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    10 More Uses for 3D Content

    Uses for 3D ContentWe’ve all done it. You come up with a great concept, create outstanding content, post it on your site, kick back and wait for the business to roll in. But are you doing enough?

    With so much content fighting for so many eyeballs, it’s not enough to just post it and forget about it. You need to make sure your best content gets in front of your customers, sales team and partners.

    Creating a plan to effectively distribute your content takes time, but also gives you the most bang for your buck.

    So stop hoarding your best content and get planning.

    10 places to distribute your 3D content:

    1) Your Website (on the Right Pages)

    Don’t limit publishing to product pages. Customers likely search for product information on your Help, Customer Service, and FAQ sections.

    Prominently feature new products and product lines on the home page for maximum visibility. 3D set shots like those used by RODA by Basco make a lasting first impression, especially when placed above the fold.

    RODA's home page

    Screenshot of RODA‘s home page which prominently features 3D set shots from MediaLab.

    [Read more…]

    Are You Hoarding Your Best Content?

    Sharing ContentSo you’ve created visual product content that tells your story best. Content that literally gets inside your product to show customers how it works and why it’s better than the competition. Content that answers customers’ problems and helps them see the product in action. Content that helps them install, maintain or troubleshoot. You’re happy. The Marketing department is happy. Your boss is pleased. But what about the customer? Are they even seeing it?

    Don’t Be a Content Hoarder

    Great content needs to be shared. High-quality product images, set shots, instructional animations, 360° spinners, and interactive tools weren’t designed to languish on one lonely page of one website. So, don’t just post it on your website, check it off the list, and then forget about it.

    Why Hoarding Hurts Sales

    How much do you think your buyers research your product before deciding to buy?

    In 2010, shoppers needed 5.3 sources of information before making a purchase decision. By 2011, that number had climbed to 10.4, and it’s still going up.Jay Baer, Content Marketing World 2013

    And, we’re not talking about a salesperson chatting them up here. We’re talking actual research, down and dirty, checking out every detail of your product and backing their decision with solid information.

    Think you’ve got it covered by packing your company site with that fantastic product content? According to the stats above, you’re lucky if your site is even 1/10th of the equation.

    To meet the consumer during every step of their research, you must aggressively and exhaustively distribute your product content. [Read more…]

    Product Marketing’s Virtual Age: 12 Practical Uses of Augmented Reality

    dreamstime_xs_106630_AR_MirrorOne of the most talked about technologies on the virtual horizon is Augmented Reality (AR). Augmented Reality overlays the viewer’s real time environment with digital information, thus augmenting his or her reality. In some applications it applies a virtual layer of data and images over the live scene like informational popups. In other cases it pulls 3D objects and animations into the viewer’s environment (or casts the viewer into a virtual environment) to create a more immersive experience. It’s not brand new but as its capabilities and quality have grown, so have its applications to marketers.

    Here are just a few of the ways it’s already being used:

    In-Home Product Previews

    AR_AugmentApp_TabletPreview

    Mashable at South by Southwest® Interactive (SXSWi) with the creator of Augment. Click to play.

    1. Consumer Product Previews

    Augmented Reality lets online and catalog shoppers view 3D products at home at actual size and in photorealistic detail. This video by Mashable at South by Southwest® Interactive (SXSWi) shows the Augment app creator previewing a tablet in the palm of his hand and placing and arranging furniture.

    [Read more…]

    9 Cost-Effective Reasons Why 3D Animation Beats Video

    It’s true. 3D animation can actually cut costs. It may be surprising, but 3D animation gives you value and savings that traditional product video simply cannot.

    The benefits of 3D animation go way beyond just saving costs. Many people I talk to don’t realize everything 3D animation can do for their ROI. Check out these 9 FAQs – questions we hear all the time about the cost of 3D product animation vs. traditional video.

    No More Prototypes

    Q1: I need “up close and personal” to show how my product works. Building prototypes for video may be expensive, but isn’t 3D animation even more complex and costly?

