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Making of Phoenix & Vieques House Animation


Viktor Nassli分享为Messana O’Rorke建筑事务所制作的两个有趣的动画——凤凰城住宅和别克斯岛住宅。这是在短时间内制作完成设计所需的动画很实用的好例子。他们不仅是简单的利用一些静态的图片,还通过快照的镜头形式将静态图片转变为草图风格的动画。音效在这里也起到了很大的作用。

Viktor Nassli shares two interesting animations created for Messana O’Rorke Architects – The Phoenix and Vieques House. This is a great example of a pragmatic and design driven approach to making an animation under short deadlines. Instead of going for just a few stills, they add a maquette-like style animation with the stills merged in as if camera snapshots were taken. Sound also plays a big part here!

2014年,3三月19日/8条评论/制作、本土、教程/Ronen Bekerman提供

March 19, 2014/8 Comments/in Making-Of, Native, Tutorials /by Ronen Bekerman

作者:Viktor Nassli
Viktor Nassli是Messana O’Rorke.建筑事物所的一名建筑师。

Author: Viktor Nassli
Viktor Nassli is an architectural designer at the office of Messana O’Rorke.

大家好!我叫Viktor,是Messana O’Rorke.建筑事物所的一名建筑师。我非常荣幸向大家展示两个建筑动画的制作攻略,这两个动画是我们事物所在2013年至2014年期间为全球建筑展制作的。

Hello Everyone! I am Viktor, architectural designer at the office of Messana O’Rorke. I would like to present two architectural walkthrough animations that our office produced for Global Architecture’s exhibitions in 2013 and 2014.


I would like to thank Ronen for kindly hosting my article and to all the artists here for the substantial knowledge that you share. I have learned so much from you…


Here are the animations :

凤凰城住宅(2013)/Phoenix House (2013)
别克斯岛住宅/Vieques House (2014)

有关建筑动画/About “Arch-Anims”


I’m always interested in experimenting on the edge of graphic design – illustration – architecture – animation, and I was eager to create an architectural walkthrough that is not conventional and has it’s own style and narration. It seems to me that architects use virtual walkthroughs only to document their projects and don’t think of them as individual artistic pieces. It is just not in their focus and usually before a deadline they throw together something that is just… there. Long, repetitive, uninteresting shots and medium quality renderings. It’s informative but not engaging. Of course making a high-end movie is an option in about every 2 out of 100 cases.

因此,最好的建筑视频都是由好的建筑本身发展而来的。当然好的建筑动画也不例外。——出自Alex Roman《The Third and the Seventh》。你可以看到这本书的核心和灵魂。因为这本书纯粹的美,所以对于非专业的人来说,也是非常有趣的。

Therefore, the best architectural videos are personal developments. For instance the best architectural animation ever – Alex Roman’s “The Third and the Seventh”. You can see the heart & soul that went in it and it is also enjoyable for nonprofessionals, because of the pure beauty of it.

但是,我认为建筑动画如果不使用“Big Shiny Yacht”会有巨大的潜能。下面我就向大家展示我的工作流程,当你需要迅速完成动画制作时,应该可以派上用处。

However, I think that there can be great potential in architectural animation without having the “Big Shiny Yacht”. I am going to show you my workflow that can be great when you have to act fast.


Making these videos was a great experience for me and fortunately the open-minded office of MO’R have always been very supportive of this kind of experimenting.

设计概念/The Concept

The whole concept of the videos started with a DEADLINE over our heads. I made 6 renderings of Phoenix House for GA’s exhibition of 2013. We submitted them, but they asked us to send them a quick animation of the project as well within 1 week. First, we were leaning towards an un-inventive SketchUP walkthrough. However, one of the partners at MO’R was in love with the purity of ambient occlusion passes of previous renderings and this gave us the idea. Making AO is fairly fast and easy and we already had the 6 renderings. I just had to stitch them together and we’re done (hopefully within 1 week).


So our concept was to create a monochrome, maquettelike, raw style with glitches, grain and other imperfections and to have the colorful renderings as glimpses of the real thing. (two worlds if you like). We liked the idea of this juxtaposition, and how the images became accentuated climactic points in the animation.We basically tried to mimic the process when you are turning a maquette in your hand and looking for the best views. In the case of Phoenix House the raw animation was also a perfect way to show the secluded nature of the building.


As far as the story of Phoenix House Video is concerned, the beginning and ending framed the narrative. We wander in the desert, find a “cactus flower”’, it opens up for us, then closes itself up again and we leave it behind.



