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 How to Achieve the Fine-balanced Composition in ArchViz: Introducing CG Generalist, Ramees Muhammed

How to Achieve the Fine-balanced Composition in ArchViz: Introducing CG Generalist, Ramees Muhammed


In early June 2021, Hum3D just ended their Without Borders 3D Visualization Challenge with the winners announced! Hum3D, as a devoted 3D models provider who has helped 3D artists from more than 80 countries to save time on 3D modeling, initiated the challenge to remind us not to set borders and restrictions to our imagination, and travel without borders by creating 3D renderings in this special period of time.


Fox Renderfarm, as the best render farm which spares no efforts spurring creation and realizing imagination, sponsored the challenge. More than that, we are really thrilled to have the chance to talk to the 1st place winner -- Ramees Muhammed.

Ramees Muhammed

Ramees Muhammed

His render, Aspire Tower (Doha, Qatar), stands out among all the excellent artworks with its fine-balanced composition and brilliant lighting. Let’s have a look at what he and the jury say about the artwork, and don’t miss out our contentful interview!

Aspire Tower - Ramees Muhammed

Author’s description:

“I am very excited to take part in this interesting challenge. It's a fascinating topic to root on, especially when the world is dealing with the pandemic and not everyone can travel and see around the world.

I decided to enter the competition and take this as an opportunity to create this beautiful tower in Qatar - The Aspire Tower. It is also called the Torch Doha or the Sports Tower.

It is a 300-meter tall skyscraper designed by architect Hadi Simaan. It was a landmark of the 2006 Asian Games held in Doha.

The place is known as the Sports City of Qatar as it holds various games and the stadium behind the tower is one of the stadiums which will host the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

I wanted to reimagine the way the tower will look in a dramatic manner, and intensify its beauty. The tower is a metal structure on the outer layer composed of light layers that often produces advertisements and announcements.”

Comments from the Jury:

Yurii Lebediev: “Symmetrical composition is boring in most cases (for me personally). But the Moon and all other elements that break this symmetry make this render special. I love the night lighting and the position of clouds in the background too”.

Martin Krasemann: “Lots of work on this one, creating a nice night scene is a complex task and the tower is really well lightened. Composition works also very well. The reflection on the water looks nice also”.

Alessandro Maniscalco: “Great architectural rendering with amazing modelled and detailed structure. I was shocked about the environment's crispy details. Great night atmosphere”.

Agnieszka Klich: “Realistic image, nice composition, interesting lighting setup! A great way of using the contrast between cold and warm lights to balance composition and focus interest on the main subject of the image – the tower”.

Fox Renderfarm: “Excellent rendering and mood-setting, especially with the moon so full and bright! Nice work!”.

Calvin Bacon: “The lighting, composition, and mood that this render portrays are fantastic. The incredibly high level of detail and realism make this my top pick”.

Jonathan Holmes: “Eye-catching design with beautiful lighting and a very melancholy atmosphere. Loving it!”.

Jacob Norris: “Fantastic mood and the minimal use of colors really helps to highlight the shapes of this beautiful architecture”.

Emanuele Serra: “This work attracted my attention, simple in its composition, but very interesting in the use of night lights, expressing the intense strength of the structure. I like how the colors and contrasts of the composition have been balanced”.

Paul Roberts: “The main building is very well modelled with an atmospheric mood and detailed context. The composition is strong with the form defined by using a predominantly dark building defined against the lighter sky. Modelling is to a good standard with a good amount of information communicated in the surrounding site without it distracting from the main focus”.

Nicolas Wirrmann: “I particularly liked the mood, the lighting work and subtle post processing. The result is an elegant photorealistic render. (The moon might be a bit too much though 😉)”.

Interview with Ramees Muhammed

Fox Renderfarm: Hi Ramees! Thank you for accepting our interview. Could you have a brief introduction about yourself?

Ramees: Hi, you’re welcome and thank you for this opportunity to discuss.

I am a CGI Generalist from India and living now in Qatar. I have been in the industry for the last 10 years. I now work as a Forensic 3D animation specialist.

Fox Renderfarm: Congratulations for winning first place in the Without borders Challenge, how do you feel about it?

Ramees: Thank you! Well, it feels great. It was special and exciting. The challenge itself was an exciting thing to take part in. Winning it gave me confidence and I look forward to doing more. Also I’d like to thank Hum3D for the opportunity and the entire Jury for selecting my work.

Fox Renderfarm: Why did you choose Aspire Tower as the main building of your project?

Ramees: Having lived in Qatar for more than 9 years, the Aspire Tower and the park has always been my favourite area to visit. It’s a beautiful structure and it’s the tallest one in this tiny country.

It’s seen from anywhere in the city of Doha due to its height and it’s beautifully lit during the night. I always wanted to do something with that in 3D, yet never got an opportunity. Then came the Hum3D Challenge.

Reference image - Aspire Tower - Ramees Muhammed

Reference image

Fox Renderfarm: The Aspire Tower you created is so amazing and realistic, could you share with us the modeling process?

Ramees: The modeling was a straightforward process. I modeled it from scratch. I used the available elevation drawings from the internet and used modeling tools in 3ds Max like Lathe, Edit Poly and Spline Surfaces. No plugins were used for modeling.

The process includes:

  • Lathe based on the outer shell profile.
  • Edited polygon and created sub shell structures (Iron stripes that run from the base to the top) using edge to spline option.
  • Some additional polygon modeling for added details like welds, canopy etc.
  • Floors are done using Lathe and Shell.
  • There are a lot of wire mesh layers made out of edge to spline option, they run all through out of the structure for added detail, especially since they look better when lights cut through them.
  • Curvy structures like the pool extension are done using spline to surface modifier.

