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Orbital's Top Tech Tips: How to Revamp your Sales During Social Distancing

Many businesses in the interiors industry currently rely on face-to-face sales and are used to showcasing their physical products and swatch-books to their clients in person. So, we appreciate that many businesses may have had to abandon their usual field-based, traditional selling methods and might now be feeling unsure of how to communicate with their new and existing clients. Continuing our Top Tech Tips for the furniture industry during lockdown, this week we are back to help guide any businesses who believe that sales pitches are impossible through social distancing restrictions.

Using Virtual Sales Methods

Digitising your sales process is easier than it may first appear. Arming your sales agents with digital packs will aid your sales to retailers which is a process that will carry through to when the lockdown is a distant memory. Creating digital assets for your products means that when you sell a furniture piece to a new client, within the price you can also include digital swatches, bespoke lifestyle shots and customised furniture. Not only are these a great way to present your products in a virtual meeting, but it allows your new customer to sell your products online without the need for any spending on their own marketing. You provide them with everything they need to sell online. Why would they go anywhere else?

With current social restrictions, there is no room for glossy location shoots or prototype manufacturing. When your customer wants to see your new model in a particular fabric, with all of your products built-in 3D, it takes mere hours to be able to present them with their bespoke purchase. We’re sure you can see how this will not only be a skill reserved for lockdown. With more and more online retailers only buying products that will fit their own CGI customisers online, your company will be one step ahead.

From Virtual Swatchbooks to Virtual Reality

Investing in digitising your products doesn’t stop at some unusual lifestyle shots. Once the first step has been made into the world of 3D, the possibilities are quite literally endless. From online customisers to dabbling in augmented reality, these opportunities might sound time and cost heavy, but the first step is creating your products in 3D. Once they are built in a virtual environment, these options are completely attainable. You’d be amazed at how simple the next steps are.

Like the new IOS update for Apple phones which has made Augmented Reality for 3D products native to all devices. This means, that you can download any 3D item onto your Apple phone, and project it into the room you are standing in, just by looking through your phone’s camera. No apps needed. AR is already becoming mainstream, and with brick and mortar stores closed for the immediate future, general shopping habits are changing, and not for the short-term. So, don’t settle with waiting. In times like this, we must keep looking forward, and be ready for what’s next.

Keep an eye out next week to see how your business can utilise 3D in product development. Seeing photorealistic lifestyle shots of your imagery with finalised padding and perfectly designed frames, without a prototype in sight. Especially handy with more time on your hands, but no access to factories.

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How CGI is Transforming Furniture Development

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 it can elevate the development of 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 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 photorealistic 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 tries at least several variants of product design and makes many adjustments, which require 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.

Get in touch to see how we can streamline your design process today!

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January Furniture Show: Get All Your Assets in Line

The January Furniture show is one of the UK’s biggest and most well known furniture trade show in the calendar. It boasts five halls from homewares to lighting, and everything in between. The 2020 show will run from Sunday 19th to Wednesday 22nd January.

 

Getting ready for JFS can take a lot of time, thought and preparation. Trust us, we know! But not only do we creaate photorealistic CGI images of furniture products and room sets We also specialise in design.

 

Our team come from a variety of backgrounds, and we have a handful of talented designers who love nothing better than to dissect the success of a brochure design. We are becoming something of a one-stop shop at Orbital. Initially, clienst come to us when they realise they can’t spot the difference betwen our imagery, and their long -winded photoshoots. But, when they realise we offer websites and print design too, it is hard not to resist hvaing your images framed into marketing assets by the same agency. You’d be amazed by the efficiency.

 

The January Furniture Show is the place to launch. New ranges, new brands or new looks. Making sure your marketing assets are updated is crucial. With buyers wandering past hundreds of stands, you want to make sure that yours is what they remember when they go to make orders, and keep on ordering from.

 

If you are wondering how to show off a large number of products in an eye-catching, on brand  and sales inducing hand out. Call on Orbital’s Unreal Creatives. We would love to create a mock-up for your brand, so you can see the results for yourself.

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Combining CGI with Core Values: Made to Last

The name Made to Last seems very apt for one of our clients. Because that's what our imagery is, made to last. Saying goodbye to photoshoots, and saying hello to forever editable images, forever re-stylable locations at the click of a button, and forever reusable fabrics.

