Canyon Reflector

July 2018

SJB is excited to be among five finalists in the Unreal Studio (Film) category of the 2018 CGarchitect Architectural 3D Awards, an international design competition for high-quality real-time visualisations using Unreal Engine. 

Shortlisted for Canyon Reflector, this 2.25-minute geo-futuristic short film by the SJB visualisation team takes the viewer on a walkthrough of an imaginary house perched as a retreat on a cliff, overlooking the only oasis in a desert canyon. Although its metallic skin contrasts with the red environment the interior of the house welcomes the desert inside by providing large sweeping windows and a courtyard that opens out to the sky.

Starting from the bottom of the desert oasis the video slowly moves closer to the house, finally entering and showcasing the natural features of the house. The open courtyard is the main feature and retains the natural rocks and trees that the house is built upon, creating a liminal space that blurs the distinctions between inside and outside.  The interior scenes reveal how it continuously affects the house, ie always showing shadows and light from trees being cast into the courtyard and affecting the rest of the house. The final scene caps it off by reminding us of the canyon environment we are in.

To create this tightly edited composition the team responded to the rendering challenge of getting the materials right in UE4, requiring trial and error in both materials and lighting to create the desired sensory effects. Programming using ‘blueprints’ in UE4 was an opportunity to push beyond the usual parameters of traditional 3D artistry.

Entries are judged on visual quality, with an emphasis on photo-realism and understanding of lighting and material use. The winners will be announced August 27 and shortlisted entries can be viewed here.