Do you know the feeling when one day you see your designs in a new light and you think ‘Wow! Did I do that?” 

When I was a student the high tech that was available to us looked a bit different: There was the black&white copy machine and we could put presentations together using cutter and spray mount. Some of us had access to computers already and some even had stuff printed. Actually, most of the things we did turned out quite cool. Over time technology improved rapidly, the amount of pixels that our computers were able to spit out increased at an amazing rate. So we started printing things in proper presentation format and even started having booklets printed. And maybe I’m silly but it felt like stepping up from crafting to ‘hey look at me, I’m a real designer!’

As we grew older, however, we figured that our illustrations were actually just a means to an end. We communicate our ideas and concepts via images. So when professional visualisation offices are offering their services to us, most of the time we have to politely decline.

This has various reasons: “First of all, 3D modelling is part of the design process. And I’m not just talking about a quick and dirty model without fillets and chamfers. Yes, sometimes you think you spend more time trying to figure out how to do something in Rhino (or any other 3D program) rather than to figure out if this will look good in the real world. On the other hand, this gives you time to reflect on what you’re doing while you’re doing it. I always found that quite helpful.

The same can be said to some extend to 3D rendering. It does seem like a waste of the designer’s time and computing power when you slow down everything else until your MacBook digested every single pixel twice over. But what I do is working on other things or writing emails while occasionally checking back if Keyshot is still on course. Mind you, it happened more than once that while looking at the image slowly emerging from the blur that I realised I’d have to go back to Rhino and fix something.

Now imagine this would be happening while I’d be working with an external studio. Emails back and forth, sending files over, etc, etc…

The second reason is rather mundane and boring. There simply isn’t any budget to do something that is over and above the necessary. It’s hard to tell, but I’m not sure whether I’d sell more designs with better renderings. Remember, this is all about one-off custom projects. I don’t need to print high gloss brochures, to be sent to every billionaire in the world. So when the design is complete to the point that I really won’t go back to tweak it again, I should have sold the design already.

That is not to say, however, that I would not love to see my designs rendered to a level that I can only dream of achieving with my tools. There are a hundred reasons to say that I should work with professional visualisers, versus only the two above why I shouldn’t. Well, maybe. Next time”

We should post now a few comparisons, just so you can see what we’re talking about. But we are a) still rather proud of the images we have achieved, b) a while ago we posted an article about exploring various render options, and c) we’ll better just let you enjoy the really good stuff. In this case, Olivier Cugniet of mirage-cg had kindly offered us to collaborate on a set of new visuals for our ‘moonflower’ interior design concept (the example shows the main salon and dining area for a 50m motor yacht).

“I have to admit it, when working close together with somebody like Olivier it can improve the design process, too. When for example he starts asking me questions regarding the design intent of certain details. Quite often, when you have this kind of dialogue only with yourself, nobody will ask these questions and nobody will answer them. So that’s definitely a good thing! And last but not least, as a designer, I looked at the final renderings and thought “Wow! I really designed that?”