The Importance of Pre-Production in CGI Room Sets

One of the major benefits of using CGI instead of traditional commercial photography in a studio is the ability to build a room set without expensive or breakable props and actual products or product prototypes. With CGI, we can build everything inside that room set from scratch - even if the prop or product doesn’t exist. The room set will never break, and it can be revisited again and again for new product shots or future projects. This isn’t possible when building a real room set in a studio. 

While simple change-outs aren’t usually a problem (“make that vase purple instead of yellow!”), the pre-production stage of building a CGI room set is incredibly important to the success of the project as a whole. Ideally, we’ll only have to build the CGI room set once. If the TRG Reality team has to spend extra time rendering or revising elements of a room set during or after the build, the entire project will be affected. How? In three major ways: the timeline, the budget, and the quality.

Timeline

This one’s pretty obvious, but it’s still worth mentioning. It can take a long time to render a room set. It’s not something that is typically done in an hour or two, as sometimes it can take up to a week or longer. If a client decides to swap out a chandelier (or something similar) in the final hour, it’s not what we consider a simple change-out. Lighting is a huge component of photo-real CGI work. Swapping out an item that affects the lighting means re-rendering the entire image to accommodate potential lighting changes. This takes time, and unless you’ve padded your timeline extensively, re-rendering again (and again) will most likely affect our ability to meet your deadline. 

Budget

If your timeline is affected, it’s likely your budget will be as well. We provide our clients with budget and timeline estimates based on the scope of the CGI work and historical data, but if your project requires work that falls outside of that initial scope, it’s going to require a higher budget, too. If you have a flexible budget, this won’t be as much of any issue. If your budget is set in stone, however, it’s a good idea to come to our studio prepared with style boards and a firm idea of what you want the final image to look like. If you’re a first-timer and have no idea what you want your final image to look like, we’d be more than happy to help you come up with the big idea. Just make sure to budget for some consulting work as well.

Quality

When the pre-production stage of a CGI project goes smoothly, our CGI artists are able to spend more time perfecting the quality of the final CGI product image. Same goes for our team of digital retouchers, too: if we spend 90% of our allotted project hours rendering and re-rendering a room set in pre-production or addressing client revisions, our retouchers won’t have as much time to make the final image impeccable. Again, it’s incredibly important to get the pre-production details hammered out before work begins so everybody is on the same page and we can deliver high-quality product imagery. 

We don’t want to stress you out. If you need help building a CGI room set, that’s exactly what we’re here to do. We’ll walk you through the process from start to finish, and give you all the tools, resources and information you need to make great style decisions for your CGI project. But we also want our current and future clients to know that CGI isn’t as easy as snapping your fingers and POOF! There’s a beautiful room! Virtual environments take real work, but unlike the “real world,” every little change can affect the final image in a potentially big way. 

Do you have any questions about CGI room sets? Do you have any pre-production stories to share? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.