Design and style from a Scandinavian perspective

More 3D and an interview with Bertrand Benoit

The other day when I posted these 3D images by Lasse Rode, I got some questions about how it is done, and as I was wondering about this too I decided to ask Bertrand Benoit, a professional CG artist. He took some time out of his busy day to explain the technique to me, and also sent me some pictures from his work process that I'd like to share that with you, in case you are as curious as I was.
Me: – Hi Bertrand, nice to hear from you again! (I posted his work before, so we have been in touch earlier.)
Bertrand: – Hi Emma! I was very happy to see Lasse's images on the blog, not just because they are gorgeous, but also because I had been wondering if you were aware of how big an influence you are on digital artists, especially those like me who specialise in architecture and interiors. Strangely enough, stylists and CG artists don't tend to mingle and although CG artists are acutely aware of the stylists' work, the opposite is not true.
Me: – Thanks, I'm so happy to hear that you find inspiration in the pictures I post! Some of my readers were wondering about the creational process of this kind of pictures, how does it work? Do you start by using the original photo and sketch your picture on top of it?
Bertrand: – Since it is 3D, it is easier to start from plans or blueprints than from photos. This is because the dimensions should be as accurate as possible and these are sometimes difficult to infer from a photo. One can start from a photo, though, as Lasse has done (it is called photo-matching and often used when a CG building has to be integrated into a real photo). Working from photos is also important in terms of getting the materials, the lighting and other object properties right. Most people in this line of business aim for photorealism in their work, so this type of exercise - to work from a photo - is really useful and certainly the best way to improve. The software is a bit like a camera - it can do everything but what counts in the end is the eye and the composition, which is why the best CG artists in the architectural and interior areas (people like Peter Guthrie for instance) are those with a photography background.

The pictures above give us some idea of how the process looks.
Me: – I think I get the general idea, but could you please take us through your process step by step?
Bertrand: – There are a few steps involved in photo matching. The first would be to try and find out (or to guess from experience) what camera settings were used when taking the photo, particularly the focal length, and to ask yourself simple questions about the setup (where would the camera be positioned in the room; how big is this door frame or this sofa supposed to be; what should be the distance between them...). Then you would create a CG camera in an empty scene that matches these settings as closely as possible. The next step would be to load the photo in the viewport of your 3D software and to start sketching a simple 3D scene with placeholder geometry where the different walls and objects in the photograph would be. Once you are done it is just a matter of tweaking your camera to match the image as closely as possible and proceed to build your full scene. It is not an exact science. Rather, a lot of eyeballing is needed. A good instinct for space and dimensions. Some people are just better at it than others. I hope that clarifies it a bit.
Me: – Yes, the process is totally clear to me now! Thank you so much for taking the time to explain it all to me and my readers, I really appreciate it.
Below are some great examples from Bertrand's portfolio, all modeled after pictures originally created by some great photographers and stylists. The last pictures were inspired by this blog post, and I actually think the 3D images are better than the originals in this case. I hope you enjoyed the interview!



Birthday wish list, sort of...

My birthday is coming up this week, so I asked on Facebook if you wanted to see my wish list. As the answer I got was an overwhelming YES, I'm happy to present this short list for you today! I am not expecting to get any store-bought gifts really, all I am hoping for is some cute handmade things from my kids, but if I was to write a proper wish list, it would look something like this:
In Between chair from &tradition, black washable paper laundry bag available at White Style.

Cross pillow by Pencil Me In at Society6, Tyvek paper weekend bag by Saskia Diez from Paper of Course, Quote marble bookends by Julia Stenius,  Raw Steel Iron candle holder by Annaleena.

Plus bedlinen and Agnes vases from Normann Copenhagen. 

Real or not? 3D graphics have come a long way...

Do you remember the photos of &Traditions new designs that I showed you in a post a few weeks ago? I just got an email from an architect who used a 3D-rendering software to reproduce the images because he was so inspired by them, so he tried to catch the wonderful light in the photos. Meaning, he created these pictures himself, from scratch, on his computer, to look almost exactly as the original photos. I think it's just crazy how far 3D graphics has come in the last few years! No one could tell that these are not photographs, and I almost can't tell the difference between these and the originals. Can you?
I actually studied 3D graphics briefly in college, but let me tell you, pictures like these weren't even imaginable back then, and even though we had some great software, these results would have been impossible even for the most talented persons. (I was not among those talented persons. I was happy if I could make an image that someone could see what it was supposed to depict. Like a ball, or a snowman...)
All images by Lasse Rode at Xoio studio


Photo locations to dream of

I found these wonderful photo locations in the UK, available through JJ Locations. I dream of finding places like these in Sweden!


