One to One Hundred 17 Culture&Theory 6 Methven

  • Pou Auaha / Creative Director
    Nick Riley
  • Ringatoi Matua / Design Director
    David Hillier
  • Ngā Kaimahi / Team Member
    Leandro Perrello
  • Client
    Violet Hong

We were engaged by a partner studio (on behalf of one of their clients) to create a series of 3D renders showcasing their products. The partner studio provided the art direction which comprised of 3D models of the products; mood board for each shot; reference photos for composition and written direction on styling.

Out challenge became one of pure craft: to achieve high-end product imagery that met the client’s artistic brief using 3D rendering. As this type of project would normally be done as a photo-shoot, there was a very high expectation on the realism of the images. This realism goes beyond just looking photographic; every element in the scene needed to be to scale, have the correct detail and work in terms of functional interior design.

With no base model to begin with, our team had to take an agile approach to building the scene, bouncing back and forth between layering up the main functional elements and achieving the artistic composition and lighting expressed in the brief. Only once they had these core pieces working could they start to add in materials, props and fine detail to create a first draft.

It was at this stage that the workflow became more collaborative as the images were fine-tuned with the client and partner studio. Working in 3D allowed us to explore different compositions, colours, lighting, focus, propping, detailing and grading efficiently – in essence, meaning we could achieve a better outcome for the final outputs.

The only issue became the question of what is ‘real’. Our software creates images using a real-world model for light refraction and reflection meaning the output is physically correct based on the inputs. Unfortunately, what is rendered can sometimes confuse the viewer as it’s not what they expected; this was especially true with metallic products. We used a combination of studio-style lighting (in 3D) and careful grading to satisfy the client’s desire for the products to render in a certain way that they believed best represented their materiality to the public.

What we believe is novel about this work is that it would normally be done as a photo-shoot with a huge budget to cover the construction of each set, props, studio lighting, professional photographer, retouching, project management, catering – the list goes on. We were able to achieve a catalogue-quality photographic result on a fraction of the budget and with much more creative flexibility when it came to changing key elements quickly.