Friday, June 3, 2011

Render Pabst | Architectural Post Production 03 | IRAY

This is among the first of renderings I have done with IRAY.  I have found IRAY to be simple and intuitive from the get-go.  However, the RAM limitations are tough if you are on a budget.  You really need a minimum of 2gb of onboard GPU ram in order to effectively use IRAY in day-to-day production.  Also, architectural renderings tend to be large format so that they can be projected or printed on large presentation boards.  A large rendering size will quickly exceed the capability of the GPU.  However, the Tesla and Quadro cards are out of reach for most consumers.  Also, the IRAY platform is extremely slow if you are only using the CPU.  I would not recommend this strategy.  If you cannot afford the GPU (s) to do your work, I would certainly stick with Mental Ray, or V-Ray if the plugin is at your disposal.

Render Pabst | Architectural Post Production 02 | IRAY

I haven't had proper time to test IRAY for night renderings.  This was just a dusk kind of deal.  Added 5 or 6 mr Omni and pulled the trigger; with reasonable results.  I hope to get more into the ability of IRAY using the self illumination tools in the near future.

Render Pabst | Architectural Post Production 01 | Mental ray

Post Production: Copyright Josh Pabst 2011.
DeStefano Partners.

A lot of the magic of taking a rendering from a software like 3ds max and making it into a final production image relies on software like photoshop.  Most architectural firms work on tight schedules to meet deadlines and don't have time to tweek 3ds max endlessly to get a final renderings that can be used as-is.  This is where post production tools like photoshop are absolutely necessary. As illustrated in this clip and the renderings, what comes out of the render engine doesn't have to be photorealisitc to achieve a final image for client presentation.  One of the most important things when rendering is just image size.  Rendering as large as possible under the time permitting gives you more latitude in Photoshop to accurately select what you want as well as more latitude in color without aliasing.  Also, replacing the sky is a super quick way to change the look of the renderings.  Our eyes are used to looking at the world, and the sky gives quick que's to the brain about what time of day it is as well as what color the ambiance or environment should be.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Visit to Korea | Food | Architecture PART 2

I'm awake at 3am for the second morning in a row trying to recover from my severe jet-lag. I figure now is as good a time as any to write something about my recent trip. I've opted to use my new Android phone to take most of my pictures and jot notes for this travel log.

This trip to Seoul started almost before I left. The taxi that picked us up from the office was nothing more than a Korean man with a minivan. There was no light on top or meter running in the front seat. I'm not sure why we needed some back-alley driver to take us, but my Korean boss had arranged it, so I didn't fret to argue. The cost is pretty much the same as hiring a Chicago cab. Maybe we do this for reliability or maybe he's just supporting the local Koreans. In any event, I was riding to O'Hare with two Koreans; already a minority before we took off. I was traveling with a large black case full of Styrofoam models. And I do mean large; too big to fit in any trunk. I can only imagine what some people at the airport might have thought was inside.

Business Class ASIANA
As this is just my third trip to Asia, I realized as soon as I boarded the plane how spoiled I had become already. Suddenly this business class seat was just 'okay.' The huge seat that went almost completely horizontal. The obligatory 19" flat-screen in front of me. Yet, here I am, perturbed by my physical proximity to the bathroom. The scent of cleaner in the air. The thought it if being continually recycled through the fuselage as we sail through the air stings and dries out my nostrils. Wah! I know. Only one hour into the fifteen hour flight.

Champagne on Flight
Please excuse my english as I make shifts in tense. Some of this is reflected, and some of this is directly from notes. Think of it as flashbacks.

As I type these notes into my phone, the Social Network plays in front of me as part of the in-flight entertainment. Ironic because these notes will find their way onto Facebook and a blog in the coming days. So, to those soured over Zuckerbergs win over Assange in Time, stick a sock in it. And just for my own record of memory, Charlie St. Cloud is also playing and I refuse to watch it. I'd rather watch the ridiculously unbelievable Salt again than that. At least the lovely Ms. Jolie is in that.

We will be touching down in just one hour. I've done my best to sleep through much of the flight. We will be landing at 6am and it is sure to be a long couple of days.

When I wrote the sentence above, I didn't realize just how long it would be. Turns out, we would work all that day. Get to the hotel around 3am the following night and then have our meeting at 8am.

At the meeting I quickly became an easy game of Where's Waldo. Sitting at a long table of well dressed Koreans; the power players of Doosan Heavy Industry and ANU architecture firm. There are only two white people in this conference room. Maybe on the entire floor of this building. It is a strange feeling. I'm segregated even further as I am surely the only man of these 25 with any facial hair at all. I've inquired about this conundrum before. The answer I've gotten regarding facial hair such as a beard is that it is reserved for the elders. The wise. The old Korean men who have earned such a right through acquired wisdom. Maybe that's part of the reason I'm not shaving it off. I don't mind being followed by the stigma of wisdom.

