G Chada Design Studio - Case Study

Residential Interior Design Rendering with IRender nXt SketchUp Extension!

For over 10 years, Gary Chada has been running G Chada Design Studio in Waukesha County, Wisconsin. Gary specializes in providing design services, from conceptual development through construction documents, for the renovation and new construction of single family residential projects of all sizes.

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Here’s Gary looking pretty pleased with one of his finished projects!

Hello, Gary! What prompted you to start your own business?

Before I went on my own, I worked for one of the region's top residential design build firms and after several years I had advanced to become Lead Designer/Project Coordinator. After reaching one of the top tier positions in the company I felt it was time for me to expand my career options and finally pursue my master's degree in Architecture. The master’s courses definitely gave me a fresh perspective. It allowed me the opportunity to refocus my ambitions. In my final semester I decided it was time start my own business, and the rest, as they say, is history.

How do you differentiate yourself from your competition?

I believe it’s my design process both behind the scenes and with the client. I take the time to learn and understand the existing buildings or sites I’ll be working with before any real designing begins. That extra knowledge allows the tectonics of the structure to help inform the architectural development of the project. The conceptual design phase becomes easier once I can somewhat predetermine the outcome of the ideas. When it comes to the client, I intentionally start simple and work into the complexities. Every project begins with a conceptual design phase so they become engaged with the process as well as their project. From there, I allow my services to be flexible to adjust to each client’s particular needs. I can bookend the project with full architectural services or simply help them find peace of mind to get started.

You‘re a residential design specialist. Can you give us an example of a recent project you’ve done?

I recently completed a kitchen remodel in a 1996 home. The transformation included removing walls and opening the kitchen out to a grand dining room space. I wanted to incorporate the home's somewhat modern aesthetic by blending it with something a bit more contemporary. We lost some of the chunky details and replaced them with much cleaner lines and more subtle details. We also added some grays to the pallet alongside all the existing white base and blond wood trim. The kitchen really works well and fits perfectly.

The end result was a contemporary style space that blended neatly with the rest of the home, and the client loved it. Here’s a good representative rendering of the whole area (see Gary’s website for further renderings from this and his other projects):

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Very nice, but the effect is not totally photorealistic. Is this typical of the level of realism you use for your renderings?

I like to strip the rendering back just a bit to make my images a little less photorealistic. It gives them a more crafted feel, like a design drawing. So, my typical approach is not to achieve the most photorealistic image. I feel clients have a harder time engaging an image that is so highly refined, as if they can’t touch it or change it.

Do you follow a specific process for your renderings?

Over the years I’ve developed a simple 3 stage process to give me the image texture I like.
1. Setup lighting in the model and render the scene
2. Rip the same scene from the SketchUp model (with the sun "on" if it’s an exterior)
3. Overlay the SketchUp image on the IRender nXt image, then pull the opacity of the SketchUp image way back. The remaining lines and shading in the SketchUp image are very subtle, but really help to define the edges of details that otherwise blend together and get lost in the rendered image. Once in Photoshop I can saturate colors, sharpen corners, brighten/darken, play with the contrast, and do some clean up if necessary.

It might seem kind of clumsy, but I can run through it relatively quickly once I have the rendering the way I want it. Here’s a visual progression from the kitchen upgrade project based on this process:

SketchUp scene
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Rendering using IRender nXt
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Rendering enhanced in Photoshop - notice the enhanced edges
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What have your clients said to you specifically about the renderings you’ve sent them?

They are often blown away by how well the renderings capture the ideas. 2D drawings can rarely give my clients a sense of scale the way these drawings can. A common response is “now I get it, this is it.”

How long have you been using IRender nXt, and what about the software convinced you to buy it in the first place?

I believe I have been using IRender nXt for over 5 years now. I was really sold on how quickly I could get a high quality rendering right from my SketchUp model. I’ve use other rendering software that sometimes took hours per scene. I always had to cross my fingers and hope it didn’t crash half way through. It's also relatively easy to place and adjust lighting. It works well with my process.

Thanks, Gary! It’s been very interesting to see the process you use to produce your renderings and the level of realism that you find effective for your clients. We wish you continued success!

Checkout Gary’s company website and profile on Houzz
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