3D visualization remains a specialized field; yet, in the past decade, thousands of studios have mushroomed in nearly all parts of the globe. So how do you find the one?
Here are things you need to consider when searching for a 3D visualization studio:
A. Look globally.
Don’t focus on finding and hiring only locally-based artists; doing so would greatly limit your choice of candidates, and as a result, the range of quality and designs that you can receive. Be open to discussing with foreign studios. As long as you can speak decent English, you can communicate with foreign 3D studios that may not only be able to provide the precise 3D designs you need but also at the price that you can afford.
B. Portfolios and testimonials matter.
We cannot overstate the importance for every studio (and any business for that matter) to have a portfolio as well as testimonials. Ideally, an online portfolio should be placed on a stand-alone domain (e.g., www.justarandom3Dstudio.com), and not just on some free website.
Client reviews are also vital, as getting high-quality work from a studio does not necessarily mean that the studio is easy to deal with. A couple of testimonials of their satisfied clients can give you a clue regarding the work ethics of the team, which can greatly reduce or eliminate your headaches down the road.
There’s a caveat on portfolios and reviews, though: THEY CAN BE FABRICATED. There have been multiple reports of shady companies passing off certain products as their own, as well as making up reviews of fictitious clients just to lure in potential ones.
To check if the work is truly theirs, you can select a couple of the studio’s renders and search Google for them. Meanwhile, to avoid falling victim to fake reviews, ask for the contact details of a studio’s previous clients and talk to them yourself. That way, besides proving that they are indeed satisfied clients, you can also ask them specific questions that can help you make a final decision as to which studio to work with.
One final note on portfolios: Some professional studios don’t have large portfolios open to the public, but they say so on their website and explain that they can send it to you upon receipt of your request.
C. Teams outperform freelancers.
Nowadays, there are many freelance 3D artists catering to small-to-medium sized businesses. While they are often cheaper, there are inherent risks to working with freelancers. Some of them seem to disappear in the middle of work (with your money and time, by the way), which will mean an unfinished project and a disaster for your business. Most freelancers are newbies who are primarily motivated to gain experience and build their portfolio instead of enriching their career. Teams, meanwhile, are in it for the long-term.
While many freelancers are self-motivated and can work without a manager, a studio would typically have account/project managers whose sole duty is to oversee the artists’ work progress. This setup enables artists to focus their precious time and energy on what they do best: 3D visualization.
Last but not the least, teams have much stronger rendering power, which enables them to rerender a large image in just a couple of hours (compared to a freelancer who would need several days to do the same work). A render farm is quite expensive and is usually available only in established 3D studios. For instance, our studio (Faraday 3D) invested roughly $30,000 in the creation of a local render-farm, an amount that typical freelancers could not afford to invest. With more resources, 3D studios have a wider range of software licenses and a more specialized team of artists, thus offering more possibilities for your business.
D. Go big with a smaller team.
Size matters – even in working with a 3D studio. Most people assume (just like in other things) that the bigger, the better. However, smaller companies actually work faster and often better than companies with dozens of people. Smaller teams don’t waste time on unnecessary bureaucracies like larger teams do. They can devote more time to your needs because they only serve a few clients at any single time. You may also have observed from your personal experience that smaller businesses offer exceptional customer service and support that is unparalleled by large ones.
Our studio (Faraday 3D), for instance, has a core team of only three members (you can see this on our About Us page). This enables us to perfectly manage small-to-medium-sized projects. In case of bigger projects, we collaborate with other reliable studios from all over the world. Faraday 3D’s manageable size makes it conducive for partnerships, as we are very flexible compared to larger studios that require too many members and much bureaucracy to deal with.