An important technical term that you may come across when dealing with aspects of the CGI world, white renders are effectively what we use at North Made Studio as a form of previews during the 3D CGI image creation process.
We use white renders to present and agree final viewpoints, angles, etc for a CGI scene. Once the modelling of the scene is complete we use our rendering software to create a view of the CGI scene without textures and colours. Everything in the scene is covered in a simple white texture (hence the name white render) that shows off the full 3D models, shadows, angles, etc. We then present this white render to the client to either gain approval of the modelling and viewpoint or to make changes until they are happy to proceed.
The main reasoning for the use of white renders is to allow the CGI images to be viewed at low resolution without the high render times it takes when textures are included. A huge chunk of labour time is dedicated to adding and creating textures for the use in CGI scenes, therefore it is vital to the profitability of a project that as little time is wasted during this process. Adding textures to preview shots will only increase delivery times on the project and waste labour should those textures be incorrect or unwanted.
Once the white render has been signed off the viewpoint of the scene and the layout of the room/building(s) cannot be changed. When we get sign-off is really when the hard work on the CGI project starts, sourcing and matching colours, textures, filters, lighting, etc are all the processed that will raise the CGI image up and give it the realism style we strive for at North Made Studio.
To sum up, white renders are a vital part of the CGI project process. They are used to agree modelling and the viewing angle of a 3D visualisation between the client and CGI creator. Without this step the CGI project cannot progress without potentially causing major future issues.