• EXPOSÉ 9 Architectural (Exterior) Master Award winner David Fraher
    of FloodSlicer shows us around his roof garden.

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    CGSociety :: Special Feature
    28 June 2011, by Paul Hellard

    FloodSlicer’s showreel video of architectural visualization projects is a sight to behold. Please check it out above! The diversity shows they are at the top of the field and have stayed there through a lot of hard work, as could also be seen in the final results.

    When CGSociety visited the FloodSlicer offices in Melbourne, the staff were furiously working on several projects, having pulled a few late nights. The render room was buzzing, as was the darkened studio. A cool optimism was in the air around the 20-strong staff of architectural designers. Samantha Slicer and Daniel Flood are the co-owners of FloodSlicer, a confident duo with extensive involvement in the architectural field spanning decades.

    EXPOSE 9

    The staff come from a range of differing disciplines. While a design degree at university seems to bring out an appreciation of detail, variations are welcomed as bringing a new perspective on the work. Be it animation, lighting, interiors and exterior specializations.

    On a project for Gallagher Jeffs Consulting with Rothe Lowman Architects, FloodSlicer senior associate David Fraher was given the job of laying out the roof garden. The ‘at38’ image created for the building project, depicts a property with grand views and relaxing spaces not that much removed from a ground-level lakeside oasis with gravel, pebbles and native grasses strewn through. The precinct of St.Kilda Road and Albert Road outside Melbourne’s central business district was recreated by FloodSlicer in planning images over some months before being awarded the ArchViz portion of the job. “Right back at bidding stage, VCAT planning and such, it’s important to note there was a team of people working behind the scenes in the whole project,” explains Slicer. “But the rooftop image that won the EXPOSÉ 9 Master Award and featured on page 38 of the book, David Fraher created independently.”

    EXPOSÉ Master David Fraher
    David Fraher aspired to include the use of 3D as a communication tool as a student. In fact, towards the end of his degree in Interior Design at RMIT University in Melbourne, it was the 3D component that he was more interested in, than the concept design stream he’d originally been studying. Fraher suggests that this change of tack is the reason he leaned toward the position at FloodSlicer he is in today.

    His original architectural aspirations led to his interest in interior design. “To find a job that encapsulated both disciplines helps me enjoy the job that much more,” Fraher added. “I tend to appreciate what I’m able to work on.”

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  • The rooftop image at ‘at38’ was devised after the client gave a fairly loose brief. “They showed me some images they liked, showed some projects similar to what they had in mind,” explained Fraher. “There was no landscape plan as such. There was just a shape of a rooftop. The wide angle lens I’ve used is a tip of the hat to John Golling’s photography where we can encourage the architecture to jump out at you, basically. The direction of the image with the city on the left works well for composition, shows the details of the facade treatment on the right of the image and catches the setting sun. It was originally a bit lower, and we lifted the camera to show a bit more of the features in the image. Any worries about eye-level and scaling were quickly alleviated when we saw the final image.”

    The at38 rooftop image was created in Autodesk 3ds Max 2011, rendered out in Chaos Group’s V-Ray with textures and post production and levels corrected in Adobe Photoshop. The pebbles, mulch and such were placed in with Photoshop and the deck chairs were found on an Evermotion library online. The selection and placement of walkways, seats, uprights and natural elements, was all done in 3ds Max, with renders taking about four hours for the final 4992px image.

    Roof gardens aren’t particularly unique but the ability of the image to show the unusual architecture and lush surroundings with true natural light was a win. The wetlands appearance draws the eye through the image as though following a creek. “Very often, we have a lot of style guides, reference and such to follow,” explains Samantha Slicer. “For this, we had some pictures, but they left it pretty much up to us. The client was also quite pleased because they didn’t have to employ a landscape architect because David did it.”

    “The background horizon image was rendered into the scene first up but replaced in post to sit up a bit nicer,” David Fraher explains. The lighting of the scene, coupled with the color of the leaves in the trees was a conscious effect to localize the foliage to Melbourne. Having been through ten years of drought, the trees and shrubs in the digital libraries didn’t say ‘Melbourne’ to David at all, so a thorough ‘goldening’ effect was employed to make them look like they were from the dryer city he knew well. “Also, the post sunset light was kept the same as the background vista of the suburbs and hills,” said Fraher. “There’s a purple-blue haze across the whole image, but I felt a low, subtle wash of warmer light was warranted even though it goes against a background blue. This lighting, balanced with the colors of the dryer foliage and tan bark, was personally the most successful part of the image.” In the end, the final output doesn’t look too different to the raw render. The whole process, including production of the other 11 images, took about two months.

    FloodSlicer’s Nick King, Ben Martin and Samantha Slicer also have been featured in EXPOSE 9. David Fraher now fronts up the long line of Master Award winners in EXPOSÉ books. In years past, the Architecture (Exterior) winners included Lewis Quinn at Hayes Davidson in EXPOSÉ 4, Gareth Thatcher at AHD-Imaging in EXPOSÉ 5, Travis Smith at DAVIS in EXPOSÉ 6, Jaroslaw Bieda and Colin Benson at HOK in EXPOSÉ 7 and Peter Hoste and Kyra Frankort at bmd in EXPOSÉ 8.

    EXPOSÉ 9 covers 19 different categories including Portrait, Game Art, Comic/Manga, Surreal as well as Environment and Architecture. This milestone book is now available to be purchased at the Ballistic Publishing web site and at a wide selection of quality resellers throughout the Known Universe.

    Related links:
    John Gollings Photography
    Autodesk 3ds Max
    Chaos Group V-Ray
    Adobe Photoshop
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