Incredible Photoreal 3D Rendering – The Third & The Seventh

January 6, 2010 - By 

A beautiful, architectural, short film made with Vray and 3DStudio Max. The sense of depth and space in this is really amazing. The shallow DOF and diptychs really make this piece shine. He includes a some making of and composite shots below for all of you “That can’t be 3D!” peeps out there. Makes me want to learn Vray. Get some coffee and enjoy.

Compositing Breakdown

Making Of

Posted In:  Inspiration
  • Whoa…. Thanks 😀

  • One word :
    Hallucinating !!

  • Awesome stuff. Saw this a while ago.
    For any C4D users out there, I would recommend maxwell render over vray.
    Possibly even nicer results but slightly longer render times.
    Check out multilight too. Stunning tool!

    Nice one Nick

    • I can’t comment/argue on maxwellrender quality as everything i’ve seen so far i very good. Just two thing to keep in mind with maxwell. It’s still a standalone renderer with a export bridge pluged into c4d and costs a little more. I personally find the vrayforc4d solution a lot more integrated and easier to use. My recommendation for c4d would be vrayforc4d.


    • VRay 1.1 (current release) is *not* compatible with R11.5 yet but version 1.2 will be and I think it’s due out pretty soon? Hard to find concrete info on the VRay forums.

  • This made the rounds at work yesterday. Needless to say we all had to pick our jaws up off the floor after watching it. Amazing color, composites.

  • Vrayforc4d that is i hope? 😉 As you are already into c4d i can only recommend that. I bought it 2 years ago and i’m almost never using AR since than.
    Alex Roman posted some of these images a while back and i was blown away but seeing the trees and all moving in there is whole new dimension.


  • Get some coffee and enjoy??? should be more like get some paper/pen and take notes! so much inspiration even if your not into 3D or architecture. great post.

  • I hate the fact that there’s still no Vray for C4D 11.5 version. I hope it comes out soon…

  • Ouch! What a magnificent piece of art. I think it’s the first time I watch a 3D video without finding anything any point to criticize. Bravo!

  • Hey Nick – what do you mean by “diptychs” when referring to a 3D piece like this? I haven’t heard/seen that term before.

  • I watched this with a friend yesterday who’s a steadicam op and he said those exact words “No way that’s 3D.” I then told him it was and then sighed and wished he could make stuff like that, haha.

  • Hi Nick. Hey i have a question. In your experience… Its hard make this class of worK? (sorry for my bad english).

  • Yeah saw this earlier. I always kept rewinding to see how good it was. If it was never mentioned it was 3D, I would have thought it was real.

    Just remember, it’s not the software you use that matters, but how great of an artist/designer you are.

  • I still can’t believe it’s 3D, it’s so fucking unreal!

  • This is just sick, man… thanks for sharing…

  • do you use “LOOKS”?
    any chance of a tutorial if you do..

    this guys color techniques were amazing! and very interesting

  • What kind of plugins is it he using in AE there Nick… i cant tell…

    Thanks Jonas

  • Saw it a few days ago and saw some preview,wip images over at cgtalk a looong time ago
    Absolutley incredible

  • Hey nick, by any chance, do you happend to know the name of the plug in this dude uses in the Making of to tweak the lightning and lens? The one that has that awesome auto-hiding toolbar at the right…

    any clues?

    I WANT IT…jejeje.

    Anyway…Incredible production. Is nice to see stuff like this being done from time to time.

  • 1. He imports from Google 3D Warehouse site ( – chops up what he needs and then imports it into VRAY
    2. Adjusts sizes and applies textures which he imports from CG Textures ( – he adjusts one of the textures in Photoshop and exports it back to the model. I figured he wanted to create randomness to the texture.
    3. After adding a couple of lights and ambient maps (one was a spherical cloud map), he exported the render to After Effects.
    4. Here he uses Red Giant Magic Bullet Looks plugin and gives the final punch to the finished composition. I think he also used some Curves, Glow, Levels adjustment layers and finally added some of his preset gradient layers using the Soft Light mode.


    • Thanks for the insight. It makes it sound simple hahaha.
      But it’s still unbelievable for me the amazing result he created.

    • Its like what Nick says, you keep going at it till the work becomes better. Practice with your tools more often and you will learn your trade.

      Also, less is more. Some animations tend to be too overblown with many fx, when you just need a curve adj. layer there and a Hue/Sat adj. layer here.

    • I highly doubt all of those models came from Google Warehouse. Milwaukee Art Museum for instance… the model he uses is clearly much more detailed / better put together than the couple variants available there AFAICT. 🙂

    • Most probably, but if you Google “Phillips Exeter” in 3D Warehouse you will get the actual 3d model for Google’s SketchUp. What Alex does is export the detailed 5MB (.skp) model to VRAY and saves it as a .3ds file. Quite ingenious I must say! 😉

      ps. for those that want to try it out, here’s the link:

    • For Dan – here’s the Milwaukee Art Museum link from 3D Warehouse:

    • I think that’s the same model I downloaded last night and opened in C4D… it’s not nearly the level of detail (interior or out) that you see in the hallway or unfolding “wing” sequences. I know probably a model exists for virtually every place he showed, I just doubt that he used the warehouse variants for everything. But the Exeter thing yes… I think he even shows it in one of his vids.