The meeting on the whole went well. The clients chose the massing scheme that we had hoped. There will be a lot of work in the coming days to rework the facade/elevation. After the meeting we went to lunch with the president of ANU (the local architect). Mr. Choi. We went for Bulgogi at a place near our hotel. Delicious. The idea is to take thinly sliced meat and cook it in front of you. There are many fixings to go with the fresh meat as is Korean custom. We also ordered some celebratory shots or bombs as we like to call them in the states. Soju mixed with beer. About 5 ounces worth. I wasn't sure as the 'cheer's came if I was supposed to throw back the entire shot. I did. Several others did as well. However, I quickly came to learn that drinking the whole thing in one-go means, translated loosely, 'get your drink on.' If you finish the whole shot, you are immediately poured another. Leaving lunch with a buzz and being done for the day meant. Well, I didn't know what it meant, but I was ready for another drink. I went to the casino. I had another beer and promptly lost fifty bucks. This is when it's a bummer to be 'alone' in an exotic place.

I've been working for about two days now in the hotel. I really kind of like this setup. There are almost no distractions and I am able to be super productive. I'm preparing some ideas I have regarding the exterior wall to present on Friday.

Meeting: I have been sitting in a meeting today (Friday) for almost thirty minutes now. It's been just over 18 minutes since a single word of English has been uttered. I am now taking notes about the trip into my phone to kill time. Through the frosted glass in this conference room I can see a myriad of people, assuredly Korean, going on with their business as usual. We are not allowed to go in that room. It is very high security. The reason for this is because my firm (DeStefano+Partners) might be working on the same competition but be partnered with a different local architect. Thusly, ANU does not want us to see their 'top secret' design. An interesting tid-bit is that it's not actually ANU. The company is A&U. The American "&" must not translate too well. D plus P is often referred to in Korea as DNP. So, there has been a big push here to just call it DP. No AND, no PLUS, no nothing. JUST DP.

I have made several appearances at the gym in the hotel. But, it's not just a gym as we think of it. Like with many things Korean; there is an order to things. To get to the gym you must enter through the locker room. But, it's not just a locker rom. It's like a men's club. To enter the wood floored, polished, locker lounge you must first take off your shoes. Next you will see plenty of naked Korean man ass (hairless I might add). Again, not fitting in quite seamlessly.
The hotel is super nice. I was given two discount passes to the breakfast buffet. I've used both of them already. Today I was not going to go because it is quite expensive and I was out of coupons. Then I decided that there was an irony that I should not ignore. The coupons of which I was out of were for 30% off breakfast. And so I went.

Last time I was there I commented about really disliking the octopus that was still moving on the table.  Every time we sat for dinner my Korean boss would make jokes about my experience with the eight legged sea monster.  All I could make out as he was telling everyone we met was, ... Joshy.... octo ...  Joshy, and then they'd all have a big laugh. should really watch what I say or write about the food or culture; but I'm not going to. 
Rice Wine
I still don't care for Kimchi; sue me.

And, honestly, I've lost all track of what day it is. After we left the office I was told we were going out for dinner. That's all I knew. Next thing I know we are in the basement of a rather ... dark ... restaurant. This is where much of Korean architecture business takes place. There are now 4-5 Korean men at our table. Reasonably heavy drinking ensues. Soon everyone is well on their way to drunk, and I am eating butterfly's. No, I'm eating caterpillars. No, no. I'm eating cocoons. By the spoonful. A very traditional dish. You might think they are a delicacy. Not the case. They are very cheap and very popular treat; especially among young children. I have to admit; they taste... I just can't say: I don't think they taste bad, but the mental block is tough. The fact that I'm fairly drunk is likely the only thing that allows me to get a second helping. That's enough.  I'll continue drinking my rice wine.  Which I really like; this batch has some carbonation and is quite delicious. Though, I must admit that I feel that given the distinct color and serving dish, I did kind of feel like a cat.

Street Food Vendor
Street Tent
The highlight of this trip though, came on Friday night when we took the Seoul public transportation and headed,With my boss, I.C., to the old heart of Seoul.  This is where you really get a feel for the city.  This is when you leave much of the westernization behind and go experience the authentic street food and markets.  The atmosphere is palpable.  You can hear the drunks stammering and shouting.  The steam rolls off of grills throughout the streets that are littered with food tents that can sit just 5-6 people. Here we drink Soju and eat intestines.  They are chewy but the flavors are fantastic.  I catch a buzz quickly and we are bouncing from watering-hole to watering-hole.  But it's not like here.  They are not bars in this area of Seoul.  In fact, there aren't 'bars'; like the kind you stand at.  We are going to small dives where we order a small amount of food and then enjoy a drink.

Tea House
Then perhaps to an old tea house for some Ginger tea.  Delicious.  Then back out into the cold to find the next hole to see what it has to offer.  We wander from places to place for the better part of 5 hours passing the DP Seoul Post Office tower situated on an impressive intersection.

