How to excel at working with the client. An Interview with the RenderThat team.
The project team at RenderThat told us about their project with Schlaraffia. What challenges did they have, what solutions did they discover, and what effect did these solutions have on the whole product creation process.
CGI is undoubtedly a very efficient way for creating imagery that has largely replaced photography in many industries. In a pervious article, we reviewed what the differences are between CGI and photography, and what benefits the companies can reap by employing one or the other.
While theory can be very factual, practice might tell us even more. The project team at RenderThat, CEO David Wischniewski, and Project Manager, Brian Ploehn told us about their project with Schlaraffia, a mattress and bedding company based in Germany. What challenges did they have, what solutions did they discover along the way, and what effect did these solutions have on the whole product creation process.
RenderThat is a CGI firm based in Germany. Their main focus is the creation of 3D imagery, as well as animation, product configurator, AR/VR, and overall CGI consulting and production. They work with multiple well-known companies, among which are Anker, Huawei, and many others.
Could you tell us more about Schlaraffia and what problem they came with?
David: Schlaraffia develops hundreds of products simultaneously and under serious time pressure. It was vital for them to create a project pipeline that would allow them to coordinate every small detail with the designers and ensure that everything is in place on time. It takes thousands of small alterations and changes that must be taken in daily to deliver the beds and mattresses of superior quality and design.
At the same time, the product line should be visible and up-to-date. Whether at the trade show, on TV, or on social media, all items should be relevant as if they would be bought in the next second. That is where the team at RenderThat comes in handy. We were asked to create all-around content that would enable Schlaraffia to tweak the design of the items that are in their portfolio, and the ones that are just coming into the production without starting from scratch every time.
What was the most time-consuming process in the product creation?
Brian: The most lengthy process was to create the base for items that would be reused later on. Participation of the client is very important since we must agree on the elements specific for each style as well as the standards for perspective lighting and composition. Therefore, setting up these rules is crucially important before starting to model the separate items.
David: Another bigger part is to coordinate the digital twin and imagery production at the same time as the prototype creation. In this way, no time is wasted in the process.
Could you please expand on why is it important to align prototyping and product creation?
David: The CGI images and digital twins assist in developing and designing the product in terms of proportions and materials early in the product development phase. Later on, the final product dimensions and elements design need to be adapted into the digital twin to correspond with the real product in production.
What was the process between RenderThat and Schlaraffia? Was the client tightly present in the process?
Brian: It is vital that the client shares as much information as possible in the beginning. Since there is no sense in creating styles and general rules for the items on our own, most and foremost they should fit the client.
David: Exactly. The client knows the product best. On top of this, they work as a “middleman” between us with the content production and company management with their goals by communicating, sharing perception and opinion.
Is the solution scalable? Could it be applied to other products or processes?
Brian: Sure. At the moment, we were able to omit any kind of studio photography for marketing in the process. The original process was applied to hundreds of items since then. Moreover, if we ever decided to go further with VR or digital exhibition, the base that we already created will be very helpful.
Looking back at the result, is there anything that you would have done differently?
Brian: We should have created the textures from the client at the beginning, discussed them and have them approved for the future.
Thank you for your insights Brian and David, these can be very helpful for the companies that are thinking about switching to CGI from studio photography. And whether it is a small or large firm, computer generated imagery can be very helpful in working with tight deadlines and with the range of items for multiple purposes. And if you are thinking about such a solution, the team at RenderThat could be just the right solution.