Belle van der Woodsen is a German 3D artist living and working in New York for Binyan Studios. Her career began around three years ago after making the decision not to finish her master’s degree in architecture. Working for top architectural visualization studios such as Recent Spaces and Binyan Studios has enabled her to grow as an artist as well as a designer. As a former architect, she found a new passion for interior design, and her expertise led her to work on international projects that are published on Dezeen and ArchDaily. Being a role model in the world of archviz for women, she was also featured in the book Great Talks about Photo Realism II by Bogdan Sasu, where you can learn more about how she approaches her work.
We caught up with Belle van der Woodsen to ask her a few questions, and she also provides a step-by-step guide detailing how she created one of her projects, A Love Letter to Paris.
Q Do you have a background in 3D design or are you self-taught?
A I studied architecture in Germany and Austria where I also worked as an architect. After five years I realized I was already burned out doing architecture, but very randomly I found out that I liked visualization a lot. I attended a weekend workshop which taught me very basic V-Ray and Photoshop techniques. This made me think about turning this into a career, but I didn’t know how back then.
When I found out about SOA in Venice I was really happy and I went there to attend a four-week masterclass. I learned everything from scratch. Until I got there I hadn’t even opened 3ds Max before. During those weeks I almost lost my mind and I also had nightmares while learning so much. After the course, I started to slowly build my portfolio and also taught myself Corona Renderer, which I have used ever since. All this effort paid off in the end. From being an unhappy architect to being a very happy version of myself is the greatest achievement for me.
Q How do you keep things fresh?
A I always try to keep myself inspired. This means Instagram, Pinterest, and Behance are part of my daily work. Being up to date with the latest design trends is essential for me and my job. It’s very refreshing as well. Sometimes that’s not what the clients are asking for but it ends up in a personal project. I love to do my own architecture and interior design. That’s how I can combine the best of both worlds, which means a lot to me. I can finally express myself without getting any client comments that totally destroy the first idea of the image. I appreciate personal work now more than ever. It’s satisfying. I basically never understood why people were doing it until I did it for the very first time. There is a different feeling about it. It’s more than just starting and finishing an image. The pride I feel when I’m in love with the final image – that’s why I do it.
Q What’s your day-to-day life like?
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