Norm Architects Zen House

Last week when reading Norm's blog at Bo Bedre I saw some great pictures from their latest project that I wanted to share with you, so I emailed Jonas Bjerre-Poulsen, one of the architects and also the photographer behind their photos. He sent me the pictures and many more, so many in fact that I had a very hard time choosing which ones to show here. To be able to show you as many as possible without making this post into a huge picture bomb I decided to make small collages of some photos and show some of the others in full size. Do you like this format?

The house looks like a normal Copenhagen house from the outside, but once inside a whole new world opens up. Extremely minimalistic and very zen. I'm drawn to the calm and tranquil atmosphere, but I'm not sure I could live like this myself. How about you?



Fave Instagrammers: designoform

Swedish blogger Emma with the blog Design and Form is one of my favorite instagrammers. Her pictures shows lots of DIY inspiration with paper, both origami and other techniques, and are always very beautiful, and as a big bonus you can find all the tutorials on her blog. Find her on Instagram under the name designoform.

Lotta Agaton lives here!

The blogosphere have been waiting for the pictures of Lotta Agaton's home to come online ever since they were published in RUM magazine this last autumn, and now when Swedish magazine Residence published them they are finally released! You may have already seen them, but I think they are so amazing that I just have to blog them. To me, this is perfection. The balance between the graphic white and black, softened by natural leather, wood and an abundance of green plants and the stylish little vignettes placed around the apartment makes this home feel so inviting and fresh!
Styling: Lotta Agaton
Photo: Pia Ulin


Nice new styling from Jotun

When Jotun launches their new color charts they always have really nicely styled pictures to inspire their customers, and this time is no exception. Their brand Lady is extending their range with a new matte washable paint called Wonderwall, and below are the product shots.
Ps. Thank you all so much for your nice encouraging words about my book! I really appreciate your support!


Northern Delights, my book almost finished!

I'm so excited to share this with you today! The first pictures of my book, Northern Delights: Scandinavian Homes, Interiors and Design are out now, and although it's not printed yet (it will be published mid March), you can see exactly how it's going to look. It's such a great feeling to see how all my hard work and favorite pictures are coming together as a real book! The book shares the aestethics of this blog for the most parts, but there is also a more colorful chapter, and some other surprises that you wouldn't find on my blog. Also, the book holds a mix of interiors and products, and several nice interviews with interesting people from the Scandinavian design scene. You can read all about it here on Gestalten's site where you can also see some more pictures.
Update! You can buy a copy here!

My styling for Brdr. Krüger

Remember back in December, when I went to Copenhagen (again) for a styling job, and showed you some behind-the-scenes? The shoot was for Brdr. Krüger's new catalogue. They are an old Danish family business, established in 1886, probably most famous for their Tray Tables designed in 1963 by architect Hans Bølling. What you perhaps didn't know is that they are also producing the world famous wooden monkey by Kay Bojesen. The monkey production actually takes place in their home, with the whole family gathered around the dining table, attaching the different parts by hand. Isn't that awesome?!
The brief for the pictures was to make some fresh and inspirational photos of the tray tables and Orbis Mobile glass tables/carts. I wanted to take them out of their traditional context and make them a bit more modern and playful, so I chose to do the shoot in a studio where we could play around a bit more and not be constrained by the limits of a real home. I also tried to vary the settings and expressions as much as I could for each photo, to show the versatility of the tables. The pictures are meant to be more as loose suggestions sparking the imagination than real life settings that you can copy and use in your home.
Below are my favorite pictures (there are more photos, but we played around worked hard in the studio for two days so I won't show you everything because you would get bored). What do you think? Which one is your favorite?
Photo: Jonas Krüger
Styling: Emma Fexeus


Est magazine issue 8 is out!

I just finished reading the latest issue of Est Magazine that was released today, and as soon as I put my iPad down I quickly threw an email to Lynda, their creative director, asking if I could share these pictures with you. Luckily, she said yes! The photos, shot by Marjon Hoogervorst and styled by Anouk B, are from a family home in the red light district of Amsterdam, my favourite city in the world. Every spring I get this strong urge to go back there, and these photos didn't make that longing any weaker. Hmm, perhaps just a little weekend...
Have a look in the magazine for more pictures.