Seeking inspiration

Inspiration - Ezra Stoller

Actively seeking ‘inspiration’ was something i think i always struggled with. There are a couple of reasons for this. Firstly, my attention span, especially pre-college years, was always somewhat ‘erratic’. I say erratic rather than short because there were rare occasions where i did find something i deemed truly interesting/useful, and as soon as i did, i would focus intensely on it for hours/days/weeks until i had assimilated enough for it to no longer be a challenge, at which point i would drop it immediately and never feel the need to do it ever again.

Fortunately, by the time i got to university i managed to pull it together with the guidance of some of my lecturers. They helped me see the proverbial ‘forest for the trees’. I learned how to recognize when something was interesting but to stop before i got too engrossed. To make a note of it and then put it out of my head immediately moving on to the next thing. For me, half the battle of finding new inspiration was maintaining the motivation to search through all the ‘not so inspirational’ stuff. So if you can manage not to get side tracked and force yourself on to the next thing, you can continue to make the most of the drive to find new and exciting things and you’ll end up with a whole bundle of stuff that later, when the need to find new things has dissipated, you can go back and work through it in a structured manner. Why get bogged down in one thing when the next thing you look at could solve world hunger…extreme example but you get the idea.

Anyway getting back to the point. Now, in my later years…that sounds like i’m 60, i’m not…lets say in the years since i started in the vis industry, i’m still using this methodology to filter information to best influence my work. And fortunately it’s much much simpler to do these days with the wonder that is Pinterest. It’s so easy now to scour the internet of a lunch hour, or the inevitable afternoon following said lunch hour, pinning like a crazy person to then look at later and get even more engrossed in. Perfect!*

Now this is all well and good assuming you know where to find the inspiration in the first place! This is the main reason i’m writing this post. As i said at the beginning, finding inspiration was always something i struggled with but over the last 10+ years  i’ve built up a number of sources that i thought i’d share with you in the off chance that it will help.

There are a couple of things to cover here first of all. When starting out in archvis you generally look to your peers for inspiration which is great but can be limiting. If you want to produce photo-realistic images, looking at what other vis artists at the top of their game are doing is a good indicator of what is currently achievable however, stopping there in my opinion is only ever going to leave you second best.

Other artists’ work is limited by what they know, which means that you’re aiming at something that someone can already do. Real life photography on the other hand is not limited by these constraints and is, in the end, what we’re trying to achieve. If you want to be the next Guthrie or Bertrand you need to be aiming at doing something that hasn’t been seen before. In my opinion this can only come from seeing something in a photograph that no one has spotted before and applying it to your work. Granted, this window has to be so small now with the work that is being produced but as long as we can still distinguish photo from render there has to be something right!? Personally i think it’s going to be something in the lighting but that’s just me.

I’m not dismissing the advances in rendering here by the way, this is of huge importance and ultimately allows us to produce better and better accuracy in what we’re generating. I just believe in the end the rendering is a tool to be used by the artists and the end result lies with us.

Anyway, here’s where i go for inspiration to put it bluntly!

Inspiration - MIR


CG work: MIR, Peter Guthrie/Boundary, BBB3viz, Factory Fifteen, DBOX, The Neighbourhood, Hayes Davidson, Pikcells

Inspiration - H+C

Photography: Hufton+Crow, Ezra Stoller, Hedrich Blessing, Fernando Guerra, Adam Mørk, Iwan Baan, Helene Binet

Inspiration - Dezeen - Architectural

Other: Pinterest – Adam EickhardtDezeen – ArchitectureThe Cool Hunter, Architizer

That’s by no means all of it! Generally from these i end up on something else entirely but that’s all part of discovering new influences. Hopefully they’re of use to you though and that they encourage you to venture down many a rabbit hole!

Cheers, Matt.

*I suspect i don’t need to explain the premise of Pinterest however, for those of you who are unfamiliar with this, the idea is you ‘pin’ images you see on other websites to your account on Pinterest, generally into categories that you setup for yourself, and then you can go through all of those images later in one place and link back to the articles/images etc by clicking the image you pinned. If you have different ways do share below, i’m genuinely really interested to see how other people cope with it!

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