Architectural visualization conferences. What are they all about? Are they worth it?

Arch-viz conferences are definitely a thing and no one can deny it. There are new ones starting every few years and the ones that have already been running for some time are growing in attendants. If you are an architectural visualization artist you have probably heard about or seen some photos of arch-viz conferences, but if you have never been to one you are also probably wondering if they are worth your money and time. So I would like to share my opinion with you and hopefully, it will help you make up your mind on whether or not to attend.

Let me start by briefly telling my personal experience at some of these conferences so that we can then move on to the pros and cons.

A few years ago when I first moved to a European country, I suddenly found myself surrounded by arch-viz conferences and workshops that were a one-hour flight of distance or even less. In the last 2 years, I have attended the D2 conference 2017 in Vienna, the 3D symposium in Barcelona and again the D2 conference 2018, among other workshops and meet-ups. I know that there are other events in Europe, but as far as I know, these are some of the most important conferences (not workshops) strictly focused on Architectural Visualization (if you know about any other please let me know in the comments, I will very much appreciate it!).

D2 2017 (Vienna)

The 2017 edition of the D2 conferences was my first experience in an environment like that. I attended it with a bunch of friends and colleagues from ZOA, the studio where I was working back then in Hungary, and I was lucky enough to be invited by AXYZ design to go up the stage and give a short presentation about my ANIMA Museum Project, which I had created for a contest organized by AXYZ and Ronen Bekerman.

At this event, I had the chance to see presentations from studios and artists like Mike Winkelman (aka Beeple), Toni Buzollc and Mark Lee (Uniform), Tomas Dubois, Ollie Alsop and Rebecca Watson (Squint/Opera), Tomasz Wyszolmirski (Dabarti), among other great speakers.

My presentation of the “ANIMA Museum – Crowded Challenge¨ 2nd runner up image, during the AXYZ presentation.

 

3D Symposium 2017 (Barcelona)

In October of 2017, I attended the 5th edition of the 3D Symposium in Barcelona. The speakers at this event were also amazing:

  • Ciro Sannino and Aldo García (5SRW Learn Vray and Berga&Gonzalez) who talked about the impact colors have on the mood of our artwork.
  •  Pedro Fernandez (Arqui9) did a live speed-painting/matte-painting which was awesome.
  •  Jaime Jasso (ILM) showed some exclusive behind the scenes from a star wars movie and also showed us that what they do in VFX is not that far to what we do in terms of tools and workflows.
  •  Matthew Bannister (DBOX) talked about the creative process behind their Park Avenue 432 project in New York and I could see how Arch-viz can go much further than simple images, animations or VRs.
  • Nikos Nikoloupolos presented his Creative Lighting philosophy.
  • Alberto Berga y Javier Gonzalez (Berga&Gonzalez) gave a speech on Project Management and tools for productivity control.
  • Nuno Silva (nu.ma) talked about their workflow and experience working as both architects and architectural visualizers.
  • Victor Bonafonte (Beauty And The Bit) held a presentation on iconic image creation and the Beauty and the bit workflow.

At this conference, I got the chance to meet Victor Bonafonte and Lina Garau (Beauty And The Bit founders) in person, whom I work for nowadays. I also met and talked to people, mostly from the Spanish arch-viz industry and made some good friends.

D2 2018 (Vienna)

The most recent conference I´ve been to and probably the one that I enjoyed the most. Along together with part of the Beauty and the Bit team, I attended the 2018 edition of the D2 conferences in Vienna, where the B&TB project ¨LANDMARK¨ was presented. This edition was a big one since the number of attendants grew to 400 people. This means more interesting people to talk to, more good experiences and more fun.

 

The speaker’s lineup was this great:

 

The presentations covered a wide range of subjects such as creative processes, business and client management workflows, software and tools, etc. I particularly liked the talks held by the crazily talented Sava Zivkovic, Nikita Diakur (his presentation was a great mix of interesting and hilarious stuff), Justin Bourne, Mike Golden and of course the ¨LANDMARK¨ premiere by Victor Bonafonte. Also, every year at the D2, the CG Architect Awards are presented by Jeff Mottle. You can check out the winners in the following video.

During the 2 days, I got the chance to talk to very nice and interesting people from studios like Foster and Partners, Uniform and DBOX, and to meet Jason and Fabio, co-founders of the D2 Conferences. Here are some tips and phrases from different people at the 2018 D2 that I consider interesting or important (or funny) to reproduce:

  • “Our work also consists in protecting our clients against themselves” Mike Golden.
  • “Use personal projects to learn a specific skill or tool” Sava Zivkovic.
  • “A ping pong table is not company culture” Justin Bourne.
  • “A ping pong table in the office is the best thing that ever happened to me” Eric De Broche. 
  • “Hire and promote women” Matthew Bannister.
  • “Clients always get the work they deserve” also Matthew.

 

All of this sound very nice but, what can I expect? Should I stay or should I go?

If all of the above didn´t help you to get an idea of what to expect from attending this kind of events here is a list to make it clear:

What you can expect from it:

  • Have a great time surrounded by interesting people that share the same passion.
  • Get to see some exclusive behind the scenes of big productions from talented studios.
  • Learn from studio founder´s experiences.
  • See other studios and artists workflows.
  • Get some business tips.
  • Talk in person to artists that live on the other side of the world.
  • Get inspired.
  • Stay up to date to some of the industry tools and software.
  • Lately, the conferences started to also be a place for recruitment, so if you are on a job hunt you can take your portfolio and CV with you.

 

What you shouldn´t expect from it:

  • Get to deep learn or master a specific tool/software/skill.
  • To get clients.
  • Get a one to one training on how to charge for your work and manage clients.
  • To ask about render settings and expect people to stay around you much time.
  • To ask ¿how much do you charge for an image? and expect people to stay around you much time.
  • To be bored.

 

To summarise 

In my personal opinion, I would say that if you have the chance to attend, do not hesitate. And if you go, try not to be shy and to talk to as many people as you can (I am still struggling with this one myself). You will be surprised about how humble and kind some amazingly talented people are, just go and say ¨hi¨.

FINAL DISCLAIMER

This is my first post ever, so if you have any comments/critics/suggestions, please leave a comment below. I am open to critics, to all kinds of them so just go ahead!  🙂

 

Cheers,

Lautaro

 

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