Friday, November 5, 2010

3D Architectural Renderings | Anaglyph 3D Visualization

With all the hype in the cinema for 3D, I thought it would be cool to go back and investigate a very old technology; and that is anaglyph 3D.  For those of you who don't know what that is; it's the old red and blue or red and cyan glasses.  This 3D technology has been around for decades and is slightly different than polarized technology you may have seen in films like Avatar or the new Jackass3.  It's really a simple process if you are already using a visualization software like 3DS MAX or Maya.  All you have to do is make two renderings with cameras 'close' to one another.  You can find what you need to do with the two rendered images in another post on this website regarding anaglyph's. So, check out these images, if you are lucky enough to have some cool red/blue glasses laying round.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Sprint: Free and Clear is Pretty Crappy

Yes, this whole debacle is a real travesty.  To put it into simple terms; imagine this.  I have been living at my apartment for 6 years watching my 37" television.  I subscribe to DIRECTV for my services.  This has been excellent.  Everything I have needed for six years.  Yet, now, I go to BestBuy and I purchase a 50" television and DIRECTV tells me I have to upgrade my services and spend a lot more every month.  It makes no sense.

Now you can see how absurd that is.  I can buy a phone on ebay, but SPRINT won't let me activate it.  To make matters worse, I currently own the HTC Diamond, which by all counts is a smart phone.  Yet I have no problem.  I am running windows and I have no problem.  I have the internet.  I can download apps.  Life is good.  I can download as much as my heart desires.  Now all of a sudden, Sprint has stuck the corn-cob up my ass and told me I'm not allowed to have a smart phone.  Well that's ironic, because that's what I'm using now you bunch of degenerates.  Have you lost your minds to throw your 7, 9, 12 year customers out the door?  You should be rewarding such loyalty, but you are doing just the opposite.  The lucidity of the argument is what is truly ludacris.  The Sprint people will tell me that I don't have the 'right unlimited data package'.  That makes me shake my face like Lewis Black.  I don't want your 4G.  I want the same ole thing I've had for years!  That's all I am asking.  I'm not asking for any new services.  I don't care about your TV, NAV, radio and all that bull-shit.  That's all free w/ bing and sorts.  Don't tell me that my data package isn't good enough; it was the BEST data package when I got it.  I'm not using different cell phone towers all of a sudden.  I'm not going to download any more or less than I do now.  I already have a smart phone!  

The notion that sprint cannot upgrade us on our free and clear plan to a phone worth a damn is just silly.  The fact is not that they can't.  It's that they won't.  It's about money, and maybe there would be a lot of people less angry if sprint just came out and admitted it.  I'd rather be told, "yes, we are, screwing you in the ass, but we promise, it won't hurt as bad as Verizon or ATT.  We promise to be gentle.

At least then, and only then, we would feel like, hey, ya know what, "Sprint is still cheaper, and they have to stay in business."  

Here's my final line Sprint.  If anyone has read this, thank you.



Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Sony Vegas 10 | DSLR Canon | GREAT NEWS

All right; I am so pleased, excited, you name it.  I am that.  Sony Vegas 10 kicks so much ass.  Especially if you are a DSLR user!  Granted I have a quad core with a lot of ram, but it eats the native full HD h.264 files for breakfast.  In Vegas 8 and 9 I could not use the files natively with any kind of success.  With Vegas 10, no need to convert those devils.  Use them right out of camera flawlessly.  I get full frame rate playback buttery smooth.  No hiccups.  No glitches.  It's just plain revolutionary for those of us trying to edit in Sony Vegas using our DSLR footage.  I am shooting 7D and T2i, and it is awesome.  Awesome, awesome.  Worth the upgrade no matter what version of Vegas you are running.  It is here.  Also, if you are a Magic Bullet user, the 32bit version of Vegas 10 works flawlessly.  However, the 64 bit version--does not.  I hope this helped someone.  This blog doesn't get a ton of hits, but if I can help one... goal accomplished.  Cheers to my Vegas users. The push toward DSLR is huge because the sensors are massive and great in low light. Another huge bonus is obvious. They make great cameras. This means, for companies like me, I can have my Chicago Video graphy Company and My Chicago Photography Company and use the same equipment in both. It's a win - win.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Vimeo Super Slow | Waiting in Line

I can remember when Vimeo didn't suck.  It used to be fast; even on my free account.  They really need to work that out.  Now that Youtube has great HD support and better recompression than ever, Vimeo needs to watch its back.  Not to mention the fact that YouTube video's are up and ready almost immediately.  They are transcoding while they are going up.  It's really quite incredible.  I understand that Vimeo does not have the resources that GOOGLE does, but that's no excuse.  Today I uploaded a 7 minute clip.  Vimeo tells me it will start in 90 minutes.  It's already been over two hours.  That means that from the time I upload my 7 minute video to the time I can watch it is going to be well over 5 hours.  Sorry Vimeo, I used to love your site.  I still like it a lot.  But love, no so much anymore.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Sub Polygon Displacement | Cinema 4D | Tutorial

Known as Greyscale gorilla; here is a helpful tutorial on sub polygon displacement in Cinema 4D.  It's a great way to get some wacky looking objects (left) quickly.  It can increase render times a lot if you use it on too many objects, but the effect is really great.  This tutorial will show you the basics, but you can fiddle around with controls to accomplish many things with this tool.  

Depth of Field | Cinema 4D | Tutorial

In this tutorial we will learn about how to use depth of field in Cinema 4D.  This video will help you navigate through the render settings required to gain that shallow DOF that you desire.

Cinema 4D basics: Depth of Field from rob redman on Vimeo.