3D product visualizations — when to go for them?
The war between product photography and CGI rendering seems to be coming to an end. With the latest technological advancements and hyper-fast hardware, the old ways of photography craftmanship are left defeated. At least on the matters of repeatability, time and affordability.
As a former product photographer, it pains me a little to admit that 3D product visualization has indeed become a faster and less expensive way of getting quality product imagery. Nowadays you can get the same quality of image faster and much much cheaper utilizing 3D.
Michael Zak — Senior product development specialist | AR Visual
Of course, there is some hope for photographers shooting small custom-made highly exclusive products. The general rule is — if it’s faster to whip out a camera and shoot right away, then you should do so. Otherwise, do not create any unnecessary trouble for yourself and have it done in 3D.
Who can benefit the most from the 3D product visualizations?
- Companies with a lot of product variations
Changing the texture, size or material, altering the camera angle and hurray, completely different and unique imagery is alive.
- Companies with a huge product portfolio
Organizing the photoshoot for let’s say 900 sofas would not be the most pleasant thing in the world logistically speaking, right? Just imagine the time, human-resources and amount of organization it would take to manage something like that.
- E-commerce oriented companies
When you have an e-shop, it is mandatory to have nice, legible product imagery so that your customers are able to not only understand the purpose of the product but also see it in real colours and shape.
Plus you can easily utilize the 3D models to create immersive 360° product viewer experiences.
- Manufacturers of surfaces and flooring and carpets
With furniture, you can always find a place a photographer and create a set that resembles the product’s intended use case. However, how would you go about creating a fake hotel lobby to present 120 variants of your exclusive stair runners? Here, the CGI rendering comes in really handy.
- Companies running a lot of campaigns
The last thing you would want to do is to use the same imagery over and over in all of your marketing campaigns. Consumers get tired of repetitive visuals really fast and scheduling a photoshoot each month or so would be unthinkable for some companies.
When is the best time to start with 3D product visualizations?
- When you are going through a rebranding process
The point of rebranding is to level up both in visuals and communication. It is a great opportunity, therefore, to switch from product photography into having consistent, top-quality, and easily iterable product imagery. Plus you can utilize the 3D models in a bunch of different ways.
- Shifting from retail to e-commerce
When you decide to take the step and move things into the online world
if there is one thing that you should get right it is the game of visuals. Making your website easy to navigate with beautiful and consistent product imagery can be a difference between winning and losing a customer.
- When releasing a new line of products
If you are thinking about switching from photography to CGI product imagery, the release of a new product or a product line could be the best time for you to do so. If you are not certain, start slow, give it a shot— perhaps with just one product. After you see for yourself how much time, energy and budget you are able to save on this, you will never want to go back to the old ways.
Apart from that, you can always experiment with getting a few product visualizations, let’s say just for a single campaign. Watch how people react, collect data on engagement, compare the expenses and make decisions on your own.