Starting up an in-house 3d department...

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  10 October 2012
Originally Posted by DePaint: To me, photoreal means "as close to reality as possible". Yes, preferably imperfect, with warts and all, and some grain and some grit.

I don't mind stylized CG in a narrative context (Pixar kids movies et cetera).

But I don't like CG renders of products that are, basically, "computer-generated, art-directed fantasies".

Especially with expensive products like cars, for example.

I want to see the car as it really looks in real reality, under ordinary light, not some arty, farty, heavily manipulated fantasy.

In the same vein, I like to see famous people like actors depicted in a natural way, with no heavy makeup or major Photoshopping and skintone smoothing.

I guess I like "Reality", warts and all.

This is not a criticism of your renders. I just personally prefer hardcore "photorealism" in renders where possible.


Unfortunately most clients don't agree with you. Apple doesn't want to show of their new i-Phone with fingerprints and scratch marks on the back. I think this is more a discussion of what someone needs to do in this industry, and less what each of us thinks looks better or more "photo-real"

Someone looking to do product cg rendering for ads need to learn how to make what AJ is showing. Something that looks almost more than real. And it's extremely hard, cause you have to make something that tricks the human eye, without all those little tricks like dust or fingerprints so immensely useful for tricking the human eye.
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  10 October 2012
Wink

Originally Posted by DePaint: But they are only about 70% photoreal in my opinion.

Now 100%!

But seriously, I think AJ images are very good and barely need improvement.

Last edited by mister3d : 10 October 2012 at 03:15 PM.
 
  10 October 2012
Don't think of your group as a dedicated 3d department. The "3d" aspect is just a tool in your digital content creation group. What you can sell your suits on is that with 3d, you have more flexibility. You can create interactive media (with 3d, flash and a game engine or TurnTool), animations. With the still images, you can create exploded views and create several variations (lighting, colors, modifications) and render out several different views. Also, with render effects, you can create vector drawings and outlines as well as nice cutaways if needed.

Operational costs other than the software you might want them to consider would be a subscription to autodesk for the updates, a subscription to a tutorial site like digital tutors (invaluable to our creatives) as well as other learning resources. As you grow and get profitable, start increasing your tools and resources if needed, like plugins and other render options.

Sounds like if they already bought he software, you just have to use it and prove its worth.
 
  10 October 2012
Originally Posted by mister3d: Now 100%!
Hahaha! Thank you. Although I should stipulate for the sake of clarity that I the guitar and microphone images were done by the other 50% of our studio

Jon makes some great points, apologies for derailing your thread somewhat.
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  10 October 2012
I was wondering why you asked this question, then saw you're not in America. Here, the conversation would probably go something like this:

You: Can we start a 3D department in-house?
Them: Will it be cheaper and faster?
You: Um, not really, but...
Them: Then no.

But seriously, what Jon said. You need to integrate it where time and budget allow, and constantly evangelize to the higher-ups why it's better/faster/cheaper/more versatile, etc.
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  10 October 2012
Originally Posted by AJ: I totally get what you're saying but unfortunately in the commercial world this hasn't been the case since advertising (and film) began.

I could spend time adding fingerprints and scratches to a render of new phone which would make it much more convincing but I don't think the client would be best pleased


Just to back up AJ;

My idea of photorealism isn't at all what agencies and clients call photorealism. I've produced work in progress renders and they've called them photorealistic. It's a very loosely tossed term.

When we started up our company in commercial production, we learned very quickly that adding fingerprints, subtle scratches, dust / dirt to objects in order to achieve photorealism wasn't at all what the clients want. They pointed it out quickly and asked it to be removed. Their idea of photorealism is exactly what AJ posted above. Stylized realism. Yes, us professionals know they are not photorealistic in the true sense of the word because they are perfect. But this is the appeal commercial clients and agencies like about CG or why real products are shot under very unrealistic / stylized studio lighting conditions. I think AJ's renders are quite nice and very good examples of what commercial production photorealism means.

Now for film, that's an entirely different beast. There, you gotta do whatever you can to create a truly photorealistic model.

-Rich
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Last edited by richardrosenman : 10 October 2012 at 05:57 AM.
 
