Working Within 3D Spaces

Max Tucker is a freelance developer with 15 years of experience working withing the architectural visualisation niche. We were able to sit down for a chat with Max on a particularly rainy day in October 2018, to discuss what working as a dev is like in one of the fastest-moving industries, where fidelity and definition, and the ability to plumb the depths of realism, can be the difference between success and ruin. 

You started your career in AV over 15 years ago, just how much has the industry changed since then? 

Immeasurably. Visualisations are something that the layperson will rarely deal with, they’re very much a professional product that is required as proof of concept for projects that can cost an absolute fortune. I had no clue about them at all before I took my first role. I’d spent a couple of years working in IT and had been teaching myself to code on the side. I was given a shot by an architectural firm that wanted to dip their toes in some digital waters, and they saw hiring me as a cheap way of doing just that. In the years following my hiring, the world of AV became intertwined with digital, until my role had become indispensable.

So, it was really a case of right place, right time for you then. Do you still deal with the nitty-gritty codework that you made your name doing?

Not anywhere near as much as I used to. I now work more as a consultant than anything else. I had the good fortune of making my name in the industry right when it was taking off, so I’ve since been able to build authority in my field and take my ideas to new firms who are looking to modernise, or otherwise vamp up their offering. Highlights in my 15-year career have been setting up a digital visualisation department with Ernst & Smith in London and developing a virtual reality 3D workshop with the help of Uniform.

Talking about virtual reality – how do you see this emerging technology changing the architectural visualisation world? 

It already is! I mentioned the work that I did with Uniform, but that was really the tip of the iceberg. Their team are developing some really wild concepts that are going to hopefully revolutionise the way these images are presented to the client. Of course, in order for these technologies to truly take hold, the wider industry still needs to adopt the hardware that is necessary to create these worlds. That means high-end processing units as standard and more affordable, reliable headset technology. The biggest obstacle in the way of virtual reality truly dominating is the glacial pace at which the industry moves.

So it’s a people problem then? 

Isn’t it always? Whilst you’ll always have a minority of innovators pushing inexorably forward, more often than not there will be an army of stubborn individuals firmly digging their heels in, afraid of change and what it could mean to their day-to-day lives. Whilst I understand that human beings crave routine and reliability, to a certain extent this reliance is hobbling our progress. I’m expecting big things from the next generation of developers. Their ideas, their ingenuity and ease with which they navigate the digital landscape could lead to some huge leaps forward!