THE ARCH / Sci-Fi Vision of the Future

Thomas Dubois started to share his Future Sci-Fi explorations on the forums back in 2012, grabbing the Best Visualization of the Week NO. 50/2012 & 09/2013 for being such a remarkable piece of visual work. This project of his, which is a collaboration with his brother and a good friend has much more to it, and goes beyond ArchVIZ into games and film… and real life well ahead of us in some scenarios. I’m keeping tabs with his work and invited him to write a bit more about it to share with you all. Enjoy!


Author : Thomas Dubois

Thomas Dubois is a young french architect, living in Montpellier, France. He is keen on drawing and all kinds of creations and stories. His passion is to imagine various of visuals, stories or even plots which finally led him to this universe you’ll see here…

Project forum thread – Sci-Fi Creation and a Vision of the Future #01
Project forum thread – Sci-Fi Creation and a Vision of the Future #02
Project forum thread – Sci-Fi Creation and a Vision of the Future #03
Project forum thread – Sci-Fi Creation and a Vision of the Future #04

First of all, I would like to thank Ronen for supporting this project and also for the work he is doing with the creative community.

After these deserved thanks, let me introduce myself. My name is Thomas Dubois, I am a young french architect, living in Montpellier, France. I have always been keen on drawing and all kinds of creations and stories. Architecture is my formation but apart of that, my passion is to imagine various of visuals, stories or even plots which finally led me to this universe I would like to show you.

This project is based on a scenario I’m working on with two people. By my side a real good friend of mine, Pablo Garcia ( a.k.a Blop ), who is an architect. And Alexandre Dubois (my brother), a student in literature who has the knack for creative writing. Between us three, we realized the 3D models, the visuals, the story lines and creative writings. This work really is an excellent way to be focused on graphic research, script writings, creative writings and also develop a full concept about the way we are going to live in the future.

Vice&Versa (cropped)

The Story, The References and the Process

Concerning the development process, it has been naturally set up. Drawing and writing make progress together and always question one another : Writing, 3D research, drawings, watercolors, dialogues, etc. The use of reference is very important during the process. I have a lot of reference coming from different fields of creation and great talents such as : Steambot studio, Factory Fifteen, Luxigon, Sparth, Julien Coquentin and Jeremy Mann. All these amazing points of reference are very important for me. I think that being very curious is an important part of my work.

Here are some images of the creation process, sketches and a glimpse of the story-line :

sketchs 1 sketchs 2 sketch 4



2172. In the aftermath of a terrible cataclysm named “The Flood”, Earth has been struck by a continuous increasing water level on the entire planet, submerging cities and lands. Human beings interpreted this disaster as a punishment for their former sins and lack of faith. Three different castes appeared consequently and divided the human species. The first one is the neo-aristocracy, composed by religious people living underwater, as close as possible to immersed ancient buildings such as castles, churches, temples or even historical sites in order to return to a form of purity man has lost because of modernity. Prophets are representatives of this new religious movement and their goal is to spread their religion, by any means necessary, to the second caste which is the proletarians…

Underwater Forest_1

Underwater Church_1

Underwater Church_2

Living on the remaining lands of Earth, the latter are poor people, cramming into shanty towns where the rays of the sun are getting warmer every day. Besides, they are subjected to the attacks of the anarchists, the third caste…

Favelas UP_1


Plan Upper watter favelas

Plan Upper watter favelas_2

…which, contrary to the neo-aristocrats, lauds heights, colonizes mountains and former modern buildings, controls the sky and tries to bring the ultimate form of liberty to everyone by establishing chaos. It is right in the middle of this tempestuous atmosphere that stories will be written in blood and heroes will rise trying to restore what’s left of humanity.

The Arch, A Suspended Village

The first idea of the image was to create something like a colony for the “still earth lived people”. I always start with some sketches and references before the 3d work begins to help me drive my way through the creation process.



And some references…

After this first research, a dialogue starts with Alexandre and Pablo. This discussion is very important in the process in order to make the idea grow and structure it. A lot of questions, suggestions, fun and it most often ends with “OK, let’s try this!”.

The main goal is to be creative and to maintain a good relation between the script, the visuals and the emotion. The technical part doesn’t have to be a problem; Most of the time good ideas can be done with simple methods. During all the process we exchange a lot to be more effective and productive. I think that good relation with the team is one of the key to produce a good project.

So what’s happening?

Everything is shared, from the smallest detail about a specific character to entire events taking place in the world we created. Basically, we try to meet as often as possible, with ideas that we would like to put in the project. Then, having all these things in mind, we keep the best ones, work on others and try to find some logical bounds for the story. There’s no secret : the best thing we manage to do is simply be creative while having fixed limits. Communication is therefore an essential part of the process, not only because it helps us sharing ideas, but also because it leads us to transform some material we had before into key elements. The point we are very proud of is that we are able to challenge every idea we have by talking between ourselves, something that enables to keep doing our best and stay open for any suggestion. Thus, creativity is maintained while restrained : an in-between that we always try to reach.



Modeling The Arch and the Housings

For the modeling of the arch, I mostly used standard techniques in C4D. Basic poly modeling tools, just find the good scale, the point of view and the lighting.


For the “Rock” aspect of the Arc, I had several solutions but I chose to do it Ruth a displacement map. I start with a standard rock displacement and I push it up to find the bets effect!

Here is the displacement at the beginning :



And after some tweaks :




I decide to do a basic render with no color to have textures in post production. That type of render allows me to change things and be more flexible during the process.

The same techniques are used for the housings! Simple poly modeling with some effector with MoGraph. I render it apart of the arch to save some render time.

For the materials, i only used basic maps, with textures of from my library.



Post Production

This is the part where everything is mixed and the story appears.

The main goal, for me, is to focus on the mood and the story behind the image. I think that an image is a vector of something more important than just a conglomeration of pixels. I always try to be creative in my images, I don’t want to spend too much time on a detail or on a particular technique. If I do, it has to serve the purpose! As I said, a beautiful image can be done with simple brush strokes in black and white.



Generally, I start with a multi-pass render (lighting, shadows, wire, reflection, etc.). I then adjust all these elements together and start to “paint” on the image with the reference sketches I did at the beginning. I always try to keep it simple with just a few color tweaks, effects and matte painting techniques.

It’s difficult to explain the techniques I used here because this part is very subjective; everyone has a personal vision about mood, shapes and color. For me it’s the most interesting part, because you can try and produce different moods and stories with the same “base”.


This is the final image (a smaller version of the 6000px original) :


Here are a few crops of the final 6000px wide image…

Thank you for your attention! I know that it’s not a classical making-of about ArchVIZ so I would like to thank Ronen for giving me the opportunity to explain the process of this project. I think that the boundaries between ArchVIZ, Movies and Video Games are getting thinner all the time – there is much to be learned and implemented across these three.

I hope you enjoyed this article and found something useful in it. Feel free to ask me any questions.



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