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Green Hotel in Versailles - Making of

Santiago Vilaseca / Kraken Studio 2023-01-23 10:30 tutorial  > Making of  > modeling

Best Commercial Render - Evermotion Challenge 2022

I chose to submit this commissioned project to the 2022 Challenge for 2 reasons. First of all, because I love the architecture and its ecological scope, transforming an old, worn down building into an open and green hotel, with co-working spaces. The project is located in the renowned city of Versailles, in the western suburbs of the French capital, with a strong historical heritage. Our client, SAFE Architecture, did a remarkable work on maintaining the historical integrity of the building, preserving all the exterior facades, whilst adapting it to meet the needs of its new occupants.

The second reason for submitting this work is that I really like how the image turned out, despite all the constraints. On a commissioned project, you’re not alone with your art, you have to work with a team, meet the deadline and specification : you actually get paid to win, so it comes with some pressure! The image has to be powerful and memorable to convince a jury. For me, the key is the relationship you build with the client. With SAFE, we have been working together over the years in a spirit of mutual trust, which is essential to be both pleased with the result and reach a consensus. I love the mood of the image, its framing with the railways in the foreground, and I’m very proud of our teamwork!

Name of the project : Versailles - SNCF

Generally, our clients send us a basic 3D model and our first step in the process is to optimize and add it details.



On the left : 3D model we received from the client / On the right : our 3D model after working on details based on site pictures.



Here is the final 3D model after modeling facade details.

In this case, we had to work on very specific features from the building, such as the articulation of the facades, or the bridge balustrade. It was very important to replicate them identically so people can easily recognize the site.



Here is a picture of the actual building from the bridge (the other side of our camera).



Here is a picture of the actual building from the railways (closer to the building than our camera).

One of the architectural intentions from our client SAFE was to maintain the historical integrity of the building, preserving all the exterior facades so our first  mission has been to copy all these details as closely as possible.



On the left : a picture of the bridge. / On the right : 3D model - details of the balustrade we built.

To reconstitute the greenery, we use assets from Evermotion and Maxtree.



Here are the trees we used in the scene. They are from Evermotion Archmodels Volume 163 and 176.

For this project, we placed them manually, one by one, according to the camera to achieve a nice composition and the shadows we wanted in the foreground. To optimize the scene, we converted all trees to proxy and once they were correctly placed, we made a group and saved them separately so we could open them in the scene as a xref.



Here is the low vegetation that we used. They are assets from Maxtree that we displaced with Forest Pack.

In general, to displace the low vegetation, we first use Forest Pack and then, we move some assets manually according to the viewpoint. It’s a huge time-saver to start with Forest Pack and then, moving the vegetation manually for the final touches. We’re working in a way that everything is placed for a particular camera so if you see the scene from another point of view, it will look very different and not so good!



Here is an overview of the scene from above. You realize that the vegetation doesn’t look as natural as on our rendering because we only worked for our specific viewpoint.



Here are the railways that we used from Evermotion Archmodels Volume 223.

As for the lighting, we used a HDRi from 3D Collective (Adam Martin collection : HDRi 044 1945). Once we import the HDRi, we start the interactive render and rotate it until we reach the appropriate light.

For us, lighting is really the most important feature when creating an architecture visualization. If the light setting is wrong, even with the best modeling and textures, the outcome is not satisfactory.



Here is the white render to appreciate the light.



This is the raw image, generated by software 3Ds max and Vray.



Post-production is the last but key step, where the magic can happen. In Photoshop, we play with levels, saturation and LUTs. As the jury said, the image is not super hyper-realistic but we actually like to propose something different than a picture style : we like to stick to reality with some details (historic facade, railways, etc) but also create a different atmosphere that can leave the viewer under the spell.



Final image, after post-production

Thanks again Evermotion for choosing our work and giving us the opportunity to tell the story behind it!

Santiago Vilaseca

Author: Santiago Vilaseca / Kraken Studio Editor: Michał Franczak
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