The construction industry is using more and more 3D graphics all the time. But we’re used to seeing color-coded plans and illustrative renderings—nothing anybody would mistake for a photo of a finished structure.
For a truly advanced journey into the future of 3D, pick up a furniture catalog.
We were amazed to read recently that most of the products in IKEA catalogs—which are famous for sharp, highly detailed room arrangements—are actually 3D graphics. As CG Society reports:
Today, around 75% of all IKEA’s product images are CG, and they have a ‘bank’ of about 25,000 models. “These are all created at a ridiculously high resolution,” explains [IT Manager] Martin [Enthed], “We render them in 4Kx4K, and they need to hold up to that resolution. We need to be able to do whatever we like with the renderings – print them on large walls in the stores if we need to. Even if most of them are only ever used on the website, they all have the capability to be printed very high-res.” … Now, about 35% of all of IKEA Communication’s non-product images are also fully CG (i.e not photographic composites).
The CG Society article explains that IKEA’s first fully CG rendered room appeared in 2010, and the company has spent the years since training its artists and refining the technology. CG adds flexibility. IKEA designers can use renderings of new products that are still in prototype, and can make changes to room arrangements for different countries. Using computer renderings saves the company the time and expense of having to construct and reconstruct model rooms in physical space. (Kitchens, which can vary significantly from country to country, are particularly challenging.)
Construction renderings have come a long way, but IKEA seems to be miles ahead—for now. CG tools keep getting better. It will be fascinating to see how the next evolution of 3D rendering tools changes how we experience construction design.