trade tales | Oct 15, 2021 |
How do you really feel about 3D renderings?

Photorealistic and 3D renderings are on the rise, but how do designers really feel about them? We asked nine designers—Barrie Benson, Reena Chen, Ginger Curtis, Jennifer Davis, Andrea Karow, Malik Logan, Trish Lynn, Kristin Mullen and Mindy O’Connor—whether they offer 3D renderings and why.

Ginger Curtis
Ginger CurtisCourtesy of Ginger Curtis

Clear vision
“I love them. As interior design professionals, it is so easy for us to look at any space and visualize its potential on the spot. We can see it all in our heads: the opportunity for extra seating along that wall, the visual impact of using a certain rug paired with a particular sofa … but often, our clients can't share that same vision without assistance. 3D and photorealistic renderings and bring everything to life. They take what we see in our heads and deliver that vision into our clients’ hands long before those concepts become a reality. That is priceless and gives clients the reassurance they want and need.” Ginger Curtis, Urbanology Designs, Dallas

Andrea Karow
Andrea KarowCourtesy of Andrea Karow

Too literal
“We do not use renderings unless they are specifically requested. We found that what is supposed to just be an inspiration is taken literally, and the fixation on the smallest of details takes away from the whole design process. We enjoy slowly curating a space, and that involves antique hunts, so renderings aren’t ideal for that.” —Andrea Karow, Davenport Design, Houston

Trish Lynn
Trish LynnCourtesy of Trish Lynn

Getting on the same page
“I think renderings are a critical piece in the design process. They elevate a design concept, bring a project to life, and help clients envision the finished project. Renderings are an effective tool for our team to communicate our creative vision in a way that floor plans and mood boards alone cannot. They also offer a blueprint for our trade partners to use in turning our concept into reality.” —Trish Lynn, Colette Interiors, Chatham, New Jersey

Malik Logan
Malik LoganCourtesy of Malik Logan

Better communication
“I have found that renderings are one of the most effective ways for me to convey a design concept to my clients, especially for those who are hesitant about signing off on a concept. They feel much more comfortable being able to visualize their space and see themselves living in it. It's clear and effective communication on both ends, which is key for me!” —Malik Logan, The Tailored Interiors, Raleigh, North Carolina

Jennifer Davis
Jennifer DavisCourtesy of Jennifer Davis

Sales booster
“We almost always offer 3D renderings to our clients. I feel like it elevates the service we provide. I have found that our total sales volume on a project increases significantly when we offer 3D renderings. Not to mention, decisions get made faster.” —Jennifer Davis, Davis Interiors, Minneapolis

Mindy O'Connor
Mindy O'ConnorCourtesy of Mindy O'Connor

No substitution
“Digital renderings can get everyone to an agreed-upon understanding of spatial relationships, layouts and general intent more quickly than descriptions, sketches or mood boards at times. However, they are not an adequate substitute for samples of real materials and color palettes. Even photorealistic renderings lack the tactile quality and a true sense of the materials, physical beauty, and character of the elements of design.” —Mindy O'Connor, Melinda Kelson O'Connor Design, Philadelphia

Reena Chen
Reena ChenCourtesy of Reena Chen

Detail-oriented
“I find renderings really help clients envision a space and can be helpful to highlight details for tradespeople. I do find that the 3D renderings need to be pretty true to the design, though, as clients will compare everything, even the smallest accessory, to a rendering and ask why it is different.” —Reena Chen, Reena Ravi Design, Seattle

Kristin Mullen
Kristin MullenCourtesy of Kristin Mullen

Keep with tradition
“I don’t typically use 3D renderings or photorealistic drawings, as I much prefer the look, feel and flexibility of a hand-drawn sketch or elevation. There is a plasticity to computer renderings, which feels somehow cold to me, especially compared to hand-drawn renderings and sketches. We don’t produce 3D drawings in-house, so by the time we send all of the specifications to a third-party professional and receive drawings back, the design may have changed, especially now, with availability and lead times changing moment to moment. It is so much easier for our studio to quickly sketch out a tweak to a design at the moment.”Kristin Mullen, Kristin Mullen Designs, Dallas

Barrie Benson
Barrie BensonCourtesy of Barrie Benson

Best of both
“While I usually work out details and create perspectives for client presentations by hand, we often work with architects who use 3D renderings and SketchUp, and appreciate how it allows you to visualize transitions and scale easily. To have access to both gives us the best of both worlds!” Barrie Benson, Charlotte, North Carolina

Homepage photo: A project by Urbanology Designs | Courtesy of Ginger Curtis

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