Render: a commonly used word, a modest output at a tech or an architect’s studio. Yet treated with sanctity at Xarpie Labs. Read more and you would understand why.
[Latin] re ‘back’ + dare ‘give’ -> [Latin] reddere -> [old French] rendre -> [late Middle English] render
Tracing the root of the word ‘render’ we find that, etymologically, the concept itself stems from the idea of giving back. Not just replication, it seems to allude to the fact that one creates in order to serve a purpose. Hence the idea of ‘giving back’ with the inherent acknowledgement of having received something first.
The Xarpie Labs connection
This simple word, one we use almost nonchalantly every day at work, has an origin that I find extremely interesting. It infuses new intent and purpose to our core competency at Xarpie Labs: Creating 3D renders.
3D Rendering is the process of producing an image based on three-dimensional data stored within a computer. Our skilled 3D team starts with training on sketches. This helps develop dexterity and hand-eye coordination, and also helps build patience due to the added effort of addressing minimal errors because a graphite-worked notepad doesn’t come with a Ctrl-Z key!
Transitioning onto the computer, 3D artists work with tech tools to create, recreate and enhance impressions. Sometimes from memory and other times from visual/diagrammatic references. Why do we take the pain at all if we already had drawings, photographs and videos? Why go through the painstaking process of computer generated 3D content in the first place?
To answer some of these questions, I searched Google for earliest known renders and their use. I found that, technically, and considering the understanding of rendering today, the first complex (non-square), manipulable, colored 3D virtual object was rendered as recent as 1968 by Gordon Romney. This helped us develop the ability to not just recreate objects but even allow interaction and manipulation. A great moment not just for the computer genius, but also for one bitten by the creative bug!
Cave paintings and renders: Is there a link?
On another note, if we were to reel back to its root meaning, we would find that visual renders may as well have found first origins in prehistoric cave paintings. These are the earliest records of life recreating with the intent to communicate, possibly even intending to document for the future. The fact that cave art has often been discovered in acoustic ‘hot spots’, deep into caves, may have something to do with the fact that the ‘artists’ were engaged in communal creativity and used convergence of sound and drawing to effect cross-modal information transfer.
The combination of sounds and images is one of the things that characterizes human language today, along with its symbolic aspect and its ability to generate infinitely new sentences. Maybe that’s why 3D animated films continue to have their effect among generations. Computer generated virtual worlds allow much more freedom than our ‘real’ one, be it artistic freedom for creating unreal, extraterrestrial worlds or re-imagining and re-moulding an existing place with a stroke of a brush and a few clicks on the keyboard. Pushing and challenging the laws of physics and playing with surreal imagery are easy things to do in a studio such as ours. Blockbuster films and the high-grossing gaming industry are proof of engagement with such content.
It is known that visual content has way more impact than text; sound and smell coming as close allies to sensory perception. The journey of advertising from literally ‘word of mouth’ to flyers, newsprint ads, magazine ads, and now infographics proves that visual content is undoubtedly supreme in its appeal and consumption. This brings us back to the subject of renders. An advanced version of images, renders allow porting to different platforms and more manipulation.
It is no surprise that 3D renders find meaningful ‘homes’ in real estate developers’ collateral kits. A builder can start building the project virtually and get an early sense of the space in 3D format, as opposed to mere sketches. Sometimes putting too much load on imagination, a luxury that hard-pressed time schedules don’t allow anymore, doesn’t work. A pitch lasts only minutes, with a meagre 2-3 seconds allowed to convey the vision. Thus, architecture studios rely heavily on advanced renders to convey concepts. If the client is able to perceive and appreciate the intrinsic value of the final product, it justifies the effort put in to ensure the high level of detailing provided through 3D renders.
Envisioning any infrastructure project may be possible with 3D renders. Coupled with an immersive VR device, one can be transported to the actual space without needing to brave city traffic and inconvenient travel. Renders also form the base content for complex simulation programs used in orientation and training for hazardous environments, precision machinery and defense segments. Here the margin of error in conventional, real exposure is zero. Renders now find new purpose as life-saving content.
It is exactly due to the ability of enabling clients to take informed decisions, that Xarpie Labs undertakes 3D renders. A picture is truly worth more than a thousand words. We render it to be: