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by VR.grafix 2002
article - vr.grafix

VRgrafix has long been a supporter of Real 3D - Bernie gives us the background:

Bernie den Hertog kindly allowed us to "interview" him on the 25th December 2002. This is the full transcript from the conversation with Frank Dodd:

F: Bernie, could you give us a little background on yourself?

B: Born in 1971, Canberra, Australia. At school, loved technical drawing and art - and ended up doing a university degree in Architecture. Throughout the course I "trailblazed" the use of CAD / 3D and walkthroughs - often to the detriment of my grades ;) (Lecturers didn't think computers would ever take off). Worked for various architectural firms from small to large, then did a 2 year stint with the Sydney Organising Committee for the Olympic Games (SOCOG) which I thoroughly enjoyed - doing torch relay animations, crowd simulations and venue models. I left there and setup my own practice: VRgrafix. I've been working on a contract basis to several firms around town and pushing the 3D images/walkthroughs as much as possible. Things have really picked up the last year and I'm flat out keeping up with it all :)

F: How long has Realsoft 3D been your tool of choice?

B: Hmm. Back in the glorious heyday of Amigas (Yes - I know that sparks a few memories out there in the RS world) My trusty A2000 started out with Sculpt 3D - I was hooked from the juggler and sat in front of the screen mesmerised - watching it render pixel by painful pixel. I bought Silver, then Turbo Silver - until one day I made a trip to the "big smoke" and saw this glitzy black box on the top shelf with REAL 3D v2 emblazoned on it. I picked it up and thought "THIS is what I WANT !" It was a staggering $A700 back then - more than my mere student income could afford, so I got my Architect boss at the time to purchase it (Kim Stirling). The learning curve was indeed steep - but well worth it. Gawd I loved that rendering of the tree and lake on the sunset - I'm still struggling to learn how to make those illusive fractal trees :/

F: We know you use Realsoft 3D professionally but exactly what do you use it for?

B: Everything. I do a lot of CAD work obviously - as its the bulk of any architectural work. But the next step is to export this 2D data into something realistic. Microstation does not render to fields or moblur - hence the output is terrible. Autocad is clumsy and the same - and the rendering even worse. So I export this data into Real and model up a 3d of pretty much every house and extension that I do - as well as contract 3d jobs.
These 3d models then get stuck on site photos, rendered from street views, give people an idea of the spaces and sizes within, walkthroughs, and solar studies are important too. I spend conservatively 20-40 hours a week using Realsoft 3D alone.

Civic Offices
G Tanhcevski Residence
Curtain Offices
Shop Extension, Holt
Brown Residence
Krizaic Residence

F: Do you use any other 3D applications in your work or can Realsoft 3D cope with everything ?

B: The tools of the trade consist of : Microstation (or Autocad depending on the client), Photoshop (Invaluable), Realsoft 3D, and if any animation / compositing is involved: Digital Fusion. I don't have much cause to use any other software to be honest (Aside from Outlook and Word ;)
Real does everything I need in 3D terms - and could even do the compositing if I got that sussed ;)
At SOCOG I used Max 2.5 - and while I'll always say that Max's renderer screams - I never use Max anymore - its not even installed on any of my machines - and I could not be bothered sticking with Discreets ridiculous forced upgrade schemes. I hated the way Max had no "select" window. It makes large scenes almost impossible to work with. Output was flat and poor in comparison to R3D.

F: What do your customers think of your work and Realsoft 3D's output?

B: To be honest, most customers are not computer savvy. They have little idea of packages and don't care! They want pretty pictures of the end product and they don't mind what package we use. Some clients stipulate that they want "as photorealistic" as possible output - but I've never had a client that was not happy with RS end product.
I'm a bit harder on myself than my clients are on me - and look back on work I've completed 3 months ago and hide my head in shame ;) It all comes down to getting as much quality output into the riduculous timeframes that are always imposed in this profession. (eg. The Civic Offices job - image thumb on the left - was modelled, animated and finished in 3 days - with the client changing the design and look of the building up to 2 hours before the deadline !)

F: Has the move to Version 4.5 of the software had an effect on your professional work ?

