With a number of Lowe’s suppliers as clients, we have to help them move quickly on image requests (like the room scene above). And given the many benefits that computer-generated imagery (CGI) can bring both creatively and economically, our Charlotte branding agency increasingly forgoes the cumbersome, time-consuming process of staging and shooting a real scene in favor of fast, beautiful 3-D renderings.
Speed is key, but generating images on a computer provides a number of other important benefits. It’s a huge visualization asset that allows us and a client to instantaneously change a color scheme mid-meeting and then work through ideas and multiple iterations. And if you’re a control freak, you don’t have to worry about finding fingerprints, dust, and troublesome reflection in the final image. Plus, with state-of-the-art rendering software like KeyShot ( a program that enhances CAD creations to the point that they become indistinguishable from the real thing), you can convincingly render stone, plastic, steel, wood, and even fabric.
IKEA: One of Europe’s Largest largest CGI studios
Three years ago, the Wall Street Journal highlighted IKEA’s efforts to shift 25 percent of catalog illustrations from traditional photography to computer-generated imagery by 2013. The projected savings were staggering, considering that IKEA prints over 200 million copies of its 324-page catalog every year. In one of Europe’s largest studios, 285 employees work year-round creating and photographing the room sets that make up the book.
Today, that figure has ballooned to 75%.
That means three out of the four products you see in an IKEA catalog are computer generated – not photographs. The fixtures. The furniture. The walls. The light. The knick-knacks. What compels a successful global brand to radically change the way it markets its products? Because high-end CGI beats shipping endless pieces of prototype furniture halfway across the world for photo shoots. And it captures so much detail that you can actually see each thread of a sofa.
So the next time you need to create a rich, pristine image of a product or room scene, don’t shoot first and ask questions later.