Geoff Alder’s Visualisation Journey


Over the years I have seen many visualisation concepts in architectural design. If I were to go back to the early days of 3D, which was during the late 1980’s early 1990’s, 3D modelling was developing fast.

In 1990, 3D Studio was published by Autodesk, a DOS based programme having a Shaper, Lofter, Editor and Material Editor and then an animation Keyframe module. I was hooked. Being from a building crafts background I wanted to model roofs and stairs and all the joinery in a building. This was really the start of my journey into visualisation in architecture and engineering. 

After working overseas developing technical training  programmes, I returned to the UK in 2000, which was just after Autodesk had acquired Discreet Logic. Many of the applications that were developed within Discreet were introduced into 3ds max, which included character animation and game development toolsets together with production rendering, which was called Active Shade at the time. This is when I started training in 3ds max, primarily for the video gaming industry. I later became a Discreet Authorised Instructor under Autodesk Media and Entertainment.

Architectural Visualisation started to become very popular and 3DS Max was the primary tool of choice to model the building and environment. In 2003 3ds max 6 was released with a third-party renderer called Mental Ray. This allowed stunning visuals for Broadcast and Gaming, which was immediately taken up by Architects. In-house visualisation and render teams were created, adding render farms and then specialist visualisation studios servicing this need for Architectural Visualisation.

The back and forth of in-house and out-source has continued much to the present day.

My journey stayed with the gaming industry and therefore focused on modelling and texturing in 3ds max for games. I trained in methodologies in creation of 3D content for a gaming engine. At that time it was Quake 3 Arena and Epic Games Unreal Engine. Modelling and texturing had a set of strict build rules so that the final game ran smooth and had visually appealing lighting and effects but also to be rendered in real time.

Now in 2023, my building crafts background and my game content development have come together in a fantastic workflow that can take my Revit models, together with all the meta data it contains, into a workflow of real-time rendering. Taking on the gaming technologies allow us now to use our Revit model as the content creator and Twinmotion for the primary visual Engine.

In my next blog, I will show you a Visualisation workflow from Revit, to Twinmotion, and onto Unreal Engine 5.

You can read the next blog here. In the meantime, take a look at our visualisation course to help you get started.