Expert’s words: Bruno Lopes

Senior 3D archviz artist at 3D Design Bureau

Bruno Lopes

Photos by Sean Brosnan |

Bruno Lopes specialized in architectural drafting in Portugal. Before becoming a full-time 3D ArchViz Artist, he started his career as an architectural drafter in several public and private architectural studios and later joined Arqui300 as a Senior 3D artist and 3ds Max/VRay instructor for 10 years. He now works for 3D Design Bureau, a Dublin-based visualization company.

Someone you worked with said about you that
your are “hungry for knowledge”: what kind of knowledge does it refer to?
Architecture, 3D, art in general, a bit of all that?

I like to say that I’m most problem solving driven, and to get
problems solved I do a lot of research, I follow forums, Facebook groups and
other mediums, asking questions and / or helping others when I can. Also I do a
lot of testing before deciding to implement something into my workflow, being
that new technique, scripts or plugins. I’m not a script/plugin maker, I use
what others have made when they faced similar problems as mine. And when I
don’t find what I need, I have a couple resources that can make them for
me, but normally I find what I need online.
I do this for every field that I’m interested in,
being that Architecture, 3D, 3D Printing, Design, etc, etc.

One of your specialty is organic modeling. Can
you tell us a bit more about what you particularly like? Is it a bigger
technical challenge than modeling buildings?

I do like to do organic modeling but being a 3D Archviz Artist, I
don’t have much opportunity to do it anymore! I do apply organic modeling techniques when I need to model
a specific item of furniture, like a chair or sofa, etc. When I started, we
didn’t have as many already made and readily available resources for
3D models as we have now. Evermotion, Design Connected and 3DSky are my main
resources. Many people have a problem using resources like this, because
they think that they’re not doing their job. But we are not here to reinvent
the wheel (we’ll do it if we can), it’s effective, cheaper and your clients
will be happy too. Creatively everything is still depending on you, for
texturing, shading, lighting, composition and post production. I normally
don’t have weeks to work on an image, I have a couple days, so I need to
be as effective as possible in the timeframe I have to work on it!

You are a 3ds Max /Vray expert: did you try other combinations and do
you think you will stick with it or consider changing and why?

Yes, I try many different software and render engines as much
as I can, I do love Corona but currently our pipeline is Vray based, so we will
stick with that for now but at 3D Design Bureau, we are encouragedto research, develop and bring to the team new and improved ways to improve our work technically and aesthetically. One big change I’ve made many years ago was switching
all my architectural modeling to Sketchup. It’s so much more effective, quick and
light as 3ds Max supports natively Sketchup files. It has so many
plugins/extensions to do things that in 3ds Max we need way more clicks or
techniques and pay for the majority of those tools, and the result may not be as precise or good! We have a great team at the 3D Design Bureau in all fields, but especially the Revit modeling team that does a great job modeling and preparing in Revit for the visualization team.

A big mistake
people often do when modeling architecture in 3ds Max is trying to model it with
organic modeling principles! Building are simple volumes with different shapes
combined, rinse and repeat, there’s no need to make it harder than it really
is. Of course there are challenges but don’t make your life
harder. Also ForestPack and RailClone are part of our visualization pipeline.
But in the end we need to stick with concepts for
modeling, shading and texturing, lighting and composition. Software and render
engines are just tools! We need to be as agnostic as possible to be able
to switch quickly from one pipeline to another!