That Swedish summer, early morning light...
Running a visualisation studio from my home-office in Uppsala has it's perks. Now that we're heading into mid-summer we're getting sun-rises around just after 3am! This means that on my computer startup, in combination with my strong Scandi-style brewed coffee, I'm witnessing gloriously lit facades, long, LONG! shadows, and amazing golden, green lawns!
Aaaaaah. Back to work Chris! 😵
As an evolving artist, I'm paying more and more attention to the environment around me. It's easy to be inspired when the view from my "office" looks like this at 3am, 4am, 5am, 6am...
This is an old Sweco Uppsala project for the now demolished Bacho factory area of Enköping. The plans and designs have changed since I worked with them but that's irrelevant for this project revisit.
2016 vs 2020
I was originally satisfied with the 2016 image of this project. I am however finding it's these "previously satisfied" projects that are the most fun to revisit, as opposed to the really poor ones (I have many!).
If I look back and think about the old image, my focus (and my client's) was on seeing the whole building so it has a wide camera angle. We wanted to light all of the facades and I framed the image with a tree, actually two identical trees, a bush and a person.
For my 2020 attempt I wanted to come a bit closer to the building, focusing on one part of it. It's a more forgiving camera lens with less warp. I wanted a low sun, early morning feel, that I showed in the reference which meant I had to play with the shadow placement. I wanted to fill in "gaps" in my original image. What is that space under the first balcony for? The pavements? I no-longer needed to show things in the distance.
There are of course many things I would improve on. I could work and work on it... I should probably photoshop my people! That entrance needs some work. There are a few dodgy curbs... But I'll move on now. I ran out of "budget"!
My first trick...
People on the balcony! After that long winter, Swedes are straight out as soon as the sun shines. "Vårkänslor" they call it.
Looking back at this image now I can see some things I would do to improve it; open the door, more accessories, a better plaster texture. I've looked at this picture too long! 😵
Fixing contrast without flattening
When you have such strong sunlight, you inevitably get hard shadows too. I could lighten them? Yes, but is that real life? Do I want to flatten the image by by brightening and reducing contrast?
Instead I added some subtle interior lighting, and a hint of sunlight just hitting the vegetation under.
Everything here has been thought about. Let's start with the façade. To break up the sunlight surface, I positioned the car and thus it's shadow to break up the lower edge.
The shadows of the balconies on the opposite side of the road break up the hard edge to the right.
Our lady actress here is obviously on her way to work. Could I have opened the door for her? Yes absolutely!
Electric cars, cycle lanes...
I've wanted a Tesla for a while now... a 3D model of course. Doing personal images and revisiting old projects gives me a good excuse to add to my asset library.
I've found some great road-marking textures recently. Expect more cycle lane markings in the future!
I spent way too long on the metal tree guard & grass and now realise I should spend even longer on it to fix them! However it's another asset to "drag & drop" into future projects.
Why do I revisit projects?
It's important for me to feel that I am developing as an artist. It also gives me the chance to work on and add assets to my library, and to improve my workflows. Focusing on what your image should be achieving, instead of working on assets mid-project, will help keep your costs down!
Work with me, win a Tesla*
Let's work together and get your visions sold!
I'm available to work freelance, remote or in-house, or we can work on a delivery based package of images. If you're a visualiser with a lot on, I can help you out. Are you an architecture office in need of something quick? Get me in!
*A 3D Tesla for your visualisation of course. I'm not made of money!