Case Study - Daniel Tal
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Case Study - Daniel Tal

Daniel Tal, RLA, ASLA, has been a landscape architect for more than 13 years. Creating 3D drawings of his vision is critical to his business and Google SketchUp has been allowing him to do this easily for a number of years. However, it is only recently that he has found the software to render these images, enabling him to create photorealistic 3D images - a service increasingly in demand.


Daniel said: “For the work that I am doing: client projects, animations, seminars, teaching and tutorials, rendering is invaluable. Six months ago it was a luxury to spoil a client with a 3D drawing that had been rendered to a photorealistic quality. Now it’s a standard that I meet for every project – and the clients love it”.


In 2010, Daniel used Shaderlight for the first time. A plug in to Google SketchUp, the new software allows him to simply render his 3D visions, creating high quality images that give him the competitive edge.


He continues: “Rendering is a really hot topic right now in landscape design and architecture, with both professionals and students wanting to know more. The combination of SketchUp and Shaderlight brings this capability within reach of just about any SketchUp user.”


As with most users of Google SketchUp, speed is critical. Daniel likes to produce a wide variety of 3D images from his models for animations or to give him a choice of images to present to clients, but can not spend days on their creation.


Daniel said: “Until Shaderlight, I did not have the ability to produce renderings in the same quantity and could not create multiple rendered images of any model. My typical workflow is to set about 3 to 10 views in my model and I render all of them in Shaderlight. Usually this takes just an hour or two to finish as many as 10 rendered scenes. This is simply amazing. I have wanted this capability for years!


Using Shaderlight for rendering architectural and landscape site plan SketchUp models, Daniel’s current projects focus on creating animations depicting sustainable topics in the landscape. His models tend to be very detailed and large, ranging from 500,000 faces to 4 million. Even models that cover a small site are populated with as much detail to convey a realistic scene.


He explains: “I use materials that range from paving, lawn, stone, asphalt, metals, crushed gravel and plant material. Plants and concrete are the hardest to depict accurately but Shaderlight is able to process and create good graphic representations. Shaderlight is also the only program able to crunch the high amount of geometry required for 3D vegetation. I have been able to create renderings that six months ago I did not think was possible”.


Daniel concludes: “While most of my Shaderlight renderings are not hyper-real, the reactions from clients, students and colleagues have been overwhelmingly positive. I am encouraging some graduate students at Harvard’s School of Design to use Shaderlight for their work – and they love it. Shaderlight is the second generation of integrated rendering for SketchUp and is far superior to anything else available”.

Some of the animations that Daniel has created for ASLA can be found here: