Orban Design

Providing the highest quality architectural rendering for Charlottesville and beyond.

Fall 2016: bridges, living rooms, streetscapes, and flythroughs

This fall has been packed, with great projects all around. The first pair of images shows a proposed stone bridge that would be part of a new entrance road at a historic site. This rendering request came as a direct result of the success of my previous landscape project where I modeled a bridge and dam structure. I used Vray for Blender for this project as well, and I was very pleased with how the stonework came out in the 3D model.



I also had a few interior rendering projects. It seems most new floorplans are quite open, so there is a lot to show in terms of how the spaces flow from living room to dining room to kitchen and any connected outdoor spaces. I usually take several views to show the dynamic qualities of the spaces.




I’ve also been working on some larger scale developments. This next project is an exterior design of a multi-family residential complex that is being built in a location that requires city design review. I’ve been involved in generating 3D exterior views throughout the design and the review process. We are hopeful this will be the final iteration and the review process will be complete.




Last, but certainly not least, I’ve been working on a high-end mixed-use building project that included preparing a high-quality rendered walk-through of the lobby and the residential units. The following are some stills from the project, as well as a link to the marketing page where you can see the video. You can also view the video on my vimeo page.

Summer 2016

Between projects and vacations, I’ve had some time to get up to speed with the latest version of the V-ray rendering software and the Blender 3D modeling program. This pair of images are from a model I used both to produce images for a project, and as a way to test some of the neat new features of the software, Chief among them is a much faster rendering engine that cut my computer processing time by almost ten-fold!

bunk room render version 1

bunk room render version 2

This next pair was also rendered in Vray for Blender, used for an exterior scene.

pool bar rendering open

pool bar rendering closed

These are some other marketing images I prepared recently. One is for new residential construction, and the other one is a facade renovation for a familiar local Charlottesville retail location.




How to use the vrimage converter in vray for sketchup

Rendering to a raw image format from Vray for Sketchup can save a lot of hassle for scenes that are highly memory intensive, as well as make it possible to render very high resolution images. Here is a brief tutorial on how to use the vrimg format to render from vray for SU.

Step 1. Select your output options to generate a vrimg file. In the “output” panel, select your image size to render to, then check the “save output” box, and browse to the folder where you will save you raw image file, and type in a name. The name will be highlighted in red if there is no file there yet. That is normal. Select the type “.vrimg” Then check the box “Render to VRImage” and leave the VFB (Vray Frame Buffer) mode as “preview”


Step 2. Select the VFB Channels you want to save. Scroll down and click on the channels in order to highlight the ones that will be used.


Step 3. Render. Then when the render is finished, open the “vrimg to OpenEXR converter” from to “Tools” menu of the vray for SU plugin program folder.


Step 4. With the converter open, click on “Input file” and browse to the vrimg file you just rendered. Check the box for “Channels in separate files”. I typically use the 16-bit exr format, I find I don’t usually need 32-bit files. If the file is really large, you may need to increase the “Buffer size” Haven’t seen any problems with the default so far.


Step 5. Press the “Convert” button. A “Save File” dialogue comes up where you can select an output “.exr” file. Browse to your output folder and type in a file name, then press “Save”. Now you have a set of individual .exr files with the channels you’ve selected saved in your output folder. For batch converting, Just change the “Input file mode” to multiple files and choose your input and output directories.


health club entry area

Hello 2014!

Second month into 2014 and I’m finally ready to add a new batch of renders! It’s been a very busy start to the year for me. Most other years, the beginning of the year gives me some time to catch my breath. Not so this year…

Besides my regular projects, I’ve been quite busy with testing updates to Vray for Blender. There are some very exciting developments on the horizon for the program. I’m planning to share some workflow tips once some public releases occur.vb30-nodes

First up is a new set of renders on the health club interior I first started working on back in December. I went through a few rounds of design refinement with the architect, and now the interior renders are much more realistic and exciting.stairs looking back health club loung area health club entry area street facade

I’m working on another apartment building renovation in a historic neighborhood. The existing row house is getting an extensive addition on the back, and so I’m looking at developing a sympathetic palette to integrate the new with the old.

Lanier06 Lanier07

I also have work at different scales. Below are first some product shots showing product display concepts. I’m also working on some site plan studies, but can’t post on those yet. I have many other exciting projects in development that I hope to be able to post soon!

LXiii_render115.0002 dusse-stand_render05


Shadow Catcher material in the New V-ray for Sketchup 2.0

**New: Added settings dialogue example for Vray for Sketchup 3.0 beta**

One of the materials that’s been sorely lacking in the previous versions of Vray for Sketchup is a “shadow catcher” or matte material that can define a transparent shadow in a scene. This is something very useful when you want to add an environment background under a rendering. The resulting shadows help integrate the model into the scene image very effectively.

It’s pretty simple now to add a “shadow catcher” material with the new Vray 2.0 version. In the vray materials editor, you need to right click on “Scene materials”, select “Add new material” and then select the one at the bottom of the list: “Wrapper Material”.

Here is the properties window for the new material you’ve created, now you’ll want to change the following properties:


Here are the same settings as they should look in Vray 3.0

1. Define and select a base material (over a grass background for example – use a grass material) This material will affect the GI – so you’ll get some color reflection
2. Change the alpha contribution to -1
3. Check all the boxes for Matte, shadows, and affect alpha
4. I reduce the GI amount so there is less color reflected into the scene. If you use a neutral color, you may not need to reduce this value.
5. You can lighten the shadow as needed by changing this “shadow brightness” value.

Now you can apply this newly created vray material to a plane that you’ve made under your scene. Make sure it is applied to the front face of the material. If you are looking at the back face of the plane, the matte material will not render as expected.


In the example rendering below, I’ve placed a background image in the Environment slot using the newly available “Screen” mapping. (Note that you need to save the image as jpg if you want the background to save with the image. Alternately, you can deselect the alpha channel in the VFB channels options and you will be able to save in png format without loss of quality)


Makes for very quick renders, and with the new RT (real time) rendering, setting up renders is a breeze!