3 Keys for Working with Contractors in 3D Visualisation

Do you want to save money on your 3D collateral? How do you then ensure consistency in the delivery of the imagery? What needs to be provided to the outside 3D team if you can’t see them in person and talk them through the various intricacies of the project?

Aside for cost saving there is a massive benefit with working with offshore 3D suppliers – you are able to take advantage of the time differential and access talent that is often far and above the talent of 3D renderers available here in Australia.

The negatives and risks however are quite considerable too – number one being the communication and terminology difference, lack of consistency when working with multiple suppliers and then a lack of visibility and control. Often these risks put off most high end projects as the budget for the imagery is significant – hence local high end providers are selected for these projects.

Within our business – we have worked through most of these issues and created systems to deal with the challenges outlined above. Over our 6 year history we have worked with both internal and external teams of suppliers for our visuals.

As much as my background has been in 3D and property development, there is just not enough time to deliver all the visuals in time if we were working on a large project. Hence I turned to outside help and built a system of working with contractors. Through that time we have continued to optimise these systems to ensure quality, consistency and quick turnaround for the imagery.

Last year we were presented with an opportunity to work on a large estate for a very prominent architect and developer with the main prerequisite being that we had to deliver 30 high quality renders within 4 weeks. There was a deadline to going to the market with a set of images for the estate – hence the time frame was extremely tight.

Due to the scalability options that we have with getting offshore help on board within our systems – we worked through the project and had 15 suppliers working on the project at once. Some of the images from the project are below and you can see the rest of the 3D renders here.

Overall we completed the project and had glowing reviews back from the clients when they received the completed package of imagery. So from that project and over 200 others – we have gathered a number of key learnings and insights. Here are the top 3 that we have selected out of the 17 or so that we have identified and put together systems for to mitigate the risks and optimise for the best results.

  1. Clear Instructions – Brief and throughout Delivery
  2. Comprehensive Brief Including Landscape and Interior Design Styling.
  3. Effective Payment Structure

Ultimately we are extremely hands on with everything that comes out from our studio – so if something isn’t right, then it gets worked on internally until it is and so you as the client get to see as much as possible done right from the initial brief to minimise future iterations and frustrations from time delays.

1.    Clear Instructions – Brief and through Delivery

When it comes to instructions – these are really the main key to getting to see what you want. In the original brief to the imagery required, specifications optimally should include visual and specific references to each item on your list.

Specific references must include website locations of reference texture swatches and codes – unfortunately this often is lacking because the manufacturers often are missing the particular models or details from their websites – in which case photographs and other reference imagery should be provided to overcome this.

Within our instruction set – we work with a lot of diagrams to show initial thinking and direction.

For example – in the initial discussion camera angle directions are diagrammed and presented to the client to confirm how the building may be presented in the optimal fashion.

Camera-angles-for-75-Princess-St

From the diagram above – we have thought out where the building would sit on the land and best present itself in the final render. Once this diagram is confirmed – it is then communicated to the 3D render supplier and he or she puts the 3D model together to represent a number of options of that diagram.

That is what we call Clay Camera angle of the project. Basically the image has no materials, landscaping or lighting in place – the only thing that is being confirmed is the position of the camera and its direction.

Some of these images look like this:

140825-PaineSt-39Interior-Clay -2 140825-PaineSt-39Interior-Clay -3

From here on once the angle is confirmed – we move into detailing of the 3D space. Similarly every step is broken down in order to get milestone confirmation and progress along the right path, rather than coming off on a tangent and then delivering something that the client did not expect.

Another really important part of this exercise are clear and comprehensive markups of the space and what is required by the clients. Ideally we receive these markups in a pictorial format like images below:

bathroom-markup

2.    Comprehensive Brief Including Landscape and Interior Design Styling.

In order to have the best result within the renders – we often work with specialist consultants like interior designers and landscape architects to provide the extra documentation in order to get as accurate as possible. Interior designers style our images to ensure a consistent and photo realistic look and feel – have a read of the article here on our process to styling interior renders: http://www.eaglevision.com.au/2014/05/sell-sizzle-steak/

For high realism within your exteriors – landscaping and background photography play a huge role aside from our 3D project. The more information that you can provide to the render team – the better your end result will be provided the team selected is capable of delivering a high quality image.

Landscaping doesn’t have to be elaborate, a simple sketch will suffice – something like below is more than adequate:

60-The-Highway-Landscape-Drawing

And from this sketch – the following render was created.

20130115 - 60-TheHighway-Exterior-high-res

3.    Effective Payment Structure

This is a curly point but needs to be taken into account nevertheless. It is a two way street and ultimately you are dealing with humans on the other side of the email/instant messaging communication and they want to do the best thing by you and want to be fairly treated with in return.

Every project is different depending on the scope, but we have worked out that the structure that works best is a deposit on the start of the project which is a percentage of the total and then the bulk of the payment at the completion of the project at which point you should receive the high resolution imagery and the 3D model of the project.

And obviously the larger the project, the more milestones may need to be put in if there are other deliverables produced aside from the still renders e.g. animations.

Summary

All in all we have found that there are fairly simple but specific steps that can be taken to mitigate the downside of working with offshore or local freelancers, and by taking advantage of the time differentials – a real benefit can be gained and your images can be worked on overnight and ready for you by morning.

The above are just some of the keys to ensuring the best outcome in hiring freelancers to have your 3D imagery done – but they are probably the most important ones that we have garnered from our experience.

Good luck with your projects and make sure that you stay on top of the communication with your suppliers – ultimately that’s all you can go by.

To your development success,

Stan-signature

Stan Zaslavsky

BEng / BTech (Ind Design), LREA, VPELA

Eagle Vision Property

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