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    Product Imaging: Why 3D Images Trump Digital Photography

    3D Product Imaging

    3D set shot made using 3D product imaging

    If you’ve ever done product imaging old school (aka, digital photography), you know it can mean long days or weeks sourcing product, finding the right materials, building the sets, finding the right location and ambience for displaying the product, and creating the mood. And that’s all before the photographer starts shooting. And when that finally happens you can only hope you nailed the colors, lighting, angles, and décor so you won’t have to do this all over again.

    What if, instead, you could display that product in any location, with any décor, in any lifestyle or setting without pouring out significant amounts of time, money, and other resources?

    Many companies are doing exactly that with photorealistic 3D imaging — a concept catching on with manufacturers of all sizes and types of products. This technology provides cost savings, flexibility, and a new way to leave the competition standing still. Sure, digital photography still has its place in product imaging, but that niche is getting smaller with every advance in 3D imaging technology.

    Ditch the Expense

    The fact is that computer generated 3D product images cost less than digital photographsboth in dollars and logistical headaches.

    Traditional sets can cost upwards of $5,000 to $20,000 and take weeks to create. Even then, there is still no guaranteed that the photos will display the product accurately, on-brand and with the right décor.

    Most 3D set shots, however, start at around $3,000 and take only days to create. Yet the cost savings are not only on the front end. Last-minute changes that normally demolish a budget and send the production team into overtime are no problem at all with 3D imaging.

    RODA by Basco Urban Bath 3D Set Shot

    3D set shot for RODA by Basco product line

    One recent example is Basco, a manufacturer of luxury shower enclosures that reduced costs by 75% by using 3D product images.

    “With traditional photography, there was always a risk of being disappointed with the end result,” says Basco’s Linda Garman. “With 3D, if we’re wrong about the color or texture, we can change it. We aren’t stuck having our time and resources wasted.”

    Not only are changes easy to make, the technology also enables manufacturers to create variations of the same product or set, without much additional cost.

    Skip the Prototype

    Another area where 3D product imaging beats traditional photography is in the “speed to market” category. Since 3D images are built from engineering files, product images can be created long before a prototype is created.

    RODA by Basco Contemporary Bath 3D Set Shot

    3D set shots don’t require a prototype

    For product managers, this means no more waiting on a prototype to be built and shipped — or worse, having to delay and reschedule a traditional photo shoot because the product was not available or ready in time.

    As Garman explains, “With 3D Set Shots the process did not have to be linear. This gave us the opportunity to have engineering drawings turned into 3D renderings at the point we were still procuring components needed to build the product. This allowed us to launch the product line sooner. We were able to meet deadlines and timelines more effectively by making adjustments along the way instead of waiting on the final product. All products were introduced at the same time without having inventory sitting on the shelf the whole time we were creating the sales tools.”

    Bend Images to Your Will

    Closetmaid Storage 3D Set Shot

    3D set shot showcasing Closetmaid storage solutions

    Digital photography is still the way to go for some product imaging. But photography has its limitations and photographs just don’t make sense for every project. With 3D product imaging, manufacturers have almost no limitations on how and where to showcase their product information. Product marketers can display products from almost any angle, including those that are virtually impossible to get with a camera—like cross-sectional views, exploded views, and 360-degree product spinners.

    We constantly need to inspire customers with new organization and storage ideas,” says Valerie Cavallaro, Director of eMarketing at ClosetMaid. “With traditional photos, we don’t have the ability for do-overs or quick tweaks for new needs. But 3D images give us control over the final outcome. There really is no comparison.”

    Leave the Competition Standing Still

    Maytag Washer Dryer Set

    Maytag washer dryer set

    Big brands like Black and Decker, Maytag, and Hunter Douglas are using computer generated product images and saving millions in production costs.

    Companies that use 3D product imaging save money, time, and other valuable resources. In addition, these digital assets can:

    • be updated with new product colors and finishes
    • have the decor refreshed to keep the design from looking dated
    • be incorporated into instructional product animations

    The results: 3D product imaging enables brands to stand out in the marketplace with engaging imagery that takes less time and investment to create and that can produce a higher ROI because of the flexibility to repurpose and refresh these images.

    To see examples of 3D product images for KitchenAid, Whirlpool, Basco, Stanley Black & Decker and others, visit our 3D Product Images and 3D Set Shots portfolios.

    Black and Decker Lock

    Kwikset SmartCode Lever product animation

    Hunter Douglas Vertical Blinds 3D Set Shot

    3D set shot featuring Hunter Douglas vertical blinds

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    1. […] right, 3D images rival the best high-quality photography, which is why big brands are increasingly relying on them. Most companies can easily replace 60% of their shots with photorealistic 3D images and reserve […]

    2. […] there are still some companies that rely on traditional photography, this is changing. Especially when you consider the volume of images needed for new […]

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