CGI Shocks Visitors at JFS

When we think of CGI Imagery, most people imagine unrealistic imagery from video games, or the creation of fantasy lands in multimillion pound blockbuster films. When it comes to CGI for the furniture industry, most businesses have given it a go, two or three years ago, and been disappointed with the results. Materials with no texture, unimaginative lighting, and results that look fake. But one agency was challenging these beliefs at JFS 2020.

 

At this year’s January Furniture Show, Orbital’s stand was showcasing CGI that didn’t cease to amaze, when visitors were assured that none of the imagery on display was photography. Orbital is a digital creative agency specialising solely on the furniture and interiors industry. With CGI imagery their main focus, alongside branding, design and websites, they have spent the last three years honing their virtual 3D skills. Upon surveying the CGI being offered to the furniture industry, they noticed that the real failing in making these images look realistic was textures and fabrics. Orbital made it their mission to create photorealistic fabrics, that are indistinguishable from the real thing, and from the imagery they were presenting at the show, it looks like they have achieved their aim.

The stand in Hall 1 had a constant buzz. The agency stated that most visitors were telling stories of CGI attempts from the past, and were amazed at how far the technology and skills have advanced.

 

Orbital’s md, Rob Walker, stated

“CGI is soon going to be the only way for manufacturers and suppliers to go. Consumers and buyers are becoming more unwilling to use their imaginations. Visualising a furniture piece next to a fabric swatch, without imagery to support, in every available colour, is just not enough anymore to finalise sales. Not only this, but we are seeing that more and more retailers will now only stock products that come with 3D asset files and in order to sit perfectly within their ecommerce sites. It’s only a matter of time before all companies will need CGI, and we like to think we are offering imagery that can’t be spotted as fake next to traditional photography.”

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Live CGI Demonstrations at BFM Fabric Show London

At orbital, Fabrics are our secret weapon. There may be a large number of CGI agencies now popping up in and around the industry, but the one thing that sets Orbital apart is our photorealistic fabrics.

 

So, what better event for us to sponsor than the BFM Fabric Show London 2020. The BFM Fabric Show (Formerly known as London Fabric Show) the show is in its 7th year and has been growing steadily with the biggest names in British furniture manufacture and retail.

“Organised and hosted by the BFM (British Furniture Manufacturers Association), the two-day event takes place on Tuesday 25th and Wednesday 26th February 2020 at Chelsea FC, Stamford Bridge, London.

Over 35 UK and international fabric producers and suppliers will introduce their latest plains, patterns and colourways. On show will be woven and speciality fabrics for upholstery, beds and soft furnishings. Along with exhibitors from the UK will be fabric producers from Belgium, Germany, Italy, Spain and Turkey.”

We are proud sponsors of the show for the third year in a row and are excited to see so many familiar faces in the industry and introduce ourselves to those who may not be aware of our work. But we also have something pretty exciting up our sleeve for the BFM Fabric show. Live demonstrations. We will be making 3D fabrics live on our stand, and live rendering these fabrics onto a 3D model before your eyes.

 

Not only will we be exercising our speed, but the realism of what we create. Look closely and you will see the weaving threads in the fabrics. We know we have been telling you about the benefits of CGI vs traditional photography for a year now. But most people are dubious about CGI because they don’t believe that their products will really look the same in a virtual world. We are here to prove that theory wrong.

 

Make sure you sign up for free registration to attend the 2020 show to see the demonstrations for yourself. And if you can’t make it, or you just can’t wait that long (we know, it is exciting), have a look at our CGI Fabrics page to see how we can bring your fabrics to life.

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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.

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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!

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New industry hub to officially open during Long Point

The Exchange, a new working, meeting and showroom space in heart of the UK's furniture manufacturing region, will be officially opened on the evening of 17th September.

 

Located in Westend Mill on Long Eaton's Leopold Street (opposite Harrington Mill), The Exchange already serves various functions, acting as the headquarters of trade association the BFM and digital agency Orbital, as well as being a new regional HQ for The Furniture Makers’ Company.

 

It is also a new showroom location for the biannual Long Point exhibition, taking place from 17-19th September.

 

"The Exchange is a hub," says Orbital's director, Matt O'Flynn, "set up for the purpose of providing the industry with a central point to convene and conduct its business in a neutral and professional environment.

 

"Home to the BFM, and the new Heart of England charity region for The Furniture Makers’ Company, the Long Eaton Guild will also use the space for their board meetings, as will the BFM. Additionally, it is the home to Orbital, a marketing and design agency set up to focus on the furniture market."

 

"The Exchange is also a new home for a growing number of manufacturers in the showroom space it has within the facility."

 

The opening party will commence at 6pm on 17th September. Present will be Maggie Throup, Conservative MP for the Erewash constituency, who was recently appointed the chair of the All Party Parliamentary Furniture Industry Group (APPFIG).

 

Members of the trade interested in attending should register their interest here

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The Exchange Showroom is open for business

We are now more accessible than ever before. Nestled in the heart of the UK's furniture manufacturing industry in Long Eaton, home to the new BFM office and Orbital Visions studio, you will find a space suitable to showcase your ranges full potential.

 

The Exchange Showroom is open for business, and we want you to see it for yourselves.

 

An impressive 300 meter squared open space, complete with an entire new interior, fully loaded conference suite, a provided cafe area and free Wi-Fi, it is undeniably Long Eaton's most exciting showroom space.

 

If you are interested in flaunting your brand and products in The Showroom, call us or email at [email protected] and we'll be more than happy to tell you more.

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