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Enjoyable Speed and Efficiency – Launching our first tool for visual artists

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Our Pulze Scene Manager is a “peacekeeper”. It  makes the workflow of visual artists radically more efficient and enjoyable.
Brick Visual’s Pulze Scene manager beta is ready for download for free from our website, pulze.io. Developed by and with the help of SOM, Woods Bagot and other top notch archviz pros, we have just launched our first software, Scene Manager as a forerunner of a family of efficient tools for fellow artists.

While creating a 3D scene it’s quite common to get lost in the vastness of different functions and rendering something with bad resolution, wrong cams and forgotten layers. Especially when the scene gets larger. Scene Manager is a great tool to avoid such problems, while it makes the workflow efficient and convenient.

This fact is proven by SOM’s London team:

“We were looking for a solution that would be simplified and implemented in the way we need it. We got our solution in Pulze. The team caters to our individual need and their instant support is invaluable. ”

Pedja Pantovic, Visual Design Manager.

This software brings together all important settings that are otherwise scattered throughout a 3D application, using a unified interface. It is not only comfortable to use thanks to the integration of the most important functions, but highly user friendly and intuitive.
As Scene Manager was developed tested and used by architectural visualization pros, all the needs to speed up and rationalize processes were known from first hand experience.  The software is suitable for larger companies as well as for individuals.

 

What makes this tool one of a kind and useful?

 

  •  Its fresh and modern UI
    An easy to use mobile app-like user interface that is unified across all the supported platforms, ensuring a fluent and natural experience.
  • Fetch Settings

When Scene Manager is not used from the beginning of a project, it could take some time to transfer and arrange dozens of cameras and lighting situations. This is where the fetch feature can speed up the workflow. In case of creating an animation, all the setups can be auto created from the selected cameras.

  • Hdri Browser

Hdri-s can be searched and applied  through the built-in browser by using the thumbnails for instant design decisions.

  • Batch Render

Batch render enables users to render images one by one with different lighting, layers, output paths or even with different elements and they can be managed easily at the same time.  

  • Import and export

Change specific setups across teams, colleagues or remotely working freelancers. Scene Manager will gather and export all the necessary models, lights and cameras involved, to make importing and merging smooth on the other end.

  • Highly compatible

Scene Manager is highly compatible. It can be used with 3ds Max | V-Ray | Corona and coming soon on SketchUp, Revit, Rhino, Unity, Cinema 4D and even Maya.

“Incredibly Pulze works  in a simple, artist friendly manner, without the need of a dedicated TD, complex scripting or overcomplicated interfaces.”

Tarran Kundi Associate Principal Global Leader – Visual Communications, Woods Bagot

Scene Manager beta is free to download and use for on the following website: pulze.io

Brick Academy – Open doors to Future

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We have launched and finished the first  Brick Academy, dedicated to emerging 3D artists and we are ready for the next rounds of the course.

 

As you may already know, architectural visualization isn’t merely a profession for us, it’s more of a lifestyle and we like to give back to the industry that is still quite small, yet incredibly rapidly growing. Hence we are keen on sharing our experience and knowledge we have earned as one of the biggest companies regarding volume and team size.

We truly believe in constant learning and adaptation. Just think about it, due to the powerful technological development, our jobs are constantly changing, new ones emerge and old ones disappear frequently. Technological singularity is definitely upon us.
Just a couple of years ago, architectural visualization was not existing, now it’s a rapidly growing industry with perspectives in VR and AR. Research and development projects help the industry to find its true voice which is constantly changing and evolving into something new. Believing in constant learning, at the end of 2017, we decided to launch the first Brick Academy for young 3D artists and it has been proved to be so successful, that we would like to organize these power bootcamps a couple of times throughout the year.

We have launched this project in September by interviewing prospective candidates, who participated in the eight week intensive course. The aim was to give a strong basis in architectural visualization and getting the participants ready to be 3D artists at Brick Visual.

We created and fine tuned an intensive program, based on the expertise of our senior 3D artists. The students had workshops on every second or third Saturday at our office, while in between they were given home assignments by personally assigned mentors, who were ready to help them in case they have questions or challenges while tackling their tasks. After finishing the course, three amazing 3D artists have joint us to power up our team: Orsolya Meszaros, Hanga Györgyi and Bettina Fedynyshynets.
Their mentors were: Bernadett Tóth, Zsolt Franczia, István Varga, István Lovák.

