3D illustration rendering for IKEA

    Looking at the illustrations in the IKEA catalog, it's hard to believe that 75% of product photos and 35% of interiors are pure computer graphics . In other interiors, photography is only partially used. Actually, there are almost no real pictures left there.

    The company created a “bank” of 25,000 three-dimensional models, from which stunningly realistic interiors are made. Anyone who furnishes an apartment or a house would dream of such a program.

    Model digitization and rendering is handled by a dedicated visualization department at IKEA Communications AB, led by Martin Enthed. In addition to digitization, their company is also involved in the development and production of catalogs, furniture assembly instructions, and updating the website. They also make a mobile application.

    The first renderings began to be done in 2004, they came out very unpretentious. But by 2006, the first work of CG appeared in the catalog. It was a Bertil chair.

    Martin Ented says no one has anything against photography. The base of 3D models and interior rendering are needed only because it is simpler, cheaper and faster than compiling each interior for real. For example, the most difficult thing is to create real kitchen interiors: there are hundreds of objects, and for different countries you have to make different environments, in accordance with national traditions. Anyway, hundreds of options are possible.

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    However, initially no one thought that it would be possible to furnish entire rooms with furniture on a computer. They only wanted to make 3D models of individual objects, but then things went. In 2010, the first interior, fully generated on a computer, was printed in the catalog.

    To make a beautiful interior on a render is a whole art. Experienced photographers at IKEA worked together with interior designers and honed their skills for 15-20 years in order to achieve the perfect transfer of the impression and feeling that arises when visiting a room with carefully selected decor. All this knowledge had to be transferred to specialists in 3D-graphics in the computer department, some of which had just graduated from school. At first it was not easy, cooperation did not work.

    At some point, the director of the department decided that all 3D designers are required to study photo-making, and all photographers must master 3D editors. After this, a very intensive learning process began. It is interesting that then some photographers wanted to change their profession and switched to work in the computer department, and some computer scientists, on the contrary, were professionally interested in photo-making. It was a truly powerful merger and exchange of experience.

    IKEA Bank now has 25,000 3D models with “ridiculously high 4Kx4K resolution,” says Martin Ented (probably referring to the resolution of 2D projections). It was necessary to improve the quality to such an extent in 2009, when the management called the computer engineers on the carpet and expressed outrage at the low quality of the models. Now no one can quibble.

    For digitalization and rendering, IKEA uses 3DStudio Max and the V-Ray renderer . Other companies also use this program and even with the help of WebGL they can edit three-dimensional scenes in the browser .

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