A few 2023 event renderings.
I thought I'd make a quick post with some renderings of the recent event designs I've finished in 2023. It's funny, I started compiling these a few weeks ago and I haven't looked at them since. I have to admit, none of these are really flashy, hardcore renderings. In fact I think most of them were done very, very quickly. My first thought was to scrap the idea of publishing these. It's about as glamourous as "showing your work" on a calculus test. But, on second thought I suppose this gives a little insight as to how I work and how I often utilize 3D renderings.
I taught "Photoshop for Designers" for eight years at Rutgers University, and I used to tell my students that it wasn't a class designed to make them the best Photoshop Artist ever. It was a class intended to teach a Designer how to create using Photoshop as another tool in their kit. The goal was to become comfortable with the software to the point where you forgot that you were even using a computer. It just became a natural part of your process.
And I think I've reached that point with 3d rendering as well. I seldom take the time to really evolve a rendering into a brilliant piece of art. The sketches that I do are working pieces that change quickly and constantly in order to collaborate with a lot of people over a great distance in a very short amount of time. (That was a mouthful.) Sure, I LOVE to go back and hone a sketch, tweak the lighting, elaborate on the materials, add some superfluous background elements, post-edit the heck out of it. . . . . But that's all secondary to the main goal of what I do and how I do it. Usually I'm off to the next four or five other projects, so all of that fancy work doesn't have a chance to happen.
And is all of that flashy stuff really important? I enjoy seeing it on my web site. And I get really envious when I see fabulously refined renderings that other designers have accomplished. But, on the other hand, I see more than my share of BIG shows and events where the scenic renderings were crudely/quickly done (usually in SketchUp) and never brought to a refined finish. And those Designers had no issue at all using the rendering as a tool to convey their intentions instead of creating a museum piece out of the 3d model.
So what's my takeaway? I guess I would say (or I would tell my students) don't make your renderings and sketches too precious. They're a part of your design process, but they aren't the design. There's something bigger out there that you're trying to achieve. It's great to take pride in the materials that you create and present to clients. But it's even better to deliver on the overall goal of the event. Plus your Producers will thank you for being on time and not spending an extra week trying to perfectly light and populate the sketch.
Sometimes you're going to be let down by what you have to use in order to keep things moving along. Indeed, I'm a little let down looking at some of the missed opportunities in these sketches that I'm about to put out there for everyone to see. Yet as I look at these I'm also making notes about what I need to learn, what I need to develop, in order to make the next renderings even better. It's important to look back at your work for those reasons.
I can't help but think that, after all of these years as a designer, I'm still growing and developing. And that will probably never change. My process continues to evolve, while I still retain my own personal methods and style. I learn and adopt new software/technology, but I still use the techniques that I learned in school many years ago. It's all good. Keep moving, keep enjoying what you do, and it all becomes fluid and natural. I like that.