The mentors and academists of the first Brick Academy.
Mentors: Zsolt Franczia, István Varga, István Lovák
Academists: Hanga Györgyi, Orsi Mészáros, Bettina Fedynyshynets

Saturday sessions were divided to themes, built on each other, such as how to model interiors and exteriors, simple and complex materials and post production. Between each sessions they were working on projects individually to practice what they have learnt at the workshops.

Final exam images by: Bettina Fedynyshynets, Orsi Mészáros and Hanga Györgyi

The way our mentors have built the lectures was very easy to understand, it was a clever and  well built material that helped our learning tremendously. It’s rare to experience so much help from coworkers and not just during the academy, but after joining the team.
Hanga Györgyi – academist.

The first Brick Academy course helped us to review and constantly better our teaching methods and we developed it into a super intensive and effective way of getting to know the basics of architectural visualization.
Beside the professional skills, academists got to know the environment both physically and software-wise as well as our workflow.

István Lovák, senior 3D artist and mentor states: The future of architecture and teaching architecture is obviously to react and even foresee  technical trends and advancements. Our clients know and require the latest visual solutions to communicate their design concepts in the most effective way. We established a course to create and share a knowledge base that is not only up to date, but actually ready to stand future challenges.

Of course Brick Academy is not only about technical skills:

We got the chance to learn the basics of architectural visualization and not only the technical side. Our mentors put great emphasis to teach us composition and artistic style, which Brick is well-known of.  – says Orsi Mészáros, one of the academists.
After a successful exam and joining our team, Bettina Fedynyshynets would recommend the Brick Academy:
It was a great and exciting challenge to participate and it was definitely worth it, as I got the possibility to learn a valuable profession that I could not have acquire otherwise. Would definitely recommend.

Brick Academy is only available at Budapest currently.

Eye on Architecture Visualization

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Brick Visual started to use eye tracking to collect data on the perception of architectural visualizations, but how  it helps the process of converting ideas into engaging imagery?

 

You might have wandered through a gallery and got stopped by a painting that truly just captivated you somehow or just marveled at a picture and wondered: why am I feeling so lost in it? The answer mostly lies in good composition that leads your eyes. In classical art you can find absolutely genius examples, just look at this one from Rembrandt. Your eyes will unintentionally follow a route that thousands of people experienced on the first occasions they saw this piece.

 

Basic composition elements like rule of thirds or the golden ratio were introduced centuries ago, no matter how technics and technologies evolved, these principles remained untouched – creating a good VR visualization lies on the same premises as an oil painting.
Composition not only makes a picture aesthetically valuable, but helps perception and as mentioned above, it leads the eyes of the viewer. It is a powerful tool to affect the comprehension of visual information.
As in every artistic field, in architectural visualization composition is crucial.

Think about these products as visual pitches, like an engaging speech with great emphasis, clear structure and fitting tone. Composition is the structure of images.

Regarding composition there are several factors that lead the eyes and affect the understanding and engagement of an image or video.
Consciously using composition elements deeply determines the way we see and comprehend what we are looking at. Factors such as depth, luminance, contrast and colors, and beside; psychological and neurobiological factors, like characters, the direction of the look of characters,  are all shape our observation.
For centuries only empirical data was available about the effectiveness of using composition, recently with the help of  eye tracking, we can track, capture and explore the route of our gaze.

How architectural visualization can use these data?

 

Architectural visualizations’ main aim is to translate designs and architecture concepts into engaging visual products such as still images, movies or VR/ AR experiences.
Visualizations let their viewers see yet not built projects in their context, even tell stories and showcase surrounding future human activity. Visualizations help to communicate mood, features, elements, details and help to understand the architectural concept.


Now, with the help of eye tracking, we have access to data that shows how viewers see these images and videos.

 

At Brick Visual we have made the first rounds of in-house tests to gather information about the perception of 3D artists and non professionals. We have always used artistic tools such as composition, shading, colors, luminance, based on classical craftsmanship, cinematography and photography to consciously create engaging images, but have never had the chance to collect data on their empirically proven effectiveness.
Based on our mini experiments, we already discovered some tendencies that are not only helping us, but are useful to the whole archviz industry.
The first round of the experiment was executed on 38 people (both 3D artists and non professionals) and it was the first small baby step in a comprehensive research in the near future, when we will include more test subjects  from different target groups and even more images and videos.

What have we learnt so far?



