has long been a supporter of Real 3D - Bernie
gives us the background:
den Hertog kindly allowed us
to "interview" him on the 25th
December 2002. This is the full transcript
from the conversation with Frank
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
(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
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
G Tanhcevski 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 :
depending on the client), Photoshop
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
Real does everything I need in 3D terms
- and could even do the compositing if I
got that sussed ;)
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
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
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
Training up my
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
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
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
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
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
B: Many - but I get sidetracked too easily
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!
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