 

Made to Last are an online retailer with sustainability, durability and the British Manufacturing industry in its core values. Stocking solely British manufacturers, they provide everything home based from electricals to outdoor furniture, and everything in between. When they saw some realistic images that we were creating for one of their suppliers, and realised there were no photoshoots involved, they contacted us straight away. Removing the use of photoshoots also perfectly matches the sustainability factor of this forward-thinking retailer. Not only are they avoiding fast-fashion by supplying high-quality products, but cutting their carbon footprint and waste. Removing the idea of location shoots saves travel and delivery emissions, wasted prototypes, wasted fabrics, and on. Our images are completely recyclable. You only pay for a fabric, product or room set to be built once! so it is pretty gently on the long term budget too!

 

With a new selection of recliner beds, Made to Last needed a room set of a traditional bedroom, that could house a collection of six electric bed ranges, in a selection of colours and sizes. With traditional photography, this would have cost the Earth, in precious employee time as well as money. And that’s our cue!

 

We started by creating a mood board of images that matched their brief. A particular shot was chosen, and we went ahead with digitally recreating their dream location. We then got started on building each bed range and all the available fabrics in 3D. With this option, it allowed us to show the products in a variety of states. With the beds dressed, without the mattress, without incline, and showing off the electrical advantages of the recliner beds. Within a month, Made To Last had a package of images to populate their website, ready to upload, in their inbox.

 

This week, we were happy to see our images, live on their website! No matter how many projects we finish, the feeling of seeing our creation hosed on someone’s website always gives us that sense of excitement and job satisfaction. The excited responses we get from our clients also helps! We can’t wait to get started on our next project with Made to Last, so make sure you keep an eye on their website to see if you can spot which images are from a photoshoot and which were created from nothing in our Studio. We don’t call it wizardry for nothing!

If your business is in need of a website facelift or you want to say goodbye to photoshoots,, get in touch with us today!

Call on Orbital's Unreal Creatives

Have a gander at Made to Last's website. Make sure you check out the new recliner beds, and try to spot any CGI...

Play Spot the CGI...
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IKEA uses CGI to recreate Stranger Things

So, by now you’ve all seen the magic we can create with realistic room sets. But to show the illusion behind CGI replacing photography in interiors, IKEA has taken it one step further. And we love it.

It’s just a still from Stranger things, right? Wrong! Just like the series itself, everything is not quite as it seems. The retail giant has used its own products in 3D visualisation to recreate the famed living room interior – alphabet and fairy lights included. But if we’re honest, we would have taken it one step further and made the set as if it was upside down, just saying…

But it doesn’t stop there. They have also recreated The Simpsons’ living room, and Monica’s apartment from F.R.I.E.N.D.S. It’s a clever little ploy. I mean, we’re not convinces that there will be a queue of customers ready to buy a clay orange sofa and paint their walls in pastel pink in homage to Homer and Marge, but it definitely makes you look twice.

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Orbital Awarded Best New Supplier 2019

Award-Winning Agency, Orbital… it has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?

 

At Orbital, we have been honing our craft for three years, but it was 18 months ago when we streamlined our business to focus on the furniture industry. We turned our attention to perfecting the art of recreating interiors, furniture and fabrics in 3D. The work we have developed over that time has not come easily!

 

We have been lucky enough to have a team that works and thinks hard and has carved a place for our agency in the industry. We have grown quickly, which just goes to show us that our hard work really is paying off. This year we have had huge names in the industry join our books, including Sofa Workshop, Duresta, Warwick Fabrics, Linwood, Style/Library and on…

 

We have not only honed a craft but are developing new technologies that are going to transform the face of furniture online sales. Especially when it comes to our magic fabric solution which can have a physical fabric sample, flawlessly tiled on screen in a matter of minutes. Anyone who has ever tried to tile a fabric before will know that this is a major breakthrough (or if you hire full time employees solely for this job).

 

We would like to say a huge thank you to the readers of Interiors Monthly for voting for us. Don’t mind us, we are just off to pop open a bottle of bubbly to celebrate and are looking forward to the next steps that this win may bring for us.

 

Make sure to keep an eye out for more Orbital appearances. Most recently on the websites of John Lewis and Sofa Workshop, where our CGI images are in action. Make sure you also follow our social media pages to keep an eye on sneak peeks of new collection launches from the likes of Linwood, Warwick Fabrics, Duresta and Sofa Workshop.

 

If you are planning to head down to Long Point this year, make sure you pop into our studio and say hello. We are smack bang opposite the infamous Harrington Mills, and we will be housing exhibitors Staud and Hugo Park. We also just love showing off some technical wizardry to anyone who is interested in seeing it.

 

Or you can pick up the latest copy of Furniture news, where we were honoured to grace the front page. Yes, we did fake the moon landing, with a bit of an Orbital twist...

