More than impressed
"I'm more than impressed with the speed of Allura. It's helped me visualize more clearly than SketchUp alone, even without material rendering” – Jim, CA, USA
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IRender nXt, from Render Plus Software, is an easy to use, powerful extension for creating high-quality renderings from SketchUp. It's the ideal rendering extension for architects, interior designers and anyone else who demands high quality renderings of their SketchUp models. See: IRender nXt
Dorian Walker is an architectural designer and runs his business, CAD2Plan, from the town of Kidderminster (where Robert Plant from Led Zeppelin grew up) in Worcestershire, England. He has a BSc Honours degree in historic building conservation and an HND in Building Studies.
Here’s Robert, a better singer than Dorian, but Dorian is the better architectural designer.
Working in the commercial sector, he is proud of his ability to quickly produce as many drawings and 3D images as needed from a model to help his clients visualise whatever options they’re interested in before deciding on the final design.
Hello Dorian, we exchanged emails a couple of times during the period when you were trying our Allura Plus SketchUp renderer and I sensed a real passion for 3D design.
Very much. Since I started in CAD, it has been a personal mission to create quality drawings as efficiently as possible. After a couple of years learning the basics of 2D CAD, it made sense to me that 3D modelling was going to be the way forward and as things developed I also found myself being drawn into 3D visualisation.
Once I realized that I haven’t looked back and have developed my own unique system and style combining quality with efficiency. A bit like me really, I don’t conform to the traditional stereotypical architectural type and that suits me, I like it when people look at me and are surprised at what I do for a living.
And you’re designing in SketchUp?
Yes, I generate my architectural models in SketchUp, from which I also produce all the associated planning and construction documentation, which is why it’s important that the rendering software I use is intuitive and can be used from within Sketchup. Allura Plus checks those boxes.
I hear you’ve finished a large project recently. Congratulations!
Thanks. I have just completed a large project for a new UK head office for a software developer in the automotive industry. I am particularly proud of this project as the whole design is mine from concept to final scheme. Here are several renderings from the project that I generated using your Allura Plus SketchUp extension.
They look great, and we’re obviously excited that the speed and flexibility of Allura Plus helped you impress your client. As Allura is a GPU based renderer, when you started using it did you use your existing hardware?
I realized that to get the best results from Allura I would need to upgrade my hardware with a new GPU and more memory. The investment was easy to justify based on the output from Allura. It fits in so well with the work I do and the tight timeframe in which I have to turn most of my jobs around.
Did you consider any other GPU based renderers?
I like to make business decisions based on fact and personal experience, so I decided to compare Allura with Podium's 3D Walker. I quickly realized Allura was superior in several ways. The decision to go with Allura wasn’t even close.
So you’re obviously pretty happy with Allura Plus.
I've been drawing and rendering in 3D for over 15 years now, and I've never had it so good. My clients are very happy with the renders Allura produces and they're even happier with how quickly I’m able to turn around their requests for changes.
Do you have any other projects in the works?
I’m getting all sorts of enquiries at the moment. It seems people like my work! My next substantial project will be ongoing, producing design layouts and 3D visualisations for prefabricated retail units, such as the ones housing Costa Coffee and similar which are popping up all around the UK, so I’m extremely happy with that.
Oh, and I have to tell you about another project! Last year I imported a 1949 Chevrolet 3100 truck from Texas and am in the process of getting it roadworthy. I’m drawing everything up in SketchUp to scale as I’m working on it, then I shall make it available freely to fellow owners worldwide to help preserve the truck that to me is the most beautiful, elegantly formed, yet completely practical piece of engineering to ever be made. I’m also rebuilding an early small block Chevy engine. Had to slip that in there!
Thanks for taking the time to talk to us, Dorian. We wish you continued success and look forward to you sharing more of the renderings you generate using Allura Plus!
Would you like us to profile a project of yours and you/your company? Email email@example.com and we’ll contact you.
Ambitious Landscape and Building Integrated Design Project Using IRender nXt for SketchUp
For this case study we talked with Graham Slocombe, a landscape and garden designer based in the UK. He has over 38 years of related professional experience, and his education includes a BSc (Hons) in landscape design and a Master of Horticulture degree from the Royal Horticultural Society. From 1999 to 2002, Graham visited and studied at an academic level 237 celebrated gardens of various styles in Italy, France, Portugal and the United Kingdom. Graham has also authored and contributed to several landscape themed books.
He established his “A Room Outside” practice in 1987 and renamed it LandARCHConcepts in 2016. LandARCHConcepts specializes in cultured landscape design and management, specifically English, Mediterranean and Continental landscapes.
So Graham, noting those 237 gardens you visited, which was your favourite?
