Brick Academy, the springboard for your archviz career
The visuals and educational content we develop paint a fair picture of the projects we undertake at Brick Visual. Yet, considering the Brick culture and way of working, there is still a lot to share.
Our brand new content series titled The Brick Picture will uncover the deeper, inner workings of our studio. Each article will focus on a process relevant to our operation or an initiative that shapes who we are. We will drill down into the details by interviewing the Brickers responsible for or most closely associated with the given topic. This way, you will get the most accurate information while getting to know the people behind it all.
The first professional area to be featured is our educational brand, Brick Academy. By offering archviz courses, it has helped many 3D artists develop their skills – including those who now hold management positions at Brick. István Lovák, Head of Brick Academy tells us everything there is to know about studying with us.
Trigoni Helsinki High Rise by Lahdelma & Mahlamäki Architects, visualized by István
István, could you introduce yourself to our readers?
Sure! My name is István Lovák and I’m responsible for Brick Academy. I have a background in architecture and had even worked as an architect before becoming a freelance 3D artist. I got involved with Brick almost a decade ago by doing freelance work. In 2012, I joined the studio full-time as a Trainee. Fun fact: I am the very first employee of Brick Visual! I reached many important milestones in my career as a 3D artist and had the chance to manage great visualization projects. Some examples include the Helsinki High Rise, commissioned by Architects Lahdelma & Mahlamaki, and the Smithsonian Campus, envisioned by Bjarke Ingels Group – BIG, both from 2018. For the past years, I have been working exclusively as a mentor and supervisor of Brick Academy, teaching 3D artists everything about the profession.
Soiva – a building for music by Tommila Architects, visualized by István
Where did the idea to found Brick Academy come from?
Providing constant professional support to one another has always been part of Brick’s company culture. This was the guiding principle we founded Brick Academy on. Five years ago a friend of mine asked me to prepare him to become a professional 3D artist. He only knew the basics of 3ds max and some architecture modeling so I had my doubts at the beginning. But he had practiced regularly, reached the level of a Junior 3D artist, and started his career at Brick. Back then, we had been struggling with finding trained professionals, so his success story was also our light bulb moment. Why not launch a scholarship program – archviz courses – through which we develop talents, then hire them right away?
3D artists who completed the Image Generalist in Archviz course in 2022 and their mentors
And that program was named Brick Academy. We offered four free seats to those who wanted to work at Brick in the long term. We had trained and hired many 3D artists like this, reducing the training time and improving the learning experience. In 2019, we gave the Academy a different setup, so it would no longer be used only for Brick recruitment. The Intensive Archviz course was launched the same year in September at Brick’s HQ. This was our first official class open to anyone interested in kickstarting their career in archviz.
What career prospects do those 3D artists have who complete an archviz course at Brick Academy?
I’ve seen many students turning their lives around after doing one of our courses. Entry-level artists managed to enter the job market, or those already on the job got better offers.
‘Brick Academy is a springboard for 3D artists who have less experience but want to become qualified, confident freelancers, or wish to get employed by reputed archviz studios, including but not limited to Brick.’
The Brick Academy mentors who create a supportive learning environment
How do you choose the mentors who teach at Brick Academy?
Each course is led entirely by seasoned archviz professionals who work at Brick. We have 8-9 mentors altogether, assigned to specific courses. When we include new mentors in the program, we consider their level of artistry and quality of work. Regarding personality traits, they have to be patient, motivated, and able to pass on knowledge to students. We have a mentoring program at Brick where newcomers learn from artists who have been working here for a while. Academy mentors are those experts who have proved they are good at communicating and explaining things to our new colleagues.
What do you take into account when launching a new course?
We keep our eyes peeled for industry trends but are quite selective about what aspects to integrate into our program. We don’t teach unnecessary techniques nor fill our courses with content just for the sake of having something.
‘We are very straight to the point regarding our curriculum and teach Brick’s workflow that results in high-end architectural visualizations.’
Project created by Christian Staudinger, an alumnus of the Interior Archviz course
We count on the feedback of those who completed a course with us too – our Academists, as we often refer to them. Sometimes we do surveys to see what archviz courses they are interested in. Our Interior Archviz course was born like this. Since we don’t have expertise in real estate interior archviz, we teamed up with the professionals of EVE Images to create and run the course. This way we ensure the highest standards.
