An Honest Consumer: Why Good CGI Will Make Me Buy Your Product

Taking my Orbital hat off just for a moment, I would like to tell you the story of a consumer (spoiler: it’s me). It is easy to forget our own consumer story when we are emerged in our own company strategy, but isn’t that who all manufacturers and retailers are targeting? So, let’s take a look at why CGI on an e-commerce website is so important in my consumer driven situation in 2019.

 

I have just bought my first property (somehow, I managed to get on that ladder). And while it took me eight long months to finally get the keys, and a month’s worth of living in said property, it is still standing empty of furniture. As you can probably tell by these stats, I am a very fussy (indecisive) buyer when it comes to commitment heavy purchases. However, I finally have a bed frame and two gorgeous dark green velvet sofas arriving in a week’s time, and I want to take you through my buying process and why, unknowingly, CGI is so incredibly important for taking out hesitation time and allowing me, like many others, to commit to a big purchase.

 

As a 2019 shopper the first place I went, along with the majority, is online. I was convinced that I would not be buying a large piece of furniture without seeing it in a showroom, sitting on it, feeling the fabric, seeing the true colour, all these things that play on a seller’s mind when targeting their consumers. But that all changed quite quickly when I saw a small number of well-made websites with great 3D renders. You see, it’s not all about replacing photoshoots, but making a consumer’s online experience bespoke. Alas, I ended up buying two large sofas online without seeing them in person, and 4 weeks on, I have no regrets.

 

I found myself clicking away from any website that either didn’t allow me to wrap my chosen product in the fabric I wanted, or if it did, and the render wasn’t convincing, I left said sites immediately, not being able to visualise true colour or texture that I may be blindly ordering. I would find a sofa online, travel to a showroom, and either find that the sofa wasn’t available to view in the fabric I wanted, or wasn’t available to view at all. Getting exhausted with this process that always ended up in failure, I solely used websites that let me see a virtual but realistic render of the product that would end up on my doorstep, and crucially, allowing me to wrap my chosen product in a realistic render of my fabric, which is difficult to find, when you’re looking at velvet!

 

What really amazed and surprised me is how quickly I exited the sites of, even well-trusted retailers and manufacturers, those which didn’t have this service. Even if it looked like my sofa of dreams, there was no way I could commit. It made me realise the importance of what we do at Orbital. I am usually amazed by the magic of the graphics team, how they can create something digital which is indistinguishable from photoshoots, but as a consumer was where I truly realised the change in sales that we are creating for companies who work with us. It is revolutionising, and a much-needed solution to a great risk-immersed industry in a world of online sales.

 

If you want to the difference Orbital’s Swatch Selector can make to your online sales, get in touch with us today for a chat.


Orbital Acquires Contracts For Duresta, Cotswold Co and Style Library

Adding to what has already been a fantastic year, Orbital Vision has acquired contracts for three of the biggest furniture and fabrics companies in the UK; Duresta, The Cotswold Co. and Style Library.

 

Duresta is a highly successful and infamous brand, who has been crafting upholstered furniture in Long Eaton since 1938. Part of Sofa Brands International, Duresta followed quickly on from their sister company, Collins and Hayes after seeing the impact of the team’s 3D rendering skills on their sales and opportunities . The marketing team at Duresta quickly built a great working relationship with the graphics team in our office which made their decision to create an account with us easy. We are pretty fun, what can we say.

 

In the last week, two more accounts have chosen to work alongside Orbital to transform their digital footprint, the first of which is The Cotswold Co. Known for their quintessential English cottage style selection of furniture and home accessories, they have tasked us with recreating their timeless, rural classics in 3D. Thy couldn’t say no after visiting our stand at The January Furniture Show and seeing no difference between our renders and real photoshoots, realising the potential time and costs savings they were about to enter into with our team working alongside them. Along with the fun of playing with our virtual reality headset at the show.

 

The second account win over the last week was Style Library. For the Scion brand, Orbital will be recreating legacy photoshoots along with digitally creating their huge selection of fabrics wrapping a number of different products to make their website more accessible, and is sure to roll onto other digital opportunities. Orbital were one of three agency options for Style Library, but after a visit to our home at The Exchange, along with seeing the standard of rendering and success Orbital achieved with Linwood, there was no question of the right team for the job. (The fact that we offer a killer lunch may have also been a helping hand).

 

We can’t wait to get our teeth stuck into the new challenges and projects that these accounts will bring to our desks, and feel very excited about growing our relationships with well-established brands in the industry.

