3D Model or 3D View? Let’s Talk Costs, Speed, and Scalability

Mar 2 · 4 min read

With more than 1 billion smartphones and tablets currently able to deliver augmented reality experiences and over 100 million customers already shopping in AR, the demand for 3D content — the basis for any immersive scenario — is higher than ever.

According to the “Augmented shopping: The quiet revolution” article published by Deloitte, “with a shorter shelf life of products and a higher demand for realism from customers, it has been hard for many […] retailers to create an affordable 3D asset pipeline for their product lines.”

To establish a 3D asset pipeline, retailers will have to decide on the type of 3D content they’d like to use: 3D Views or 3D models. Let’s compare the two in terms of cost and speed of production, to determine which one makes more business sense.

3D model is a digital prototype of a product manually created by a 3D artist.

3D View is the data format of interactive and photorealistic 3D objects patented by Cappasity, which can be integrated into any website, AR/VR and mobile apps using an API/SDK or iFrame.

Both are created using photos, but that’s where the similarities end. The differences in production speed and cost really set the two apart.

Production Speed

According to the instructions supplied by Shopify, to create a 3D model of a product, you’ll need to provide the 3D artist with high-quality photos taken with a camera with a 70 mm lens. The photos need to show the product from the front, left, top, back, right, and bottom. You will also need to send the artist a measurement diagram with corresponding product dimensions in millimeters like in the picture below.

The artist will then use these photos and measurements to create a 3D model. The time it’ll take to create a 3D model depends on the following: the complexity of the shape and texture, accuracy of measurements provided, quality and quantity of the product photos. For a catalog with 1000 SKUs, a retailer would require three months and the help of forty-five 3D artists!

As for 3D Views…

The Cappasity solution allows you to create a 3D View in just 3 minutes, no special knowledge required. Retailers can shoot thousands of products in 3D every day, minimizing both cost and time. Optimized for the digitizing of large catalogs, the 3D View format doesn’t slow down the website and loads in seconds on all devices, thanks to data streaming. Once the 3D View is uploaded, it can be showcased on any medium convenient to the retailer, providing a truly omnichannel experience.


3D models are expensive, with the prices starting at the US $750 mark, according to Deloitte.

The cost is shaped by the complexity of the production and integration.

1. Taking the photos and detailed measurements to send to a 3D artist.

2. Manual creation of a 3D model by the artist.

3. Paying for the service that runs the 3D content on the webpage and delivers it to the end-user.

To avoid point 3, retailers can create their own in-house infrastructure and workflow for working with 3D content — storage, streaming and CDN, a player, and more. However, this approach most often comes down to significant management costs and a lack of internal expertise.

Anyone can do the math and understand that paying over half a million dollars for 1000 models is not cost-effective. An alternative is a SaaS solution like Cappasity, which doesn’t require detailed measurements of the product, just the photos, and comes with a fixed subscription fee.

As you can see, the 3D View option is much simpler and faster, which means it is noticeably cheaper to implement.

Scalability of the solution is the deciding factor for every retailer with a large catalog. Having analyzed both cost- and time-effectiveness of 3D modeling, it is clear that as an expensive and complicated way of content production, it’s not suitable for enterprise clients. Unlike 3D modeling, the Cappasity solution is perfectly scalable. The Cappasity cloud platform simplifies the omnichannel integration of 3D content. The studio shoots the product once and uploads the ready 3D View to the platform. After that, it can be used in all sales channels simultaneously.

Watch how to create a 3D View in 3 simple steps:

Start your journey to the immersive shopping experience today by downloading the Easy 3D Scan. It’s free.

Cappasity Blog


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Cappasity Blog

Bring an in-store browsing experience to online retail with Cappasity, the first complete 3D product imaging solution for your website, mobile app, VR and AR applications.

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