3D imagery. The excellent, the bad and the ugly.
Excellent 3D imagery is like top notch photography, with only one difference. It’s as real as real life can be, but it represents something that doesn’t exist yet. We all know why they’re used extensively in the real estate business : sales start long before the actual property is seeing life, and showing a building or unit in its full glory sells. Good 3D imagery is all inspiration and emotion. It’s about making potentials buying into the dream that what they see is what they will get. A new life in gorgeous settings. A spot where they will feel home. A place to spend many years to come. Creating that impression might seem easy, but -like many good things- it isn’t. It’s more than just bricks and mortar. It’s about lifestyle.
Do a Google search using ‘3D architectural rendering’ and page after page will pop up, listing company after company that have bought keywords like “realistic, best, overnight, beautiful” and such (including the obvious “cheap”). Do us a favor. Click any of those and have a look to see if their claim holds when you look at their portfolio. We see 2 things : more of the same, and as fake as the smile of Victoria Beckham (does she ever?). Most of the time the imagery looks like it came out of Jurassic Park, the first movie. Back then (15 years already) it looked mezmerizing. Today, it has the quality of a low end video game. Yep, people get spoiled quickly. More importantly : 3D imagery is constantly evolving. This means that those who produce such imagery should be on top of their game. Today’s game that is, not yesterday’s. Unless you don’t care about your customer’s experience. Or your sales…
“Excellent 3D imagery is like top notch photography, with only one difference. It’s as real as real life can be, but it represents something that doesn’t exist yet.”
The heart of the matter
To get it right, you need a few basics to start with :
- Obviously : a plan and all possible and available data.
- A sense of the real, including a refined taste for what different target groups like most.
- (Some) patience : if a project takes several years to get built, why should 3D renderings be done overnight? To get it right, you need back and forths between client and the artist, constantly fine-tuning until the result reaches near* perfection.
- The “crème de la crème” of this special breed that prefers to fiddle day and night behind a screen chasing a noble dream : non-suspicious spectators saying “What a great photo! Where did you make it? When can I go and have a look?”
Some might have a different opinion, but real life is not about perfection. At best tiny imperfections remain. Simply put : too realistic is unrealistic. People don’t buy images that look like they’ve been made after Mr. Clean had a frantic go at it.
Of course this doesn’t mean that most Google backbenchers produce will do. It just means that once the perfect image has been produced, a last pass is required to make it come to life. You need experts to acquire this, and few are blessed with such a pair. Hey, there’s a good reason why 3D imagery should be left to professionals, right?
And guess what? We know who those are.