Alex Roman: TheThird&TheSeventh

third and seventh
Some philosophies of aesthetics enumerate seven primary art forms derived from Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel’s “Lectures on the Aesthetics” and the writings of film theorist Ricciotto Canudo: architecture, sculpture, painting, dance, music, poetry, and cinema.

The order is disputed, and architecture is sometimes shuffled to the third position, as it was by aspiring filmmaker Alex Roman for the title of his breathtaking work in progress, TheThird&TheSeventh, an artful combination of photorealistic architectural renderings and stylish CG cinematography.

In Roman’s able hands, the combination is undeniably poetic. His reverence for light borders on transcendent, and his attention to detail is inspiring. We caught up with Alex for a little background information.

Tell us a little about yourself. Who are you? Where are you from? What do you currently do?

I was born in 1979, in Alacant (Alicante), a city in Spain. I would first like to say that my real name is Jorge Seva, but I use “Alex Roman” as an artistic alias for publishing independent work.

After being trained in traditional painting at a few academies, I discovered this other world called CG. After school, I made the move to Madrid and began working at a visual effects company. That stint did not last too long due to the lack of demand for visual effects in the Spanish market at the time.


It was then that I switched into the VIZ (architectural visualization) business. I have been working for several companies since. After that, I took a sabbatical year for to work on an “already-built work” visualization series, which will be stitched together into a short animated piece.

Were you formally trained in architecture?

Nope, never. But I was very interested in architecture since I was a child. Maybe it’s not too late.

Can you tell us a little about the TheThird&TheSeventh film?

Well, after working in VIZ for years, I realized that there was a huge aesthetic difference between most clients’ commercial demands and photography of already-built structures. The lack of respect for the architecture itself in some “pure” commercial illustration was very frustrating to me. (Well, this is just my opinion, of course.)

Then, I decided to start a personal journey: to experiment with a more cinematographic and/or photographic oriented point of view of some of my favorites architects’ masterpieces.

Hence, the “TheThird&TheSeventh” project…

After thumbing through a book of Frank Lloyd Wright’s sketches once, I chatted with an architect friend of mine about the art of architectural rendering. He told me that sometimes architects intentionally leave sketches vague or messy.

It not only creates wiggle room when it comes to client negotiations, it leaves room for the imagination to paint in details. How would you respond to that idea?

Well, there are of course several purposes behind computer graphics benefits. That “messy” representation style is very useful at a birth-idea/growing-process stages. Also, there are of course many architects that use CG as a sketching oriented tool… why not?

Your sensitivity to light is amazing. How would you describe the interplay between light and architecture?

Thanks! I think architecture is sculpting with light most of the time. There’s neither volume nor colors and materials without light and shadow.

Like Kahn said once: “In the old buildings, the columns were an expression of light. Light, no light, light, no light, light, you see…”

The level of realism in the TheThird&TheSeventh is stunning. Your render times must be incredible. What software and hardware do you use? How long is an average render?

I use 3DS Max and Vray for rendering, Photoshop for texture work, AfterEffects for compositing and color grading and Adobe Premiere for edit it all.

My desktop PC (i7 920) it’s now the only hardware i have.  Every frame rendertime may vary from 20 sec to 1:30 hr (720p) It all depends on how complex the scene is.

However, i invested a lot of time in scene optimization for rendering. I think it’s the key for a flexible workflow.

How can we see the full TheThird&TheSeventh film?

I’m finishing the latest shots, fighting with the music—the hardest stage for me—and editing at the moment. We will see it complete around the end of the summer of 2009. I really hope so!

Thank you, Alex!

Visit TheThird&TheSeventh for many more stills and video.

Related links:

Big thanks to Cristóbal for the tip on this one!

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About the author

Justin Cone

Together with Carlos El Asmar, Justin co-founded Motionographer, F5 and The Motion Awards. He currently lives in Austin, Texas with is wife, son and fluffball of a dog. Before taking on Motionographer full-time, Justin worked in various capacities at Psyop, NBC-Universal, Apple, Adobe and SCAD.



Just an amazing piece !
I’m quiet surprise no one comment it so fare.


i really really tried to like it but in the end i was just bored to tears.. music did the rest for me..

Brandon Lori

This is great, and in some ways, reminded me of Steel Life by Mathieu Gérard, which is very different, but similarly beautiful. It seems there’s such a culture of appreciation developing around the marriage of Motion and Architecture. While many works like this exist only to make a pretentious show of their CG renders; this one is especially sophisticated. For me, what makes it so hot is the ability to find personal expressiveness in light, and how it relates to form. It has a sense of art to it that is a sign of relief from fields with rigorous commercial demands (Motion and Architecture). Can’t wait to see the finished film!


Very Very Nice! Had to remind myself that it was CG at times!

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