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3D – the team you didn’t know you needed

From glamorous beginnings, to saving the planet. We’re diving into the history of CGI and how you can use it to up your marketing game.


Anna Fidler



CGI (Computer-Generated Imagery) has been having a moment in the spotlight this past year, with quirky campaigns like Maybelline’s giant mascara wand and Jacquemus’ racing handbags . These content examples have proved that CGI can be used for playful and standout marketing campaigns, engineered for virality.

But CGI isn’t just for creating sharable social assets. High-quality 3D CGI rendering services can help up your marketing game, across the full spectrum.

Let’s go back to the start

At its core, CGI is still or animated visual content created with computer software. Hollywood is responsible for a large part of the rise and advancement of CGI. As far back as 1958, CGI was used in Alfred Hitchcock’s film Vertigo. But up until the late 70’s, it was only in 2D form.

Fast forward to the 80’s, where fully 3D objects were seen in films like Tron. Into the 90s, we saw CGI being used in Terminator 2 (think liquid metal terminator) and Toy Story (fully 3D rendered animations instead of hand drawn cells).

Today, it’s rare to see a blockbuster film without some form of CGI. It can make imagery look hyper real and photorealistic – often much more so than a special effects department. And believe it or not, CGI is largely used in the same way for marketing as it is in Hollywood.

TV ads rely heavily on CGI. It can be used to create ‘sets’ for filming TV ads, or supermarkets can use it to create tasty looking food. Meanwhile, fully rendered 3D animations are becoming increasingly popular for brands like John Lewis’s Christmas ads.

And it doesn’t stop at TV. CGI can be used to market products, buildings and interiors. It can be used for websites, catalogues, brochures, and help to create interactive content for games and mobile applications. It can also build physical stores in 3D, making it a game-changer for retailers.

Why opt for CGI?

CGI = big savings for brands

The main benefit of using CGI is that you can create things that don’t really exist or that would be too expensive to create in real life. For example, Howdens wanted to refresh their brochures and website with their latest kitchen styles, but with so many new styles to show off, organising a shoot would be £££. So, they turned to our 3D team to build true-to-life 3D kitchen renders.

This offered Howdens incredible flexibility with how and where these kitchens could be shown. The result was an extensive suite of aspirational images that were indistinguishable from photography.

Render ^

Photo ^

Kawai also saved big bucks when demonstrating that their beautiful, high-quality pianos weren’t just for arena stages. The logistics of moving delicate pianos into different shoot locations would have been too big a risk. But, 3D renders of the pianos allowed the instruments to be placed in new environments with ease, and allowed customers to picture the pianos in their own homes.

With this approach, you’re also able to make minor changes to a scene to make it look completely different. Changing from day to night, rainy to sunny, winter to summer, all in a matter of hours.

The CGI showed off the product to its fullest potential, honing in on the quality and technical aspects of Kawai’s pianos with great detail. All achieved by one of our 3D Designers in a matter of days.

It’s the sustainable choice

The environmental impact of creative campaigns is being considered more than ever. Last year, the Chartered Institute of Marketing found that over half (55%) of marketers recognise that sustainability is an increasing business priority.

Brands often focus on reducing their footprint by looking at logistics and manufacturing. But companies can also make an impact by changing their approach to image creation. Alongside reducing the carbon footprint linked to travel for shoots, CGI removes the need to construct and transport physical prototypes or specialist sets. Both of which can have a significant effect on the environmental impact of a campaign.

Introducing, the IMA-HOME 3D team

Now you’re sold on the benefits of CGI, let us introduce the experts. Our 3D team at IMA-HOME have 100 years combined experience. They are creative CGI experts, modellers, lighting specialists and trained retail designers.

We’ve created show-stopping animations, a glitterball adidas trefoil and award-winning work for client interior design company Angel O’Donnell, to list a few.

The team use the same software as Hollywood, so you know you’ll get a premium finish.

We asked our two Heads of 3D, Danny and Jamie, what their favourite elements of 3D are...

"My love for CGI lies in the small details and getting things to look as close to the real thing as possible, which is why I love hard surface modelling. This is a bit like sculpting but with a mouse and keyboard. I love recreating a product I have on the desk in front of me as a 3D model, measuring every edge and angle then replicating the materials (fingerprints and smudges included), to the point that when the model is rendered you can't tell the difference between a photo and a render." - Danny Costello, Head of 3D

"Lighting, composition, and the finer details are key when it comes to creating high quality CGI. When striving to replicate real world photography, as an artist you have to understand what makes something look truly ‘real’. In CGI, minute detail matters. Our tools and attention to detail allow us to showcase any product or environment to a standard that can match and even surpass photography, which I love doing." - Jamie Shawcross, Head of 3D

It's pretty cool stuff if we do say so ourselves. Check out some more of the team’s work here.

So there you have it, a whistle stop tour of CGI, its history and impact. If you want to have a chat about CGI and how it could help you, get in touch: [email protected]


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