Antelope Design have been designing for the furniture industry since 2000 under the company name Antelope Design.
In the last two years Antelope have been promoting CGI and it has grown to represent 50% of their turnover. To differentiate the CGI, Antelope made the decision to develop the Symmetry CGI brand.
Paul Galley, Antelope Design MD, has been interested in the benefits of CGI since 2006-7 and first tried to create room-sets back in 2011 – some of the cut-out images are still being used by clients 7 years on! At the time it felt suitable as a way of promoting Antelope designs, but was too labour intensive to use as a stand alone CGI tool.
From 2011 Antelope were using Sketchup so rendering was not an option. From around 2016 there was a requirement to show lighting in cabinet concepts to a client and Antelope outsourced several images. This experience made it clear that CGI had moved on significantly and was something Antelope needed to be offering their clients. Symmetry CGI now model in Sketchup and render in KeyShot – this is offered as an add-on to their design service and as a standalone business tool.
Challenges and Objectives
Symmetry CGI face some considerable challenges. With our clients busy buying furniture in Asia, they are being offered cheap CGI by the factories. We have a difficult balance to achieve – on the one hand competing with China on price and on the other hand competing with professional photographers here in the UK on quality.
Symmetry are constantly developing new product for their clients, it’s very much a fashion based industry. Being able to show a good quality image at the development stage is a huge bonus to our clients. They can test the market and use it to guide production, which is now largely done overseas where language can be a big issue. A picture tells a 1000 words’ has never been more true.
“The advantages for our clients of creating digital images over photography is largely time and money. We can also render an idea. Several customers really get this and have us creating images so that they can test the market before making anything. Bizarrely some people see CGI as a risk! – what if you can’t deliver what‘s in the image, or the samples are different? They are clearly not in the camp of early adopters...”
Benefits, results and what’s next?
At the January furniture show one of Antelope’s clients was able to sell new concepts based purely on their CGI, this represents a huge saving in time for them and ensures they are backing a winning design.
So what does the future look like for Symmetry CGI?
“The CGI side of the business will expand into other markets, such as mainstream kitchens and upholstery and the design team will grow to include dedicated stylists, modellers and renderers. Upholstery companies cannot afford to make thirty different sofa sets and photograph them all – imagine the cost of that? We can model one set and render every fabric onto them. There is no comparison here to photography – this is a completely new opportunity for everyone involved.”