Insight into How We Do What We Do
Throughout the years – we’ve perfected the task of being able to produce renders continually around the clock, whilst also managing and mitigating the various risks that come with having to deal with multiple consultants and time zones.
The advantages are pretty clear – shorter time-frames, plus being able to pick and choose suppliers for various elements of the delivery. Being able to hand-pick render artists around the world, and combine our access to these skilled technicians as well as having local render artists we are so proud to work with, has also been a great benefit to us and our clients. As we also work with multiple artists at once – we can switch and swap artists among projects, depending on what comes up, either from the client side or the artist side.
The challenges that come with having to produce high-quality 3D renders within this structure are always significant – these are multi-million dollar projects and being able to deliver on time and at the right quality level is critical, so communication and artist management must be maintained regularly with our team.
Beginnings of Distributed Production System (DPS)
I stumbled upon this idea in the early days of Eagle Vision, as we started delivering projects with a couple of artists from overseas. There was also an Australian 3D company that had an office in Eastern Europe and although I thought it was peculiar at first, it made sense – the time zone difference allowed for a virtual 24-hour operation, with the working day in Europe starting as we were going to sleep here, and vice versa.
From the artists that we started working with back in those early days, some were good, but most were pretty average and so my initial concept was to create the 3D model of the project by myself – enabling me to ensure accuracy in the model from my background in engineering, then work with individual artists in the creation of the interior render, whilst I produced the exterior render.
However, within a very short period of time, my time to work on the models became extremely limited, as my commitment to learn the latest techniques in the evolving world of rendering and 3D technology became an important part of each working week.
This challenge needed to be solved – as well as creating a structure to deliver the images at a level of quality that would exceed what was on offer with the majority of my business competitors.
After much research and thought, I decided to let go of the exterior renders but then an artist came on board who had a lot of experience with Australian landscaping and architecture. I knew I could trust him to work on the exteriors, while I continued to improve our interior render delivery.
Kaizen – Lean Production on Steroids
The thinking in the business was primarily driven by the Japanese methodology Kaizen (or CANI – Constant and Never Ending Improvement). From all of the learning and self-development that I had done, it seemed that the best way to build the business was by implementing this methodology and never stopping to rest on our laurels, whilst the business system was being honed and perfected.
The engineering philosophy of breaking down the complicated processes into simple steps also came into practice, as I was developing a deeper overall understanding of the skill and time required to produce high-quality 3D images.
Clearly, there is an element of artistry in 3D renders which isn’t quantifiable by engineering – but at this stage it was much more about creating a workflow that allowed for a consistent delivery, which would then allow artistry to take place within the boundaries of efficient production.
Distributed Production – Why Small Steps are Better than Massive Leaps
Producing a high-quality 3D render is a very complicated undertaking – there are a lot of moving parts and at the completion of the actual “rendering” process from the workstations the artist spends between 2 to 8 hours in Photoshop or After Effects editing software, which involves colour correction, tonality and myriad image effects that sometimes can’t be achieved from the software simulated renderings straight from the computer.
The last stage (the ultimate delivery) is often the most important phase and requires a lot of skill – but to get to that stage there are a lot of steps that can be individualised and broken down with feedback from clients and consultants that helps form the foundation of each high-quality image.
If you want to think about a beautiful house, it all starts with high-quality components that are often not seen on the surface, but have to be there in order to complete the overall picture. The 3D renders are the same – without a high-quality set of internal elements, the outside presentation falls apart.
As our business grew, we continued to work on internal systems that ensured greater levels of accuracy and consistency for the models – from artist allocation, to various individual elements within fairly complicated projects and the effective delivery of the finished product.
We now have a dedicated modelling team overseas that we actively manage. Our quality control is very hands-on throughout each aspect of the project and we work with individual 3D render artists that focus solely on the render stage after being provided a high-quality 3D model of the environment. This allows them to concentrate on the artistry element without being distracted by the model component.
The time differentials between local and overseas also helps us fast-track the client feedback on 3D models coming in during the day, with work completed while we sleep and delivered to us at the start of our new business day – something that allows us to feed important information efficiently back to our clients.
Over the years, we have also tracked delivery and quality by using detailed client feedback forms and we’re proud to say that, of the total number of completed feedback forms, our quality of imagery rating averages at 87.1% and delivery time of 3D images is rated at 82.9% out of 100. These are certainly good indicators that our systems are working.
Where to from here?
In the world of high-end 3D imagery, the space is filled with a variety of local and international suppliers and gaining an edge has not been easy. However, with our approach of systematically separating processes and improving each of them in small increments, whilst at the same time utilising the time zone advantages of delivering components around the world, it is clear that our DPS system excels.
The ultimate benefit for our clients?
A faster 3D render delivery with a consistent level of premium quality.
With so many stakeholders involved, and such significant financial and emotional investment tied up in each project, we know our clients wouldn’t want it any other way.
To your development success,
BEng (Mech with Honours) / BTech (Industrial Design), LREA, VPELA