We’ve decided to do an experiment and try to create a realistic night rendering using only image references from the internet (an exterior image and a floor plan image). We use an image of a condo building from the famous Canadian developer Mondev. The reference images are from their Le Botanik II – Hochelaga-Maisonneuve, which has pretty good architecture and nice clean rendering:

The Production Stage

Software used in the project

  • ArchiCAD
  • 3D MAX
  • Vray Render
  • Photoshop

The process itself involves:

  • Loading floor plan and exterior render into the ArchiCAD
  • Creating camera based on render perspective
  • Modeling building and exporting it as 3DS file
  • Importing 3DS file in 3ds Max software
  • We used Vray on this project and Vray camera with matched position with the one form ArchiCAD model
  • Scene setup in 3ds MAX – lights and atmosphere, adding additional 3d models  (3D people, 3D tree model, 3D models for balcony, 3D models for interior), rendering.
  • Post production was made in Photoshop using Nik collection plugin Color efex pro 4
  1. ArchiCAD setup:
  • Inserting image plan and creating building walls and contours:
  • Matching camera angle and modeling building details – windows, balcony, railings etc.
  • End result with ready 3D model

2. 3D MAX setup

  • Importing 3DS file in 3ds MAX software.
  • 3ds MAX Scene setup- Scene is pretty standard: Vray sun for main lighting, Vray dome with HDRI for overall light but with low multiplier as lighting was sufficient with first tests, one hemisphere with HDRI mapped for background and reflections.  
  • Adding 3D models in the scene- 3D cars, 3D People, 3D models for interiors, 3D scrubs at floor level and on balconies.
  • Adding interior lights inside building (Vray spheres with 3 different colors for more diversity of light) some directional lights with size of the windows. Position is behind curtains to generated more light coming from inside, especially in the area of balcony.
  • Main render settings- Color mapping is Reinhard with Burn value at 0.6, Irradiance map with Light cache. Detailed settings in the screenshots bellow:

3. Photoshop work

  • Nothing fancy here. I use Color Efex Pro – Filters for Creative Effects – Nik Collection – very fast filters with lots of adjustments.
  • In this scene I use Pro Contrast and Sun Light with 25% opacity of this filter.
  • I changed the background because the one from 3D MAX wasn’t dramatic enough.
  • Add some light flares for the street lights and the front car lights.
  • Add a tree for the front view
  • Add some motion blur to the front car
  • Added some Lance flare effects in Photoshop for the whole image.
  • Some Lance effects in Photoshop on top of the image and the image is ready.

I show below the final image, the raw render and the original image from Mondev to see the difference. Hope you like our little experiment and the creation of the scene. Stay tuned for more posts soon.