How is the stage going to look? Where are the lines of sight? How does the content come across? What is the atmosphere like? Questions, questions and more questions for uncertain clients organizing events, conferences and shows.
It may all look hunky-dory on paper, but it isn’t alive yet. It is only alive once the visualizers of Faber have played with it. Suddenly there is depth, movement, color. The viewer can look at the stage, the screens, the speaker from up close, but also from further away. Only then can the viewer see and feel the envisaged ambience.
‘It is literally: what you see is what you get,’ Rueben van der Peet recounts the well-known promise. ‘That is the essence of our work, to make sure that the picture is right in all its facets,’ adds colleague Marco Blomsma. Both are part of the creative heart within Faber – a vibrant, beating and, above all, functioning heart.
Growing in the pioneering phase
It’s funny how these two creatives who both didn’t necessarily dream of three-dimensionally visualizing audiovisual projects of all shapes and sizes in their younger years ended up here. Rueben studied architecture, staying on after his internship at RAI Amsterdam to draw up floor plans for trade shows there. ‘From that job I discovered 3D and developed myself further.’ Marco was an application developer, then studied psychology and eventually ended up at an AV production company via a graphics course. ‘I did everything there, from events to camera work and editing. I gained live experience as a stage hand.’ His then employer started to need someone who could digitally visualize projects. Marco raised his hand and the rest is history. ‘Like Rueben, for me it was also a matter of figuring out and discovering a lot for myself. In that respect, we both grew in the pioneering phase of 3D design and its applications for the audiovisual and events branches.’
Involvement from experience
Speaking of those pioneering days, those were the years when computers still took hours to render animations. The machines ran overtime, but even then the designers wanted more and faster than the hardware and software could handle. ‘Today’s computers that we work with at Faber render in real time. So that means you can immediately see what you are making,’ Marco explains. ‘Every effect you come up with can immediately be judged by its results. A little more light here, move the speaker’s chair a meter to one side… It’s all a matter of doing it and seeing it immediately.’ But it doesn’t stop at just the pleasant and surprising appearance, the visual layout. They also get involved in the functional side of things: ‘Based on our experience, we often know what is technically possible in a location,’ says Rueben. ‘Sometimes a design will want floating LED screens, or curved LED walls, but we know it won’t work there. In one location it won’t fit because of load restrictions, in another they will never be properly in view and so it’s better to not try to put them in.’
Not a translation from text.
Their day-to-day work therefore entails a whole array of challenges time and again, large and less large ones, and often many projects at once. ‘For example, I am currently working on the further development of our website,’ Rueben says. ‘The introduction page needs to be animated. So I am throwing myself into that, while at the same time tackling the problems I want to solve for myself.’ So no two days are the same, they both say in unison. ‘Perhaps our most important opponent is the clock. The more time we get, the better and more detailed we can make the impression. It has to be as sleek, convincing and yet also as realistic as possible. It’s no help to the client to see a slick animation beforehand, but to see hardly anything of it in practice on location later on.’ That isn’t an option anyway: after all, what you work out in 3D also has a direct relationship with the budget to be spent on the project. ‘We want to deliver more with our visualization than just the impression. After all, we are not translating the text, we are contributing visually to the client’s goals with their project. Better communication, persuasiveness, impact – it is much better to decide all that in advance.’
Creativity in your DNA
Whether it is on a screen, on which the animation, with or without stops and screenshots, can be critically assessed and amended. Or at the client’s own location using the supplied VR glasses: ‘He can then literally walk around at his upcoming event, take in some impressions that his guests will also experience later on, and feel what they see and experience.’ Rueben and Marco get a great feeling when such projects leave their computers. Plus Faber is simply a pleasant place to work, not only because of the availability of up-to-date hardware and software, which is clearly indispensable for their work. ‘We get plenty of scope to be creative, we are also involved in the development of numerous creative concepts, both for clients and for our own organization.’ No, neither of them could have imagined that when they were still looking for their destination. Well, it turns out if you have creativity in your DNA, it will always find a way to show itself.
Marco Blomsma en Rueben van der Peet