With the Covid-19 pandemic making the use of digital tools more important than ever for the home industry, technological issues aren’t just a frustration—they can significantly hamper the flow of business.
Particularly for interior designers, who already rely on digital tools to build vignettes and plan rooms, issues like software incompatibility and broken files can make the process of sourcing product for projects cumbersome.
“They have issues using 3D libraries where manufacturers create models,” said Brian Chiou, CEO of Hello Raye. “They would have to download and incorporate the models into their projects, and they’d often find these models are broken and there wasn’t an easy way to preview these assets.”
So Chiou’s team at Hello Raye—a business-to-business marketplace connecting furniture brands to interior designers looking to source product—created Snapshots, a 3D rendering tool designed to simplify the process.
“When we initially started Hello Raye, the biggest pain point was good assets,” Chiou said. “Especially now with the way things have transitioned online, you’re not sitting on the actual chair and touching it and seeing it in the environment. The 3D asset has become king because it offers the visualization of these projects.”
Snapshots is a free web-based tool that allows real-time customization of 3D design assets and 4K high-definition renderings. The program allows furniture and decor brands to customize their 3D files on the web with no additional software installation or plug-in requirements.
“Right now you have the 3D assets, but there’s no texture, no finishes around those 3D models and the designers can apply their own materials to the models,” Chiou said. “Brands can rename the layers and hide the layers—it’s like a DIY configurator for their own purposes.”
Chiou said Snapshots was designed to be intuitive and easy to use, with templates that replicate lighting and finish effects, reducing steps from the process of rendering models.
“We focused on the basics,” he said. “We have a library of materials that have a certain reflectivity, so instead of giving all those controls for shadows and such, we started templating what those finishes actually look like in that scenario.”
That simplicity is what Chiou said sets Snapshots apart from other programs. And he hopes the tool will become a valuable asset not only for interior designers, but also furniture manufacturers that want to create and share 3D models of their products.
“There are a lot of tools online that help you design a scene, but Snapshots is very much about product configuration,” he said. “How do you put products together with different finishes and customize it and create a beautiful render? That’s the key distinction between us and other programs.”