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5 Tips to Avoid Architectural 3D Renders Cost Overruns

Article sourced from Cleanpix Graphics.

When it comes to the production of 3d rendered artwork for real estate marketing, no one wants to pay more than they have to. Naturally quality costs money but the process may start to feel like a never-ending money pit for the client when every revision request they make incurs additional fees.

While this scenario may be welcomed by some 3d artists since they’re earning more  than expected, requesting additional fees is always an awkward discussion to raise with a client.

There is also a good chance that this situation will alienate the client from giving repeat business in the future and earning a reputation as being overpriced.

Today Melbourne based studio Cleanpix Graphics discuss common issues that may cause 3d visualisation projects to run over budget and share tips with clients and artists that can help avoid unforseen extra costs on their next 3d rendering project.

1. Jumping the gun

Property developers are understandably anxious to start selling their product as soon as possible. The longer it takes to sell, the greater the holding costs.

Quite frequently developers will engage a studio to commence working on their 3d renders before receiving city council planning approval for their proposed design concept.

This is always risky.

There is quite a high probability that planning permission may only be ‘approved with conditions’…. Or worse yet, denied outright due to objections or other planning issues.

In this situation, if work on the 3d renders has already been commenced or fully completed, additional revision rounds will be required to update the 3d model and re-render the images to reflect the new design changes. In the worst case scenario it may even be necessary to completely redo the 3d renders from scratch.

Obviously this extra work would fall outside the scope of the original 3d modelling budget, resulting in substantial added fees.

Clients need to be aware of the potential risk of committing to a 3d rendering project too early. The bigger and more complex the project, the greater the chances that several iterations of architectural design revisions will be required before a planning permit is granted.

3d artists should always make a habit of confirming with the client (when quoting a 3d renders job) whether the supplied sets of drawings have been endorsed by the appropriate municipality. Additionally they should warn the client of the potential risk of cost overruns if they insist on creating 3d renders based on an unapproved  town planning submission.

2. Vague feedback

Once the project is underway, the artist or studio commence sending through submissions of ‘work in progress’ images to the client for review and approval.

Careful client review and clear and detailed feedback is vital to the smooth progress of the project.

A common issue that can result in the need for additional rounds of revisions in the latter part of the project is the lack of good quality, legible client mark-ups and reference images.

Trying to call up the 3d renders supplier and verbally requesting the required changes is a bad idea. There will not be a written record and something will almost certainly be omitted as a result.

Emailed bullet point revision lists are also not great. Sometimes it is helpful to use an arrow symbol to ‘point’ a text comment at an area of the image where it applies.

The ideal mark-up should be a copy of the progress renders with typed text annotations, indicating elements of the image/s that require revision. The text comments should be supported with good quality reference images (colour swatches, material samples, furniture examples etc.) where applicable.

An example of a client mark-up with text annotations requesting various revisions.

Be specific! If you’d like to request an architectural change – i.e. increasing the thickness of the kitchen bench top – state the precise dimension. Instead of making a comment like ‘make bench top a bit thicker’, it is better to write something like ‘increase bench top thickness to X millimetres’.

When it comes to appraising the furniture, styling models and landscape planting, try to avoid vague comments like ‘can we use a nicer sofa in the living room?’.

In this scenario, if you’d like to see a certain type of sofa, send the 3d artist a reference image and the manufacturer and model name of the piece.

In order to really streamline the process, it is always best practice to supply the 3d artist/s with specifications and reference images for landscape planting, furniture, fittings and material swatches before the project is commenced.

An example of a bathroom fixtures specification with reference images supplied by a client.

3. Hasty proof reviews

A common problem that can arise when clients are in a hurry to get the renders finished, is to quickly skim through the submitted progress renders (often on a mobile phone) and give the 3d artist the go-ahead to proceed with the next phase… Only to realise later that there were issues that needed revision.

It’s always better to allow an extra 1 or 2 days to make a thorough examination of the submitted proofs, flagging any elements in the images that require revision as early as possible rather than 2 or 3 rounds later in the process.

While some areas of the artwork may be incomplete since they are still a ‘work in progress’, it is better to confirm with the studio that there will be further refinement applied to the final version of the 3d render.

4. Review by committee

It is quite common and reasonable that the client may wish to involve additional stakeholders in the 3d renders review process. These may be business partners or other colleagues from the client’s company, the architect, interior designer or the real estate agent.

This can be a really tricky issue that can often lead to a sense of confusion and misdirection for the 3d studio. If not handled properly from the beginning of the project, this can necessitate additional rounds of artwork revisions before everyone is satisfied, creating additional costs.

Unfortunately when it comes to something subjective like appraising 3d artist’s impressions, everyone has a personal preference and all too often it can differ significantly from one person to the next.

So, how to avoid having ‘too many cooks in the kitchen’ without upsetting some of the parties?

A good way to manage the situation is to maintain a single person as the point of contact with the 3d artist or studio throughout the duration of the project.

This individual needs to collate all the feedback from the different stakeholders into a single set of mark-ups for each round of progress submissions.

This way everyone has the opportunity to add their comments to the pool prior to the combined group or an individual with final authority to decides which revision requests are included in the mark-up.

Consequently, the 3d artist will not be confused by multiple sets of mark-ups coming through from different parties, making contradictory revision requests.

5. Know the terms & conditions

Clients should always check how many rounds of revisions the 3d studio includes in their quoted price. If the 3d renders quote does not mention the details, it is always a good idea to confirm with the studio what’s included in their price and what the client should expect to see on receipt of various proofing stages.

A reputable 3d rendering studio that provides a good quality service will generally include at least 3 rounds of proofing in their quoted price.

Not all services are the same however and you could find yourself paying more each time you make changes if not careful.

It is also a good idea to check if the price that the studio is quoting is based on their use of stock library assets. Otherwise if the client starts requesting specific furniture and styling accessories to be used in the artwork that the 3d studio does not poses, they may charge extra fees for sourcing or modelling the requested pieces.

For 3d artists it is always good practice to create an outline document that can be supplied with the quotation which would brief the client on the submission and review process, what to expect to see at each round of proofing and a checklist of CAD files and schedules that the client needs to supply before 3d modelling work can commence.

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