    • Cool Dan! Have u tried using Magic Bullet on your C4D export? any good results? 🙂

  • saw that. done beautifully but gives me a narcissist feeling, like the maker is loving himself to much. can be seen in the credits, ok, we know you did it all by yourself.
    and maybe its only me.

    anyways, i think one of the most intresting things are the DOF plugin used. in my opinion.

    • hey if you can do all that by yourself then congrats, that is quite an accomplishment, it seemed to me that there was a big team working on that.
      that is what credits are for

    • Regardless the amazing achievement and the sheer beauty of that piece, I do agree that the credit part gives a slight self centered feeling toward the guy who did it.
      I mean, credit where credit’s due, but a simple line with directed/modeling/design: Alex Roman or something like that would have been enough. No need for the guy to repeat his own name everywhere…

      I always found that interesting, the level of recognition we crave for the things we create…

      Appart from that, I feel that film is quite interesting beside Avatar. Each in their own game are photoreal, but in one case, there is an army of people who created Pandora and on the other hand, juste one guy [yes the length and the complexity are different, I know, but that’s not my point]. I think this sets a trend for the next few years where more and more realistic and professional pieces will be created by individuals outside the realm of Hollywood. And I think Hollywood will have to adapt to that. I don’t know… Just my stream of thoughts.

    • Two slates. He gave himself only two slates of credit, after all of that work? Narcissism? You lot are strongly misguided. His credits were not overly self-indulgent, only just right. Perhaps you should pick your nits elsewhere.

      I would take those same credits, and likely (& justified), so would you,

      Bravo Mr. Roman, bravo

  • You should discuss this in your next episode of keyframers.

  • Definitely check out this guy’s other work as well. He has a render based on a Japanese hotel and garden, named Naoshima, which i think is one of the most beautiful renders of a winter scene, ever…

  • Yeah, Vray for C4D is maybe a choice for you then, especially on Mac.
    In compare to AR3 Vray is better for now concerning realism, as I see it. But C4D is much more user-friendly than 3DsMax.

  • Make sure to check out his interview here:

    This gentleman is brilliant.

  • What you should not forget is, that this fotoreal approach is nothing new. It will be surpased as technology evolves.

    Very few 3D artits see that and forget, that 3D graphics is not photography.

    If this can be archieved with other tools it is not unique for 3D graphics. And I think it is important to create something that is unique for the medium 3D and reflects still its’ origin.

    By the way still an amazing work, but only by enomic, technological artistic means.

  • I saw it today on Motionographer and was flabbergasted. Totally amazing. You must view it in HD btw.

  • I saw this a couple days ago and popped it on my blog yesterday as well. Astounding stuff.

  • Nick, for the love of all that is holy, please do a tutorial on the following subject: Getting an object/effect to follow a Stroke effect.

    As the stroke writes on, I want an underlying ripple effect to follow it at the point of write-on. I have searched creative cow, and varied my google searches and haven’t found anything helpful.

    I know many people would find it useful if there is a solid way to have an object or effect follow a Stroke/3D Stroke at the point of it’s write-on. Many Thanks!

  • Oh boy, this makes all of my 3d renders so far look like plastic. At first I was wishing I could be Alex Roman – but in the credits I saw that he made everything (3D, Composite and even Music)?! So I wanted no more to be him – Thats really man vs machine 😉

  • glad I shared this with you Nick, also loving the irony of “Why More Doesn’t Equal Better – The Art of Overachieving” in the related posts

  • Pure Genius, The grading is mindblowing.
    Mixing colors from different light sources,
    texturing, compositing, animation, and all a one man
    show. Never thought this was possible.

  • Just incredibly beautiful!

    But there ist one single mistake. Yes, thats how it is.
    The scene where the wind turbines (i hope it’s the correct word, because I’m from germany) starting to rotate. They rotate in the wrong direction. Thats the way they would produce wind 😉 And thats not the idea…
    There is also no reason why they should go to the left an right, before realy starting to rotate. Thats physical impossibile.

    Nevertheless its the most beautiful piece I have ever seen.

    • Hi Torben,
      only a German would recognize and criticize that ;). But in terms of artistic freedom I wouldn´t call that an mistake. Maybee its like the water-flow in Australia compared to Germany: its running in a counter-clockwise direction 😉 At some point he is opening his umbrella although it´s not raining – another big error ;). Come on man – this piece is awsome – no matter if logically correct or not…

      Peace from Germany

    • He did it on purpose Torben. It´s probably the only way he found to demonstrate to the world that it´s actually 3D and not shot.

