V-Ray for form•Z In Action at TILTPIXEL

As a visualization studio, TILTPIXEL relies on a carefully curated mix of tools to depict the unbuilt environment. Our artists understand the importance of an efficient workflow, dependable hardware and powerful, robust software. In choosing the best implements for our craft, we test and explore. We forge vital relationships with industry partners to monitor innovations in hardware and software, and we are not afraid to work with beta versions, provide feedback, push for more.

It is this earnest desire for partnership and improved technology that prompted Chaos Group to approach TILTPIXEL earlier this year. The task was simple: test the new V-Ray for form·Z and showcase the potential of this powerful duo.

We are innovators at heart – and we were eager for the opportunity.


V-Ray for form·Z has been on our wish list for years. Dave Anderson, a TILTPIXEL artist and top modeling guru, is a devotee of both tools and sees the enormous value in integrating the two. The chance to test the beta and participate in feedback forums was an easy win. Dave was the right guy for this job.

Before we could move forward, however, we had to select the content. Which building, or structure, would provide an opportunity to test V-Ray’s potential while underscoring the strengths of form·Z as a modeling tool? We bounced around dozens of ideas. Ultimately, the answer was clear, and it was one that excited Dave, Chaos Group and the entire team at TILTPIXEL.


The Harbin Opera House in China was designed by MAD Architects as a stunning work of art. Intended as a seamless extension of the natural environment, the exterior architecture is dramatic representation of waves flowing from river banks. This curvilinear façade presented the ideal test for a form·Z model. Meanwhile, the grandiose beauty of the structure would highlight the power behind V-Ray’s rendering engine. Both visually beautiful and technically challenging, a 3D illustration of the Harbin Opera House provided the perfect testament of art and utility that users of form·Z and V-Ray should come to expect.


With the subject identified, Dave’s first task was to model the building. He gathered images, including photography, a site plan and elevations. Using form·Z’s Reference Plane Parameters dialog, he brought in Jpegs for use as underlays that could then be traced over. Each view had its own underlay, which simplified the task and allowed for greater organization.


In tackling the curved nature of the building, Dave used a top-down underlay as a guide. He created half of the glass and mirrored it. By implementing the Reshaping and Derivative tools, he created the frame and glass from this base cage. Dave created the skin by first building a low poly cage, then using the Subdivide tool to smooth it and tweak the shape.

Image V-Ray materials were then applied to objects in the scene. Shown below is the glass material, a critical component of the Harbin Opera House rendering.
Once the model was built and materials finalized, lighting was precisely added. Here, interior lights are shown and consist of sphere lights of varying size and intensity.The main lighting source was derived from a dome light using an HDRI image.


The result was a rendering that spoke to the visual prowess of a form·Z and V-Ray integration. With its curved lines and seamless textures, Dave’s depiction of Harbin Opera House was a testament to the sophistication that V-Ray has brought to form·Z. The process was not without challenges. In working with form·Z’s beta version, we relied upon open, constructive communication with AutoDesSys. TILTPIXEL was privileged to take part in active feedback forums, and the easy nature of our dialogue with AutoDesSys enabled quicker bug fixes, more efficient problem solving and, ultimately, a better product. Working in beta requires patience and persistence, but the ability to inform the final release is well worth the extra effort. And for TILTPIXEL, it fits with our strategy of innovation. We cannot create exceptional imagery without pushing technology, partnering with industry leaders, and testing the tools available to us. It is a priority in our business – and working alongside the experts at companies such as AutoDesSys and Chaos Group allow us to drive excellence.



TILTPIXEL is an award-winning design studio that delivers dynamic 3D imagery, virtual reality, short films and campaign graphics for real estate and architecture. Based in Houston, Texas, our team is both collaborative and responsive, and our deliverables reflect a strong, sophisticated design sense that enable clients to market and sell. We view innovation as the lynchpin to our success, as we continuously strive to push past stalemates, disrupt obstacles, and create stunning visualization for clients around the globe.

See more at www.tiltpixel.com