1, Humans are the main focus of attention…

 

As humans, we are highly social and dependant on each other and as a result we evolved in a way that our brain has a dedicated part to process faces and we are very good at it. Every human can recognise hundreds of faces and even see them in inanimate objects.
It hardly comes as a surprise that we are highly sensitive to pictures of faces and other humans. If you look at the heatmap of our pictures, you can see that  the brightest red hotspots are always humans.
Architectural visualizations almost always created with characters and not just for aesthetic purposes. Humans can help to communicate the architectural concept,  put a picture into context, feel the scale of the environment, their presence tells small stories and effect the overall vibe of the picture.

 

2, … but characters won’t deflect attention from the buildings – they create engagement


It turned out, that people spend more time looking at pictures with characters and it’s more engaging to them. The message we want to communicate can be delivered more accurately, is easier to understand and process simply because the viewers unintentionally spend more time with these visualizations.

3, The direction of look really matters

 

As you can see on the picture below, the direction of the look of characters is highly important. It’s an instinct to follow the gaze of others, as it could save us from possible life threats. We are wired to look, where others look.
The main character stares into the building, we follow his gaze, then we slowly realise the others and follow their directions of look, while we discover every small detail of the picture.

4, Additional elements encourage active involvement


Small, interesting elements are the key to encourage active involvement. By adding depth and fascinating details will invite the viewer to spend more time with discovering different aspects of the visualisation.

In this case, additional elements tell a story, it communicates the architectural concept and its features, as they are showcasing that the house is actually floating above an underwater paradise, where users can swim or snorkel, enjoying a relaxing time. By creating a strong message visually, the picture becomes a strong, communicative, engaging content, ready to convince the viewer.

5, Movement determines



Of course this principles are also true in case of movies and animations. A moving character, or just movement will capture your attention instantly.
By placing a moving character into a visualization will always grab the eyes of the viewer. It’s also a deeply rooted instinct in us from early infancy. Sensing motion is a crucial part of human survival, just think about crossing a busy crossroad. Just like our ancestor, we are highly sensitive to movement.

Check out the example. We emphasized the indoor pool by rendering a swimming character in it, without him no one would have ever recognized the pool.

Details and the specification of the experiment



Software: SMI BeGaze
Hardware: SMI RED-M 120 Hz
Nr. of participants: 38


We showed 12 pictures each for 7 seconds, and a short video, followed by the following questions:
Have you worked on this picture or have you ever seen it?
What do you think what this picture says?
How did you like the picture? (5 very much liked – 1 did not like it at all)
How much the message of this picture is for you? (5 very much – 1 not at all)
How do you feel the picture credible?

 

You can download all the results and metrics from the following  google drive link.

https://goo.gl/Fie7d7


With special thanks to Edgite and for János Káldos, who executed the experiments.

We are launching our VR and AR services

By | brick team, R&D | No Comments

We have  just released its interactive solutions website. We offer virtual and augmented reality services which can be experienced through our self developed demo app.

We believe, that VR, AR and mixed reality can be serious game-changers in revolutionizing the way we communicate architecture and design.
Beside our unmistakable artistic style, Brick Visual has always been highly enthusiastic about technology and harvested the latest innovations in their industry.
In 2016 we decided to establish a dedicated Research and Development team to not only follow, but develop solutions ourselves.
As HMDs (head mounted devices) are getting more and more affordable, interactive solutions are the next steps in architecture, not only in presenting ideas, but throughout the whole process from making changes to following up design decisions.  


Brick l static 360 VR offer solutions to choose different styles, navigate by hotspots or layouts and switch between daytime and nighttime. One of the greatest challenges in sharing ideas in virtual reality was the separation of users. With Brick l VR’s sync function, multiple customers are able to discover visualization simultaneously, seeing the same part of the project, even if they are on a different side of the planet.

Brick l AR Brick helps its users  to evaluate and present designs in an engaging way. It enables rapid review and adjustments, helps viewers to engage, shows designs in a 1:1 scale virtual model and compares different phases of a design.

A demo version of the Brick l VR and Brick l AR are already available for download.

Brick l Real time VR visualization run by a game engine and it is rendering simultaneously with the users movement and control. This way they can get interactively involved in a lifelike environment, discover  details, spaciousness and overall feel. Brick | real time VR is the most immersive and engaging way to make decisions and changes in designs compared to real life adjustments.
The new website is an informative source on Brick Visual’s r&d experiments and VR and AR solutions.

We were Shortlisted

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To ease the process of starting a new job, a new team, in a new neighborhood, or sometimes in a new country, we developed a set of gamified cards with spectacular and friendly design. Now we are proud to announce that this project was shortlisted at the ArtHungry Award which is part of the Hungarian Design Week.

