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Why ‘great value’ 3D Visualisations aren’t always the cheapest – 5 hidden costs revealed…

As every wily property developer knows, great value 3D visualisations are key to the marketing of any development. Now more than ever having an effective marketing campaign featuring beautifully-designed photo-quality images and attention-grabbing animated content is a sure-fire way of building tangible interest prior to your development being ready for potential buyers to visit. But unless you’re lucky enough to have found a decent CGI partner when it comes to procuring these images there’s plenty to consider, especially with the kind of sums concerned.

We’re all well-versed in the adage, ‘pay peanuts get monkeys’, but the higher the stakes, the truer it rings, because once you’re in the process of creating your 3D images you don’t want to be discovering they’re not such great value after all. We’ve put some top tips together to help you make sure your great value 3D visualisations do what it says on the tin.

  1. Compare like for like when it comes to quality.

    Of course there is a massive range of price options out there when it comes to 3D visualisations, but make sure you have a close look at the quality you’re comparing. The quality of the very cheapest end of the market will be very different from the kind of quality you’ll get if you pay top whack, and if you look hard enough you’ll find almost everything in between. But remember that if you’re selling a quality development, the standard of the CGIs you pick need to reflect and enhance it rather than cheapen it. A 3D visualisation which shows in realistic detail the plush velvet on a sofa, for example, can make all the difference when evoking aspiration, and all your budget could go to waste if the images fail to bring customers to your door…Click here for our rough guide to quality comparison.
  2. The cost of amends.

    This is always a tricky area in the world of CGI, but if you were building an extension to your house and you changed the designs half way through the build, you’d expect your builder to charge. 3D architectural visualisations are no different – changes will take time to make. In order to get great value CGIs, make sure the company you’re considering is open about how they charge for changes made to plans and designs along the way. Those charging more in the outset may include a certain level of amends, but be careful how they demarcate between changes to plans and changes to the image in the name of quality. If you’re not sure, ask for a pricelist of potential changes so you can get an idea of what amends could cost. As a rough guide, changes to colours tend to be a quick fix, changes to texture and structure will take a little longer. Beware of cowboy outfits who will take advantage of you and charge too much for a service you’ve no choice but to commission.
  3. Cheaper CGI implies one-person-operations with limited resources.

    For bigger jobs and for animations, question carefully the timescales involved as delays in production can be costly, especially when you have a marketing company waiting to push the button on your project. The longer the project takes, the less time you’ll have to get your use out of them, which could cost you even more in loss of sales.
  4. Buy what you need, not what you think you need

    …including what an over-exuberant sales person would lead you to think you need. We can have a fixed idea about what’s required to market a development, for example a full exterior-interior animation and stills of every room. But is the complete standard list really necessary? With attention spans generally on the decrease you’ve got less time than ever to attract the attention of your buyers, but more channels of getting to them. Make sure you consider how your 3D visualisations are used to make the most of the money you’re spending. Click here for ways you can convince your clients to buy – in the case of modern day property marketing, more can in fact cost less.
  5. Contest the caveats & explore what the price includes.

    CGI production is an involved and often complex, bespoke process, therefore what is and what isn’t included in the price can make a big difference to your pocket when it comes to the final checkout. A good CGI company should be very detailed about what is and what isn’t included in the cost of the image…for example styling, mood-boards, bespoke furniture modelling. With regard to animations, make sure you get a clear indication of the length of each part of the animation and check that elements like story-boarding, production, post-production, music, voice-over, annotations etc are included in the price. Beware of anyone who isn’t up-front about this and always read the small-print carefully.

If you follow these steps you’ve got a better chance of getting a job done well and in line with your expectations. Hopefully you will stumble across a CGI company who will look after you, not over-promise or under-deliver, produce the quality you require, and do all this when they say they will. Nothing beats a long-term working relationship with a company you can trust…it’s priceless!