Apart from courses, what other learning opportunities are there within Brick Academy?
We’ve recently launched Brick Academy’s Learning Hub, a free-to-use online platform that offers blog articles, webinars and tutorials on archviz. We constantly add useful content that is easy to access. It is perfect for those who want to pick up some of our tips and tricks quickly.
Instantly available, free archviz know-how
Why is it essential for 3D artists to develop themselves in archviz?
At universities, most often, archviz is only a part of studying architecture, it doesn’t have a specialization of its own. Even if it is taught at universities, they only focus on the technical aspects, not the artistic foundations. So it is up to the artist to make up for this education gap by taking archviz courses, for example.
‘Also, technology changes constantly, and so do trends in art – if you want to stand out from the crowd, you have to be proactive and keep up with these.’
Overwater bungalow image created 8 years ago
Dusting off a retro – the remake of the overwater bungalow project
Not long ago, we took an 8-year-old popular image of ours and did a remake based on current trends. We have a blog article on the Hub about this titled Dusting off a retro. There are some downloadable files too so you can practice at home.
Also, if you’re struggling with burnout, it’s good to find something new to establish balance in your life. Learning something new could be a solution, as you can find a new purpose and recharge your creative batteries.
Based on your teaching experience, what areas do 3D artists want to improve on?
In general, they don’t know what design communication is or how to build an image from a conceptual viewpoint. Our students want to become better at developing a mood that matches the scene, applying storytelling and following basic artistic composition techniques. These are highly important if you want to best communicate the architectural concept.
‘We also find it essential to explain to 3D artists that the archviz profession is more than a render or CGI factory where mediocre images are produced. We show them how to elevate their visuals to the realm of art.’
András Káldos, Brick’s CEO reviews the designs of the Academists
What feedback do you typically receive from your students, the Academists, about the courses?
They praise our practice-based method since they can apply the newly gained knowledge right away. Plus they see an immediate improvement in their work. Our live mentoring sessions are valued by them too, as practicing Brick artists provide constructive feedback – no question remains unanswered. These are things you don’t get by surfing the web for random tutorials. Or downloading cheap archviz packages from uncredible self-proclaimed archviz professionals.
Happy students and mentors after wrapping up the Image Generalist in Archviz course
What do you personally find thrilling regarding the Academy?
Connecting with our students on a professional and personal level and seeing how relationships are forged within the courses. Being present at Brick Academy also means belonging to a network. We keep in touch with our alumni and are always happy if they reach out to us with an update or question months or years after they studied with us. It is also great to see that many of them had worked/now work at Brick – 18 to be exact. They fulfill their potential and get promoted right in front of our eyes. And it is a fast-track development because after completing one of our archviz courses, you can become a Senior 3D artist within 1,5 years. As a mentor, it is truly rewarding to see these.
Academists celebrating at Brick Visual’s party in 2022
What does the future look like for Brick Academy? What do you have in store for 3D artists?
Our vision is to change people’s perspectives on architectural visualizers and their work. Great archviz professionals not only know how to handle software and get the technical settings right. They need to add artistic value to their visuals too. This is often overlooked, even in the industry, and we want to bring about change that acknowledges the artistic approach. We design all our courses with this in mind.
Regarding our existing courses, we are rolling out new versions to make them more convenient for artists. For example, you can now take the Post-Production in Archviz course spread out over a couple of weeks. This way, you only have to dedicate a couple of hours weekly to complete it, so you can work too. We are going to have hybrid archviz courses where 3D artists can choose to study in-class at Brick in Budapest or virtually from anywhere.
Brick mentors provide feedback on students’ work during an in-class archviz course
Also, we keep our eyes open for developments in the industry and introduce new courses when we see opportunities. Real-time rendering is something we see potential in, so we will have some new courses on Unreal and Vantage. Apart from that, we want to collaborate with universities and do personalized training sessions for archviz studios.
What would you tell someone who is on the fence about attending?
Are you a 3D artist who feels stuck in a creative rut, looking for opportunities to grow professionally?
Do you want to gain future-proof skills in archviz under the guidance of Brick experts?
Do you wish to increase your chances of getting a full-time job at Brick?
If you’ve answered ‘yes’ to any of these questions, you should definitely apply to one of our archviz courses. If you are still unsure, you are welcome to join us at our Virtual Open Day on July 26, where we will stream free course samples.