 

At Brick Visual, we believe that our strength is in our team of highly trained individuals and we use the visually engaging cards to ease the integration of new members.
Currently, more than 50 people are working in the Budapest office, and we are expanding quite frequently.
Our Orientation Cards have two primary functions: on one hand they are informative and fun and on the other hand they invite the new colleagues to playfully explore various segments of the company, get to know other and test themselves in action through serious, absurd or fictional tasks related to the particular topic. The cards cover a wide array of topics: from the know-hows of the company private health insurance, through our birthday bash traditions to our capacity planning rules.
This way, new colleagues collect all necessary information in their own pace with the guidance of the cards, and they do not have to face unexpected situations due to the lack of information. Not to mention that the first days or weeks become much less stressful and more fun.
We are glad that not only our new colleges, but also the jury loved our carefully designed cards.

R’n’D Department

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We are pleased to announce that this year, we have taken a big step in improving our services, and established an R&D (Research and Development) department to make sure Brick is a flagship in the archviz industry from a technological aspect too.

Developing our processes has always been a constant challenge in the past years, hence in 2017 we decided to set up a dedicated team to take on this task. So, basically three people constantly work on developing cutting edge solutions such as our custom VR services or archviz-related programming. Just to give you an idea: this year 10% of our budget goes to this team. That’s a lot, but we believe it is an important investment in order to provide ever higher-quality archviz products and services. To sum it up: Brick has been a very experimental company since the beginning; always challenging the know-how and the tool set has enabled us to improve so quickly, and this mindset is basically the engine of the company.

In addition, the team also works as a research lab where new products and solutions are forged. Team members: Zsolt Simon (Unity, programming), Péter Sárhidai (programming), Mihály Paseczki (vfx, programing), Cselovszki Attila (CDO)

Product & Service Development Specialist

Zsolt Simon

Simi is our award-winning animation staffer. He has received leading recognition including the National Archicad Competition first prize and the 3D sign architecture visualization award. He maintains a balance between CAD and the final visual experience. His enthusiastic style adds to his work and collaboration with our team.
Product & Service Development Specialist

Péter Sárhidai

After several years as a freelancer, he joined Brick as a 3D artist. By his own admission, the best part of his work is that he can participate in a diverse range of projects. Creating skyscrapers and brainstorming on challenging projects suit his personality. He is also the contact manager of Australian projects.
VFX Specialist

Mihály Paseczki

A graduated sound engineer and experienced multimedia artist, Misi worked as an audio and visualisation producer for Hungarian bands, while undertaking various commercial projects as a sound designer. Coming from the world of music and sound, he joined Brick to take care of the audio and animation production side. In his free time, he likes to play various instruments and to cycle in the mountains of Budapest.
Chief Development Officer

Attila Cselovszki

Attila is a visualizer with architectural background. He is the co-founder of Brick Visual, currently responsible for R&D and the creative direction of the movie production. He has been lecturing at Moholy-Nagy University since 2015. He is a creative thinker who fundamentally believes in balance, empathy and the joy of life.

No surprise, our most important subject in 2017 has been VR. At the moment we are focusing on the development of RealtimeVR and Panoramic360 products and our goal is to improve our pipeline.

With this excitement, let us share the results of one of our recent experiment:

Seeing the mixed reality tutorials we wanted to move one step further and take advantage of Vive’s potential. We got the idea of ​​somehow getting away with the tracking process on the actual footage, and started working out a solution.

Elements of the system:

– Live connection between Tracker and 3DS Max. Tracker data can be imported  to 3DS Max through Unity application.
– Live keyed image from camera to a control monitor
– The camera in 3DS Max is synchronized with the actual physical camera
– Creating log file about the spatial coordinates of the camera.

If these work then:

– We are able to render background footage with matching camera without the frustrating tracking process.
– We are capable of instructing the real camera in the studio, depending on the virtual environment.
– Without the need of tracking marks, the keying process also becomes much easier.

The link between the tracker and 3DS Max was implemented by a program that can translate between Unity and Max. Merging the synchronized image from the camera and the max was also done on a uniquely developed Unity application.

The following video gives you an insight into the steps of this experiment:

And here is the final result:

Later on we will show you what tools we are working on for our  pipeline development, such as the post production plugin for panoramic 360 images or 3DS Max Scene management.

Stay tuned …

5th Birthday

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5 years is an impressive milestone in a company’s history, and Brick Visual is no exception to that. A handful of young guys joint their forces exactly five years ago with a very strong vision, and started something that has become Brick Visual. 50+ people, more than 1500 superb projects behind, amazing clients, countless valuable friendships. After growing rapidly since the start, in the past year we have been busy establishing a sustainable business model that can serve as a solid foundation for a smooth workflow and the challenges of the upcoming years. Hard work pays off, they say, and the changes are now starting to bear fruit.
Have a look at the office celebration featuring our special architectural cake that represents one of our favourite projects. The cake was made by our lovely key account manager, Tímea – who is also a hobby cake designer.