B: Ahh yes - 4.5. I cannot emphasise how much of an improvement this upgrade has been for me!
Stability - I can finally render out animations without the constant crashing of render slaves. Outline rendering - I've made all sorts of Post FX now that really give my renderings an Architectural quality to them - I love the Scaling ability ! Displacement mapping - I can render corrugated roofs now with the utmost detail complete with shadows !
Yes - 4.5 is what 4.0 should have been. I'm very happy with RS and show it off with pride now to people.

F: We all know time constraints mean we can never get enough done but do you do much 3D artwork for yourself ?

B: LOL ! Ahh - there was a time when I would burn the midnight wax drawing pictures in 18 hour stretches and really tapping that "creative potential". But family life and work pressures dictate otherwise now. (Much to my wife's dissapointment - she loved my incessant need to scribble ;)
I have very little time to play with anything outside of work except this site - and I spend probably a bit too much time on this ;)

G Tanhcevski Residence
Lynch Residence
Benson Residence
Sloper Extension
Training up my Son ;)
Kingston Warehouse

F: I think everyone knows that the Render Daemon site is a huge undertaking how much work has it been to realise?

B: Ouch. Lots ! There was a lot of discussion on the user list a few months back about a magazine for RS users, everyone wanted something online, but I could see this banter of emails dragging on forever, and my old RS section falling into antiquation as I had not touched it in months (F: years !)
Hence I sat down one night in determination and put 3D Render Daemon together. The design only took 1 day - but the content that is online now has taken proably close to 2 weeks total to get online. And I have not even touched 95% of the old content yet ! (The old 3D site has to have all the content "converted" into the new look).

F: Do you have any inspiring plans for the site in the future ?

B: Well in a perfect world, I would setup an ODBC link, get an ASP compatible ISP and do all this site dynamically. But at the end of the day the look & feel would be the same and the work a little less - but not a great deal. The biggest bonus would be the ability to have multiple editors.
The biggest problem for me now is to get the user base interested - and have more people support this site - which is there for them - by submitting content. Be it models, articles, hints, tutorials, profiles - anything. Simply shoot it to me via email and I'll slap it online for everyone to utilise.

F: One of the up and coming features of the site is the model section. Have you been surprised by the level of support for it ?

B: Yes - the model library is a fantastic concept. The FTP has faded into obscurity somewhat as no-one can see what is online, and the password changed, proving too complicated for most. A website is a far more personal and visual way of having materials / models etc online for the users.
The support has been good - but to be honest - a bit dissapointing from my perspective. We have had a handful of people (for which I'm eternally grateful - even Vesa himself) submit models, but little from the rest of the user base out there.
The site is there for the users, and without the users input / help - will fade away as well. I'm trying to keep the enthusiasm up by posting regular newsletters to the list - but the response has not been particularly high. :(

F: How far do you feel Realsoft have come over the past few years and where would you like them to go ?

B: Interesting question - on the one hand I'd say that v3 almost had more power in many ways - the interface has improved, but many features are still sadly absent (I loved the fractal trees, the analytical lathe tool, the recordable / editable macros etc).
But that said - its a powerful program with infinite expandability and potential if we can generate enough interest in the community as a whole. Which is again the reason I'm attempting to de-mystify the plugin people and encourage others to write more. If max did not have the support of its enourmous plugin base, it would not be where it is today.
I'd like RS to proactively push the product, users to support and write plugins for it, have an active and diverse model library available, and a sexy interface to go with all that extensibility and programability ;)

F: Do you have any dreams you would like to bring to life with Realsoft 3D?

B: Many - but I get sidetracked too easily ;)

Coffs Apartments
Sloper Residence
The Boulevarde refurb
Wesley Church
O'Halloran Residence
Queanbeyan Tower

F: And finally in traditional fashion, is there anything you wish to say to the RS community ?

B: Please support this site ! Be inspired - interview your fellow user - Write a tutorial about what you have learnt to do ! Submit your last model - be active in our community - as its probably the biggest asset we have - the RS community.
The problem is, a new user cannot read a user list - its websites like this that people will see - and if we can show a viable, prosperous website, it instills greater faith and value into the product that we all know, use and love.

OK - so I'm doing a bit of soap boxing here - but don't be shy - send me your masterpieces !!

Thanks for your replies, I will edit them into an article and submit it to the site!

Best Regards,
Frank "The Rookie" Dodd

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