Case Study: MasterBrand Cabinets
TRG Develops Custom Tools and Plugins to Efficiently Produce Realistic Renderings of MasterBrand's Cabinet Lines
"There are a select few partners who I consider truly dedicated and an extension of our business and you guys are one of them." Brian Taylor Sr. Digital Marketing Manager
MasterBrand is one of the largest cabinet manufacturers in North America. The company employs over 14,000 craftsmen and 1,000 designers to produce several different cabinet brands. This range of options allow MasterBrand to provide customers with a variety of quality cabinet options at fair prices, allowing people to find the right cabinets for their homes.
Around 31,000 CGI images (and counting).
As a company with several different brands and product lines within those brands, MasterBrand wanted to create a user experience that allows the customer to view every door in every available combination. MasterBrand was looking for a CGI partner that could create foundation assets for every Door Style, Wood Species, Finish, and Glaze. These could then be combined together to produce a file for every possible cabinet door variation. Most importantly, the final CGI images still needed to hold up and look as good as decades of existing photography.
With our CGI services, we knew that we were fully capable of creating realistic images for MasterBrand. However, nobody was able to understand the sheer magnitude of the project until we started working together. What first seemed like a normal CGI project creating high-quality images unveiled itself to be a challenge that involved the creation of tens of thousands of different assets that needed to be reviewed and approved at different times—potentially years apart from each other—but the final images still needed to look and feel consistent, like a family of images. Instead of buckling under pressure, we turned to a solution that required meticulous planning and an investment in creating a whole new work process.
How TRG Helped
At the beginning of the project, we had numerous Excel workbooks and spreadsheets that were organized by different elements. These sheets were used to keep track of everything we needed to make and what MasterBrand wanted us to complete next. However, this process was inefficient. Not only did this require us to spend time creating photorealistic images, we had artists spending countless hours managing and updating information in multiple spreadsheets. This made it difficult for everyone to stay on track with the same information.
We needed to rethink this process, even if it meant locking one of our employees away for months until he came up with a solution. So that's what we did. Our CGI Supervisor David Miller took the time to create a database that would streamline the image creation process and manage all the information for the project.
In order for this database to work, David had to make sure that the infrastructure of the CGI project was in place to include every possible aspect of a door's design, including the brand of the door, the type of wood, the finish, and more. Each one of these elements would have their own specific digital file so that they could be combined into one final cabinet door based on what MasterBrand sells.
One aspect of the project is the review and color accuracy of every finish, which needs to be created, proofed, and approved. Initially MasterBrand would send digital targets for us to match. They eventually became so comfortable with our process that they would send us wood masters - the actual cabinet doors themselves - and we'd match our CGI rendered doors as close as we could, proof them internally, and send the files back for review and approval. Once the different assets were created and approved, we'd be able to create final deliverables by combining the approved finishes together with approved door styles, render the final product images, and send them out for final approval.
Another key addition to the project was the creation of a user-friendly request form that allows MasterBrand to easily view the tens of thousands of deliverables we’ve created for them and quickly put together requests for new deliverables, and existing doors that still need to be visualized. Another advantage of the request form is that it also minimizes the amount of duplicate work. Since the project is so large, we can work closely with the client to make changes to this request form and mark off any doors or finishes combination which are no longer available for consumers to choose.
The last key aspect of creating this new process was allowing our CGI Artist’s do what they do best: be artists. The custom user interfaces which were created within each application allows our artists to enter, retrieve, and interact with each of the different assets in a unique way. It has drastically cut down on the amount of time our artists are looking up information in Excel documents and tracking down assets within CGI applications. The user interfaces interact directly with the database and manages all this information so our artists can focus on making sure each asset looks as good as it possibly can.
MasterBrand needed a whole lot of quality images, so we adapted to make sure we could keep up with the demand. By investing the time and effort to create a new project process and database, we notably improved the efficiency of the project without ever sacrificing on quality. The door isn't shut on this project, but we've got the tools necessary to help MasterBrand's customers see every possible cabinet they could ever want.
Need creative solutions for your photography, CGI, and video projects? Contact TRG today about how we can help your business, no matter where you are.