4 Keys to What Interior Designers Need to Know About Working with 3D Artists?
Creating a 3D interior image that looks like it came from an upmarket designer magazine takes skill and creativity, as well as effective art direction. Working together with an interior designer can certainly achieve this aim – however, managing the expectations of various parties becomes a real minefield to navigate.
Sometimes, interior designers can over-specify a space and, other times, not provide enough information for an effective and smooth 3D visualisation process.
Having worked with a multitude of interior designers over the last 8 years, we seem to constantly come up against similar challenges and so writing this article will have two benefits – it will hopefully help other interior designers to work efficiently with 3D artists, plus, it will also make our life easier by educating interior designers about what we can and can’t realistically achieve in 3D renders.
Key 1 – Timeframe to a 3D Render
There are a number of steps to go through to ultimately have the high resolution render for an interior space. Some of the high-level activities are showcased in the Gantt diagram above.
As can be seen – the furniture and objects to be placed in the 3D space can overlap, to a degree, with the actual 3D interior space model creation. If we were aiming to complete the image within 3-4 weeks, the quicker we can have the specification of the objects – and the smoother the overall process will be.
Conversely, by not having the schedule of objects in time – timeframes can stretch out and delay the 3D render delivery.
Key 2 – Critical Inputs – What 3D Artists need from Interior Designers
To create the image above, although seemingly straightforward, it required quite a lot of specific information from interior designers, aside from the specification of colours and finishes.
The interior designers specified the barstools, items for the benchtops, custom pantry door handles, island bench design and the light pendants. We created custom models of the vase and cups for the island bench and brought in library 3D models for the plants and the pot for the kitchen bench beyond.
We were also provided with a layout of the items, as below. This level of detail is certainly not necessary, but very welcome to clarify the layout.
This is an ideal scenario where we will then work closely with the interior designers on achieving the exact look they are after for the image.
There are also plenty of cases where we didn’t have all the information from the interior designers and came up with our own layouts and furniture recommendations.
This is what we’ll talk about next in terms of what you can leave up to us.
Key 3 – What can be left up to the 3D Artists
Depending on the skill set of the 3D artists, some items can easily be left up to them to place within the image to allow for creativity and overall image composition. Most of us have our own small objects, such as books, magazines, glasses, cups, table settings, throws and cushions and other small objects that can be easily adjusted and placed as required to complete the styling set-up by the interior designer.
There is no easy answer and a fine line is difficult to comprehend between what should and shouldn’t be provided by the interior designer or architect to the 3D artist. Realistically, if everything needs to be spelt out to the 3D artist – then perhaps the selection of the 3D artist should be reviewed as there needs to be some expert input brought in by the artists themselves to aid in the workflow.
What we have found in the past is that the specification of objects and furniture pieces varies between clients. Optimally, we recommend a set of major furniture pieces, including paintings, and from there on we work with our own 3D artists to decide what other small elements may enhance the image further.
A typical furniture style guide from us looks like the below image with a specific selection of furniture pieces to suit the target market of the project, including a proposed layout of where the pieces would go. Small objects are then filled up as required as we continue along the 3D image path.
And then the major furniture pieces selection is presented as follows:
By following this process, the styling and ultimate image production is thoroughly aligned and confirmed by our clients ahead of the 3D modelling process. This saves a lot of time from having to go back and forwards with pieces of furniture that have been placed by the 3D artist, which may not be what the client and their consultants wanted.
Key 4 – Avoid Time-Consuming Traps – Custom Furniture Pieces
What consumes the most amount of time is when the interior designer selects pieces that have very little obtainable detailed information about them. Some designers only have simple photo images of their products and aren’t prepared to disclose specific information about them – this is where it gets much more complicated. For example from the image above – we were asked to model up the pots and the plants – however for time efficiency – a similar potted plant could easily be chosen from an already available 3D model, without having to go to the expense of modelling up something like this that would barely make a difference in the overall quality of the image.
A simple search for the name of the object and putting a “3D model” behind it in Google search may bring up whether the model could be obtained elsewhere, or if it needs a custom model. If a custom model is required – an additional 1-2 weeks may need to be added to the overall timeframe. And if the development has this (which most don’t) – the good news is that we can pretty much model anything we have a reference image of.
However, to save time and expedite delivery – selecting furniture pieces from websites, such as www.designconnected.com and www.3dsky.org, allow us to purchase high-quality 3D models that come with specific textures and can be placed in the image much more rapidly, with minimal disturbance to the overall styling of the project.
Effective Collaboration between Interior Designers and 3D Artists Starts Here
It’s a fine line for interior designers to know what to specify and what not to highlight when working with 3D artists. Ultimately, time and effort must be balanced with available budgets and objectives.
To achieve that, understanding the workflow of what we as 3D artists need to go through is highly recommended for interior designers looking to specify furniture for 3D visuals to ensure clear and detailed information is provided without being over the top.
To your development success,
BEng (Mech with Honours) / BTech (Industrial Design), LREA, VPELA