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What to look for when choosing a CGI Artist…

I hear very often when spoken about graphic /logo design, CGI, Visualisation etc. ‘Find someone on Fiverr’ and it makes me scream on the inside.
 Yes, there is a possibility that you will find someone good – eventually, but if you take to the account the time spent and amount of frogs you need to kiss before finding your prince, I can’t help but wonder … Is it really worth it?

Don’t get me wrong I’ve used Fiverr and similar platforms to outsource some of my own stuff like putting together advertisement videos or slideshows with text or voice overlay
Most of the time the research and due diligence I’ve done paid off but then again I know what to look for and what questions to ask to check someone’s credibility or I’d like to think I do.

There are pros and cons to everything. If the price is the only factor then yes, by all means, go to Fiverr and get it done. But if quality, consistency, accountability has any weight on your decision, consider this:

1.Some of the specialists don’t speak English. Whole brief and conversation will be done by third party, which is fine as long as the middleman has experience in the industry and can relay 80-100% of the brief to the specialist. His/ her ability to do that will determine amount of amendments and lead time on the visuals.
Also quite probably you’ll have to repeat the brief few times to get it across as good conversational English doesn’t go hand in hand with technical one.

Proposed Bedroom

2.The portfolio showcased as experience might be from the time at the university and result of group effort. When you ask if the artist can replicate the outcome they will start to deflect at first but -when grilled long enough- they’ll say ‘No’.

  • it is crucial to check when the latest paid project was done. 
  • The design is a discipline that needs to be practised to achieve excellence. The software and techniques are changing so much that only someone, who keeps up to date with technology, can provide the best results.
Proposed Development in Mistley, Essex

3.The price will go up 10x or 20x with the next project.

  • Usually, they will drive the price way down initially to attract you but with the next project, they will match the prices/ hourly rate of UK, EU providers. 
  • Or they have silver, gold and platinum packages. Silver one (worth £5) will give you model of the table or chair required to stage your property and 1 revision of the model as renders (images) are not included in that package. 

We got used to launching prices in the property industry but if you are pressed for time you don’t want to be looking for someone else, who’ll do it cheaper but required quality.
Starting the vetting process again is time-consuming. You went through this already to find the current artist.

Coloured Proposed Ground Floor Layout plan – Tendring Green


4.When they are dragging their feet, not meeting the deadline and you start nagging them, they will just stop answering or drop the task completely.
As they are based on the other side of the world, accountability is non-existent.
If you give them bad review they will close the account, open a new one and they’re good to go again.
And you’re back where you started with no product and much closer to the deadline.

5. With CGI and Visualisation- just like in photography – some of the final touches are added in post-processing.
Knowing the 3D modelling software ( having completing course certificate) doesn’t always mean that the person is able to create decent images out of it.
Great images require investment in good rendering and post-processing software which aren’t cheap, so the finished effect won’t be the same. Specialist’s efficiency will affect the lead time as well.
There is always more than one way to approach and create graphics. Not all of them are equally effective. Only specialist proficient in few can pick the right tool for the job and avoid “using a spoon to dig a tunnel”

Proposed Living Room – Mistley, Essex

6. The best way to avoid the disappointment and not to waste time is to give the assignment to a few people on Fiverr at the same time. Then use the best performer for your next project.
It requires a higher initial investment to find the winner, but you’ll have someone good in your corner.
The risk is they may stop freelancing or go for full-time employment, long term contract and raise their rates, which means your project won’t be the priority anymore and visuals may be more expensive than the last time.

In property business, we talk about assembling your power team and how the right people in your business can affect your growth, make or break you financially and mentally. Especially if you chasing deadlines and trying to escape the default, rework can be expensive and falling behind the schedule damaging to your reputation.
A good specialist will save you money, advise you on the best solution and add value beyond the cost. Make sure you’re factoring that in your decision.


“There will always be someone, who will do it cheaper”.

How to take a product and place it in front of your buyer BEFORE it’s manufactured or built.

I’m often attending seminars and event promising to teach me how to sell better.
And every time, no matter who the speaker is, I pray- please give me some other technique than social media marketing.
Guess what they always say – use social media….
Target and re-target your audience, occupy their mind space. Take your product and put it in front of right person. 

Current Phase of Development

We cannot escape the influence the social media bring in our buying process. People buy from people but before they do , they will google you check all of your profiles and what you stand for. 

How to advertise houses, apartment, units if the project is still in the development stage when you don’t have any show flats or photos to create ads with?
Yes, you shared the side and plans for the block of flats -to-be, but…
– Are you targeting the right people with the ‘before’ photos?
Who do you actually attract?
Buyers or other developers like you or few steps behind you, who will admire you or even envy you but won’t buy from you.
That kind of post will be great for finding JV partnership but they won’t sell your units.w

3D model of the proposed development incorporated into photo

How can you start advertise something that doesn’t exist then?
How to advertise when I have nothing to show just yet? 

This is where CGI comes to play.
-Images, 360 Images,
-Fly-through video
-Immersive technologies – AR/VR ,
whatever medium is best for your ideal client avatar.


To ensure your success you need to find a successful people and model what they do.
You can create photo realistic images and videos and put them in front of custom audience straight after plans leave the drawing board.

If you look at all of the big developers like Barratt Homes , Redrow, Countrywide, etc they start advertise as soon as possible. 

They shout from the rooftops, plaster images all over the hording boards, banner, social media, online platforms.
New development is coming to town!! 
The best units are sold right a way, with plenty of time to sell the less attractive ones.


Some say CGI is unnecessary expense. Nice to have novelty, but not crucial to succeed.
Perhaps, but so was the iPhone in 2007. Can you imagine running your business now on Nokia, or even blackberry without the efficiency that smartphones and apps gave us over the years?


