How IKEA Effectively Navigated to 3D Rendering

IKEA, one of the world’s largest and most successful multinational companies, is known for providing some of the best high-quality, ready to build furniture in the world. The company's goal is to create visually appealing furniture that appeals to a wide array of customers.

After much deliberation, IKEA decided to make a drastic change the way they produced the images of the furniture. Prior to 2004, all of the pictures of furniture were done exclusively thorough photography. That all changed when Martin Enthed and his team took on the task of implementing 3D rendering to display their furniture.

“We made 8 or 10 quite bad product visualizations by today’s standards,” says Martin, “but it sparked something and we continued to work at it.” In 2006, the first catalogue featuring 3D renderings was made available displaying a chair known as “Bertil.”

Though photography is generally an xcellent way to capture furniture, IKEA wanted to try something new that would enable the process to not only be faster, but much simpler and cheaper. With traditional photography, you need to have some sort of prototype available to shot, whereas 3D rendering you can map out the final product without having to use valuable resources and time.

The Change to 3D Rendering

When IKEA wanted to make the transition, they wanted to keep the same feel that had made their previous images so successful, the ability to make the environment feel “lived in.” This was the initial challenge that IKEA had to undertake, they wanted to use 3D rendering without their customers noticing any significant changes.

It was not an easy transition, with most of the photographers opposed to the idea of switching over to 3D rendering. IKEA initially started out with individuals who were willing to make the change and eventually recruited the skeptics of 3D rendering.

3D Rendering Techniques

According to IKEA, today 60-75% of all their images that show a single product are created using 3D rendering, with most being found on their website. The advantage of using 3D rendering is IKEA is able to not only show products individually, but combine them to build a 3D room set.

The reason for such a successful transition was the use of 3DStudio Max and V-Ray to create the 3D renders. IKEA is able to take advantage of this software by creating the most photo realistic images your without second guessing if the images are computer generated or not. V-ray also comes with a large amount of settings that enable you to tweak the values of the image to create a quality final product.

IKEA has taken these techniques and developed a standard for 3D rendering and furniture. This standard has enabled them to create the highest quality images that do not need to be altered for years to come. With technology moving at such rapid rates, creating a standard for furniture rendering is becoming harder for IKEA to maintain. That being said, by taking the time and energy necessary, IKEA will continue to create some of the most realistic 3D rendering for furniture for years to come.

All images provided by CG Society


3D Rendering For Furniture Companies

Furniture companies who want to present their products in a catalog that will appeal to customers have traditionally been restricted to carrying out lengthy and often costly photography shoots in an attempt to get the perfect images. Now, 3D rendering could make such tedious activities a thing of the past. Instead of creating models of every piece of furniture that needs to be displayed, furniture companies can now use the services of a 3D rendering company to create computer-generated images of their products.

The cost benefits of 3D rendering for furniture companies are clear. Every piece of furniture in the company's collection can be digitally created and the images manipulated to get the perfect shot, without a single physical object having to be manufactured, transported, or disposed of after the shoot. This can add up to massive savings for the furniture company through the materials and labor costs that are avoided by using rendering instead of traditional photography to create images for the catalog.

The 3D rendering technology makes it easy to apply different colors to show similar pieces made from different types of wood, fabric, metal or plastic. The results are very realistic - IKEA found that readers of their catalog could not tell the difference between rendered images and photographs of real furniture.

In many cases, the images produced by digital rendering can be even more impressive than those taken by a professional photographer. The number and direction of light sources can be easily controlled through only a few clicks of a mouse, so that every piece of furniture is shown off in the best setting possible. Furniture companies are able to communicate effectively with potential customers who are treated to the best possible images of the furniture available for sale.

The 3D renderings produced by PiXate are highly detailed and precise, allowing furniture makers to show off their chairs, tables, sofas or other pieces of furniture in stunning detail. First, the general shape of the piece of furniture is created. Next, the details such as trimmings and fastenings are added in. The colors are applied at a late stage, just before the final corrections are made. Building up the 3D rendering in this way is a painstaking process that uses large amounts of computer memory, but the final result is well worth the effort.

More information about the rendering process and examples of finished projects are available on the PiXate 3D area on their website. Pixate frequently works with architects, engineers and other professionals, creating 3D renderings that have a strong positive impact in marketing products and raising the professional profile of a manufacturer. New examples of completed work are regularly added to Pixate's online portfolio; please provide your email address to be kept up to date with the latest news and get access to more information.