Case Study: Metrie
"Every person that we’ve shown our catalog or online images to can’t believe they're not real photographs or builds. TRG does a great job of making sure the lighting and shadowing are in the right place so it makes it difficult to tell that it’s a computer generated image."
Christy Zukowski, Manager of Marketing Communications, Metrie
TRG Makes Photorealistic Moulding Assets for Metrie without Needing a Camera
Metrie is the largest supplier and manufacturer of solid wood and composite moulding in North America. Founded in 1926, Metrie now operates seven solid wood and MDF manufacturing facilities and 26 distribution centers throughout North America.
Approximately 200 Knockout images, 11 hero room images, 11 room animations, and 30 detail images.
Metrie needed more visual content for both their website and print materials. Given the costs associated with building sets, they decided to turn to CGI to create digital rooms to show their moulding products in a room setting without having to build all of the spaces for a professional photographer. However, they needed these CGI images and animations to still look realistic enough that people wouldn't immediately identify it as a digital reproduction.
How TRG Helped
Metrie wanted photorealistic images and animations, so we needed to get prepared. Like many first-time clients of ours, one of the most important parts of Metrie's project was to teach them about our process and guide them through the steps. We like to think we make some pretty awesome stuff, but it doesn't really matter unless our clients also think that it's awesome. That's why we follow a pretty detailed checklist for CGI projects. This made for a challenging, but rewarding process where we could go back and forth between our team and Metrie's team to come up with great assets.
We started off by collecting all of the necessary CAD files so that we could build CGI versions of the moulding products. We worked with a stylist to create the spaces from a design perspective as well as prop the room and give overall plans as to what the rooms should look like. We then become digital carpenters and build these digital rooms for all of the moulding to live in. Once we would get approvals on assets and placements, we jumped right into texturing and lighting before passing them over to a retoucher.
There's an art to taking CGI assets and making them look photorealistic. CGI images can look so clean and crisp that people can tell quite easily that it's not real. Real-life objects aren't perfect, so a room without any noise or little wrinkles wouldn't feel real enough for us. We used lighting techniques to drive the realism home for anyone looking at the finished products. It's a really tricky juggling act, but it's incredibly rewarding. When the assets got to a point where people had to ask whether or not they were real photographs, we knew we were doing great.
Once we had all of the images done, we had to break things apart in order to animate the process. We took an empty digital room and made it so that the moulding would fly into place and show just how much it could improve the appearance of a space. To do that, we took our image files and broke the moulding up into separate pieces that would all fly into their corresponding spots, like a super-cool moulding puzzle. We then ran these assets through our compositing software to match the work our retouchers did so that it was cohesive with the rest of the project.
All throughout this project, we would update Metrie and give them different assets for review so that they could point out any issues before it becomes a bigger problem down the line. Like any relationship, we have to communicate to make sure that everyone is happy. By stopping at several points throughout the process to get input and approval, we could make sure that we were doing great work that satisfied our high standards as well as Metrie's expectations. Plus, it's always so much more fun to work on a project with someone when you're on the same page as them. Thanks to our process, we were able to do digital justice to Metrie's products and make sure that everyone was happy. We're really happy with how the project turned out and the client loved the results, so mission accomplished!
What Would You Say About TRG?
"I’ve actually talked about TRG to other companies that have asked about or looked at the renderings we’ve done. From my perspective, TRG creates some of the best CGI room renderings that I’ve seen. They look so photorealistic and I think a lot of that comes from their photography background as a company. TRG really understands how lighting works and how to make something digital look like it was shot right in their studio."
Denise Tripamer, Director of Marketing Communications, Metrie
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