Behind the scenes with the Nomoko 3D modeling team
Our 3D modeling team works its magic transforming high-res 2D photos into beautiful interactive 3D models. Here’s how they do it.
In our last behind the scenes article, we introduced the amazing Nomoko drone team and offered some insight into what it takes to capture complex urban environments in extreme detail.
That capture is the first step on the way to creating complete Digital Twins – next comes the not insignificant challenge of turning the high resolution 2D images into ultra-precise, real-scale 3D models. For that, Nomoko turns to its 3D team.
Meet the Nomoko 3D modeling team
Alex Ferreira is our senior technical 3D artist whose responsibilities cover both the production and R&D sides of the 3D modeling team. Alex’s responsibilities are wide ranging, “making sure the day-to-day execution adheres with company product priorities and managing collaboration with other teams at Nomoko – everything from delegating responsibilities and motivating the team to time management and problem solving.”
On the production side Alex manages workflows to make sure everyone has the right 3D model data when they need it and that resources and timelines are on track. Always seeking to improve our processes towards set milestones, Alex and the team are also constantly innovating and optimizing with a continuous R&D program that runs symbiotically alongside production. This might include things related to the production pipeline itself or to capturing methods with the drone team, model post-processing, added quality controls and more.
Working alongside Alex, Hugo Cunha is our resident 3D artist responsible for producing the standardized and customized 3D models that answer the bespoke requirements of every Nomoko customer. Inspired by a love of movie special effects, video games and sandboxing, Hugo’s enthusiasm for 3D digital art is as boundless as it is infectious. “I’ve always loved the creation of digital assets, from the higher abstraction of literal digital planets and their environments to the tiniest of intricate assets such as a watch’s inner mechanics. There are just so many potential applications in life for 3D data!”
“What could be better than a symbiotic workplace?”
Simon Scherer is our senior Geographic Information System (GIS) specialist who assembles and refines the base 3D models to perfection creating renders, videos and other outputs ready for delivery to our customers. As the last line of feedback prior to completion, he also keeps a close eye on quality.
Simon relishes the challenge of “combining data from different sources to make it accurate and at the same time look good”, which is good news as it’s a challenge he faces every day. A particular highlight was his first time walking through a 3D model the team had fully optimized to use with VR glasses, which Simon remembers in typically understated style as simply being “nice” before adding, “One could get a clear grasp of the dimensions of a building.”
Once the customer is happy with the 3D model, we move to configuring the requested customer outputs – everything from videos, images and orthophotos to simulations and CAD integrations. With the models defined and configurations in place, 3D artist Yevheniia Sirenko steps in to create “abstract illustrations and videos for our website and social media,” alongside other responsibilities curating videos and interviews for the Nomoko YouTube channel.
After her mandatory morning mug of tea and meditation session, Jenya (as everyone calls her) spends her days balancing her creative process with the visions of the stakeholders for the many projects she works on. Constantly making sure every artwork is on brand and showcasing Nomoko at its very best has become second nature, as Jenya created and is responsible for the Nomoko abstract 3D look – an achievement she cites as her proudest moment “to be trusted with such an important and amazing task.”
What are the big questions you get asked about building 3D models?
From photo capture to final delivery, building Digital Twins and 3D models to bespoke requirements is a juggling act of cutting edge technologies, complex data, multi-faceted processes and customer expectations. As you might imagine, there are always questions looking for an answer.
Alex: “The most common question I get asked has to be how and for what purpose can people use our 3D models.” The ‘how’ in that question refers to their technical rather than physical application.
“People and businesses can use our 3D models in any 3D software application – Blender, 3Ds Max, Cinema 4D, Unreal Engine, Twinmotion and many others,” explains Alex. “And they can serve a lot of different purposes depending on what our customers want. This could be visualization systems, ‘beauty renders’ of particular places, simulations, animations, videos, digital cities to simulate real world testing and much more. And they integrate beautifully with other types of data, whether that’s BIM and CAD models or the kind of data you see in our Nomoko Platform real estate solution.”
Hugo: “Not dissimilarly to Alex, most questions I’m faced with relate to the limitations, applications and sometimes the integration concerns customers may have about our 3D models. But it’s rarely an issue to answer these questions, as our models can be used with an enormous number of 3D related softwares and applications. These can relate to modeling, rendering or simply visualization applications like imagery and videography.”
Jenya: “As I create abstract videos and animations illustrating concepts on the future of technology, my role naturally raises questions from the people I work with as we collaborate to make sure everyone understands my vision. This feedback process is invaluable though, as what I create has to be clear and understandable to everyone across different media in order for it to be effective!”
What advice would you give to anyone inspired to work in 3D?
Hugo: “Persistence, persistence, persistence! Developing professional level 3D design skills is a marathon, not a sprint.” It’s advice that echoes from everyone in the Nomoko 3D team.
“I would say this career path requires a lot of commitment, hard work and persistence,” adds Alex. “A critical eye is also essential. It’s a lot like being an artist – the more you do it the better you get and if you fail, you do it over and over again until you succeed. It’s more about perseverance than natural talent.”
Jenya: “My advice would be to keep going. In the beginning this craft is extremely difficult and it seems like everyone else can do it except you. But it’s important to remember that everyone started from scratch and the reason anyone’s successful is because they just kept going.”
“Developing professional level 3D design skills is a marathon, not a sprint.”
“I started working in the creative industry nine years ago as a photographer before diving into film school in Toronto. One of my subjects was 3D modeling and compositing and as soon as I started I knew this was what I wanted to do. From admiring 3D effects in the movies to creating them myself, it’s crazy to me even now that I get to do this every day.
“Despite this being my dream job, I do sometimes feel discouraged or disconnected from what I’m doing,” – as everyone does at some point – “at which time I’ll repeat the mantra that always helps me focus: ‘Inspiration exists, but it must find you working’.”
Bring projects to life with extraordinary 3D models
Since Nomoko was founded in 2015, the 3D team has worked on designing and creating a bespoke pipeline that automates the 3D modeling process to create models faster and more reliably, with as little manual input as possible.
With that process now established (and to this day Alex’s proudest achievement at Nomoko), the team continues to refine it and expand the spatial services it enables. Today, our team is making 3D models for people, businesses, organizations and entire municipalities across Switzerland and beyond our borders into Europe. More and more people are recognizing the transformative effect a beautiful, versatile, georeferenced, up-to-date 3D model can have to explain ideas, improve decision making and inspire audiences. And we’re just getting started.
If you’d like to speak to our 3D modeling team, or have any questions about how our 3D models can bring your projects to life and plan, design and visualize more accurately, just get in touch and take a look at our spatial services.