4 Major Time Delays in Creating 3D Renders & How to Avoid Them

Posted by Justin Bourn

Whether it’s for a residential, mixed-use or large-scale commercial development, 3D rendering is a critical part of the design, development and marketing of a new property. However, it can be easy to underestimate the true time it takes to deliver a professional 3D render.


In the rapidly evolving landscape of property development, these unrealistic expectations around the timeline of 3D renders often stem from a misunderstanding of the rendering process, or from project teams falling into common pitfalls throughout that process.


In order to avoid any unnecessary time delays on the project, and to eliminate any pitfalls in the 3D rendering process, the project team can familiarise themselves with a number of ways to prepare for a smooth rendering process.


The typical timeframe for the production of 3D imagery can vary greatly and depends on the expectation of quality, the size of the project and what is supplied up front. This can range from a few weeks, to a couple of months.


If we are to reference a typical marketing project, this time frame ranges from 6-10 weeks typically in the industry. Below is a typical project flow, this can range from studio to studio, but it’s fairly representative of the standard.


Here are the 4 main time delays project teams may come across throughout the process, and how you can avoid them in your next project:


Time Delay #1: Initial “Data” Collection

Once a CGI Studio is engaged, the studio will collect the necessary design information from the design team. This information should represent close to a finished design, as we’ve said before (in 7 common mistakes), a CGI company doesn’t know what to visualise if you don’t.


If the design team is behind schedule or only provides partial data, the projected timeline for rendering will increase.


Often the definition of a ‘complete design’ differs between what client expects and what the studio requires, so communication is key at this point where both the developer and design team can articulate clear expectations of what’s required.


Design ‘complete’ does not mean its usable by the render company.


Solution: Make sure that the design team is ready to supply all relevant data to the CGI studio. You will also want to ensure the design is around 90-95% complete at a minimum, too many holes will delay your CGI process further. It might be worth preparing this step before engaging a studio for their services to further streamline the process.


Time Delay #2: Poor Communication Channels

Communication and consistent progress updates are key to maintain a smooth and efficient process between the CGI studio and project team.


We’ve all heard the saying “too many chefs in the kitchen”; in order for a smooth delivery the team engaging the CGI studio should nominate a single point of contact that all feedback is filtered through to.


If there is mixed feedback, opinions and direction you could find yourself in lengthy email chains or meetings. Establish who is the shot caller and who’s decision overrides another.


Solution: Always keep communication in mind and know that meetings and reviews will will need to happen regularly. Consider scheduling some potential time slots of review points when first engaging the CGI studio to keep your calendar clear.


Have a designated project lead in place and be prepared to spend necessary time on providing feedback when it’s requested.


Make sure all required parties have given their full input on all project specifics before a meeting happens to avoid repetition and to keep meetings concise and to-the-point.


Extra tip: Plan out your method of communication – will contact happen via phone meeting, video conference or in person? Decide on your preferred method of contact at the beginning of the project.


Time Delay #3: Rushed Initial Feedback

If a project team is slow to return feedback on a first revision that has been sent to them by the CGI studio, this can cause major time delays. However, rushed feedback can also cause you time delays later on.


Similarly, if multiple parties on the project team make different suggestions it can cause feedback to take longer, and changes won’t be as clear for the CGI studio. Having too many people review the first iteration could prevent the process from moving forward with the required changes. See Tip 2.


Alternatively, if a project team promises feedback within 24 hours it can be a red flag to the rendering team – suggesting to the studio that the team may be rushing their revision time on the draft, and further changes may be required later.


Solution: Endeavour to run through the review process through with your assigned single point of contact. This individual should summarise all comments with the final approver of the project so that the render company has a clear understanding on what needs to be actioned.


You also want to ensure that you review the images thoroughly, take the time, be picky and ensure the others on the project team are doing the same. Block out the time to review the images in detail.


Time Delay #4: Changed Mind Feedback

Not providing timely, uniform and comprehensive feedback on a second/final review can be even more costly for the team than the first. Significant time can be added to the rendering process if reviewers change their minds or take back suggestions made on the first revision, especially if new suggestions require additional design work.


Typically a render company would consider this point finished, so if the project team starts to notice errors, request design changes, or change of mind, the time it takes to update for the render company is lengthy.


Solution: Invest time and resources in a good first review and be aware that any major additional suggestions may incur both time and financial penalties. It can also help to ensure that all expectations are clearly laid out at the beginning of the process, and to keep communication lines open throughout the project.


Extra tip: Be understanding of your requests, take time in understanding why something to you is a “2min change” is actually a 30 min change. You might find the CGI studio is more welcoming and cooperational.


Highlighting important features of a development with realistic and impactful projections is essential to the sales and marketing projection of every new development.


Ultimately, having high quality imagery for your development can make a significant impact to the overall sales and marketing process of the property – but, it is up to all parties to efficiently manage the process to ensure that the images are delivered on schedule and without major setbacks.


In order to keep the 3D rendering process as efficient and streamlined as possible, here are some final tips to remember before beginning the process:

  • Prepare your team (make sure you have as much data as possible before start)
  • Trust the render studio
  • Understand that not every opinion on a image is a valid opinion
  • Refrain from changing your mind
  • Make full and complete revisions
  • Don’t trust timeframes that seem too good to be true.
Justin Bourn

Justin Bourn

Justin Bourn is director of Blank Canvas who specialises in 3D visualisation images for architectural, interior design and property marketing.
Justin Bourn