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 renders. 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. In addition to this, once a 3D model has been created, it can be utilised in other digital marketing efforts such as 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. Nothing needs to be shipped and entire environments can be created digitally by a single designer. In fact, a product doesn’t event need to physically exist for a computer generated model to be made!
Time & Versitility
High quality photography takes time and undoubtedly looks amazing however similar results can be achieved in much less time with 3D renders. We’ve already mentioned the time that goes into planning a photo shoot but time is also consumed during and after the shoot too.
A product will need to be photographed from many different 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. There is only so much that can be done post-production, 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, it can be revised in a 3D model.
If your a company with a product range as extensive as Ikea, imagine the time and cost savings to be had if over a period of time you could build up a bank of 3D product models. The time it takes to create marketing collateral would be cut substantially by having a repository of product models ready to go in whatever configuration is needed.
One of the key elements to good branding is a consistent visual style. With 3D rendering software, brand specific settings can be stored to ensure each product render has a flawless finish at a consistent angle with the same lighting. If a new product line is launched some time in the future, consistency with exiting imagery is almost guaranteed when using 3D renders. 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 renders
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 benefits of 3D models are how they can be adapted to be used in 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
There are many possibilities to explore once the initial 3D model has been created and 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.