What are you looking for?

Jeju airport visualization by Downton studio for Form4inc.Downtown Studio © Form4inc
Jeju airport visualization by Downton studio for Form4inc.Downtown Studio © Form4inc

Leading the way in architectural visualization: exploring Downtown Studio's approach

Discover how Tomek Miksa founded Downtown Studio and collaborates with clients globally to create stunning photorealistic renderings using V-Ray for 3ds Max.

After finishing his studies in law, Tomek Miksa's natural journey might have been to join a law firm and start practicing. Instead, a long-held interest in 3D would lead him into architecture visualization.

Tomek's interest first took him to Ireland, where he based himself in Dublin, working at HKR Architects. After two years of building up experience in the architecture and urban design practice, he leaped at the chance to join the Norwegian studio, MIR, based in Bergen. This small but mighty archviz studio boasts some of the most prestigious architectural firms as clients and is renowned for producing photorealistic images that particularly highlight nature.

After finishing up at MIR and being ready for a new challenge, Tomek returned to his home country, Poland, and set up his studio, Downtown. These days, Tomek works with clients worldwide using V-Ray for 3ds Max to bring their visions to life.  

We spoke with Tomek to learn more about Downtown, the type of projects the studio takes on, and his approach to architectural visualization.

Downtown Studio © Form4inc

The Downtown approach and clientele 

After establishing Downtown in 2012, Tomek has spent the last 12 years working with international clients. “My portfolio enables me to reach out for various architectural companies from Europe, USA, and the Middle East.”

Many of Downtown's projects are competition entries or high-profile real estate projects, including with Obada Adra, currently Director Development at Dubai Holding and formerly of CallisonRTKL. And in 2020, he collaborated with John Marx and artist J Absinthia Vermut to create a virtual version of Burning Man’s Museum of No Spectators.

Tomek and Downtown focus on producing images, assisting clients who are particularly looking for quality images from someone with an approach that reflects their visual requirements and standards.

While Tomek used to use mood boards to help with inspiration, he now takes a different approach. "I prefer to treat each project like [a] white canvas and explore until I find something that I can relate to," he says. The results are images that nail the client’s brief and reflect his style.

Downtown Studio © CallisonRTKL

Using V-Ray to bring projects to life

When it comes to tech stack, Tomek relies on V-Ray for 3ds Max to produce photorealistic renders that stun his clients, giving them the quality of image they need.

V-Ray can deliver consistent results on the most intricate scenes, for example, Tomek's City Walk project for CallisonRTKL, which went on to win at the International Property Awards (IPA) in 2023. The project, Central Park at City Walk in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, sought to convert a regular park surrounded by buildings into an area that not only gave more open green space to the nearby residents but also increased air quality and preserved natural resources.

During the process, Tomek used V-Ray and, due to time constraints, polished the project with the help of Photoshop. “I would like to say that I use all the latest and newest V-Ray features, but most of the time, there is not enough time to do [everything] in 3D,” he says. “In my case, Photoshop helps a lot.”

Given the abundance of nature involved in the project, Tomek needed to pay particular attention to foliage in the renders, which had its challenges. “Foliage is always tricky,” he says, “I rely heavily on post-production where V-Ray brings a lot of artistic freedom.” In this instance, although VRay2Sided Material gave Tomek more control, he opted for a different approach. “I like the speed I am getting from a thin-wall setup.”

The result is a lush, vibrant render, showing the dynamism of the City Walk space. 

Downtown Studio © Form4inc

An eye on the future

With his work on City Walk complete (and the project winning the Best International Architecture Multiple Residence award for CallisonRTKL at the IPAs), Tomek is busy working on new projects. He's also keeping a close eye on the changes AI is bringing to the industry. 

"Current technology gives us lots of opportunities, but at the same time, there are some challenges that our industry is facing. We all use [AI tools] now on different stages of production. [This] applies to architects too, so it raises some questions about what the future in this industry will look like."

However, one thing is clear: regardless of what changes may come, Tomek Miksa's passion for 3D is still at the forefront. "I hope to still do what I love and look forward to the next exciting project."

Take your archviz renderings to the next level

Start a 30-day V-Ray trial now
© Škoda Design

Subscribe to our blog.

Get the latest news, artist spotlight stories, tips and tricks delivered to your inbox.

By submitting your information you are agreeing to receive marketing messages from Chaos. You can opt-out at any time. Privacy Policy.

© 2024 Chaos Software EOOD. All Rights reserved. Chaos®, V-Ray® and Phoenix FD® are registered trademarks of Chaos Software EOOD in Bulgaria and/or other countries.