Why do YOU render?

hey hope someone can clear this up for me, for quite sometime now a nagging doubt has persisted, always at the back of my mind, whenever i doodle sketch or do comp work.

  1. ) as a professional designer, my sketches would not be done for the public, they would be drawn specifically for the person who is going to pay for the shoe to be made, to convince him that this shoe will work, and make money for his boss.

  2. this person who i do my first sketches for, he is the head of design where i work / some designer senior to me.

  3. he has had a lot more experience than i have, so presumably he will be wise enough to look at the design and not the rendering, and as he has seen / drawn so many similar products, he knows what its going to look like, he builds a mental picture.

  4. assuming he likes it, i then have to convince the engineer / mould maker etc how it should look. they are also not the general public, so why colour the rendering?

  5. in all the above steps, would not a mere line drawing suffice? or atleast a pencil shading to show the shape?

then why do designers use 3d modelling software etc which make their designs look ultra realistic, anyway all the designer has to do is draw a product for the man who is going to make it, and only well enough for him to understand it.

so tell me, why do YOU render? what drives your work: visual appeal, or solid design? are they mutually exclusive?

the question boils down to-
am i training to be an artist or a designer?

i would really like some views from everyone, students and pros, as well as any non-designers here.

note: ive made some assumptions in my train of thought, kindly tell me if they’re incorrect.

Why separate designers from artists? We ought to be artists with a functional aspect. Also, as I see it, my work seems more attractive to ME if I make it visually exciting during the whole design process. Imagining the finished product from start gives me a more specific goal to work towards. But thats me.

A huge part of design is communication. And our field specifically deals with visual communication and visual languages.

Rendering is one way to quickly explain your thoughts and design concepts visually to others for feedback before spending a lot of time and money on prototypes. As a young designer with no track record of previous success this is doubly true. Before someone invests cash into 3d models being built, they want to make sure it is a good idea, and give their collaborative input…

Obviously you can crank out 10-20 design concepts in rendering form in the time it takes you to do one prototype or 3d model, so the ability to build on your ida before it becomes physical is also a benefit.

its also another one of those things that we can do that no one else in the product creation process can, and it pretty much blows them away every time.

and as stated above, it gives everyone else involved in bringing the product to market (engineers, tool and die makers, prototypers, modelers, marketing guys, and sales people) something to rally around and get excited about. It gives them a goal to work toward, esp if your tooling guy sits in Taiwan and speaks minimal English, he can understand you want it to look like that when its all done!

INn my experience it is pretty rare for an engineer or more senior designer to make a decision on if a particular concept is a go.

I am usually presenting directly to an outside client, which means someone in marketing, perhaps sales, or a president, or often all of the above. These people usually don’t have the ability to be able to effectively visualize a line sketch into a real product - they count on me to do that for them. Becuase they are not designers or engineers they require fairly realistic sketches, renderings, and more often than not, a physical model to be able to effectively see the concept.

I can see your point if you were an internal designer for a manufacturer. When you work for a consultancy however you rarely (in my experience) are presenting to other designers or engineers.

Also - color, texture, graphics, and a number of other items are all very important in certain design disciplines (consumer, sports, etc) These are all fairly easy to convey using renderings or colored sketches.

And finally - many designers these day can do quick color “renderings” in photoshop or other programs as fast as they can do presentation quality line sketches. -In the end it comes down to what works for you. If line drawings work - great.

I worked in house at one company and how you described it is how we did it. No focus on quality “illustrations” at all, draw it enough for the head to understand (5 min rough sketches), spec materials and get a sample next day. The only things other non-designers got to see were actual samples. Each designer could put out a full line every week with that workflow. The people that made the decisions were designers who could read rough sketches and had the ability to make decisions on that, and we all were being trained to do that also. No need trying to figure out how to render the brushed nickel pattern in photoshop when you have the judgement ability to look at a chip, look at the sketch, and be able to say it’ll look right (and be correct).
Not a lot of places trust their designers judgement calls like that though, so you have to spill it out as much as possible with as close to the real thing (visually) as possible before someone gives you the go-ahead. It all depends on the place. Usually if you’re competing with other design firms for a company’s work, you’ll have to be able to have real good visualizations. If you’re working in a place where you have clout and your judgement calls aren’t questioned, and your place manufactures the product and you’re not competing with 5 other designers for one project to go through, and the people that approve things can accurately make judgment calls on rough sketches, that’s probably all you’ll have to do.
If you say it’s a circle, the boss understands what you drew in .25sec was a circle and can still make a good call on the sketch, that’s what you’ll do instead of spending more time getting the circle to look right or just hiring someone that draws perfect circles.
But like I said, I don’t think there are a lot of places like that. But places that manufacture their own things and the designers aren’t really competing against each other, I haven’t seen the sketch quality/perfection become an issue. If you look at some of the sketches for the ipods and other stuff that came from apple, nothing special at all. The well known pop italian designers, nothing special at all. Scott Wilson posted some stuff a while back about a concept card eyeD thing that recorded training stats, etc, that was full of squiggly thin lines w/no line wt variations, etc that people in a typical consultancy would get reamed for as far as producing any sketches that looked like that. After that was the nice presentation. All depends on who you’re showing to, how they view you, your track record, etc.
Best to be able to do whatever comes your way the best, so I wouldn’t let not needing to be able to do full renders keep you from learning it because it may be necessary. But on the other hand, lots of people waste a lot of time overdoing some things trying to make every sketch frame worthy, it’s really not as necessary all the time as some say it is. I worked at one place that wouldn’t let the designers do thumbnails or rough sketches, they wanted every paper that had a mark on it to be client ready. As you could probably guess, there were lots of last minute crunches trying to come up with enough deliverable concepts that made for an extremely stressful work environment. We could’ve just as easily come up with the required concepts early in 2 min sketches, then just focus on the art production, but instead it was reversed with scrambling to meet the minimum at the end. You have to be as effective as you need to be for the mission at hand. Sometimes doing too much of some things is payed for by time and cost if a rougher quicker method would accomplish the same thing.