 

See more about the awards, and the full list of winners here: https://interiorsmonthly.co.uk/3685-interiors-monthly-awards-2019

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Faking the Moon Landing

Is it Fake? Isn’t it? There is something mysterious about the flag waving in the wind in a place where there is no atmosphere….

But, surely, we can all agree that in the time before even mainstream colour television, we did not hold the knowledge of technology to fake a moon landing that still looks believable in this day and age?

But in 2019, we do. Our team had fun this month creating a fake moon landing and adding our famous leather chair, recreated in steel. It even features a little Neil Armstrong giving you a wave outside of the Apollo 11. Featured on the front cover of August’s issue of Furniture News.

We have shown off a lot of our skills with our room set and product images, so we thought it was about time to show off what we are really capable of, and have a little fun and creativity at the same time. At Orbital we love a challenge, and no idea is out of reach for our Unreal Creatives.

The inspiration behind this project was the idea that with Orbital, virtually, anything really is possible. We wanted to commemorate the developments in technology that the trip to the lunar surface afforded humanity. We were thinking about how far technology has come, and where it is going. We also love the idea that the desperate deadline to land on the moon opened up the minds of people, globally, that if we work hard and think outside of the box, we can achieve things that we hadn’t even considered to be possible.

This creation is to project the idea that with Orbital, Virtually, anything really is possible. Everything is not always as it seems…

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Celebrating 50 Years: 5 Facts You Didn't Know About the Moon Landing

This month is the 50th anniversary of the infamous Moon Landing. Here at Orbital, we are taking the opportunity to look back at how far technology has come, and where it is taking us next.

 

To kick off the celebrations, we have 5 facts that we bet you didn’t know about man’s first steps in space.

1. The first drink consumed on the moon was wine

Edwin ‘Buzz’ Aldrin actually remembers his first drink on the moon being wine, and the way it “curled” up the side of his cup gracefully. As he told Guideposts, “In the radio blackout I opened the little plastic packages which contained bread and wine.” He had wanted to televise the moment to share with the world, but apparently NASA wasn’t entirely comfortable with the idea. Madalyn Murray O'Hair had previously protested the reading of Genesis by Apollo 8, so the idea that the second man to step onto the moon would perform a religious act may have been a bit much in that climate.

 

 

So, Aldrin drank his wine privately. We think Wine is the perfect way to commemorate such a long journey. Let’s just hope Neil Armstrong was the designated driver.

2. Armstrong carried with him a piece of wood from Wright brothers' aeroplane

The first recorded flight was achieved by the Wright Brothers in 1903, 66 years before the Apollo 11 lunar mission. Neil Armstrong chose to take with him fragments of wood from the pioneering Wright plane along with a piece of fabric from the plane in the hopes that the lunar mission would be just as iconic in its success.

3. The astronauts declared "moon rock and moon dust samples" to customs when they returned to Earth

In 2015, Buzz Aldrin tweeted a picture of his "travel voucher" outlining the list of expenses from his trip to space, just like somebody would for a family holiday. He then revealed that the astronauts had to sign customs forms on their return to Earth, where they were required to declare the "moon rock and moon dust samples" they were carrying.

4. The astronauts landed with only 25 seconds of fuel to spare

During the planning of the Apollo 11 mission, a site on the Moon was picked as the landing site that was thought to be safe and flat. But while the Apollo was descending, Aldrin and Armstrong realised the site was covered in boulders and knew it would be dangerous to attempt the planned landing. So, Armstrong began to manually navigate the probe; skimming over the risky site, a decision which meantmore fuel would be consumed while finding a new location. The probe had a fuel limit which would make the mission automatically abort if reached. The probe landed just 25 seconds before reaching its limit. If the probe had landed 25 seconds later than it did, the probe would automatically reverse back into the moon’s orbit, to head back to Earth, and no man would have stepped on the moon’s surface.

5. The Apollo Mission required the work of over 400,000 engineers, technicians and scientists

Many of these people had never worked in the aerospace industry, and none had worked before on machines designed to transport humans to another world. Overnight, as their companies won Apollo contracts, their day jobssuddenly took on a greater purpose. Achieving technicalmiracles, an accomplishment which, if achieved, would transcend nationhood. Such global unity was something that no peacemaker, politician or prophet had ever quite achieved. But 400,000 engineers with a promise to keep to a president managed it.

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Designing in a Virtual World

Forget starting your new design with a pen and paper, new virtual reality (VR) technology boasts the ability to see and walk around a 3D sketch of your new product at the very first stages of the design process.

 

Using new headset technologies, it is now possible to conjure 3D shapes out of thin air, using a ‘virtual pen’, and share the life-like design with clients and colleagues around the world, in real time.