With Vieques we tried to raise the bid. We were to have the same concept as for Phoenix House, but we aspired to create a unique character to it. Here I made the fault of overstuffing the concept (just like the Transformers sequels). Luckily, MO’R has a reductive way of thinking so the excrescent sequences were simplified greatly.


The only new feature we had was light & shadow. Since Vieques House was designed as a tropical vacation house, light and shadow were very important. Therefore we wanted to introduce them as part of the story and have some playfulness within the monochromatic style. We were inspired by a YSL commercial. It is just so simple. Of course it is telling a totally different story, but we liked how the light is a part of it.

别克斯岛住宅的业主要求将居住环境降低到最小,这样他就可以与外界分离开来,同时也提供了一个应对多变天气的庇护空间。Messana O’Rorke建筑事务所针对业主的要求,采取了现代式的“堡垒”的设计手法。这也增加了故事的情节——关于征服这座堡垒。起初,你会感到建筑一点也不欢迎你的到访,在建筑的下部甚至感觉受到威胁,但是当你接近它,并开始了解它,它就变得舒适、惬意;你是视线将会顺着建筑周围的游泳池一直延伸至远方。

The client of Vieques House required a minimal living environment, where he could disconnect. A place that gives a strong shelter from the quickly shifting weather. Messana O’Rorke’s response was to create a modern version of a ‘fortress’. This gave the idea of the story – it is about conquering this fortress. At first it is just not welcoming at all. It is threatening from below but as you get closer and start to understand it, it becomes comforting and cozy, up until the point where the viewer just dissolves in the lap pool.


In comparison with the framed structure of the Phoenix House animation the structure of the Vieques House animation is concentric as we are getting closer and closer and closer to the subject.



Now, I am going to go through the making of Vieques House as it is more complex. I will also refer to Phoenix House at some points.



The base model was made in SketchUP. I always use a combination of groups and layers in SketchUP. I only put the grouped entities onto different layers and leave all edges and faces on the default layer. This way there is no conflict. I always make sure not to have flipped surfaces because they cause a lot of headaches later on. I like to model all small reveals of doors, windows in this stage. I only use colors at the end of modeling to separate the different materials.



Then in 3dsMax I made further enhancements. I chamfered some edges, made and imported a couple models. For the renderings I used 2d vegetation, because I had to do them fast. For the video I used VRayProxy trees and bushes.

渲染和后期制作/Rendering and Post Production


The 6 + 6 rendered images are just not at a level that I should brag about. There are way better making-of’s on this site regarding beautiful photorealistic renderings. I still have a lot to learn about materials and lighting of 3d scenes. I do most of the work in PS.


镜头、灯光和道具/Cameras, Lights and Props


Animating the cameras was a relatively long process. I wanted all camera views to be interesting, but also to be coherent with the one before and after, therefore I was constantly looking for references in the shots (a corner of the building, the radio, the middle tree). I tried to balance steady shots with moving ones. I changed the cameras’ focal lengths at certain points.



I only put one VRayLight in the scene. It circles around the building. We wanted the light to be artificial. Instead of imitating the sunlight the idea was to imitate a table light that you would use to enlighten a maquette.


I made a couple of copies of the light and controlled the speed of them separately for each scene. Wherever the camera moves fast the light moves slowly and vice versa. The constantly moving light was a good way to make the environment lively in comparison to Phoenix House.



Afterwards I animated all the moving elements like the birds, the ball, the splash and the slippers. My favorite was the animation of the birds. I made one lowpoly bird, animated its wings with the Bend modifier. Then I scattered a couple copies, offset their keys and changed their trajectories. I refined them up until they looked good from the camera.


在凤凰城住宅中唯一使用的道具是风滚草乐队和靴子。我只是将靴子作为复活节的彩蛋,后来也准备将其删除。但是,我在Messana O’Rorke事物所的同伴很喜欢这些,因此它们也成为了签名元素。我们收到的评论总会提及这双靴子。我真的很喜欢它,因为它打破了原来建筑动画严肃的氛围,在某些方面增加了一些讽刺的意味。当然我在别克斯岛住宅中也藏了一个彩蛋。如果你找到它,你一定会有Waldo/Wally(《聪明的沃利》)的体验。

In Phoenix House the only animated props were the tumbleweed and the boots. I only put the boots in as Easter eggs and was about to delete them. However, the partners at Messana O’Rorke just loved them and they became signature elements. The comments that we have received always mentioned the boots. I really like them because it breaks the “architectural seriousness” of the animation with self irony at a climatic point. I hid an Easter egg in Vieques House as well. If you find it you must have enormous Waldo/Wally experiences  


序列的渲染/Rendering of the Sequences


I made draft renderings and created the final look of a couple frames in PS before I started rendering whole sequences. When we were happy with these reference images, I started rendering.


