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Bojan Jancic
Bojan Jancic
Chief Everything Officer @kaiserbold
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How Furniture Rendering Can Help You Save up to 70% of Costs

With more than 200 million printed copies each year, the IKEA catalog reached a point when it was more distributed than the Bible and the Quran. About 75% of its content is not real, yet the catalog has a huge, almost cult-like following (atheists might find a pattern here).

Interior design enthusiasts from across the globe impatiently wait for the new catalog every year. Even though the most famous name in budget furniture announced the company will not continue printing catalogs in the future, there’s still an enormous audience ready to savor it online.

We’re talking about a brand that has an entire museum dedicated to its catalogs, for crying out loud!

But believe it or not, the majority of the furniture pieces you see in the IKEA catalog are hyperrealistic, high-resolution furniture renders (it’s 4K, y’all). It wasn’t until 2004 that IKEA decided to ditch the traditional product photography and embrace furniture rendering.

So, what did the Swedes, that made history by transforming the furniture industry and democratizing design, know that we don’t?

Well, let’s face it – a lot.

But let’s unwrap at least one part of their wisdom so that you can understand the full power of furniture rendering and how it can help you save loads of money and resources.

The “Why” Behind the Switch to Furniture Rendering

Launched in 1951, the first IKEA catalog had the iconic MK wing chair on its cover. This catalog and the early editions as well contained illustrations and photographs, and mainly presented the utilitarian side of furniture.

As years went by, IKEA started incorporating more lifestyle elements and changed its visual marketing game. In fact, we could argue that IKEA has the best marketing in the entire world, across all industries and markets. Just look at the creative commercial they created for the catalog: it’s so simple, yet so smart.

Anyway, IKEA was definitely on the right track. They knew the value of creating an instant emotional connection with their audience by combining different furniture elements and decor and creating a cozy, homely atmosphere. They also knew the limitations and challenges of using traditional photography to achieve this.

Enter furniture rendering.

You see, IKEA operates in 52 countries, which means that there are many cultural differences the marketing team needs to bear in mind when preparing activities for different markets. For instance, kitchens in the US are different from those in Japan and Germany. The same goes for bathrooms.

Traditional photography is simply not a scalable solution in that sense. Imagine the amount of resources needed for building prototype furniture and then transporting it to different countries for a photo session and then organizing everything on the spot. The works!

Plus, once the photographs are done, it’s hard to implement changes. This often compromises the vision and forces you to settle. If you’re stubborn enough – you decide to start from scratch by organizing another photoshoot.

The second photoshoot is usually followed by a nervous breakdown because it brings more or less the same results.

Fret not because furniture rendering is here to save you.

Furniture Rendering vs. Product Photography

Before we move to the actual furniture rendering cost calculations (we know that’s why you’re here after all), let’s take a moment to compare furniture rendering and product photography.

We like to think of furniture rendering as a way to easily manipulate the way your product is visualized while having full control of the output. Using CGI provides independence as we do not rely on any external factors to bring your vision into reality.

For instance, adjusting the lighting and composition to bring the right emotion and end up with a holistic visual scene – requires a lot of testing and fine-tuning on the set.

Let’s say that you know the exact balance between lighting and shadows that you want to achieve. Or perhaps you have a clear idea about the light you want in order to accentuate the color harmony of your furniture pieces?

You may want the lightweight feeling of morning daylight and none of this seems possible to replicate in the cold photography studio.
 

Furniture rendering instead relies on the skills and the expert eye of the 3D artist, and the brief you provide. Simple as that.

The more details you share about background ideas, texture, colors, lighting, the mood you want to communicate, and more – the better will the end result be.

 

Sketches or blueprints are mandatory, as well as any type of furniture photos you might have. We also love it when our clients share mood photos or photos that show textures in close proximity. That helps us to truly nail the job.

In a nutshell, furniture rendering removes the hassle of logistics and makes the process cleaner, faster, and cost-effective.
 

Now, let’s look at the costs and analyze all the activities of organizing the photoshoot in contrast to hiring a CGI studio for furniture rendering.
No BS style.

Furniture Rendering is Much Cheaper (For Realz)

Here’s an overview of what needs to be done if you’re looking to market your furniture using product photography vs. what’s required for furniture rendering (*cough* not an extensive list *cough*):

Here’s what we noticed first-hand. So, our clients typically don’t share many details about the exact costs of a single photoshoot and campaigning, but they don’t have an issue of giving us the ballpark figure. It was pretty clear to us that this is a huge pain in the ass for them.

 

For medium projects, this figure is somewhere between 30-50K EUR. For larger projects, this figure can go over 100K EUR.
Wow!

 

The main reasons why clients decide to move away from traditional photography are pretty straightforward:

  1. there’s no hassle with furniture rendering and,
  2. furniture rendering is much more affordable.

 

Besides the fact that furniture rendering provides a faster turnaround, it also allows you to customize pretty much anything. Control the time of the day and position of any object on the scene, desired camera angle, furniture position, materials, and even the subtlest details such as shadows or decor.
Oh, the possibilities. 

 

Moreover, you don’t need to waste your time on the set.
For many of our clients,
we take care of the entire production process and even work with your designer or stylist.

 

To be completely transparent, we charge 1000-2000 EUR per 3D render on average, but the final pricing of the furniture render highly depends on the complexity of the visual scene, the level of details you want to incorporate, the amount of work, and the deadline.

 

But here’s one pricing example for a project we did for a client.

 

Scope of work included six products to be placed in eight different environments:

  1. 3D modeling, scene setup (environment + surroundings)
  2. Materialization according to client’s specifications
  3. Light mood and atmosphere
  4. Equipment with vegetation, furniture, and accessories from our 3D model library
  5. Visualization and post-production

In the end, we estimated that furniture rendering can save you up to 70% of the costs

Real talk now.

If this client was to actually build the set and the furniture prototype and cover all the costs we listed in the table above, they would have to pay between 40.000 – 45.000 EUR.

The ugly truth?
They might still end up discontent with the end result.

Another perk of furniture renders is the opportunity to create any type of environment you’d like. Sometimes it’s very hard to find the location you have envisioned, in real life.

But there’s another reason why furniture companies are turning to CGI: because they must, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Even though some might find an uncanny resemblance between our current reality and dystopian movies, the truth is – we humans are incredibly adaptable. The pandemic merely accelerated our shift to digital and challenged us to think about how we can achieve authentic connections with minimum live contact.

For furniture companies that relied on traditional product photography, the pandemic made it impossible to carry on with organizing photoshoots and handling all the logistics.

As always, early adopters reap the most benefits. Furniture rendering became a go-to solution for conveying strong emotions.

Your competitors are probably already doing it, how about you?

Yeah, We Know You’re Thinking About Switching to Furniture Rendering Now

One part of the reason why furniture rendering saves you so much money is that all the above-listed activities typical for photoshoots are done by a small team of 3D artists.

When you think about it, the way pricing packages are formed for furniture renders creates a win-win situation for everyone involved. Studios like Kaiserbold earn money by providing great CGI services and doing what they love, and clients like you save money that they can then invest in future business development.

Who says you can’t have your cake and eat it?
Well, we think you can. And you deserve it!

Stop going through hell with product photoshoots. Ain’t nobody got time for that. Contact Kaiserbold today, get your furniture renders, and book your holiday with the money you’d throw away on traditional photography.

Thank you, 

Bojan.

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