 

*All photography credits to Duresta, Cotswold Co. and Style Library


Furniture News cameo written by Paul Farley, Editor-in-Chief

This month, Orbital Vision have made a three page cameo in Furniture News Magazine. A great write up courtesy of Paul Farley, Editor-in-Chief, explaining what we have been up to since our pledge at the January Furniture Show. Read the original article here

 

For those of you who missed it, Orbital pledged to create this years five winners of The Furniture Awards - Sealy UK, Weimann, Hartman UK, Parker knoll and ALF Uno - star products rendered in all it's photorealistic glory, using specialist 3D software. Furniture News checked in to see how the project was coming along...

 

We collected all reference imagery and photographed the measurements of the products in person. Using that imagery we then build the furniture in 3Ds Max.  Devil is in the detail and therefore the building stage is probably the most time consuming. We spent a lot of time ensuring that every piece of detail is spot on, including all the little imperfections that which make all the different to to a build looking real or fake.

 

Once the five builds were completed, the winners received a white-out of their product so they could sign off the overall shapes. We didn't apply any fabrics or materials at this point purely so they can focus on the shape.

 

Once they were happy, it was time to get down to mapping. This consists of setting up the product so fabric can be applied and where it sits on the Fram. It's a little bit like a digital jigsaw for simpler terms. Next, we look closely at the fabric - in order for us to get the best results, we treat fabrics as a separate part of the process and how we build the fabrics is all dependent on the type we're dealing with. From simple cottons, to fabrics with multiple layers and weaves to velvets.

With the products built and mapped, this can be rendered out in every different fabric option, at any cameo angle (including 360s). For most, the next step is to situate their product in a room-set.Like any photoshoot, we start by putting together a mood-board of the what look we want to achieve, and which accessories to use and colour scheme to go with. From here we build everything from the ground up, unique to the winners. A benefit of this is that the room-set is the free to use over and over again for upcoming projects, just by changing the colours and accessories, walls and floors to make it look like an entirely new room!

 

Reaching the final stage of the process, this is where things really come to life. With our super high-tech rendering machines, we can render out any model in any fabric range of different colours and even at any angle all with the click of a button. Everything is rendered in high resolution, so can be used in print, PoS, online and social media marketing.

 

Working with this years award winners has been so diverse for Team Orbital. From creating all the different types of furniture to also introducing our 3D services and showing the alternative to a traditional photoshoot.


3 Reasons Why Product Photography is a Thing of The Past

Photoshoots may seem a necessary spend for furniture manufacturers and retailers, but they are quickly becoming a thing of the past. And here are three reasons why.

Faster turnaround on the creation of marketing materials

  • If are on a tight deadline and need beautiful images fast, you may not have the time and resources to curate an impressive catalogue of images for your new range or product, which is the main component to furniture marketing and sales.

 

  • The process behind furniture photography is a lengthy one. A prototype is the first thing that needs to be made and transported to a set. The photoshoot itself and manpower needed is costly and time consuming, and then comes post-production. And if you need any alterations? You’ll likely need to reshoot the whole thing.

 

  • There are plenty of organisational issues involved with a photo shoot, creating plenty of room for errors. Delayed shipments, below par photographers, and a poor studio are all potential issues you can run into.

 

  • When it comes to creating that same photograph as a 3D render, the process is streamlined in every way. The only two things you need to consider are writing up the details of the project and the final approval stage.

 

  • No photoshoots or shipping involved.

Costs involved in furniture photography skyrocket compared to 3D rendering

  • Furniture photography can be costly, and there isn’t much of a way to get around that. If you’re looking to be as cost-effective as possible, getting a 3D render is usually the better choice.

 

  • With photography, the expenses pile up and eat away at your budget in no time at all.

 

  • Accounting for the cost of shipping a selection of traditional prototypes, you can also count on paying rent for a space to shoot your photos, as well as the cost of photographers and post-production. Even for a single photo shoot, your bill could be hefty. With any reshoots doubling or tripling that initial cost.

 

  • Now, if you’re rendering your product, most of these fees are eliminated. The only thing you have to pay for when it comes to a 3D render is the designer. Everything is created digitally, from the lighting and décor to the set and furniture itself.

Ability to make design changes on the fly

  • With a photograph, there’s a limit to the changes you can make after the fact. Post-production can touch up a photo, making the colour pop and changing the lighting. But no major alterations can be made to a still image.

 

  • If you need a substantial change, you’ll have to reshoot. This can be expensive and push your timeline back significantly.

 

  • With a 3D model, you can make all the changes you want without any extra time or money. Need to change the lightning? No problem. Wish there were a few more flowers in the background? That can be arranged (pun intended).

 

  • And if your product changes, or if you have a selection of fabrics available, all of that can be created and corrected in a 3D model in no time at all.

