Q&A with Tangram 3DS – Part One (of Two)

blog2In our last post we discussed our partnership with Tangram 3DS and the exciting ways they render our architectural drawings and bring them to virtual life. So for this installment we thought we’d actually sit down with Tangram 3DS owner, Stefan Vittori and Marketing Manager, Marie MacDonald to discuss their business (where they are, where they’ve been, and where they’re going), and how they’re revolutionizing the marketing possibilities of their clients with their robust digital development tools.

SOMMA: Please introduce Tangram 3DS. What were the goals behind the company at the outset? Have things changed since the early days?

Tangram: In August 2003, I founded Tangram 3DS LLC as a firm specializing in visualization and computer animation for the AEC (architecture-engineering-construction) and design markets. Now based in Kittery, Maine, Tangram has grown to become an internationally recognized computer graphics and 3D visualization and animation company that specializes in providing its clients with customized multimedia solutions to their design visualization, presentation and marketing needs. The company’s core services have traditionally included 3D modeling, visualizations, animations, video editing and photo montages for multimedia presentations in the fields of architecture, interior design, engineering, yacht and boat design, industrial and product design as well as furniture and millwork design.

At the time we began, I had been working in an architecture firm and was getting frustrated because I wasn’t using the depth of my skills, and their business model didn’t lend itself to moving to 3D as a standard, whereas I was really excited by this technology and its possibilities, and I knew that this was a direction that could become an essential part of the future of architecture and design instead of just being an accessory service. I was also stimulated by my interactions with like-minded colleagues I had met through my interest in this budding industry and through my work in architecture, and I was really motivated to keep pace with the evolution of the technology. I felt that in order to be able to keep up with the hypersonic speed of developments in the industry I needed to make a leap to captain my own ship, where I could invest in the latest technology, tools and training to stay on the leading edge. I could see that 3D services could move from being an “extra” to being a driving force for high-end business.

Things have drastically changed in our profession since then, and not just in terms of hardware, software, and technology. The community of 3D and architectural visualization providers has grown immensely worldwide. And the impact of the film industry continues to drive standards; today almost Hollywood production quality is expected.

It’s been a real roller-coaster ride, through the heyday of 2007 and the economic crisis that followed. In 2010, we almost had to close our doors! Over 50% of the architectural and real estate market was downsizing dramatically, and as a result we lost some major clients, and other clients went under. Through that time, I was fortunate to have the unwavering encouragement and support of my wife, Nicole, who is also our Marketing Director and a talented and savvy designer and businesswoman in her own right. In addition, I have always believed in paying forward the inspiration and encouragement from which I’ve benefited over the years, mentoring and employing some exceptional early-career professionals, and my team really rallied to the challenge and worked side by side with me to not only keep the ship afloat but to forge ahead in new directions, too. Today Tangram’s 3D visualization artists are among the best in the world, and the T3DS team is in the league of international 3D visualization again.

My hope continues to be to help advance the state of the art and to be a generous contributor to our industry.

SOMMA: How is Tangram 3DS contributing to the Architecture Design industry?

Tangram: The applications of our work are always evolving, but we our services are valuable to the industry in a variety of ways. For instance:

3D modeling and design studies: We create 3D models and help to point out design errors and details. We “build” the design, but in the computer environment.

  • Visualization and Renderings: These are used and needed for design studies of form, textures, materials. Before and After images help to show how a proposed building will look in the surrounding environment. These are essential in gaining design and zoning approvals.
  • Animation and walkthroughs: These simulate the walkthrough experience in a non-build environment. People call it a virtual tour but is it not actually virtual reality; it is a walkthrough animation. We produce the path and story and the viewer sees only that path and video tour.
  • Virtual reality: Moving through space in real time,the viewer can control where and how he wants to travel through the environment.

3D gives development and construction projects, from a single building to urban planning and redesign, a competitive edge in the marketing of housing and commercial developments.

And we’ve now branched into Interactive presentation and iPad and smartphone apps that can be used as a sales tool and virtual showroom.

To be continued…