I suppose after 11 years in the architectural visualisation business, now’s as good a time as any to reflect on the challenges we’ve faced and how we’ve responded to them. In order to do this, we need to look at the very core of what keeps us ticking – our clients and their needs.
The visuals we create are generally designed for either marketing or planning. They need to look good, they need to look accurate and they need to represent the building or development in the best possible light. This in itself is enough to occupy us throughout our working life, but there is another, more delicate aspect to the services we offer – the fine balance of quality, turnaround and cost (I’ll call it QTC). It is this combination that always requires the most focus, and I would suggest it’s the same for any other business anywhere in the world. Of course there are many other factors that make a business successful – good customer service, clever marketing and a good team, but I genuinely believe that ‘QTC’ is the biggest factor for our clients in deciding whether they choose us or not to produce their visuals, and more importantly whether they come back to us again.
Back in 2004 when we started, our visuals pretty much reflected the quality and style of the day. We’ve moved on since then, and it’s fair to say we look back on some of the work we produced then and occasionaly grimace. Importantly though, our clients expectations have moved on as well, and whereas once they would accept a little artistic license in some areas, nowadays every detail has to be correct, sometimes down even to fine-tuning the mortar colour between bricks. That’s fair enough I suppose. Our clients are quite understandably proud of their creations, and they want them to be as accurate and detailed as possible, as we do.
However, as you might expect, this does require a greater investment of time on our part, and therefore the cost of the project should reflect that. The problem is the budget isn’t always there for that, so we have to devise a way of giving the quality our clients require balanced against a sensible cost, and we can only do that by constantly reviewing our working processes and trying new techniques. This has a knock-on effect on turnaround times, another potential banana skin. We are a busy studio servicing many clients, and they all deserve the very best service we can give. In this business we don’t have the luxury of long lead times so, as with production, our scheduling procedure has to constantly evolve to meet the demands. Add in to this mix the unpredictable (but inevitable) round of revisions and updates to our visuals. These are usually required quickly, so we have to go against our instincts and leave space in an already crowded calendar to get them done.
We have a talented team of artists at CGEye. We can produce top-end visuals at the premium and of the market or multiple cgi’s at a strict budget, although we generally occupy the middle ground somewhere since this gives us maximum flexibility. We’re lucky that we have the capacity to produce good quality at a cost and timescale that’s acceptable (for the most part) to our clients, and we call on the experience and knowledge that only an established provider like us has in order to do it.
Running a cgi company isn’t easy, but it can be intensely rewarding. We must be doing something right I suppose, and for the forseeable future we’ll keep our heads down and continue walking the tightrope.