我在使用V-Ray渲染时利用了一些渲染元素: Beauty, Alpha,Z深度和额外贴图通道。我认为额外贴图通道是创建AO贴图的最佳方法。你只需将它加到VRay污化贴图中,污化贴图我们经常用它制作AO材料。

I used V-Ray with Render Elements : Beauty, Alpha, Zdepth and ExtraTex passes. ExtraTex render element is I think the best way to create ambient occlusion.You just have to add to it the VRayDirt map that you usually use for an AO material.


I only had direct light in the scene so the frames rendered relatively fast. Although, I had troubles with the anti-aliasing. Its calculation is based on the beauty pass so whenever a detail was in shade it didn’t use enough samples there and the additional passes had zigzagged edges. Therefore I had to increase the AA sampling.


I rendered the contour separately using VRayToon, because I couldn’t find a way to incorporate the contour pass into the the Render Elements. I turned the lights off for these sequences so fortunately the rendering was super fast. I rendered at 24 frames/sec in order to have a more imperfect look for the final animation.



Usually I am just not patient enough to document my workflow, but I had to do it this time. I made a table with all different cameras and necessary settings. If you do a table like this, just make sure to update it.



当我有了所有的渲染通道(大约32,000张对立的图片),我在After Effects软件中将它们放在一起。我将AO通道作为背景图,通过不同透明度的调节,将其他的通道叠加在上面。然后我利用Z深度通道设置镜头虚化的效果。这些虚化的小瑕疵是整个故事的主要部分,所以我对他们格外细心。镜头虚化还有助于隐藏一些怪异的镜头移动。

When I had all the render passes (around 32,000 individual images) I started putting them together in After Effects. I used the AO pass as the base and multiplied all others on top with different opacity. Then I animated the lens blur effects using the Zdepth pass. These lens blur glitches were elemental parts of the story, so I paid much attention to them. The lens blurs were also great to hide a couple weird-looking camera movements.



然后,我预先组合序列并增加纹理、褐色滤镜和小插图等等•••••一些小的色差。由于After Effects无法产生色差这样的效果,我自己找到手动增加的方法,如下:

Afterwards, I pre-composed the sequences and added grain, sepia filter and vignetting and oh… a little chromatic aberration. Since there is no such effect in After Effects as chromatic aberration I used a ‘manual’ method that I found here :


(I cannot really get used to plugins (that is just me) so I am always happy if there is a manual alternative). Chromatic Aberration was great because it gave a little color to the monochrome images.



一旦我从AE中导出所有的序列,我就在Premiere Pro中开始编辑。这是我最喜欢的阶段了,因为之前预期的效果在这里都能真正的实现。在这儿,你可以看到序列是怎样运作到一起以及你可以通过声音或音乐,修改/加强/微调短片的基调以达到很好的效果。

Once I had all the sequences exported from AE, I started the editing part in Premiere Pro. This was my favorite phase because all the previous effort became tangible here. At this point you see how the sequences work together and you can modify/enhance/fine-tune the mood to a great extent with the sounds and music.



The sound effects gave so much life to the animation. The ambient effects like the whistling wind in Phoenix House or the chirping birds in Vieques House were great for setting up a mood. I really like the juxtaposition of the graphic environment and the lifelike sounds. I made the camera sound effects (zooming, flash recharging, etc.) loud to accentuate the rawness of the animation.


This is a great resource for sound effects:


Since Vieqes House is a Puerto Rican vacation house we found a lounge music with a tropical mood to be perfect.

凤凰城住宅的音乐则是致敬。我们总是将凤凰城住宅成为建筑界的“Clint Eastwood”。它孤独地处在一个沉闷的环境中。它如石头般坚韧。立面上强烈的水平线与Clint Eastwood脸上帽檐的水平线一样引人注目。在看到下面这张图片时,我发现他们有着惊人的相似之处。(我对他们进行了标记,提醒自己不要混淆。)

The music of Phoenix House was a tribute. We always talked about Phoenix House as an architectural ‘Clint Eastwood’. It is in a dreary environment, in solitude. Hard as rock. The strong horizontal lines of the facade and the strong horizontal lines of Clint Eastwood’s face are just remarkable. For the startling resemblance see the next image. (I tagged both of them not to confuse you).



Therefore we had to pay homage to the spaghetti westerns with the music of Phoenix House.


Finally here is the breakdown of Vieques House :


And some frames of the videos :










Here are some view from the Phoenix House too :











Viktor Nassli
Thanks for reading and if you have any questions I am happy to answer them below.
Viktor Nassli





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