      He cannot make mistakes… just beauty!

  • I would like to know the thing about the exr files he is using. Why is he doing that?

  • Holy crap that was awesome. I wish I had his lightning skills.

    I wonder how much time went into rendering, his short single frame renders in the making-of go up to 7 minutes I think.

  • best 3d movie I’ve ever seen on the web!

  • This is truly amazing. A masterpiece. When I learned that one person did all of this, I got a chill down my spine.

  • staggering

  • It would have been awesome if you bought Vray and made some tuts on it >:)

  • The Depth of Field in this short film really makes these shots. I have been searching for a quick realistic solution for compositing DOF for years and the plugin in AE is sad. Plus, rendering DOF in Vray is so time comsuming and it does not look this good. Does he use the Red Giant Composite wizard 1.4 with z-buffer control for this?

  • The use of the MB Looks ‘chromatic aberration’ helps as well. distorts in a way a regular camera would. he understand photography very well.

  • My Jaw fell to the ground .

  • As a Cinema 4D newbie I have to ask: given the excellent use of grading and compositing done after the render, was VRAY really necessary, or could a comparable look have been achieved with the C4D Advanced Render module in 11.5? Aside from the obvious years of training it takes to make an image like this, can one do such photo-real work with the AR, or do you just have to go to VRAY?

    • The short answer is no.
      He uses Vray just because it’s very well suited
      for interiors and pretty well architecture in general in the way it’s gives you good results versus render time. Also the workflow he uses like VrayDirt for creating aged borders you can see his workflow in the making of.

  • ok nick now u use 3d max? ohh god save your souls KKKK

    ok ahm sorry about this

  • which software is used after 3ds max in the makink of?

  • As someone who’s used Max for over a decade and Vray professionally for a few years, I’ve now just started getting into C4D(love it). I’m not sure I see anything in the architectural areas that couldn’t be done with C4D and the advanced renderer. The render straight out of Vray is pretty unspectacular, post is where he really makes his shots shine. One of the only things that would give Vray a boost is the instanced geometry (grass, trees, etc), but C4D may be able to do that too. I haven’t gotten deep enough to know yet. Anyone know of any Vray vs. advanced renderer benchmarks to see how they compare on speed?

  • yep.. still got a looooooong way to go. that’s good though, keeps it interesting.

  • which fucking software is used after 3ds max in the makink of??????

    • Kate, calm down… 🙂

      in the making of he used:
      3dsmax, Vray, After Effects, Redgiant Magic Bullet Looks, Photoshop…


    • Can one use Magic Bullet Looks to adjust still images (let’s say arch renderings) or is it exclusive for video?

    • You can use Magic Bullet Looks for images for sure. Infact, I think you can for FREE with the Looks builder that you can download from their site.

    • Looks Builder seems to be part of Magic Bullet Looks… so, I don’t think it’s free.

      Anyway, n00b question:

      These are all plug-ins for video app, right?
      ‘Cause I’m learning Architectural Vizualisation and I’ doing all my post-production in Photoshop. It is a hell lot of work to make something like this !!!
      Having presets like these would definitely help! But I can’t use them with Photoshop.. can I?
      How can I use something like Magic Bullet Looks/Mojo to speed things up in ArchViz post-production?


    • No one? Somebody help me out, please…

    • You’re right.. and I know that!

      I know I don’t NEED looks to do it. I actually know how to do it… (I’ve also watched your tuts!) What I’m saying is that it is a lot faster if you have those presets to apply. You not only end up with a consistent look/mood but you also save a lot of time… am I wrong?

      I would imagine that the guys at Luxigon use this kind of tools to speed things up… as most of their work is done in few days!

      Then again, I still think I can’t use Looks/Mojo with Photoshop…

  • This is really really nice topic. I love 3d rendering

  • So incredible i’m fall in love <3

  • Excellent output by Vray and 3d max…thanks for sharing such work .. We also have some renderings done using thew same software on the given link

  • Thanks for sharing your work..Undoubtedly the output of Vray and 3dmax in rendering , texturing and lighting are really appreciable.

  • I’ve seen this piece some time ago and is is just that kind of work that makes one think and right after I decided I needed to learn 3ds max/vray, despite I already am experienced in other 3d programmes and renderers… and for the similar reason I started just week ago with thanks Alex Roman and thanks Nick Campbell:)

  • Thanks for information about Incredible Photoreal 3D Rendering.

  • Yes! this is one of my all time favorites. He makes it look so easy.

  • Great to see this showcase of what 3d rendering can do.

  • Thanks for the nice collection of renderings. But I think you have missed one. You should also include 3d power’s renderings. You can check it here.

  • Check out the best 3D rendering process at

  • 3D architectural rendering services help designers to make their designs excel with photo realistic rendering.

  • Great post. Here are some more photoreal 3d rendering pics –

  • Dear Sir,

    Thanks For Shearing Such Information,

    Very Interesting Post, Helpful.

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