Ikea's secret to amazing catalogs? CGI, and lots of it

You walk into that big, bold store and tell yourself "don't forget a catalog on the way out this time". The Ikea catalog is a good barometer for style on a budget, and something lying around many homes and apartments. If you recently wondered why their staged rooms looked so good while yours looks so plain, the answer may be a bit more complex than you think. Turns out, they probably didn't stage anything – it's CGI.

In an interview with The Computer Graphics Society, Ikea noted their catalog was roughly 75% computer generated. Those delightful, perfect rooms are little more than vector graphics and manufactured lighting, it seems.

The reason for doing so isn't as nefarious as it may seem. Like all things Ikea, the overarching goal is cost cutting, and that's precisely what they're doing here. Without having to ship product all over the world to photographers, Ikea can move a bit more nimbly with deadlines, and have more control over the final product. You know, that catalog you can't stop thumbing through.

Ikea says it wasn't always an easy process. Getting designers and 3D artists on the same page required cross-training. "3D artists had to learn photography, and all the photographers had to learn to be 3D artists. There was a very intensive period of training" a spokesperson said.

At least it explains why those chairs looks so great in the catalog, and so terrible at your place, right?