 

  • Your products can also be altered before they are even created. Manufacturing your prototype traditionally can be expensive. Accounting for colour options and variations, you’ll have to create multiple prototypes. Not to mention any changes you decide on means a whole new prototype needs to be manufactured. With 3D rendering, a product can be created from a mere sketch, and can be altered or redesigned in days. Along with this, if you are creating a whole new range but only have a design for one of your products in the range, leave it down to the graphic designers to create 3D prototypes of the remaining products in the range. From a sketch of a 3-seater sofa, you can have a render of a loveseat, an armchair and an ottoman to match in no time at all.

3D rendering makes sense for companies of all sizes, and let me tell you why. While photorealistic 3D rendering may sound like something out of reach for small companies, it doesn’t have to be. Regardless of how many products you have – even if it’s just one – you could benefit from a 3D render. When your design is going through changes, having a 3D render will allow you to easily manipulate the design, making changes on-the-go. This is important because it’ll allow buyers and designers to visualise the end-product. You can enjoy quick turnarounds for your marketing campaigns, without the extra time having to be put aside, once your prototype is made in 3D, your product launch can begin straight away, for sales to come rolling in.

 

If you need a helping hand or some advice when it comes to making the transition to 3D rendering, get in touch with us today. We are the experts.


Why Virtual Reality Will Soon Be the Only Way to Buy Furniture

Thanks to new technologies like augmented reality, 3D rendering and virtual reality, the furniture industry is finally ready to have its online moment. These are the latest tools designers and retailers are using to give clients a clearer vision of projects and purchases before they commit.

As we see the retail industry move away from brick and mortar we are seeing online only retailers start growing, in some areas overtaking high street shops. This is particularly surprising in the furniture and homewares sector, but we saw it in 2018 as online mattress companies like “Caspar” and “Emma” were topping mattress sales without a single brick and mortar shop. This really opens up a space for virtual reality as we see a gap in the market for endless opportunities to show products to the consumer without having to see a product in real life.

 

Books and music were the first products to really see success online. Without having to touch or feel the products, there was little standing in the way of a consumer clicking on the Buy Now button. Once user reviews were introduced into the mix, the ecommerce virus started taking hold of electronics too. When it came to clothing, it took a little more brain power. With consumers being used to trying on clothes and feeling the quality of fabrics, online apparel had a slow start. But it was nothing that next day delivery and free returns couldn’t fix.

 

Now, it’s furniture’s time to shine online, but the category requires completely new tactics. While user reviews help customers understand the quality and feel of products, they can’t help a buyer see how the piece actually fits in a room, which is the biggest obstacle we’re seeing when consumers consider the risks of buying online.

 

Furniture buying requires consumers to invest significant amounts of time and money choosing an item they will have to live with for many years. Add this to the thought that homeowners will want to see if a furniture piece fits in their space, and matches the current arrangements and products they already have in their home, virtual reality can really kick in.

We are seeing AR and VR crop up in certain home décor apps, even if it is still early and some are stilted. Take Dulux for example, although not perfect, their app allows you to take a photo of your room and place their paint colours on any wall, so you can preview the finished look without spending any time or money. Now imagine the success if this was available to interior designers and general homeowners in the realm of furniture. Superimposing that sofa you’ve been lusting after, into your current living room space – to scale – and in your chosen fabric. It’s important to envision the whole room, including pieces you own and pieces you’re considering purchasing. We don’t think that this new retail revolution is far off. But you know what they say – the early bird catches the worm. It is usually the businesses who nail these new approaches first that get the long-term results.

 

The future can be exciting, if maybe a little daunting. Orbital are working on their own Virtual Reality products to help retailers and manufacturers sell their products – keep your eyes peeled for updates!


Danish Delights at London Design Fair

Danish Delights - London Design Fair 2018

It was great to see the pavilion stand representing a variety of Danish brands at Design Week.

 

Showcasing products from Georg Jensen, Republic of Fritz Hansen, Warm Nordic, Junckers, Tom Rossae, Berhart and BoConcept, there was plenty for the eye to admire.

We loved the simple shaping, unfussy detail, the curved Danish form of low slung upholstery and the modern take of a dining chair that looked inspired, by the Hans J Wegner classic Wishbone.

 

Paper type hanging lanterns, that are reminiscent of paper planes crafted as a kid and authentic wood cubes (multi use, side tables or a footstool), with the detail of the grain. The white origami inspired hanging lanterns, which suggested movement were graceful and elegant, making a great focal statement piece for a room.

 

Lovely to see the classic Danish ‘butterfly’ type dining chair, upholstered for a change! In a gorgeous deep claret.