 

While a similar process is already available, where companies are cutting time and money by sending prototype sketches to 3D agencies (like us) to create and edit their new products without building a single piece, the whole process is looking to become more accessible over the next few years. For those who have the budget, that is. VR is finally beginning to fulfil its potential for business.

 

"You can walk around your sketches so you can see how your lines work in a 3D environment, and move freely in a room, explains Jan Pflueger , augmented and virtual reality co-ordinator for German car firm Audi.

 

In the past, the technology - hardware, software, connectivity - simply wasn't up to the job.

 

"Designers didn't like using headsets because the image resolution was too low," says Mr Pflueger.

 

As well as low resolution images, the headsets were bulky and full of wires making them uncomfortable and impractical. But now, with advancing technologies and internet speeds VR is becoming more like reality every day.

 

Looking at the big players ahead of the game, Audi is working with Finnish start-up Varjo, “which has recently starting selling a high-end (€5,995; £5,170) headset boasting ‘human eye resolution’ using a technique called ‘foveated rendering’. It uses eye-tracking technology to tell which part of the image you're focusing on, then concentrates its processing power on that section to render it in high definition.”

 

With the images being high resolution, it means that designers can see necessary modifications and make changes before any expensive physical prototypes have been made speeding up the design process at a very early stage. Not only can you share the designs with colleagues, but also clients. The efficiency of the process is heightened by adding input from the end-user at the very beginning. Pretty cool if you ask us.

 

The possibilities this opens is endless, with customers being able to walk round a show home or car showroom, and tailored designs available to edit in real-time, taking away lengthy waiting times on decision making and removing the hesitation from the buying process. Giving the interchangeable choice of colour schemes, flooring and carpet choices, kitchen options and on. But such high-quality graphics require a lot of processing power, so most high-end headsets have to be "tethered" to a powerful computer. But not for long.

 

A big breakthrough will be to offer near human-eye resolution VR without the need for any cables. And this is where high-speed 5G connections will have a big impact. With streaming speeds 10 to 20 times faster than existing connections, the high-res images will be sent to the headsets wirelessly.

 

Looking into our Orbital crystal ball, we can see that design processes will be completely transformed over the next five to ten years as VR technology becomes more accessible. But if you’re not quite ready to take into account this type of spending, take the first step and see how we can revolutionise your marketing materials, with the use of 3D.

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Digitising Your Fabrics: Our Process

We understand that not everyone has been immersed in the world of 3D. You may have been told that you will need 3D assets of your fabrics, but you are not sure how the process works and it is stopping you from taking that first step. So, we thought we’d give some clarity:

1. The Pitch

We want to show off what we can do, and we want to make sure that will help the development of your business. So, the first step is inviting you to come to our office to have a peek of the projects we are currently working on, and we will probably show off some technical wizardry – the team is pretty talented, we can’t help showing them off. We will then sit you down and talk about where the gaps in your visual marketing and online sales are, and the best way to solve them. Don’t expect any visual concepts yet, but we can show you some of our case studies that may sway you. (We also serve a great lunch which is worth the visit alone.)

 

Then there is increased SEO. Search engines favour relevant content. And images getting clicks are exactly that type of materials: they bring visitors to the website, lead them to explore its content and interact with it. So, the more successful images you have, the more chance you have of getting and keeping top positions in the search results.

 

Needless to say, each product shot needs alt and title tags, and descriptions. So when your high-quality, engaging product design renderings have well-written attributes with relevant keywords, search engine rankings will know that your page content is high-quality and therefore useful for your target audience.

2. The Brief

Once we’ve got the job (thanks!), we will ask for a swatch or flat photograph of each fabric that you need digitalised so that we can work our magic. If you were really great clients you would also send us a lifestyle shot of the fabric, wrapping a product, so we can see the way light hits it at different angles.

3. The Build

Our team will then recreate your fabrics with flawless step and repeat patterns, photo-realistic textures and colour matching perfection. You don’t need to know too much about this part, except that we can recreate your fabrics in record time. Seriously, we can have a fabric swatch perfectly digitised in under ten minutes. You really won’t believe it.

4. The Finished Product

You have proofed and fallen in love with all the images. So now it is up to you where you are going to use them. We can put them in a great brochure design. Use them to drastically improve your eCommerce website or ask us to build room sets for them to be placed into for a time and cost effective alternative to photoshoots .

It really is as simple as that. We always make sure you’re involved in the whole process and our door is always open. Why not check out some of our previous work here . Come and meet us (or Skype if you’re too far away), send us your fabrics and that’s it! You’ll have your perfect 3D assets in no time at all. What are you waiting for?

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