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Ikea's Catalog Includes 75% Computer-Generated Images

Sep 02, 2014 10:41 AM EDT | By Jane Galang
Ikea, furniture company, computer imagery
Ikea's Catalog Includes 75% Computer-Generated Images
A sample page of Ikea's catalog released in 2014.(Photo : designmilk)

The question on why everything seems to good to be true in an Ikea catalog is now answered. The photos aren't staged homes nor are they captured by professional photographers. From the lighting to the wall fixture to the floor carpet, only a quarter of everything you see in an Ikea catalog are real.

The Swedish-based furniture company relies on computer imagery as 75% of the catalog images are fake, reports Australian graphic design group CGSociety.

To save on budget and to adjust to its widening global reach, Ikea depends on its in-house production studio to create realistic homes. Tweaks in images are necessary depending on the market, and this can cost quite a lot for the furniture company. A kitchen attractive for the US market may not do so well in countries like Japan or Germany.

Ikea's IT manager spearheading the project, Martin Enthed said, "From both an environmental and time point of view, we don't want to have to ship in all those white-goods from everywhere, shoot them and then ship them all back again."

Quality-wise, the Ikea team had no problem with traditional photography, but they see the transition to computer-generated homes as necessary. To do a photoshoot, you'll need the prototype furniture built in different parts of the world to be shipped. Re-shoot is necessary when there are changes in the prototypes. It's easier and cheaper to edit photos rendered digitally.

The Swedish company first used a computer-generated image in 2006 with a wood chair called "Bertil." By 2013, a fourth of the catalog were already digitally rendered. The figure has more than doubled as three out of four in an Ikea catalog are created in a digital software.

Ikea is know for its ready-to-assemble furniture and accessories. Since January of 2008, the Swedish company is the largest furniture retailer in the world.

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