Think Big Picture: Why You Need To Get Clear On Your Purpose Before Engaging A CGI Company

Before engaging a 3D rendering studio you need to understand your overall purpose for the images or content, or in other words, what you want to achieve.

Before engaging a 3D rendering studio you need to understand your overall purpose for the images or content, or in other words, what you want to achieve.

To identify this, you first have to ask yourself what the images will be used for. What is the objective of the images? What are you trying to achieve?

Common purposes and objectives are;

  • Obtaining an emotive ‘wow’ buy-in from decision-makers, whether that’s for government approval, investment interest and/or the local community, to get the idea off the ground.
  • Assist in marketing collateral, to help you market and sell the project to a potential end user, ie apartment buyer, office or retail tenant
  • You simply just need someone to understand a complex design or issue at hand and is supportive to some technical solutions you are proposing, no wow factor needed.

TIP: Think about your end audience, sometimes we think we know what we want, however empathising with the end audience of the image can go a long way.

We could summarise the above into two main categories;

Marketing Images

“Help create an emotive and ‘wow’ factor and help people understand the vision and dream”

These tend to be more costly, take more time, and require greater skill to execute well. Effective marketing images should tell a particular story to connect people emotionally with the unbuilt project. They are used to create hype and excitement to encourage a decision or sale. For a strong marketing campaign you could be looking at 6 – 15 images depending on project scale.

Note: If you are doing renders because it’s “just a part of the process”, ensure you understand the impact and value great quality renders can have on your project. See article here: Coming soon.

Informative Images

“To simply communicate an idea, intent, and/or help understand complex solutions to technical proposals where 2d drawings don’t deliver.”

These can be less expensive and not as high ‘quality’, don’t come with the same expectations, and are simply used to communicate what will actually be. These images drive less emotion and are more on the technical side. They serve the purpose of providing a deeper understanding of the technical aspects of the project.

Once you understand your intent, you’ll need to get clear on your project drivers and limitations so you can effectively navigate between the different providers.

Cost. Time. Quality. You can never have the best of all three. We all know this, yet we ignore it. Let’s see a great example to understand this idea on this viral video:


If you want the highest quality…

Understand that this will come at a higher cost and will generally take longer.

Tip: If quality is your main driver, you’ll want to do all you can to mitigate the higher cost and lengthy production time. Set a clear (and realistic) timeline, understand your major marketing needs (e.g. for brochures or social media images) and discuss both with any potential renderers to ensure they can meet your expectations. Once you engage a renderer make sure you are well prepared for the process ahead (see our previous article on 7 common mistakes in the production of 3D renders). Many of the delays and added costs associated with the production of 3d renders can be avoided if you are well organised, prepared and clear on what you want throughout the process.

If your budget is tight…

Be prepared to compromise on quality.

TIP: If you intend to use images for an overall marketing campaign but can’t afford the quality you want for a set of 10-20 renders, consider investing in a couple of higher quality hero images to engage your audience along with several factual images to support them.

If you want it fast…

Be prepared to compromise on quality or pay more.

TIP: If you are pressed for time but not willing to compromise on quality (and can’t pay for it to be done any faster), consider staging the release of your images. You could focus on the delivery of a couple of quality hero images for a pre-launch/hype campaign to generate interest. Then release the full suite of images as part of your full marketing campaign.

It can seem overwhelming trying to narrow down your options at first. Once you gain clarity around your intentions and project drivers/limitations, though, you’ll be much better positioned to select a 3d studio suited to your needs.

Just remember to be open and honest about what you need when vetting providers. A good studio will let you know whether they can meet your expectations and guide you towards appropriate solutions.

Understand your overall objective before heading in.