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Why CGI Works Best as Part Of a Pipeline



Mackevision’s Caroline Holton on why a lack of awareness could be costing you time and money

Why CGI Works Best as Part Of a Pipeline

CGI? CAD? CoBa? The world of computer-generated imagery (CGI) can quite easily be a world of confusion, and you need to understand it to really make the most of it. 

Car manufacturers almost always use CGI assets when it comes to executing ad campaigns. As you make your daily commute home, the cars you see on the billboards plastered across London and in the print campaigns in the Evening Standard will almost certainly be computer-generated. 

Mackevision was built on the back of the automotive industry; that’s where we started and that’s where our core skillset lies. However, we’ve made significant inroads in moving into other areas, including jewellery, luxury and retail. For marketers in these sectors, the ability to use data-based visualisations will unlock efficiencies in the creative process.

This use of CGI in other forms of ad campaigns shouldn’t be overlooked. This year we worked with Pandora on their ground-breaking Rose campaign, the first in the company’s history to be composed entirely of CGI assets. The jewellery, modelled from scratch by a team of CGI experts in our London office, looks entirely photo-realistic and the campaign has been an incredible success; seeing a 31 per cent increase in sales across Britain.


But let’s go back to the automotive industry. Once through the design stages, CAD is created. This is the blueprint for that model and is highly confidential and protected; not being distributed until the last minute (because car designers are not interested in advertising and marketing campaign lead times!). 

Campaigns can benefit hugely from CGI assets, so understanding how best to utilise and manage CGI elements can offer significant time and cost efficiencies for creativity, from the initial design stage through to the execution of marketing and ad campaigns. Quite simply, CGI works best for everyone when it’s part of a pipeline, but first you need to create one that works.

What Mackevision has managed to do is to take CAD data, which in turns creates CGI, and create a system to house it; Configuration Backbone (CoBa). Originally developed to cater to the complex demands of the automotive industry, we created CoBa in order to boost efficiency and manage complex configuration for data-based visualisation. 

CoBa is essentially a pipeline that can handle vast amounts of CAD data and serves a purpose for both ‘upstream’ uses – anything that goes back up to the manufacturer, towards the beginning of the design process, and ‘downstream’ uses – which is any data that feeds off of CoBa.

Everything would be done in isolation without a system like CoBa, including what we class as ‘downstream’ purposes; digital content, marketing and advertising campaigns.

Typically, the ad agency searches for weeks before the actual launch trying to get hold of any imagery of the new car. Designers don’t think about when they ought to be briefing their ad agencies or who will need imagery to work with to build the campaign – that’s not what they do. 

However, if the data that they’re designing or re-designing goes into CoBa then further downstream, the ad agency, who would normally be frantically searching for a picture of a Mercedes for their campaign, can pull the correct imagery from the pipeline almost immediately and without error. If a campaign concept changes and you want to use a different model, angle or colour, then there’s no need to eat up a huge amount of the budget to schedule a new shoot, you can simply pull the data from the timeline – it’s quick and easy.

Of course, it feeds back upstream too. Having data stored in the pipeline can aid the future product development process. The whole sets of data for all of the products that have been developed, including all their iterations, are there. There’s a lack of awareness at the design end, because the long-term benefit outweighs the data compiling. Companies have to make the initial investment and, once you’ve taken the plunge, the economies of scale that you get as a result are hugely significant.

In essence, everyone is saving time and cost. You’re making the whole process much more efficient and making sure everybody uses consistent imagery data. 

Making everybody pull from the same data means that you can protect your brand by ensuring that dated imagery isn’t appearing. Everyone has the same brand experience because you’re using the correct imagery. If it’s updated in CoBa, it will update instantly along the entirety of the pipeline. For creating magical campaigns, it’s a massively logical solution.

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Genres: Luxury

Categories: Jewellery, Clothing and Fashion

Mackevision, Fri, 18 Dec 2015 10:07:38 GMT