Orbital's 2020 in Review

We’d like to take some time to reflect on how our business developed and progressed within 2020. With the last year definitely being one to remember, through many highs and lows we are so grateful that we have managed to grow as a team and as a business, thanks to all of our clients! We worked with some incredible companies last year, ranging from small independents to some of the biggest names in the industry. Trying to think positively towards 2021, we are looking back on some achievements we didn’t think were possible in the year of the lockdown.

We started the year off with a bang, we were in Hall1 at the January Furniture Show for the third year running. It actually caught us off guard how much attention the images on our stand got. Our own personal highlight was being approached by a number of other CGI agencies asking about our work. Not a bad way to brush off those January blues!

In 2020 we were able to expand our team (we almost doubled it!) now we have such a range of people working here and our skill sets are only growing. Our CGI team has now doubled in size, so we have an amazing team who all specialise in different areas. We have also taken on two new account managers and two new members of the fabric team, along with the increase in the CGI team we have more manpower to work on more projects. 

Possibly our favourite new member of the team is the office pup, Rodney! He’s here everyday and is always ready to greet the team with tail wagging.

Last year we really wanted to step up our game when it came to offering more services to our clients. Not only have we started developing and offering digital sales and marketing packages (which you can read all about here), but we have also taken a lot of time to produce more animation and get back to our roots with videography. We are now able to offer our clients a broader range of marketing assets, this includes creating corporate videos, animations for their products, a shared library of digital assets between clients which also provides networking to fuel real-life sales. Another new way that we’ve become increasingly helpful to our clients is through prototyping products in CGI (you can read about this here). Much of last year was spent assessing new ways that we can help our clients sell and progress as businesses even during lockdowns and uncertain times. With the help of our digital sales packages and prototyping service – many of our clients have been able to continue, or even improve their methods of selling and designing. 

A huge moment for us in 2020 was when we were recognised by the UK government as a Research and Development agency for progressing technology in the furniture and interior industry. The team took the time to create and adapt brand new softwares and scripts to create realistic CGI fabrics that had never been seen before. If you look closely at our most recent projects, you will see that our fabrics even include the tiny fibres you find on real fabrics.

In terms of our studio space we’ve done quite a lot of renovation this year, not only have we upped our digital storage and rendering capacity, but we have also made some physical changes to our office space! We are happy to announce that in early 2021 we will be focusing on renovating our showroom and will be hosting Willis & Gambier – keep an eye out for this, it’s sure to be good! Not only have we upped our digital storage capacity but we have also hugely invested in our technology. We are constantly looking for new tips and tricks and always looking to learn the newest technology which is why we are always updating our tech. Speaking of renovation, we took a look at our website and social media, we wanted to really represent who we are and what we do. We have completely rebranded our instagram to have more of a continuous theme. Along with this, we have updated our website with new services pages and places to showcase our videos and animations. 

Of course an amazing way to end 2020 was by being on the December cover of Furniture News! Along with our work being the front cover, we also had a six page spread discussing how we are redefining the fabric of reality. Our main focus for this was to let the Furniture News readers know how we are helping all suppliers, retailers and manufacturers in the furniture industry through networking between clients and creating a shared library of digital CGI assets! You can read all about this here

We cannot wait to see what 2021 holds for us and our clients! If you are interested in getting to know more about who we are and what we can do for you, just drop us a call or an email and one of our team will be in contact in no time! 

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Product Development & CGI: How We Can Help You!

At the moment many furniture manufacturers are facing a huge obstacle when it comes to product development. With factories and offices closing for months, it’s become increasingly difficult for many manufacturers to be able to test, create or even envision what their new product launches will look like. As you can imagine, in a sector that changes and releases new launches every year this has been a very stressful time for many of our clients. Here at Orbital we are determined to finding new ways in helping our clients combat these issues!

When it comes to product development, furniture manufacturers experiment a lot with design, using an entire development team to go through a long traditional process which requires frequent prototyping. There is a more effective way to shape the design and develop the concept of products. Not that we are biased in any way, but the solution is the integration of CGI into the design process. 3D product rendering gives modern manufacturers ample opportunities to create the perfect design and save money on its realisation at the same time. 

So what is product rendering and how can it elevate the development of an item’s design? Generally speaking, it’s a photorealistic image of an object made by CGI Artists in 3D software. With this technology, Manufacturers and Product Designers can work on the 3D model of the product, trying different colours and materials, as well as changing its design elements. This innovative tool substituted traditional prototyping and can drastically streamline how manufacturers develop and promote their product.

With the help of 3D software, a designer can visually realise changes in colour or material on a new product, change design elements and geometry. An engineer can Identify design problems and find a practical solution in minutes. All just in a few clicks. Using a team that works with 3D software, manufacturers and designers can easily try different designs without producing a physical prototype for every new idea. The process of creating has never been faster and more flexible, so a Product Designer is free to generate ideas and try out plenty of various concepts, shaping the design to perfection without extra expenses. Seeing every design in 360 degree photo realistic quality.

Traditionally, while working on a project and trying many design options, a Manufacturer orders prototypes to see how the object works with different colours, materials and design features. However, ordering a new sample and waiting to see the physical form, before knowing you are fully happy with the design can take months. It can be a laborious and expensive process for the early stages of product development. Needless to say that often a Designer will try at least several variants of product design and makes many adjustments, which requires quite a few prototypes.

With photorealistic product rendering, Manufacturers can first create the best design that could be tested and approved, and only then spend money on a final prototype. This opportunity speeds up production and allows a brand to start sales earlier than their competitors.

Another advantage of product rendering is that it allows the opportunity to test the market with multiple designs before manufacturing a single prototype. Have a full set of photography to show off the concept designs, as if they were fully realised products to see what consumers or buyers react well to before creating the product. Reverse engineering at its best, ready to save manufacturers a huge amount of time and financial risk. Already holding photorealistic room set imagery also means your product launch can get off the ground straight away.

Product 3D rendering helps to make jaw-dropping photorealistic visuals that display all the details, materials and colours as realistically as possible, so the client can fully examine and evaluate the design of the goods. Depending on the customer’s task and the concept, Manufacturers can showcase all colour and design options to take the hesitation out of the buying process.

As many manufacturers will know, when introducing new products to retailers they often want to personalise your products so that they are selling something unique to their own branding. This again can start the whole prototype process over again, meaning more money, time and resources are used for a sale that may not even go ahead. Meaning that many of the UK manufacturers have warehouses full of prototypes that are just sitting there collecting dust and taking up space! To combat building physical prototypes again and again, it is really quick and easy to edit your models in CGI to show a retailer different designs. You can also showcase their personalised products in a lifestyle shot which makes the whole thing seem more real and appealing as they can really envision what it will look like!

Of course, you may have to make a physical prototype in the end stages of your design process but you will be able to avoid creating multiple prototypes for retailers and the process is a lot faster. This benefits not only the manufacturer for sales and keeping their consumers happy, but also for the retailers as they may receive products a lot sooner than expected! 

Our team is constantly looking for new ways to help and benefit our clients. Especially in the current circumstances we feel that it is more important than ever to be looking out for one another in the industry. If you are interested in testing out some prototypes and having them built in CGI for you to see your products come to life then contact us today! 

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