  10 October 2012
Hi iLEZ. There are countless sites with product renders out there. The Keyshot (rendering application) is easy and quick to use. Their forum has a lot of product renders, many done by newbies:

http://keyshot.com/forum/index.php?board=5.0

By the way, that light you rendered looks like the ones they sell in Aldis or Lidls. My Dad bought some for his garage a while back and yours look the same.
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  10 October 2012
Originally Posted by richardrosenman: .....When we started up our company in commercial production, we learned very quickly that adding fingerprints, subtle scratches, dust / dirt to objects in order to achieve photorealism wasn't at all what the clients want. They pointed it out quickly and asked it to be removed. Their idea of photorealism is exactly what AJ posted above....


Some of the CG and Art teachers here are now calling it "out of the box" or "Christmas gift" photorealism. Thinking about this, if I was a client I would want my product shown as brand new out of the wrapper, instead of looking used with fingerprints and dirt.
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  10 October 2012
Originally Posted by iLEZ: Hey CGtalk.
Extremely long time no see. When I lurked this place the last time, I was in school studying game development. This was almost 10 years ago. Now I'm a graphic designer, working mainly in InDesign and Photoshop, for a Swedish company. The thing is that I've been doing this job for five years now, and I love it, but I just can't let 3d go. I'm convinced that this is possible. I want to start an in-house 3d department at the company where I work.

I haven't touched 3dsmax in many many years, before I went to school. We used Maya there, and for low-poly stuff. No rendering, just game engine stuff. Now, I have convinced my boss' boss to purchase 3dsmax 2013(!) for our in-house department, and he wants to see what I'm capable of, so in my spare time I've started making some models and rendering them in Mental Ray as best as I remember. It feels like riding a bike for the first time in years to be honest, I hardly notice that I've been away.




This LED-worklight is one of my first models that I've shown my colleagues.


Now to the questions:

How do I go about with this whole thing so that it doesn't tank before it's airborne? There are suits to be convinced, much learning to be done and probably some conflicts with ancient traditions and practices.

How did you manage to start a 3d-department from scratch?

What were your good arguments to convince the suits?

What was the biggest difficulty?

Can you show me some good examples of photo realistic 3d rendered product images like mine. I'm collecting ammunition for those old dinosaurs who'll inevitably claim that they can spot the difference.

I've been setting up meetings with a 3d department at another company where I know people. What more can I do? Am I missing anything? It's probably easy to figure out what company I work for if you dox me, but I figure that this is not really classified company info if we talk about it openly with other companies already.


Tell them that IKEA is dropping photography in their catalogues in favor of 3d. True story.
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  10 October 2012
Originally Posted by richardrosenman:
Now for film, that's an entirely different beast. There, you gotta do whatever you can to create a truly photorealistic model.



Unless of course the brand of vehicle the protagonist drives happens to be a company that is sponsoring the movie, then of course it swings right back to the stylised, perfect half reality again

Think Transformers. Bumblebee = battered, scratched, worn and dented, But when he transforms back to that Chevy Camaro, you'd be hard pressed to find a single fingerprint mark!
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  10 October 2012
Originally Posted by CB_3D: Tell them that IKEA is dropping photography in their catalogues in favor of 3d. True story.


I can stretch the truth a bit. I just found out that they are shooting for 25% in the next year.

Thanks everyone for the interesting replies! I don't mind at all if we wander off topic for a bit, but I want to re-iterate my questions:

Has anyone been there "from the beginning" when starting up an in-house 3d-department? What was the biggest hurdles? What were your best arguments to convince people that this is a good idea, if it was. =)
 
  10 October 2012
Convincing the money men that forking out the $$$$'s now will pay off sooner rather than later.

In-house is more valuable to a company for design development, doing reams of iterations and variations, than doing one-off marketing images.

For many years we have been trying to convince the money men that it would be worth while to pursue marketing images as an supplement to the DD images we do. However they always end up being DD images because the designers just cant help themselves, which eats into the budget very quickly, especially with animations.

jhv
 
  10 October 2012
You already have Max purchased by your boss, that alone is quite a hefty investment, sounds to me like you already have a 3D department consisting of you
 
  10 October 2012
How to convince the suits?

Simple:

Cost-Benefit Analysis

Befriend someone in Accounting/Finance. Make a table that states your case.

You will win if you can demonstrate that having a 3D department is better than any number of alternatives (ie: getting physical item, fabricating physical item, hiring out photographer, etc.)
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  10 October 2012
for me it was pretty easy. it was the cost vs time they cared about.

and knowing that they liked "shiny" I quickly demoed them an evaluation copy of bunkspeed.


by the end of the week theyd got a seat :P
 
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