20 Times Square

Last spring we had a job come into our studio at River that turned out to be one of the most stressful and hectic jobs I have ever worked on. It was a series of renders for one of the most valuable retail areas in the world. In the words of it’s website, “20 Times Square sits right on the Bowtie at Duffy Square, at the epicenter of Manhattan’s most hyperactive retail district”. This is serious retail space, the whole store rents for millions of dollars a year, it has one of the largest LED screens in the world at 18,000 sq ft,and we had but a few short weeks to turn around what turned out to be 20 renders, no pressure then….

Times Square was more or less a building site with work going on everywhere so photography was not really an option for most of the images. So to add to our workload many of the renders had to be all CG. All CG environments are always tough and not least in architectural visualization.  The next obstacle we had, was that when presented with some early draft renders it became apparent that the client did not like the design of the building! Normally this would have been resolved between the client and the architect but there was no time. The only option we had was to ask the client what they wanted to see, go away and for want of a better word, design it! Between us we came up with a concept that seemed to work and had some grounding in the real world. This is how the corner of the building went form being square to round.

With this accomplished we were able to crack on with the task in hand. This meant creating full 3D store interiors for a number of different retailers including Victoria’s Secret, GoPro, NFL, and Lego. As well as these specific brands we also had to devise a “kit of parts” as it became known. In essence we made generic stores that we could then manipulate the renders of in post to become more or less any clothing or tech retailer we needed to provide. To do all this we had 3 teams of modellers to work on different model sets and with the help of well researched reference images and guidance form the client we were able to create some good quality models in a relatively short time.

We rendered the images in Corona and with all the usual passes loaded everything into PhotoShop CC for the post work. This is where the images come to life and the direction of the client is realised. Our brief was quite simple in essence, we had to show the life and dynamism of Times Square, one of the busiest, most vibrant urban areas anywhere – whilst focusing on a shop! This is why we chose to have wet looking roads, to get more colour on the floor, to add more vibrancy. For the people we went out into London’s West End to photograph shoppers to endevour to match the lighting, socio-economic class, and of course they needed shopping bags in their hands!

Here are some of renders we created.  You can scroll through them here or click an image for a higher resolution gallery. ***images are temporarily unavailable – they will return!”


Images courtesy of RiverFilm