Zina and Hugues have a way of injecting images with a kind of warmth. As a non-architectural and non-3D person, I think what brings that warmth are the touches of imperfections they put in the images. Not mistakes, mind you. Intentional imperfections.
In the image above, you’ll find the shelves and cabinets and the floor are of course perfect to their architectural specifications. Clean lines, pristine surfaces. But notice how the cushions of the sofa are curiously indented. It gives the feeling that somebody had been sitting there and just stood up to get out of the way of the picture. Or perhaps it was a friend visiting who took a little break in the washroom?
Same with this next image:
Notice how one of the chairs on the left is slightly sticking out. In fact, the chairs are all kind of a bit askew relative to the table and each other. It’s almost as if somebody haphazardly put the chairs back for this photo.
It is these touches that perhaps help the eye of the viewer to be tricked more easily to accept that these images are actual photos when in fact they are 3D renders.
All archviz artists, I would say, have an eye for detail. But Zina and Hugues have a unique eye for the human.
But don’t take my word for it. Take Axel Garioud’s, Marketing Communication Manager at Serge Ferrari, a fabrics and materials company that commissioned ZUH.
“ZUH delivered high quality renders and videos for us. Some 3D-reluctant colleagues are even using their pictures until now thinking they were shot in real life!” said Mr. Garioud.
This is one of the videos Mr. Garioud was referring to, a video that ZUH rendered using GarageFarm:
ZUH rendered this and another video using 3ds Max. This video was created to showcase Serge Ferrari’s products at a digital exhibition.
Another software that plays a major factor in most of ZUH’s creations is Substance Designer. Particularly for the Serge Ferrari project where they dealt with a lot of fabrics and special textures, Zina and Hugues took pains to avoid any tiling effect. Substance Designer helped them do that. Rendering about 6500 of such visually sophisticated frames for the animation would have taken weeks or even months without the help of a render farm.
Word of mouth and not-so-good experience with other online render farms led Zina and Hugues to GarageFarm.
“Working with GarageFarm brought us back to loving online render farm services. We’ve had quite unpleasant experiences with competitors in the past. We basically asked some friends in the industry about the best online render farm service and GarageFarm came as a solid choice,” say Zina and Hugues.
For ZUH, seamlessness between their software of choice and an online render farm is all-important. Not only does it lead to efficiency, it also allows new users like them to trust the farm better. “The renderBeamer app is perfectly integrated with 3ds Max and a clap of fingers is enough to send a scene to render on the renderfarm,” say Zina and Hugues.
Speaking of trust, a support team that can always be reached has proved crucial for ZUH. As when dealing with animation renders, issues will invariably be encountered.
“A few frames were bugging but thanks to the support team, the mistakes were solved really fast. We just contacted the support, who checked the scene and the bugging frames, and brought everything back into place,” say Zina and Hugues.
When you’re on a tight deadline, this kind of support really counts. “No matter if it’s 5PM or 5AM, we’ve always found help when needed. It’s pretty amazing to see this type of service, that we never met with any other online render farm service,” say Zina and Hugues.
Not only had ZUH been able to count on GarageFarm’s 24/7 support team, but they were also given an unexpected boost at a moment they really needed it. “If one of your frames is not properly rendered, a member of the staff will relaunch it for you, for free! Amazing,” they add.
Pricing is another thing that Zina and Hugues love about GarageFarm. As a relatively new company, getting more for their budget is an absolute boon. “We took advantage of the volume discount and injected $12,500 into our account, giving us $25,000 worth of credits. No other company proposes this,” share Zina and Hugues.
Zina and Hugues are currently experimenting with TyFlow particles, which they find powerful and efficient. They are very excited by the possibilities it can unlock for their future projects.
The duo is also fascinated by the progress of scanning technology, a technique that they pretty much use on a daily basis. As this technology progresses, they hope that render farms stay up-to-date and be ready to integrate new plugins.
As for their young company, they are looking to expand as their clientele grows. They are currently looking for like-minded people to beef up their operations.
Judging by the level of craft and skill Zina and Hugues are at, I’d like to say…good luck, applicants. “Our driving force is the passion that we have to create images and other content, all by using the latest available technologies,” say Zina and Hugues. Pro tip: if you want to join ZUH or create work like they do, you need to be on top of your skill as well as on top of the latest progress in 3D technologies.
Now, as for that unique, warm, human touch--that ZUH touch--well, I think it’s either you have it or you don’t.
ZUH uses 3ds Max, Corona Renderer, Forest Pack, Railclone, ATK, After Effects, Substance, and DaVinci Resolve, among other software.