Picking one is difficult because there are so many different styles, and I like more than one style, but to pin one of them I would have to say the beautiful ‘Moorish’ Palácio Fronteira, or in English the Frontera Palace, in Lisbon. The exuberance and inherent metaphor of the Moorish gardens and architecture encapsulates a dimension missing in many of the other architectural and landscape styles. This style has influenced my work a great deal, especially in the Mediterranean.
With your many years of experience in landscape design and management, when did you start using SketchUp, and subsequently rendering software, to bring your designs to life?
I had worked with AutoCAD 3D and 3D Studio back in university, but it was so cumbersome to use and the output so dire that I did not entertain the idea of 3D modelling and rendering until 2012.
It’s a funny story actually. My fellow undergraduate students and I cracked a couple bottles of wine in the design studio with the professor when it was all over and our projects submitted – it was best described as purgatory on 386 computers, sort of ‘thank goodness that’s done with!’ My 3D project submission for that module was a black humorous, satirical version of a Japanese garden with a lot of intrinsic metaphor, culminating in a secret garden space where the traumatized AutoCAD 3D designer could commit hara-kiri or ritual suicide! All my fellow straight-laced students were sure I would be thrown off the course for my written philosophical insolence. I got a first-class award! My professor loved it and used it as propaganda to weasel new 486 computers from a tight-fisted budget department!
Anyway in 2012 I assumed things might have moved on enough to wet my appetite. I had wanted a refresher course in 3D AutoCAD and I was recommended to try Google Sketchup from an AutoCAD trainer, when I mentioned AutoCAD 3D he coughed and pointed at Sketchup!
How long have you been using IRender nXt, and why did you choose to use this particular rendering software?
In 2012 in the same year I dove into Sketchup, so I have used IRender nXt religiously for 6 years. I chose IRender initially on price, yes I know it’s shallow, but I wanted to test the rendering water before I invested big because I was still coloured negatively by the limitations of 3D Studio from university days. One month working with IRender and I knew there was no need to look further a field as it had everything I needed.
What is it that has kept you loyal to IRender nXt over the years?
Without question the quality of output in relation to the friendly user interface, which allows you to become productive in minutes rather than months – that’s so important!
Equally though, the amazing and unique ‘lighting channel’ feature. All my promotional and presentation work has unintentionally evolved around the lighting channels feature. It allows me to take my clients into the design and to let them experience a dynamic lighting ambience that the other rendering engines simply can’t do. I get multiple render images of different lighting ambiences inherently with one render job, as my videos illustrate. Really this is a priceless feature, its magnificent!
To this however, I must add the rapid and excellent customer service, that is second to none. This too is so fundamental, design is a pressured profession and you can’t wait 5 days for a response to a query or problem. The turnaround to a query with the Render Plus team rarely exceeds an hour!
When you have contacted us for assistance at Render Plus Software over the years, we’ve always been impressed with the complexity of your designs and thus the demands you have placed on IRender nXt to perform. When we caught wind of your most recent project, the modern synagogue and garden design, we decided we’d like to learn more about what you’ve done, and show some renderings from the project.
The synagogue, plaza landscape and associated garden is my most ambitious promotional work using IRender (rendering) and WonderShare (video) to date. The contemporary synagogue is a design for a synagogue and public plaza in the south of France. The Jewish world garden is associated to the synagogue on the other side of the road.
I created a strong sense of place by basing the architectural lines of the synagogue on the hidden gematria code beneath Barachit 1 (Genesis 1), which reveals a blueprint for a star tetrahedron and the formation of the Star, or Shield, of David. The garden metaphorically charts the origin of the Jewish people and their subsequent journey from Eden to the restoration, thus injecting meaning to augment function and physical attributes in the 'sense of place.' The garden also contains a purpose designed sculpture I called the 'Torah Illumination Scroll.'
I took the advice of a photographer friend who pushed me for more and more realism in the form of background land and cityscape, diverse skies and realistic people.
You can see further renderings from this project here.
And to pull this all together, you produced a couple of videos!
I created one video of the synagogue renderings and the other of the garden renderings. I am very pleased with these after putting in a massive amount of work, and they certainly represent a milestone in my IRender and video production.
What about the interior of the synagogue?
I have modelled the interior of the synagogue too, but the renderings will take a while so I initially published the 2 videos. I also have in mind to release a conceptually different video. The aim would be to show how I took and synergised the hidden (mathematical) gematria of the Torah to create the futuristic synagogue form.
Thank you, Graham! Fantastic work, and the culmination of months of rendering using IRender nXt. We appreciate how enthusiastic and passionate you are about our software!
- For more information on LandARCHConcepts visit https://landarchconcepts.wordpress.com/ or email firstname.lastname@example.org
- For more information on Render Plus Software visit renderplus.com
Would you like us to profile one of your projects? Whether you’re a rendering novice or a master, it’s always interesting to see what you’re rendering with any of our renderers (IRender nXt, ArielVision, Allura, nXtRender, AccuRender)! Email email@example.com and we’ll contact you.