Depends WHAT you do.

you shouldn’t render ALL of your concepts, sketches, ideas. (Although I know some people who did it all the time at school: spent 5 minutes rendering a gear they’ve sketched, and the gear already exists, and not new to the design). Now hopefully they don’t do it anymore, but it did allow them to practice their rendering while in school.

As Yo said, a lot of design work is communication. YOU have to communicate YOUR idea.

For client presentation only a selected few sketches get rendered.
Also depends on who the client is and what is the product. Just shaded shape description? colour separation of components? materials?

So no, you will not be rendering ALL the time.
But you need to know HOW to render and present.

and as skinny said: it all depends on the place.

SO: you most likely won’t de rendering all your 30 concepts, BUT you will need learn it and perfect it if you want to be more employable.

oh. and the reason I render (shade) is to describe form most of the time.
photorealistic computer renderings are for marketing and some clients.
the tracitional rendering is to develop my skills, and add the human touch to presentations.
Also rarely I have to do a very nice hand rendering of a product to present to the client, when there is no budget for a quick 3d model and the shaded sketch isn’t good enough for presentation puroses.

I’ve worked at a few places and something really surprised me as a visual person: alot of people are not visual people. I’ve met people in companies who could not see the ice skate, just the scratchy lines on paper. That is why it is wise to render, at least at some point.

Of course, there is always a danger to it. I’ve shown hot renders that got a product approved, only to find the prototype to be so-so. That’s why sketch modeling, even if only for one-self is a good idea too.

For me it depends totally on the client and also what the person who is going to make the shoes would prefer.

I have a high street client who I sell ‘design packs’ to - they get black and white pen sketches - I give them about 40 drawings in one pack and it takes me about a day. They want quantity. They won’t pay for me to spend all day on Illustrator. They verbally brief the sketches to thier factory and pick the materials from swatch cards there. They work FAST and can have the shoes in store within six weeks if needs be.

I work with a shoemaker, who is used to really scratty sketches. If I have time I tape the last up and give him the design directly on the last.

Some of my clients require more carefully done Illustrator rendering, but I don’t do any 3D because I’ve never been asked to do it. Possibly because I charge per hour it could be expensive - also the sheer volume of work I have to do (over 300 styles per season not counting the design packs I do for the retailer), theres’ just not time.

Fashion moves really fast now so the most important thing for me is to get the product made ASAP.

Finally to add: if I’m working in SE Asia - I ALWAYS provide colour specification sheets with typed (as opposed to hand written) details - it rreally helps stop mistakes and confusion.

Why render…? Because Caesar demands, it of course.

Out of all the things I get to do as a designer, my favorite one is ideation sketching. But there is a reality to all of this.

In the past, marker, guoche and frisket renderings would suffice, but in this modern age and world, photoshop and 3D renderings are the way to go - the reason is simple: communication. Your clients are usually poor at understanding designer’s ideas and 3D renderings make things easy to see and you don’t have to think much about what you see when there is a rendering in front of you with a powerpoint presentation.

Photoshop renderings are fine, but 3D models tend to be more powerful because they can be rotated and shown from many different views (something you cannot do with 2D presentation) and the 3D data can be used by mockup vendors in order to produce appearance models (which clients love to see).

3D models also help in production - they can be handed off to engineers who in turn can either use the model directly for production or they can use the surfaces as a reference in order to build a more accurate production model. This is one of the reasons why alot of designers in Taiwan (for example) study Pro-E…it helps them be one step closer to production.

Anyways - that is my 2 cents