Since 2006, Atlanta-based Trick 3D, a high-end animation studio, has been wowing clients and consumers alike with its 3D and virtual reality animation for the likes of Delta Air Lines and that pesky Elf on the Shelf. Now, the company is turning its attention to a much larger audience—real estate developers and the millions of people who purchase pre-sold units form them every year.
At last week’s SXSW, the company launched Floorplan Revolution, which allows real estate developers to turn 2D floorplans into 3D, virtual model homes, which can help in marketing pre-build condos and apartments. Trick 3D didn’t invent the virtual show home; that’s been around for a while now. What it revolutionizes is the time, money and resources it takes to create one. According to Trick 3D founder Chad Eikhoff, after uploading a 2D floorplan to its cloud-based tool, developers can have a link to the virtual model home back within 48 hours at a special launch price (through March) of $950 per floorplan. The virtual model home can be viewed with developer-specific finishes and appliances, furnished and unfurnished, and in day and night lighting.
In developing the tool—a process that started in 2007 and later picked up in 2012 once the real estate market crashed and rebounded—Eikhoff looked at what else was out there. “A lot of people were trying to recreate a video game style, but what we found was that’s actually a very frustrating way to move around a space,” he says. “We created a very simple navigation that works across browsers, across platforms, loads quickly and is easy to use.”
Most of the process is scripted—walls, doors and windows get built automatically, but real, live people still create the initial design. Even though Eikhoff says the response to the launch has been overwhelming, the tool was built to be scalable, and so he doesn’t anticipate needing to hire additional staff.
Since its founding, Trick 3D has grown organically. “Always up and never down,” Eikhoff says of his staff, which numbers about 20 people, including a handful of freelancers.