Why Your Ikea Stuff Never Looks As Good As The Catalog

bertil-chair__43017_PE138396_S4 2Photo: Courtesy of Ikea.
Does your Ikea Bertil chair look sort of wonky? Don't worry, it's not because of your poor assembly skills, inability to read instructions, and/or missing pieces.
It's because three-quarters of Ikea's single product photos in its catalog are (gasp!) computer generated.
Ikea built its first computer-generated image of the Bertil chair in 2006. By 2012, 12% of its catalog and online images were also computer generated.
Why? It's not because the photos didn't look good enough. It's that it became logistically difficult to assemble furniture and ship it to studios to be photographed, said Martin Enthed, the IT manager for Ikea’s in-house communications agency.
Apparently, the company saves money by generating 3-D images that can be reused. Now, the company's photographers are trained in creating the images, while the 3-D artists who created the virtual furniture are learning about photography as a way to streamline the look on the web. Enthed said that the site has a signature look, so the company wants to make sure customers don't notice a difference between the images in the catalog and the style of the site.
As of now, the Swedish furniture giant has more than 25,000 high-resolution images to use in its catalogs, all so sharply rendered you can't tell the real from the fake.
Or, maybe they did it because they just didn't want to bother putting the stuff together either. (Slate)

More from Pop Culture

R29 Original Series