UVSAR : CGI rendering : Impossible diamonds

CGI Rendering

We have an established reputation for the production of high-quality and accurate technical renderings of 3D models, both still images and video animations, that are used for product launches, education and documentary TV. UVSAR has been supplying renders to global manufacturing brands for over a decade.

Turning CAD/CAM models of new products into photo-real images requires skill and artistry, but also a solid understanding of the science and technology of the product itself. Building accurate materials and adding details, from microscopic surface imperfections to screw threads, is essential to turn a 'mathematical' CAD model into something believable. Materials are far more than just a colour; the way light scatters from beneath the surface and the subtle interactions of paints, coatings or even grease from fingerprints make all the difference. Nothing you can see around you right now has a perfectly clean surface! Rendering lamps and LEDs, the exact colour and angular profiles of the emitted light have to be correct, and a background in physics and optics allows us to accurately convert real-world specifications into the 3D virtual environment.

Rendering offers huge benefits over real-world product photography:

  • Images and animations of prototypes before manufacture
  • Camera angles impossible in real life (sliced and exploded, ultra-macro, views inside closed spaces)
  • Photo-compositing (adding 3D-rendered objects to real-world photo and video)
  • Brand-free application shots (products shown in fully generic environments)
  • Post-editable 'light mix' PSD or EXR files, where colour, reflection and emission can be adjusted later to create variations in paint etc.
  • No travelling the world with bags of cameras! An important point in these strange times...

We can import almost any CAD/CAM source materials. If they aren't available or your product is non-machined (fabrics, leather, etc.), we can scan a physical prototype into a 3D model using our photogrammetry rig.

Talk to us about your project

Moving pictures

Still images are an essential part of any new product launch, but customers and the media expect more. Our pipeline combines 3D rendering and video animation software to efficiently produce marketing or technical instruction videos in a range of visual styles, from sketched product isolations to full 3D worlds.

Many of our clients operate globally, and need materials in a range of languages and variants. We have a unique in-house system to efficiently translate on-screen text and subtitles, and working from multi-layer rendered frames makes it simple to flip traffic into the right (or left!) lane for each country, swap logos or product numbers.

Avoiding the uncanny

CGI is constantly improving, but the "uncanny valley" remains, where renders that try too hard to be real leave viewers feeling uneasy. They may not know exactly why an image feels wrong, but it does. There are two sides to that valley, and let's be honest - one road out is expensive! With enough budget it's often possible to make renders look good enough to deceive - though a teapot is much easier than a face - but eventually we start asking if shooting the real thing wouldn't be cheaper. Staying on the practicable side of uncanny is usually the best option. Modern audiences are used to CGI and don't mind if they can tell an image is "fake" provided it doesn't claim otherwise. This makes the work more cost-effective and allows all the advantages that CGI brings; manipulating products and viewpoints beyond what would normally be possible to show important features.

Rates and licensing

Every project is different, so we quote based on your specific needs. We know that most people want a price list, but CGI and post-production are not things that have a fixed value. Still and video rendering is priced based on labour for the modelling work and scene setup, plus the rendering time measured in CPU cycles. A single still image of a relatively simple product CAD file may cost less than £50, but a 60-second video for TV can run over £5000. Feel free to ask for an estimate, we're happy to talk though the options.

Copyright in all images and video footage we supply depends on what it contains. The rights in stock content and production music remain with the creators and will be licensed to the client, and the rights in the client's own CAD models remain with them.