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    Product Images for Complex Product Lines

    Multiple Configurations = A Need for 3D Product ImagesIn the last post, we talked about creating multiple images from one geometry, but what about when your business moves at the speed of thought? In today’s world there is also a need for product images that keep up with:

    • Rapid Prototyping and Product Development
    • Multiple Configurations
    • Just in Time Manufacturing
    • Product Updates

    Rapid Prototyping

    One of our furniture seating clients is constantly designing new products and components, and looking to get them launched in the marketplace as quickly as possible. This means producing images before products are even built. To keep up with development and get the product images needed, they use 3D product images.


    Looking at their Chair Builder Tool, you can see the number of images this furniture client requires:

    • Products for 3 product categories
    • Multiple products in each category
    • Multiple ways to customize each product, which depending on product may include:
      • Coverings (including textile, leather, and mesh)
      • Frame
      • Finish
      • Adjustment Options
      • Frame
      • Arms
      • Legs/Feed
    • Front and back images for each different configuration

    Not only do the 3D product images allow our furniture client to develop new components and quickly launch them to their existing product lines, it also allows them to get more out of the 3D product images since they already have the 3D geometry needed for any new textiles or finishes. With so many options to choose from and over 1,000 textiles available, this is crucial to their business.

    3D product images can showcase different fabric designs, cloth or leather coverings, and various mesh patterns.

    3D product images can showcase different fabric designs, cloth or leather coverings, and various mesh colors and patterns.

    Helpful Tip #1: Even if we do not have the 3D geometry, we can work from high resolution photos and product dimensions to create the 3D geometry in our computer environments. While this can take a little bit of extra time when compared to working with 3D geometry, it can be a helpful alternative if you are having trouble getting your hands on those files.

    Helpful Tip #2: While many textile companies provide tiles for their fabrics, some do not. If you need tiles created, we can work from samples to build the library of tiles you need for your products.

    Multiple Configurations

    Big Ass Solutions has more than 120 versions of its Haiku fan available on its website. To support this product line, Big Ass Solutions needed product images that represented fans:

    • With different blade lengths, materials, and finishes
    • With different mounting options
    • With and without an LED Light
    • With and without SenseME technology

    One of the main advantages of using 3D product images for this product line is that by building out the 3D models for 3 different blade sizes and 10 different components, along with 8 different blade finishes, product images could be produced for all of the different configurations.

    Configuration Options for Big Ass Fans

    By having MediaLab build out the different components for the Haiku fan, Big Ass Fans was able to get images for over 120 configurations.

    Difficult Subjects for Traditional Photography

    Not only did 3D product images help Big Ass Solutions get the image coverage they needed, it also helped get the images faster and more consistently than a traditional product shoot.

    In order to get the proper product images, Big Ass Solutions was looking at having to install different fans on ceilings which make it very difficult to ensure the exact same camera angles every time.

    In order to get the proper product images, Big Ass Solutions was looking at having to install fans on different ceilings – which would make it very difficult to ensure the exact same camera angle every time.

    This is because, not only would Big Ass Solutions have to deal with the normal issues of traditional photography (like the cost of manufacturing and shipping the product, the cost of setting up a studio, the scheduling of people and equipment) – they would need to install each fan in a ceiling in order to photograph it properly. Add to that trying to get installed fans into the exact same position time and time again to maintain brand consistency. All of this created a list of headaches that was easily avoided by opting to use 3D product images.

    Just in Time Manufacturing

    Another case where 3D product images are helpful is when products do not exist until a customer orders them. While this could be said for examples like the furniture company above or Big Ass Solutions, it is more of a reality when a manufacturer uses just in time manufacturing.

    Kohler recently launched a Tailored Vanity Collection – creating over 1,000 product images with MediaLab before the products even existed.

    In this video you can get an introduction to:

    • 5 different styles – the Poplin, Damask, Jute, Jacquard, and Marabou
    • Up to 8 different finishes
    • Range of sizes from 24-72 inches
    • With furniture legs or toe kicks
    • With various door and drawer configurations
    • With one or two sinks
    • Plus accessories, hardware, and matching mirror and medicine cabinet surrounds

    Brand Relaunch

    Finally, when looking at a brand relaunch there can be a long list of product images that are needed. KitchenAid faced this with the relaunch of their kitchen appliances line. Fortunately, when they found out about this relaunch, they started working with MediaLab to create new imagery nine months ahead of the relaunch. This gave them time to schedule out images as products were finalized and focus on creating the highest priority images first.

    KitchenAid Wall Ovens

    3D Images for various KitchenAid Wall Ovens were completed as part of a brand relaunch.

    A More Green Option

    While many of these companies are using 3D product images to increase speed to market, many are also recognizing this option as a more green solution since it means less manufacturing, less shipping, and less set development.

    Especially with companies that are moving to just in time manufacturing, which only produces products when they are ordered to avoid over production and wasted resources, 3D product images are the way to go.

    Putting It All Together

    Eschelon Cabinets did a brand relaunch and focused on improving their process by designing more products, getting them to market faster, and using just in time manufacturing to decrease waste.

    To accommodate these business process changes, Eschelon also created a Cabinet Visualizer that gave sales teams a better tool for showcasing different cabinet finishes, configurations, and options.

    This included:

    • 3 different kitchen layouts
    • 61 door options
    • 49 crown molding options
    • 29 light rail options
    • 9 hardware options

    That means the Eschelon Cabinet Visualizer currently has over 2 million kitchens it can produce to help new home buyers select the kitchen options they want for their new homes.

    Echelon Cabinets

    By using 3D images, Echelon can showcase different doors, woods, and finishes – all without having to build each and every kitchen option.

    Using 3D images allowed Eschelon to get the product images they needed, for a product that would have been difficult to install and shoot using traditional photography.

    So Why Should You Look at 3D Product Images?

    You should consider using 3D to create product images if you are facing challenges like:

    • Products that do not exist yet or are still being developed
    • Products that are not available or that have so many configurations it would cost prohibitive to manufacture all of the variations for traditional photography
    • Ensuring you have product images for all products in a product configurator
    • Products would be difficult to shoot using traditional photography
    • Looking for ways to reduce waste in your company operations
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