3 brilliantly inspiring arch-viz stills

You'll be blown away by these inspiring examples from the world of architectural visualisation.

Movies get the most attention when it comes to animation. But some of the most exciting and imaginative work these days can be spotted in the world of architectural vizualization. And here are three great examples: the winner and runners-up respectively of the Best arch-viz still category last year's CG Awards.

This year's awards – which honour both software and the artists that use it – are now open for nominations (details here), so you can nominate your favourites today at thecgawards.com.

In the meantime, here are the arch-viz stills you loved the most last time around...

01. Gardenian House

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"Technical excellence and artistic sensibility walk hand in hand through a dreamlike landscape," says Kompost co-founder and CG Awards judge Oliver Conrad of Gardenian House. It's a personal project from Lisbon-based 3D artist Sérgio Merêces, founder of Merêces Arch & Design 3D Visualization Studio.

To create the image, which shows the house and its strikingly landscaped grounds on a stormy evening, Sérgio used 3ds Max and V-Ray. Itoo Software's Forest Pack plug-in was used for the vegetation and trees, with particles used to drive the flying leaves. Photoshop was used for all the post-production work.

According to Sérgio, the real challenge of the piece was realising in 3D the mystical environment that he had in his imagination. His overall vision, technical expertise and traditional art skills – seen in the subtle use of colour, balance of large forms and fine detail, and the careful composition of the foreground objects – impressed our judges, leading to a well-deserved first place.

02. Forgotten Forest

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A personal project by Costa Rican 3D artist Jesús Fernández, Forgotten Forest was modelled in ZBrush and Maya, with dDO, Quixel's Photoshop toolkit, used to texture the cabin. Rendering was done in mental ray, with post-production in Photoshop and After Effects.

The result is an image in which the man-made world vanishes beneath the natural one: Jesús says: "One of the greatest challenges was undertaking the extensive research into the plants and finding the scans that I needed to recreate the textures".

03. Crashing Waves

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There is a powerful sense of drama at play in this piece by Polish CG artist Tomek Miksa, which was inspired after he was given a model of a building by an architect. Tomek says that creating the piece was a surprisingly quick process, with much of the time being spent on the 'foam part' as, "the geometry is supposed to be translucent and reflective with some internal light".

For the project, he used 3ds Max, V-Ray and Photoshop. Only the buildings and key elements are rendered: creating the rest of the image as a matte painting gave Tomek more freedom with the work.

The CG Awards 2015

The CG Awards 2015 recognises the work of the entire industry: from software and hardware to artists and technicians. This year's awards are now open for nominations, so you can put forward your candidates right now. Just visit thecgawards.com and nominate in one of the 17 categories.