Timi (KAM) and Lilla (graphic designer) are preparing the cake in the former server room.

Timi doing her magic.

András and Attila giving a toast.

The traditional photo with the founders András and Attila.

Recreating the original visual, Asian High-Rise by Snohetta.

We keep growing – meet the new team members

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Giulia Adami

Junior 3D Artist
Giulia studied architecture at Politecnico di Milano. During her studies she worked on the graphic design of a touch panel of an automation system developed by Kloben and Siemens. She approached the world of visualization thanks to the IUAV Master in Digital Architecture (MADI) in Venice, where she discovered her passion for 3D art. She came to Brick Visual through an internship collaboration with the university. During her internship Giulia proved to be a talented and yielding 3D Artist, thus she was offered a full-time position. She has played volleyball since her childhood – also at a professional level. Giulia likes almost all sports, and she has a lot of other hobbies like juggling and creative arts. 

Hajnalka Kiss

Office Coordinator
Hajni graduated as a sociologist at the Nagyvárad University in 2010. Later she worked as a cultural manager at Tenke, her hometown. She has lived in Budapest for four years now, mastering the role of a receptionist at an elementary school. Now she is a crucial member of the Brick team being not only the receptionist, but also nurturing the day-to-day tasks of the office. Hajni enjoys the tonic effects of different cultures within the team, and she finds this aspect extremely inspiring.
 

Aleksander Chamielec

Junior 3D Artist
Alex studied architecture at the Wrocław (Breslau) University of Technolgy but his interests spread across various mediums of visual arts – from architecture, design and graphic design to photography, film and illustration.  He finds that architectural visualization combines it all perfectly. Aside from doing images, he is an urban cycling advocate and tries to apply minimalism in every aspect of his life.
 
 

Peter Pazsiczky

3D Artist
Peter got his degree at the Hungarian University of Fine arts as a painter. Right from the beginning he has been interested in photorealism, and he became acquainted with 3D graphics around his final year at the university. He started working as a freelancer for several interior design studios, and later joined Zoa Studio as a 3D Artist where he spent 2,5 years. Nowadays Peter’s main goal is to improve his visualization skills, and Brick is a great place to do so. In his spare time he likes to do any kind of sports and keeps himself up to date on new softwares and features.
 

István Varga

Junior 3D Artist
István graduated as an architect engineer at the University of Debrecen, then he worked in construction. He missed the creative aspect of his job, so he picked up hobbies such as graphic design or photography. Because he wanted to do something that is linked to architecture, he started mastering the art of architectural visualization. Now he is refining his skills in the Brick team. István is an avid sportsman, doing and playing everything life offers him.
 
 
 

Variations on a theme – BRPW #1

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Last weekend, we held the first #BRPW aka the BrickVisual Post-production Workshop consisting of some lectures and lots of practice with the supervision of senior 3D artists. In this task, the team had four hours to do the post-production of a raw render, and the results are.. well sometimes beautiful, sometimes sophisticated and often quite mental. In general we can say that imagination deserves five stars! Enjoy
Architecture by Link Arkitektur AS
Original project: Aukra Elderly Home

BRPW #1

BRPW #1

BRPW #1

BRPW #1

BRPW #1

BRPW #1

BRPW #1

BRPW #1

BPRW #1

Architizer A+ Awards Finalist and Special Mention

By | brick team, featured | No Comments
We have done lots of victorious competition visuals for architecture studios lately, and the time has come for us to enter that realm as well…
It is a pleasure to see that larger media outlets like Architizer open up to the ever more significant art of architecture visualization. The Modeling & Render category in this year’s A+ Awards – with special focus on visualization qualities – is a great example of that approach. We applied with two projects, and the results are ecstatic: Sosnowiec Sports Complex is among the five finalists and Oulu Station received a Special Mention Award. This is already a huge recognition for us in the architect world.
Winners are out on the 11th of April. Meanwhile, you can participate in the public voting until the 30th of March: https://goo.gl/zCAIOi

 

Sosnowiec Sport Complex visualized for BakPak Architects & EOVASTUDIO

Oulu Station visualized for Lahdelma & Mahlamäki Architects | 1st prize at architecture competition

 

We hope to share good news after the winners are announced!