Case Study - Harmony Design Group
Award-winning Jersey-based landscape architects, Harmony Design Group have been transforming residential landscapes for more than six years. Since discovering Shaderlight, they’ve been able to transform their SketchUp design presentation and wow their clients.
Selling a 3D vision
Harmony Design uses Google SketchUp to create 3D models for clients. The majority of images are created for clients that occupy 3-6,000 square foot homes looking for a complete landscape and/or pool design. A typical model will consist of existing site elements, for example the client’s house, as well as the proposed design such as pool, patios, plantings, etc. An important part of the sales process for Harmony Design is the ability to create a realistic 3D visual of their design to impress the client.
Marc Nissim, founder of Harmony Design, explains: “Photorealism is very important to our projects because it allows the client to see the design we’re proposing without being distracted by a model that screams “Computer Generated”.
Before finding Shaderlight, the team at Harmony Design would often create models that lacked the realism element making them sometimes appear bland and lifeless. Some 3D models were sent to another company to be converted into a photorealistic image, which meant losing an element of control over the whole process.
Switching the light on
Then three years ago the team trialed Shaderlight, and they haven’t looked back.
Marc continued: “Before we were introduced to Shaderlight, we tried the Twilight Render Plug-in for Google SketchUp. While Twilight was able to emit realistic imagery, we found Shaderlight to be so much easier to use because it didn’t have all of the extra “Bells and Whistles” and confusing presets, settings, etc.
“After experimenting with the trial version of Shaderlight for a week, we knew we had to have the program in our office for good. We chose ArtVPS rendering technology for it’s accelerated ray-tracing capabilities. We really enjoyed not having to wait for the image to reload every time we would make a change to the model”.
The finer details
The team at Harmony Design now uses Shaderlight Pro, taking advantage of the added features such as the accuracy of the physical sky as well as all of the extra lighting features. It also delivers capabilities of increasing the resolution, which is proving invaluable.
Once the necessary elements have been added in SketchUp, the team edits the numerous materials, adds lighting and edits the sky with Shaderlight to produce the photorealistic image. The detail in the material is vastly different than any other rendering software that has been used previously.
Marc explains: “Whether it’s the comparable color or texture of the “real” thing that we’re trying to render, we’re very pleased with the options Shaderlight provides. Other programs made it difficult to achieve, for example, a limestone texture. Not only has Shaderlight made the execution easier for us, it also provides realistic results.
“Without Shaderlight, we would not have been able to effectively show our client how the design would look at night. By adding the necessary lighting to the pool, home, and landscape, we can really begin to envision what the site will look like and then make any necessary tweaks”.
Now that Harmony Design has Shaderlight the models are transformed in-house. Since adding the programme to SketchUp, the waiting time per model has been slashed by two to three days. Not only has the team gained half a working week, but also gained complete control over the model’s photorealism. And the clients like it too. Marc adds:
“The client feedback has been great! Most clients can’t believe how realistic the imagery looks. They also get really excited about the project and cannot wait for the installation to begin.
“With the help of Shaderlight, we’re able to create photorealistic renderings without sacrificing valuable time trying to figure out tricky software. By adding the Shaderlight elements, they’re able to really envision what the site will look like. You can’t deny the realism of Shaderlight!”
The next project for the team is a design for an estate in Central New Jersey that was built in 1939. The client is completely renovating the house and landscape, which has been made easier through the use of Shaderlight. Harmony Design’s team are producing a full set of photorealistic imagery for the client.