After graduating in animation, interactive technologies, videography and special effects, Thomas Beaujoin started his career as a 2D and 3D graphic designer. He then chose to focus on 3D and dedicated his work to workspace layout. He now works at L'Espace, a French consulting agency specialized in efficient workspace design.
There has been major changes in the workspaces in the past few years. How do you integrate 3D in the services you provide to your clients?
When responding to a bid, we plan a meeting with the sales manager in charge of the project to specify the needs in terms of visuals. We both look at graphic documents provided by the client to determine the major guidelines of the project. The second step consists in studying the building plan et choose together the most interesting points of view.
Then we create the 3D under 3ds Max and use V-Ray for the rendering. We particularly focus on details, like the furniture we recommend and also the decoration elements. The images must be as realistic as possible to enable the client to imagine himself or herself in his or her future design. Our images also enable to explain and show the overall consistency of the product selection and its adequation to the client's requests.
So basically, 3D is a sales support that has become central in our working process.
What is the biggest technical or artistic challenge in the images you create and why?
From an artistic point of view, one of the most difficult element to grasp -and also one of the most important- is light. A beautiful natural day light is often the start of a good image. You need to maintain the visibility of the scene but also add contrast to make an interesting image.
Backgrounds can also be complex. We add a background with Photoshop in post-production but if the lightness setting and the perspective are not right, it can spoil the rendering.
From a technical point of view now, the biggest problem we face is the quality of the 3D modeling of the furniture provided by some partners. It happens quite often that they were created under technical software such as Autocad, and that the quality does not correspond to what we need (edges too sharp, problems with facets...). When we have the time to do it, we have to re-create the modeling directly under 3ds Max to use them in our scenes.
Virtual Reality is often used now for property estate virtual visits, especially before the building exists. Do you think this technology can be intesting for office design?
It is indeed one of our main area of thinking regarding the evolution of renderings for our clients.
When it is well used, this technology offers very wide and innovative possibilities. I am personally very interested in Unreal Engine, the software that would be the most adapted to our sector of activity in my opinion. You can really create interactive and virtual visits (you can change the coatings, control the lights, etc.) with a quality that is almost as good as our still images.
The only problem is the time it takes.
But the added value is really interesting: for instance, if we create the modeling and the layout of a whole level, the client can live a brand new immersive experience and wander wherever he or she wants in the future offices. I believe it will help us guide our clients the best way throughout the project.