3d photorealism from the past using 3DS Max. A 3d visual created in 1998 by 3dvisuals.co.uk

High-Quality Photorealism – The 3d Visualisation Industry Early Years

Photo-realism, quality, speed, are just some of the expectations us 3D Visualisers have to face within the 3D Visualisation Industry.

This is something we have had to endure for as long as 3D Visualisation Services have existed.  Just when you think you have created the very best, photo-realistic 3d visual possible and that it can never get any more photo-real than your latest creation, somebody, somewhere in our industry raises the bar that little bit higher for us all to have to follow.

In this short article we wanted to go back in time to when 3d visualisation was relatively new and still in its infancy, to show just a few of the best 3D visuals that we had ever created.

At the time that they were produced, these 3d visuals were considered to be at the bleeding edge of 3d visualisation, 3d images that were at the very top of what was considered commercially possible with just a computer, some 3D software and a very skilled 3d artist.

What amazes us to this day, as seasoned 3D Visualisers, is how at the time our viewers were convinced that these images here were actual photographs of actual office interiors.

Even we thought so at the time as well !

As did a lot of broadsheet newspaper readers also;

3D Visual in The Times Newspaper - June 1998

Sure, we can all have a little chuckle at all of that today – but rest assured that today’s industry leading 3D visuals will soon also be tomorrow’s ‘old news’.

The habit for those of us who do this work daily is rather than looking at a 3D image and enjoying its finer points – our eyes are trained to look for tell-tale signs of imperfections, those dead-give-aways and areas of improvement which all too quickly dampen our addiction for the perfection which is ever-so-close, only never quite seems attainable.

The bar of realism is always being pushed higher and higher, as technology advances, skills and techniques are passed around and shared within our 3D community – not only do we 3D Visualisers constantly push ourselves to obtain higher and better photorealism, but our clients and viewers expect more from us as well.

Will this cycle ever end we wonder ?

What do you think ?  Is photo-realism as realistic today as it ever needs to be ?

An early 3d visual created in 1997 by 3dvisuals.co.uk of a 3d office interior.

Adding Commercial Value how 3dvisuals.co.uk started – our Founder’s Story

It was July 1997, though stills feels like yesterday.

The events which took place during this period, pursuing my excitement with a passion that was unreal was to lead to a series of life changing events.

I only wish I could share all of what happened, but for now, here is but a snippet……

I’d only been working for three months as a newly qualified CAD Technician at the UK’s most successful Corporate Interiors Design and Build company and was itching to get some real world experience using the magical software that had me mesmerized; AutoDesk’s 3D Studio Release 4, the wonderful piece of software that could create photographic looking images of “things before they even existed”.

I’d always had a very keen interest in photography from my early teenage years, but never ventured to become the Photographer I’d dreamed of being. But here I was at my company desk, with this amazing software and a computer and with a second chance to be that photographer in my chosen field, Corporate Interiors, only this time making photographs without a camera.

I was in paradise ! The Geeky Techie side of me meeting my creative other-side to produce tangible items which people could see, feel, and hopefully be impressed by.

The only obstacle I had in front of me at my then new company was my CAD Manager.  He had garnered the most experience using 3D Studio and so was always getting the lion’s share each time a new project presented itself – he was creating amazing 3D images that were making other’s go “wow” and I wasn’t. And he wasn’t passing over any of the spoils to the rookie CAD Technician I was at that time without some sort of fight.

Needless to say, I didn’t need to wait too long.

My impatience and subtle protestations didn’t go unnoticed and he kindly promised that the very next request for a 3D visual, whatever its size and importance to the company, would be assigned to me.


Well, that day came, and with it my opportunity to shine or to fail.

Failure was not an option.

Unbeknownst to me at the time, but the furniture division of my esteemed company were pitching for the company’s largest ever project and the team wanted to create amazing visuals that would blow the competition out of the water.

The client ?  None other the BMW.

Truthfully, the story is a long one and always reminds me how magical those times were back then.  The many hours I spent in my free time to create the company’s first ever walkthrough animation can not be gotten into detail here.  Nor that I’d surprised the company (and the entire board of directors) with it, and they me, by suggesting we show it at the company’s pitch to BMW – with me being present there as well.

After we’d won the contract with BMW (over £1m of Haworth Office Furniture), everyone agreed, not least the then CEO of Maris Interiors, Richard Griggs, that the 3d visualisation material I’d created had played the critical role in convincing BMW to choose our company for the contract.  Simply put, our proposals were the most understandable and convincing to visualise, and secured the business of this major blue chip client (note: a lot of these visuals at the time represented highly new presentation methods which had never before been used by the company).

The commercial value of 3d visuals for our business, the design and build of corporate office interiors, had been tested and the results were outstanding.

And my position in the company was to be altered forever – with an almost instant promotion, and an almost instant larger paycheck.

And I was no longer ever to be called a CAD Technician (in fact, I was asked what I’d like my job title to be and I chose Presentations Designer).

The image you see here is the only one we have left of that project in our archives  – the other images I’d created for it, including the ground-breaking animated walkthrough are no longer available.

Epilogue – I was to learn very quickly in my career as a 3D Visualiser that giving presentation staff the very best 3d visuals and presentation material to pitch with is one of the greatest motivators they can be given and definitely leads to greater new business success.