in real time. In this manner the audience can become the designer and the designer the audience.

Through the use of the Vray rendering engine, students unfreeze still images and bring virtual environments to life. Software developer, Chaos Group, has provided license sponsorship for their revolutionary software, Vray RT for 3DS Max. Vray RT is the first real time rendering engine that incorporates object lighting and material qualities into the virtual modeling interface. This new ray tracing technology allows immediate interaction between the creator and the digital environment by following the user’s actions while working on the virtual model and progressively generating a photorealistic preview of the scene.

Fast Forward is structured around the production of one digital environment which is presented in three component sections: (1) an interactive virtual model whose geometry, material qualities and atmosphere can be manipulated and updated in real time using Vray RT to transition between moods and concepts, (2) three still image renderings which are manipulated by various post production techniques to serve as evocative sketches and propositions for developing the mood, lighting, and material quality of the interactive model and exceed the capabilities of the rendering software alone and (3) a video documentation of the generative process behind each project which explains how to navigate through and manipulate the virtual environment in real time. Through the capabilities of this new real time rendering technology, students gain a new perspective of digital visualization as something that is always in flux where the design process can be the presentation and vice versa.

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