Too Many Revisions
Why the Client Requests Too Many Revisions, then Switches Back to the Original Idea...
With more than 10 years of 3D visualization experience, I’ve come across various clients. Some had no problems; meanwhile, others were a pain to deal with. Regardless, they all have one thing in common - both request revisions, and some have an awful lot of them.
This time, I’m going to answer this seemingly common question: who is to blame? The client or the studio?
Why It’s the Client’s Fault
At first, I was actually convinced that the fault is entirely on the client’s side. After all, I know what I was doing, I gave him what he wanted, and I made sure I did my job perfectly. He, on the other hand, was unsure of what he really wanted… and that explained why he was asking for revisions every now and then.
That’s quite annoying. So, due to the volume of revision requests he made, lots of problems came up. Problems like the following:
1. Increased project duration, which in turn, led to missed deadlines (many of them).
I can only recall a few instances wherein a client admitted a missed deadline as his fault. Most of the time, it shed a bad light on my company when it was them who missed the deadlines, not me.
2. Second, due to the volume of revision requests, we were forced to increase the project budget.
However, clients became hesitant to work with us again. After all, who would love working with a company that has its estimated budget tripled? There’s a huge likelihood that they will never seek your services again. This simply means you won’t get the next project.
3. An increased project duration means missing important starting dates for my other clients.
This, in turn, decreased the quality of my service. I started working on other projects late, mostly because their schedules had been shifted. Since it means working on two or more projects at once, the focus is divided. And when it comes to designing, we both can agree that multitasking is a really bad idea.
4. As a result, our 3D studio has to lower its profit.
When a 3D studio chooses to take the risks, and the budget for an ArchViz project is final, we have to resort to lowering our profit instead of making changes. Now, can your 3D artist do an excellent job if they're not making any profit at all? I highly doubt it.
5. 3D visualization being deemed as science, not art.
Lastly, this is something that I often see completely missed out by the clients. 3D visualization isn’t just about putting stuff here and there. It’s not science. It might be technical, but it also involves the 3D artist’s feelings.
As a 3D artist, I don’t just randomly add stuff to make it look good. I also rely on my emotions to truly bring out a masterpiece - something that will capture the attention of an Architect and Developer’s viewers. Now, when a client asks for changes to the same stuff over and over again, both inspiration and creativity are lost. He will instead end up getting a standard 3D render - and it’s something that won’t stand out from the crowd at all.
If you settle for standard 3D images and grabbing the attention of people is not your goal, then don’t read any further. You're better off watching the local or global news instead.
So, if you’re a client in need of a 3D rendering service to help you grab the attention of your audience, but find it hard to explain exactly what you want or need to your 3D studio provider, then you should know one thing. Most of the revision requests are due to problems with communication - and the one responsible for this is the 3D studio. Simple as that. But why?
Why It’s the 3D Studio’s Fault
The answer is quite simple - 3D studios are the experts, and the client seeks 3D studio service because they need help with 3D renders, videos, etc. If Architect and Developer clients had the skills or expertise to do all of these, then our 3D studio wouldn’t be getting any projects at all! However, since the studio's the one who’s skilled in such stuff, it's our responsibility to guide the client!
To do so, you need collaboration: informing clients what’s possible in their case, and what’s not. We're the experts, and we (as a 3D studio) have all the knowledge on this matter while the client only knows little-to-no knowledge at all. Keep in mind that the best 3D artists are not solely focused on creating eye-catching images for our clients. We also must make sure that Architects and Developers can enjoy positive ROIs due to our service.
This explains why it's important to guide every client through proper communications and ensure that everything he/she says is within our control. It’s only right for a client to ask for changes and revisions. It is our duty - as a 3D visualization expert - to consult with the client instead of rushing into making changes.
I would like to point out that 3D artists are visual people. They have the skills to draw a picture in their mind with only the help of a few words. As 3D artists, we don’t expect clients to be capable of doing the same thing. In some cases, even the best 3D artists need to revise work, specifically to show the client the concept we talked about.
However, if you’re someone in need of an artist, then don’t think that the points I mentioned above imply that it’s entirely the 3D studio’s fault. It's very important to know how the entire process of 3D visualization service works. In doing so, you should work hand in hand with your chosen studio.
You should understand that designing will rely on a core idea. But, if that idea is wrong right from the start, then revisions won’t mean anything. It’s best if you start from scratch.
What to Keep in Mind
There are those clients who have this mindset that if we don’t make revisions, we are not creative or productive enough. Honestly, I don’t know why. Perhaps they think that it’s not possible to create something good on the first try. So, they will request revisions to see if we can create something more that they can choose from.
What I’m trying to tell you here: such clients think that the 3D studio artists they’re working with are not experts in their field.
If you think we’re not experts, then what’s the point in working with us? However, if you feel the other way around, just please don’t make any distractions! If you do, I’d advise looking for another studio, tell them what you want from them, then spend your time doing what you can do.
Let me share a story with you about 5 Michelin-Star restaurant chefs.
If a customer orders food and complains that the dish isn’t good enough and may still be improved, he will send back the dish to the kitchen. The main chef will then check the dish. If he believes that the dish isn’t properly done and wasn’t prepared like it should, of course, he will make appropriate revisions.
However, if he finds out that the dish was prepared based on the house rules, without anything wrong with it, the dish is sent back to the customer. If the customer still insists on his point, the chef will ask him to leave.
The question is: why? It’s quite simple, really. Unless it’s your own restaurant, you have to act according to the rules of the restaurant you’re eating in. However, if you insist, why don’t you just build your own restaurant business and create your own dishes?
The same thing goes when you work with a 3D studio. Each 3D artist has their very own style when creating 3D graphics. If you can’t agree on how they work, then you'd be better off looking for another studio.
Of course, certain ideas may clash with each other, thus they should be justified. In this case, let’s go back to our starting point - communication. Both the studio and client should establish proper communications before starting the project. Both parties must come to an agreement... and this time, the 3D studio should be the one to take the lead.
How 3D Studios Should Establish Proper Communications
Given that the 3D studio is the one who’s mostly responsible for the revisions, this is how they should interact with their client:
1. First of all, 3D studios shouldn't ask their client for all architectural blueprints. Instead, a high-quality 3D studio should try to:
- Understand Architect and Developer clients as much as possible;
- Know what the project is about and what they’d love to see as the final product;
- Learn how to correctly assist the client.
3. Create a contract. Like I said earlier, designing isn’t science. A lot of things could happen. In one case, a person might think that “something” is obvious and won’t need any further clarifications. On the other hand, another person never really thought of this “something” at all.
4. Plan the 3D project backwards, then communicate with the client - ALWAYS. Here are a few things a good 3D studio needs to discuss with you (the client):
- Deadline date ->
- Before that, we need 2 days for post-production ->
- Before that, we need 1 week for rendering ->
- Before rendering, we have 2 days to prepare for rendering ->
- Before preparing, we have 1 week for changes ->
- Before doing changes, we need 2 weeks for the actual project’s work
- Before starting the work, we need to set up the project’s starting date
By following these steps, your 3D studio can eliminate, or at least minimize, unnecessary and recurring revisions from the client’s side.
As a potential Architect and Developer client...or even a 3D studio owner looking to perfect your workflow, I hope you’ve learned a lot of things from both the studio and client’s perspective.
Thanks for reading, and don’t forget to share!