Does 3D Rendering Programs Really Make You Work More Efficiently?

Perspective drawing in the past was used as a visual aide for the clients who were non-professional and lacking of 3D imagination, so most of the interior design majored students all needed to learn color renderings by hand at school when the 3D rendering computer programs were still at their infancy. Time passes by quickly, so does technology, there are so many 3D rendering programs out there in the market nowadays, and many design firms also start to use this technology to serve the clients better and help the design professionals designing better. Well, serving the clients better? that is undeniable; helping designing better? I somehow disagree.

The best example, I am not sure if you have encountered the situation like this: When the wall framing was up at the job site or when the project was un-finished, the clients went to the job site, and when they saw the space in 3D, they start to make changes, you told them because they saw things un-finished, they had the false impression that their spaces would look bad after completion, some of them would take your advice and not to make any change because you also told them it was fine to make changes on the approved designs but not without a cost.

Well, let the clients see 3D renderings basically just move the phase of seeing stuff on site and making changes during the Contract Administration Phase earlier to Design Development Phase, and if your firm does not have in-house 3D designers like in the old days and outsource the 3D rendering work and charge clients additional fees for the 3D renderings, it probably still has a mechanism to stop clients from changing approved designs constantly, but since 3D rendering programs become more matured, more younger designers already possess such skill in addition to AutoCAD drafting, you are very likely to hire someone who knows how to operate 3D rendering programs working full-time for you, and since you now have in-house 3D rendering designers, making revisions becomes much easier on 3D renderings, and with no extra cost, believe me, not only will the clients abuse it and make constant changes, the designers themselves do it as well. They make changes on 3D rendering drawings just all the time, anytime they feel like it, anytime they have doubt on certain designs or FF&E selections, they do experiment on it. Hey, it is in-house, and it is free!! who cares?!

Now the designers who also operate 3D rendering programs become your or the clients’ experiment robots, doing all kinds of visual experiments, mix matching and relocating stuff, moving things around, since it is so easy and free, you start to do it not only during the Design Development Phase but during Contract Document Phase, and you know how time-consuming it is when you are still changing designs while drawing construction document. You change one thing on the plan, several elevations, sections, details, specification lists or schedules will also need to be changed, and you tell me that is efficient?

I understand if your firms are doing large-scale commercial projects, constantly reviewing spaces on 3D programs becomes very necessary, but if you are doing individual residential projects under 20k sq.ft, constantly making design changes on 3D drawings is just not sustainable no matter the changes are made by designers or clients. I even think a 3D rendering shouldn’t even be created for a small-scale residential project.

Remember the old days before cell phones were invented? you probably could memorize at least 10 family members’ phone numbers by heart. How about now? How many sets of phone numbers can you remember without checking your cell phones? As design professionals, imaging and visualizing spaces in 3D by heart probably is the most valuable ability you possesses, do not let the 3D rendering programs take away that part of you. Always remember, the non-professionals like clients have every reason not to understand how things will look like in 3D by looking at the 2D plan and elevation drawings, but not you, as a professional interior designer.

Studying Abroad Necessary?

I heard an educator in China said the other day on TV that he encouraged the Chinese students to go to the US to study because American education encourages entrepreneurship and innovation, and it will be very helpful for the Chinese students who will return to China to work. Yes. I agreed with the first part but I laughed about the second part of his words.

Yes. American education system does encourage innovation and entrepreneurship, but will that be helpful for the Chinese students who decided to return to China after graduate? I doubt it.

First of all, for doing successful business in China, it will not be enough if you only have the skills or knowledge, or so-called entrepreneurship, you also need to know how to use “unconventional” ways to establish good relationship with the local government officials, how to socialize with and please the clients and government officials at the restaurants or clubs outside of regular business hours, and how to cut the corners and game the system in almost every step of the way, and I don’t think these are the entrepreneurship the American education system teaches.

Second, innovation, what an easy word to say but hard to do in China. In that part of the world, everything is done twice or three times faster than in the US. A building in the US that needs 3 years to build can be built in China in 8 months. Speed is above anything. How can you innovate anything high-tech or well thought through in very short period of time?! Moreover, working extra long hours is also the norm in China. How can you innovate when you are always exhausted?! not mentioning disrespect of copy rights and intelligence property will always kill your spirit of innovation.

So, the students do learn the spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship in the US, but neither of them will be useful in China.


Does long working hours translate to real profits?

These are the 10 most influential brands in the world according to the April 2, 2013 article by Kochie’s Business Builders:

1. Google

2. Microsoft

3. Apple

4. Facebook

5. Visa

6. Coca-Cola

7. Samsung

8. YouTube

9. MasterCard

10. P&G

After I saw this result, I am puzzled because there is only 1 Asian Company on the list. It can’t be because most Asian businesses have the tradition of working overtime. Longer working hours means higher productivity which many Asian businesses deeply believe. So, based on that theory, it should have more Asian businesses on the list.

We also can see most of the companies on this list are American businesses and most American businesses do not promote working overtime. I think for many Asian business owners, this list must be wrong.

The True Productivity

There are a lot of businesses out there still believe working overtime can increase productivity but fail to realize productivity should not be measured by how much is accomplished alone, how much time spent on fixing the mistakes and revising bad ideas should also be considered.

For example, if a set of construction drawing normally requires 7 days to finish but you push your designers to finish it in 3 days, maybe your designer can finish it in 3 days as you requested, but you might want to consider if any error or bad design has occurred due to the fatigue your designer sustained because of long working hours.

If your designers spent 3 days to finish the drawings but spend another 5 days worth of work on correcting mistakes or stupid designs, arguing with contractors/vendors, and apologizing to the clients, then you must calculate the total time spent on this construction drawing set as 8 days, not 3 days anymore. This sounds like a no-brainer, but many employers out there are still ignoring it and deeply believe by working overtime, they can get more things done and fail to realize it is just absolutely an illusion.

Open Office Design Promotes Creativity, Really?!

When I read an article, “The modern workplace, introverts need not apply” about how open office design would actually decrease workers’ productivity, especially to those who are introverted, I was amazed and thought how come the open office design was so heavily promoted at the first place since most of creative people are introverts that many studies have shown?

Isn’t it possible that since most of the introverts usually passed on the role of leadership and avoided socializing or networking which were essential for establishing businesses so the introverts usually were not in the decision-making positions such as managers or business owners at the organizations? I think that is why introverts’ voices are always un-heard or ignored, and when the people who are in the decision-making positions said so, it’s a done deal.