So you have your upmarket condo project, each residence painstakingly designed, and now it’s time to show thousands of potential buyers what’s on offer. You know it’s a great product, the numbers add up, the floor plans are terrific, so this should just be a slam dunk, right?… if only!

There is a likelihood that you have sent out the plans to be turned into a 3D rendered presentation and they came back very “ho-hum”. The technical aspect, sizing, proportions and everything may be perfect, in fact they may have followed your brief perfectly, but there is nothing that reaches out to you and grabs your attention. You go back to the drawing board, issue new instructions, wait a while, and most often get a different flavored result which is still not something you can use. What was supposed to be one of the most straightforward parts of your workflow just became one of the most tedious, but you can’t ignore it because it is what every buyer sees and therefore critical to the entire viability of the project. No appeal means no sales, which means no project and lots of money down the drain.

It’s about now that you realize that a 3D rendering is possibly more about content than “3D” and that maybe a lot more time should be spent on decor. This presents the issue that at a time so early into the project you have not assigned an interior designer and possibly don’t want to due to the added expense, lost time, and missed marketing opportunities. You have to wonder why there is all of this added work and expense for what was supposed to be a bunch of pictures, right?

Is there a more straightforward and economical solution to this? Well, I am glad you asked! Here is a simple reality that you need to understand before the 3D process commences:

A plain 3D rendering of something beautiful is more compelling than a beautiful 3D rendering of something plain. A beautiful rendering of something beautiful is what will sell real estate.

What’s the solution?

I can spend weeks working on lighting, camera angles and other tricks but if the content is lacklustre I will never be able to make it desirable. Sure, I can pull out my bag of tricks, latest technology, the coolest trending techniques, and get industry peers to give accolades to my skill, but that isn’t going to help when not one condo is being sold. I have no intention of being a starving artist, so need control over content and the ability to tweak layouts to get you making sales – a combination of 3D ability and design, which are important strengths.

Possibly the greatest struggle that property developers, realtors and agencies have when giving instructions for 3D marketing material is the to and fro communication issues in creating a design theme that suits the project. Complicate this by having so many 3D studios as mere fronts for work done offshore and you have a nightmare that almost all people in the game have experienced. Clients mostly know what they like, they just don’t know how to describe it, making it crucial in my game to take responsibility for the design and decor and be prepared for a few changes in direction. This is even true with regard to schemes that have been professionally designed already, as it is rare that a designer has completed everything when the project may be years from actual completion.

It became very apparent that being terrific at 3D, media and editing is only half the requirement, possibly less. Being a designer and having an eye for interiors, landscape and building form is what completes the package, giving clients and buyers the best viewing experience and therefore sales. Capitalizing on the fact Archiform 3D is one of the last in-house North America based companies left in the field we moved aggressively into more personalized service, support, and of course design. Having amazing design talent in house, such as the talented Randi Miller, is a huge advantage.

The short answer? Technology + Art + Design = Sales.

Where does it start?

Every client has an idea of what they want, but very few can express it. Fortunately the 30 years in the game means we are pretty good at understanding incomplete, complex or conflicting briefs, so know what questions to ask and how to find a direction. From there it’s similar to a regular interior design job – basic ideas and themes are presented, and if the client is happy we move forward into photographic quality 3D. Designing this way is far superior to other methods, and with real time visual feedback there is no delay in the creative process. For example, there is no need to ponder for hours as to whether a different fabric or furniture piece would help when we can actually see it within minutes and make a confident decision. Better still, clients can login to our system and see that change happen in front of them.

What is my personal taste? Whatever sells the project! My point is here that ego and personal taste are detrimental to a project, so throw that away before starting as the only ego that matters is that of the buyer. Possibly the most important realization at the beginning is that of who we are selling to, what they want and how they want to see it, so with this established, read on….

Theming for off the plan property is unique in that the personality of the project must be reflected and up to date with trends, but never run so far in any direction that you alienate a buyer. If you think that isn’t complicated, remember that while pleasing so many different requirements you must also come up with something that isn’t “blah” – that’s way harder than most people know and in some cases similar to herding cats. Now multiply that by the number of unique residences we are creating, as nobody wants the same theme copied to each one, and a huge workload has been created.

Archiform 3D, a pioneer in design technology, has been designing, visualizing and marketing real estate globally for over 30 years resulting in billions of dollars sold pre-construction.

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