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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
Alice Taylor is the Founder of Four quarters design Studio based in beautiful Cape Town, South Africa. In addition to the natural delights of the area, such as Table Mountain and a fantastic coastline, in 2014 Cape Town was designated the World Design Capital by the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design (a designation which changes every 2 years).
Note to self: Take a ride on the cable car when visiting Cape Town
Four quarters design Studio designs and builds custom exhibition stands for all major exhibition venues in South Africa, Europe and the Middle East. Alice, together with her business partner Tanielle, are hands on business owners. Alice, being the Creative Director, takes great pride in the design and creation of high quality, visually stimulating stands that exceed her clients’ expectations. Whether large complicated structures, or small compact stands, Alice and Tanielle, together with their efficient and energetic team, deliver a personalized hassle-free experience for their clients from conceptualization through to build.
How did you get involved in exhibition stand design and build?
The company was founded in 2011 as a small, intimate boutique agency focusing on turnkey service and exceptional service. It has grown into a medium sized innovative agency, that being owner managed has enabled it to retain its high level of service and uniqueness.
What has been the most challenging design Four quarters design Studio has worked on?
All designs are an exciting challenge because you have to fit a variety of marketing applications onto a relatively small space and ensure that there is a great workflow and that your stand design sticks out amongst all its competitors. The recent stand we did for Orange (French telecommunications company) was a memorable challenge. With Orange, they wanted to launch into Africa. Their corporate colours are black and orange, which is not a usual combination. There were also a number of business units to take into account and consider with different design elements and features of mini displays within one large stand display. It was a double story stand and apart from the different business units, there were 4 meeting rooms, 2 smaller technical rooms, a bar/hospitality areas as well as smaller lounge areas.
How long have you been designing with SketchUp?
When the company started we used to outsource our design work, but as a new startup business this was proving costly. So, I took up the challenge of teaching myself SketchUp. I also tried many different render programs and found IRender nXt in combination with SketchUp to be the most user friendly.
You have used our IRender nXt SketchUp renderer for over 6 years now, and started using the Cloud Service shortly after we made it available. What prompted you to use the Cloud Service?
I read about IRender nXt Cloud Service in one of the Render Plus Software newsletters and thought, seeing as the business had grown, it would be a great time saver the company could use and afford.
How has the Cloud Service benefitted your business?
It has definitely added value to our business in terms of the amount of designs we can turnaround simultaneously. It is also great to use when travelling as everything is cloud based.
Now that you’ve been using the Service for a while, have you come across any unexpected benefits that you hadn’t initially thought about?
We are now able to run a complete set of new renders before build, once the client has provided us with the final artwork and graphics, which was not always possible to timeframes before having to go to site and receiving final artwork. There is also a consistency in the colour output of the renders, as before I used to split large projects between my desktop and my laptop.
Cloud rendering has made the design process far more agile and time efficient. In the past when I was rendering and designing simultaneously it slowed down some of the features in SketchUp; with the cloud rendering that problem has been solved. The online support is great and questions have been answered very quickly, so it has been an exciting new skill to learn.
Can you share several of your favourite renderings from a project that you rendered using the Cloud Service?
The stand for Orange was my first big project that I did using the cloud service. I had, and still have, lots to learn, but I was happy with the way it turned out in the timeframe I had been given by them. I had lots of updates and changes from their marketing department with regards to layouts and graphics, and the Cloud renders allowed me to do it in a much quicker time period than usual.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll contact you.
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.