“Past performance doesn’t guarantee future success.”


Not with the amount of sales going belly up due to unrealistic budgeting. Not with the extended time on the market we experiencing now. 
And if your’ll take to the account all of the thing that can go wrong during development process. Delays, design flaws, rework the earlier you go in front of your buyer the better chances of selling quick and retrieving your profit. The sweet lump sum that you work for last 18-24 months.

Proposed First Floor

Many say

“ Our attention span shortened over the years. We are jumping from one thing to the next. Our interest drops almost as quickly as it arises when the item of our desire cannot be delivered in 48 hours. So what’s the point of starting marketing early ?”

I don’t think this applies to property. Buying a property for a first time or even your next property is a long process.
No end consumer wakes up one day and decides I need to buy house by next month. It requires planning and saving for deposit , deciding  on location, size , what can you afford etc.
After applying initial filters the first thing the buyer will look at are the photos. 

Proposed Kitchen and Lounge


Then you weight pros and cons and choose the best home with right price tag from the advertised ones and they’ll wait for their next home.
 With high interest through specific targeting and re-targeting you can find your ideal buyers, who want exactly what you have and sell it to them.

With early enough start even if the sale fell through you’ll have plenty of time and leads, who can jump at the opportunity of buying your apartments, you don’t have to worry about starting putting the apartment back on the market to advertise and wait.

You can advertise straight to warm audience and close the sale fast.

So with all that in mind, try something new in 2019. Open the window to the future and take a glimpse.
Let you buyers immerse fully in first time buyer experience , fell in love with your product and make the feeling last long after first viewing.
The time is NOW.

It’s only expensive when isn’t planned

Do you like the idea of selling your flats off-plan but the prices of CGI -Computer Generated Images seem too steep?

These 7 SIMPLE TIPS will help you get beautiful affordable CGI, save time and headache in the process.

1.PLAN AHEAD.
Set a date for the beginning of our marketing campaign and start looking for your Virtual Design Services 2 months earlier. Why? 
– you are giving yourself time to browse for good specialist.                          
– best value CGI providers will have many project in pipeline and -by leaving this decision to last minute- you’ll have to settle for whoever is available.                          
– if you decide to award your project to person/ company found on Fiverr or Freelancer and the outcome is disappointing or deadline missed, you still have time to create Visuals without changing programme.
It takes time to find good CGI provider from outside of UK and although their portfolio looks good the language barrier – more often than not – is causing delays as things get lost in translation.
Starting early removes the sense of urgency and extra price tag attached to express delivery.


2.  READ T&C’s and REVIEW Scope of works.
I really can stress this enough.
Find out how many changes are included in original quotation letter.What happens when the extra work is required or design changes.
Is the site visit included? Is it really necessary?
Most companies have set number of changes included in quote and I don’t mean complete redesign of the building or redecorating whole thing.To know what’s included and what is subjected to Order Change Request you need to read the above and than decide impact of your changes.
Understand the process and ask if something is not clear.


3. EXPLAIN WHAT DO YOU NEED THE CGI FOR.
Good briefing is one of the most important parts of whole process. Spend as much time as possible with the CGI provider. Make sure they understand purpose of whole exercise and not taking advantage of your lack of experience in working with digital models and rendering.


“5 min of preparation and planning saves 20 min in execution”

What is the purpose of the visualisation?  
– Planning Approval,  
– Design review,   
– Valuation, 
– Business proposal, 
– Brochures, Marketing,
Is it conceptual design, or maybe u need to show impact on neighbourhood and new Facade to planning comity?
Will you use it for online marketing and can be compressed to make it load faster on social media?
Will you use it brochures , banners and needs to be in highest resolution?
Do you need something creative to break the snooze of PowerPoint presentation and excite them?
These all are factors influencing the final price tag.
Do you REALLY need 28 images representing every room in your property or one typical bedroom, bathroom and 2 shots of living room and open plan kitchen.
Don’t suggest you want the top of the range product. Explain what you need the CGI for and let them give you some options. There is so many different types of CGI not all will work for you and not all will be useful. Buy one get one at 70 or 50% offer may sound great but we all know where the extras usually end up. In a bin or attic (loft) or becomes irrelevant.

4. SPECIFY YOU BUDGET IF YOU HAVE ONE.   
  – there are various types of CGI, and it might be difficult to decide what you want,              
– you probably can’t have it all, 
– but you may get what you need.

5. REVIEW SCOPE OF WORKS BEFORE SENDING PO (PURCHASE ORDER). 
– go over the order and double check it.
– sometimes concept changes or requirements and if we don’t review the scope of work we might end up with CGI for wrong apartment and to old brief.

6. PROVIDE AS MUCH DETAIL AS POSSIBLE. GUESSWORK= REWORK AND COSTS MONEY AND TIME.  
– be specific in your brief. 
– spend as much time as required to discuss the details.  
– provide images, screen shots, picture of desired finishes.  
– “I want heavier bed throw” or “blue kitchen”, “I want different shade of copper” is not it.  
– use Pinterest for inspiration, Instagram, google images 
– make sure your Virtual Design Specialist understands the design intent. 
– Focus of what’s important – floor finishes, fitted kitchen or bathroom, door. Lighting. – built-in items.

7. REVIEW DRAFTS QUICKLY. 
 – Schedule time for drafts review and keep in touch. 
 – good communication is the key.  
– every business wants to minimise downtime. Voids are dangerous not only for property business.  
– by delaying review and comments to draft images you might find that resources  have been reallocated and you’ve been moved further down the queue and which will affect he lead time even more.

In any business the smoother workflow the better results.
Follow the simple tips and you’ll guarantee yourself the best value for money and short sweet lead time.