Clay -Aspire Tower - Ramees Muhammed

Clay -Aspire Tower - Ramees Muhammed

Clay -Aspire Tower - Ramees Muhammed

Clay -Aspire Tower - Ramees Muhammed

Clay -Aspire Tower - Ramees Muhammed

Fox Renderfarm: The night lighting makes the scene really fantastic. Could you introduce your lighting work?

Ramees: I used an HDRI as the base lighting. This was overlaid with some color correction in order to get the desired color profile. Once this was achieved, I started lighting the scene elements.

For the building, I placed little sphere lights that runs throughout the spline cage (as used in the real building). For the interiors, I simply used Corona light material with some opacity maps to simulate the internal lighting. I used a backlighting technique for the roof torch, which projects from the floor to the torch.

For the ground level, I lit the floors using a large Corona sphere light that bursts out in a high intensity.

I used similar technique for the the nearby buildings, placing lights on the visible areas and used image lights for the inside. These are accompanied with added bloom and glare.

I scattered some tiny lights on the ground - these were distributed across the landscape with multiple colors to simulate the traffic movements as well as objects.

Night view - Aspire Tower - Ramees Muhammed

Night view

Fox Renderfarm: We are all impressed by the excellent rendering and mood-setting, how did you set the rendering?

Ramees: I believe the key part of setting the right mood was achieving the right texture of sky.

I used the color corrected HDRI with a backplate multiplied on top of it.

The rendering part was straightforward. I used an LUT overlay and some color correction inside the frame buffer. The lights were rendered out as separate passes in order to get more control during the post production.

Post Production -

The moon was added in here and placed somewhere below the roof level to give emphasis on the tower height.

The color correction was the tricky part as it wasn't easy to determine what's best. I produced outputs in two color tones, though I submitted only one for the challenge.

The process included several levels of color balancing, playing with hues on individual items, toning, saturating and adjusting levels.

Aspire Tower - Ramees Muhammed

Fox Renderfarm: How long did it take to finish the work? Did you meet any difficulties when creating this work? And how did you solve it?

Ramees: The overall process took around a week and this was done during my time off the work desk.

The key challenge, like in any project is setting the scene and etermining the overall look. This process took the most time as the it was the backbone and the rest of the process was okay. I spent some time on the modeling too.

The tower in reality has a slightly different color tone which is not really my favourite.

I always tried to reimagine the scene and thought of how it can be presented.

I wanted to make the scene a bit more dramatic. This was achieved after spending some time with a lot of trial and errors.

Early render draft - Aspire Tower - Ramees Muhammed

Early render draft

Adding the moon was a choice I had to make - yes, a slightly larger one that glows in the dark.

Fox Renderfarm: Could you briefly share with us your education and work experience along your CG journey?

Ramees: I studied Bachelor of Science in Visual Communication and an advanced diploma in Multimedia from my hometown in India.

In my 10+ years of career, I’ve spent my most time working for a company which is somewhat unique in terms of production. I am the head of a team that produces Forensic technical animations that are used for Civil arbitrations and Construction tenders etc.

I have worked with some of the world renowned engineers and agencies during my stint here (Could not disclose any names due to the nature of my job which are confidential).

This includes some of the major airports in the middle east, Oil and Gas and Marine related projects.

Aside from that, I do concept designs in my own time - which includes aircraft (Sting R12, EVA X01), some architectures and hobby renderings. (

Starways Arena © Ramees Muhammed

Starways Arena © Ramees Muhammed

Fox Renderfarm: How do you improve your CG professional skills? Could you give some learning advice to CG learners?

Ramees: As an artist who hasn’t been working in the ArchViz industry for a very long time, the challenge was one of my attempts to get back in the scene.

For me who has been doing non photorealistic illustrations and animations, it was a challenge to learn the theory and the psychology. It’s more important than learning the toolset.

I believe it’s all about observing the world around us. It’s how we tell the story throughour renders which matters.

Learning new software and toolsets as well keeping ourselves updated with the latest technology is equally important. I used to watch the tutorials available on the internet over and over. Even if we know how to use them, there will be always something as a takeaway from every one of those - the way everyone uses every tool is different.

Knowing these little tricks and shortcuts are always important, they make our lives easier and our jobs effective.

One fine evening in Venice © Ramees Muhammed

One fine evening in Venice © Ramees Muhammed

Fox Renderfarm: Any artists or artworks inspired you most?

Ramees: Oh there are manay.

I used to watch videos from Agnieszka Klich. Her presentation on how to approach every project is always fascinating.

Agnieszka Klich

Agnieszka Klich

Marek Denko is another inspiring artist, whose renderings tell stories.

Marek Denko

© Marek Denko

I love the works of Bartosz Domiczek and Artur Tamiola from Common Point. Their works breath the liveliness.

Bartosz Domiczek

© Bartosz Domiczek

Artur Tamiola

© Artur Tamiola

The work from Pedro Fernandes (Arqui9) is amazing and it’s crazy how they use the post production on an extreme level.

Pedro Fernandes

© Pedro Fernandes

Fox Renderfarm: Have you used or heard of Fox Renderfarm before? If yes, how do you feel about it?

Ramees: Yeah and we have used Fox Renderfarm’s services quite a few times in the past.

Fox Renderfarm is all for rendering some animations and the approach was quick. The turnaround was fast and we liked it. (Saved us on an important deadline event).

Fox Renderfarm: Any other things you want to share with the CG enthusiasts?

Ramees: Our industry is a colorful world. We have all the luxury to play with the stuff we love unlike other professionals. We get to do creative things and get paid for that. I don’t think anyone else has that privilege.

The flip side is that it’s hard to keep the momentum going. It’s always a creative competition and only those who are willing to go out of the box would survive.

And it’s not a hard thing to do. You can do whatever you want when you’re full of ideas.

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