What is 3D product rendering?
If you shop online regularly then it’s likely you have already seen a 3D product render… you just might not know it. This increasingly popular technique is seeing online retailers and product manufacturers replacing traditional product photography with computer-generated, photorealistic 3D product rendering. Furthermore, they are often indistinguishable from their physical equivalent.
In 2005, home furnishing giant Ikea included a computer-generated product image in a catalogue. A tonne of meatballs later, and now over 75% of Ikea’s standard product pictures are 3D renders. With such a vast array of products and configurations it’s easy to see why they made the transition.
3D product renders have many time and cost saving advantages over traditional photography. Furthermore, a 3D model can be incorporated into other digital marketing efforts once it has been created. For example, 360° views, product tours, virtual reality and augmented reality.
Benefits of 3D rendering vs traditional photography
If you have ever tried to organise a photo shoot then you will know first hand the logistics required to coordinate a successful shoot. As well as the photographer arriving on time with their kit products may need to be shipped to the shoot location along with any props that may be required. In some instances, such as interior photography, entire locations may need to be dressed with immaculate precision to show products at their most appealing angles and in a natural context. As you can imagine with this level of planning, there is plenty of room for errors.
With 3D renders you can eliminate many of the potential logistical issues that may occur with traditional photo shoots. A single designer can create entire environments without any shipping requirements. In fact, a product doesn’t even need to physically exist in order to produce a computer generated model!
Time & Versitility
High quality photography takes time and undoubtedly looks amazing however, 3D product renders accomplish similar results in much less time. We’ve already mentioned the time that goes into planning a photo shoot but time is also consumed during and after the shoot too.
It will be necessary to photograph a product from a variety of angles, repositioning and capturing the image each time. A list of desired angles should have already been confirmed but imagine a scenario where you receive the final set of images and suddenly realise you need to see the product at a slightly different angle now you’ve seen the image in context. Post-production can only do so much. Changes like this would require a costly reshoot.
With a 3D model, a designer can make these changes digitally in a fraction of the time it would take to reshoot a product. Need a different angle? No problem. Want to change the lighting? Sure thing. Think it needs more props in the background? Why not!? Even if the product changes, a designer can revise a 3D model.
If you’re a company with a product range as extensive as Ikea. If you were to build up a bank of 3D product models, the time and cost savings would be huge. Having a repository of configurable product models means creating marketing collateral would take significantly less time.
One of the key elements to good branding is a consistent visual style. With 3D rendering software, brand specific settings ensure each product render has a flawless finish, at a consistent angle with the same lighting. 3D product renders almost guarantee aesthetic consistency for future product lines. This has a huge impact on the aesthetics of product catalogues and ecommerce stores emanating a credible and professional appearance.
You don’t have to be a multi-billion dollar Swedish home furnishing conglomerate to benefit from 3D product rendering
Smaller companies may have a preconceived idea that 3D rendering may be out of reach but if you consider the long term time and cost savings, it’s a worthwhile investment.
The added benefit of 3D models is their adaptability to other forms of digital marketing. For instance a 3D model could be,
- animated to show users how the product works
- placed in a 3D model viewer to let users to fully inspect the product from every angle
- put in a real world environment using augmented reality (AR) allowing users to see the product in context
- placed in a virtual environment accessed via virtual reality (VR) to let users interact with the product
Once we create a 3D model there are many possibilities to explore. At Reflection, we do it all. Our experienced 3D designers can work from existing photos, plans, CAD drawings and napkin sketches and turn them into a world of new marketing opportunities including AR, VR and animation, all done in-house.