10 years of visualisation

Putting together a portfolio of work is a never ending job. Always adding to it, constantly refining and searching for new narratives within the work. The longer the timeframe the work covers, the more difficult the process is, as highlighted in our crafting of a recent labour of love, a 10 year anthology of visualisation projects.

As software, technology and interests move on older work can look outdated or irrelevant. Tough decisions have to be made about what makes the cut and what doesn't, especially when the format is a weighty leather bound volume committed to print. Digital allows endless decision making, print demands finality.

The nostalgia of revisiting long forgotten projects highlighted consistent themes that have been running through our work for the past 10 years - the pursuit of story, and the atmosphere and attention to the details that turn a space into a place.

Rather than just looking retrospectively we also took the opportunity to look forwards with some new self initiated projects that continue to explore these themes.

The appreciation of seasonality, locality and time of day often plays a prominent role in our creative approach. These elements significantly influence the sense of time and place, and the emotional appeal of an image. We've talked previously about how the sun always seems to shine in CG land, which contradicts the emotive power that varied seasonality brings to photography or fine art. Rain, fog and overcast skies are not something to be feared, but embraced. They can enhance the communication of architecture, and are a more authentic depiction of buildings in a natural state.

Another important theme for us is the role details play in unpicking the stories behind buildings and hint at lives inside the walls. Careful art direction and design of small props communicate clues about places in the same way that a film set designer uses detail to fulfill a narrative.

Through detail we can convey another layer of emotion amplifying feelings such as intimacy and contemplation, or grandeur and aspiration. A carefully placed set of glasses or a table laid out for a feast can suggest an event in the past or future that stimulate the viewers imagination and heighten the sense of connection with the place.

As the development of our cities increases in pace, we are left to imagine the kinds of places that will lie behind the cranes and construction hoardings. It is now more pertinent than ever for CG images to work harder to communicate beyond function, and speak to people on a more human level, come rain or shine!


Jon Humphreys

Date published

07 December 2016