Over the past 20 years computer graphics has evolved so much that it has begun to replicate real life images. It’s becoming increasingly difficult to distinguish the two and we’ve seen computer graphics used in theatrical films, television programs, hospitals, and even used to demonstrate architecture. We are at a point where we depend on CGI for almost everything we imagine. But how helpful is this tool?

Looking back at how architects used to illustrate their final ideas seems so primitive to us now. We now have to ability to show how final designs will be replicated in all angles. We also have the ability to place designs in a life like rendering so that everyone can understand the environment it will be placed in. Applying life-like textures to 3D models also provides photorealism. I’d say we have definitely come a long way.

As I grew up I was all about drawing cartoons, and I was against the idea of computers replacing my illustrations. I didn’t want to lose the idea of drawing. As time went on I realized computer graphics could be used as an awesome tool to improve my work. Growing up more films and commercials we also using computer graphics and I figured I had to adjust to the times. I decided to learn more about CGI and get a degree in it. I was curious how my 2D work would translate into 3D. I was mind blown at the time I was saving while using 3D, and my opinion on the war between the two slowly changed.

After college I began freelancing using both of my talents: Drawing and using CGI. I gave myself small projects trying to replicate a life-like room in 3D. During senior year of college I learned computer graphics so it took a little time before I was comfortable with the outcome of 3D. The interesting challenge came to me when I landed a job working at Factory 360 as a Graphic Designer and 3D modeler for their experiential event activations. Knowing that the renders I would be producing would actually become a real life experience was something I think anyone would be proud of.

I have created about 6 different event activations here at Facory360. Each design is completely different which makes each project unique. The thought process for each client requires a group brainstorm. The team and I all flesh out ideas that we feel resonate with the client’s brand values and provide the most engaging and innovative consumer experience. Brainstorms to me are what make my job fun. Everyone’s creativity comes together in one room and it really has an impact on my inspiration. Our ideas bounce off one another and there’s never a dull moment.

Once there is a well-rounded idea in the works I begin mocking up the design in a 3D program. I use Autodesk Maya to create my 3D models where each model in the computer has to be textured, lite, and composited to produce that real life quality feel. My favorite part of the design process is actually creating each piece of the design on my computer. Lighting can be a bit tricky, because if one light in the scene isn’t in the right spot, it could throw off the entire render and lose its life-like quality. Color correcting is another key figure that is very important to pay close attention to.

In conclusion, 3D renders are a very important factor for an experiential marketing agency. It would be extremely difficult to show a client the exact details in just a flat piece of paper. The quality just isn’t there. As our agency continues to rapidly grow, the quality of our work has improved drastically. I am always happy with the outcome of each final design, and I enjoy experiencing each of our client’s experiential events once it’s activated. It’s like a dream; you’re actually walking into something you created using your vision.

Written by: Patrick Byrd-Morse

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