i d d q d Studio
Major trends in digital visualization: hyperrealism
Major trends in digital visualization: hyperrealism
Hyperreal and neo-analog archviz both break away from photorealism

Hyperreal archviz appeared along with neo-analog visualization in the early 2010s. By that time the expressive limitations of purely photorealist representation had become apparent. The shift from monotonous photorealism in computer animation manifested in all spheres of culture, not just archviz: computer games, digital photography, special effects. The early 2010s were the time when every special-effect rich movie was suddenly filmed in the dramatic blueish-green or sentimental magenta-yellow filters that created a surreal, artificial atmosphere.

Hyperreal approach to space representation

Just as neo-analog archviz, hyperreal visualization searches for new approaches to the representation of space. Neo-analog archviz depicts space mostly as an artistic abstraction. Hyperreal visualization explores space as a feasible sensory experience of a unique atmosphere. Because of that distinction hyperrealism and neo-analog archviz use different sets of visualization tools and techniques. Hyperreal archviz employs the methods of realistic and abstract painting and art photography, while neo-analog archviz often reinvents architectural graphics and drawing.


Hyperreal and neo-analog tools partly intersect and partly mirror one another. Neo-analog representation tends to use collage, while hyperreal archviz experiments with photomontage and matte-painting. Hyperreal visualizations may resemble classical landscape painting, film stills, and theater sets.


In advanced hyperreal visualization realistic fragments of renderings and photographs may be seamlessly glued together with background elements painted above the render. This technique makes visualization both livelier and more harmonious. It enhances the depth and complexity of space in the image. This combination of 3D rendering, photomontage, and matte-painting mirrors the human visual perception of space. The human eye is in constant motion. Humans perceive the world not as a static picture with linear one-point perspective, but as an endless flow of fragments seen from different angles, which merge only upon reaching the consciousness.


Illustration: "Solum" by Iddqd Studio combines rendering with cutouts from of photographs and matte-painting. Layers in the scene have different lines of horizon and vanishing points, and the cross-shaped wall is represented in parallel projection. This play with perspective makes the image both livelier and more monumental.

Visual harmony in hyperreal archviz

Hyperreal visualization often depicts space like a Renaissance painting: buildings and surroundings are represented harmoniously, all forms and lines in the image are elegant. A hyperreal visualizer chooses viewpoints that provide the most expressive outlines, balanced scale, and proportions. Image composition in hyperreal archviz is an interplay of light and color blocks. High-quality hyperreal visualization has no random, ill-conceived lines and color spots or chaotically located objects. Thus, hyperreal visualization pays great attention not only to what is depicted but also to how it is depicted.

There is no single ‘style’ of hyperreal visualization

It is important to separate the tools and methods of hyperreal archviz from its visual trends that change with time. In the first half of the 2010s, the key inspiration was the Romanticism of the first half of the 19th century. The second half of the decade was dominated by the metamodern sensibility: frontal projections, regular composition, “dusty” warm colors with an abundance of pink filters, which are used to convey a sense of sentimental nostalgia.


Whether hyperreal visualization artist gets inspired by the Old Masters, the 19th century Neoclassicism and Romanticism, or noir film stills, it’s usually not a matter of copying the style or visual aesthetics. The focus is on the technical methods of depicting light, air, color, mood, and atmosphere. These techniques are not the aim but a tool used to revive human encounters with the real space in an image.


Hyperreal sensory experience may be reached by a variety of pathways. This is why not only visual trends but artistic methods themselves are not a definitive characteristic of hyperreal visualization. Their use in the image does not explicitly imply that the visualization is hyperreal. This is why we use definitions of hyperreal visualization that focus on its aim and function rather than its methods.




Header illustration: "Tree Hotel" by Iddqd Studio.