    A: 3D animation eliminates the “prototype money pit.” Explaining complex product features is all about highlighting details and inner workings. That’s why video demo shoots can be such a pain. They require extensive prep work – from set building and prop design to construction of prototypes and removable product housing to let the viewer “see through” to internal working parts.

    Let’s face it – building a set or model for a video shoot can drain resources fast – in terms of time, labor and materials.

    Just say no to prototypes. 3D animation lets you easily “drill down” to show a cutaway or cross-section of your product without building an expensive model or prototype. The front panel peels off by itself, nuts and bolts fly away – and voila! – your product’s inner workings are easily and clearly displayed!

    Check out the Whirlpool animation below for an example of clean animated cutaways:

     

    3D animation can help you cut a huge line-item expense out of your next product demonstration budget.
    [Read more…]

    10 Things to Ask When Choosing a 3D Partner

    3DPartnerGoodFit_300At a recent trade show, we found ourselves busting myths about 3D digital asset creation. In all cases, perceptions about the process, turnaround time and quality had more to do with the 3D partner than with the realities of 3D image and animation creation. 

    Digital asset creation can actually be a time-, budget- and headache-saving endeavor if you choose the right partner and ask the right questions.

    When choosing a partner, be sure to ask:

    1. Is the project team comfortable working with numerous departments within an organization?
      Producing successful 3D product images and animations requires the ability to “speak the language” of personnel in various departments. Ask how company team members interact with their clients’ in-house engineers, product managers, marketing directors and graphic designers.
    2. Is the company familiar with/experienced in using source files?
      The ability to track down and use engineering files like Pro-E and Solidworks is critical to ensuring strict product-image accuracy and consistency. Typically, traditional marketing agencies aren’t even aware of the existence of these important files. Ask about the team’s “comfort level” with engineering files and other source files.
      [Read more…]

    360° Product Spinners “Cover All Angles” of What Online Shoppers Want

    What consumers want in online product images isn’t new but the methods and challenges of delivery are ever-evolving, leaving some online retailers playing catch-up.

    What Online Shoppers Want

    Since 2003, consumers have been asking for alternate product views, zooms and video and have now come to expect those as standard features. Over the last few years, the e-tailing group has also noted an uptick in demand for product image features like 3D, color change and the ability to view the product in a simulated room environment.

    The stats:

    etailing_group_findings

    Attempts to Deliver

    NikeProdImage

    Interactive product image of the “Nike Free 5.0+” women’s running shoe from Nike.com

    Top brands and retailers have responded to consumer demands in varying degrees. For example, Nike lets shoppers view shoes from 4 angles and zoom in to see design details. Walmart and Zappos provide multiple zoom-enabled images to toggle between product color variants. They also show some products in action through recorded demonstration video.

    [Read more…]

    Take the Test: Will You Sink or Swim in “The Year of the Tablet”?

    Take the Test: Will You Sink or Swim in the "Year of the Tablet"?You’ve heard the hype: 2013 is being hailed “the year of the tablet”. There’s no question that tablet adoption and use is on the rise. The questions are: what will it mean for your industry and most importantly, are you ready?

    We’ve compiled a few links and stats around what we see coming, and what it means for the Consumer Products & Retail and Homebuilding industries in particular. See what the tablet surge holds for your industry and then take one of the tests below to see if you’re poised to sink or swim.

    What’s Coming

    Tablet Prices Will Drop

    Apple’s latest 16GB iPad2 and Mini are $399 and $329 respectively – an over $100 drop since the iPad’s 2010 release. Rising competition from Microsoft, Google, Samsung, Sony, Acer and others is helping to drive tablet and e-reader prices down. You can already pick up Lenovo’s IdeaTab for $299 or Amazon’s Kindle Fire for $199. And, if you’re willing to sacrifice a few GBs or features, you can snag others for under $200. But an even bigger indicator than today’s price is tomorrow’s tech – already developing in and for “emerging markets.” Acer plans to launch a $99 tablet in China called the Iconica B1. India’s $40 Ubislate tablet could drop to $25 by year’s end. While these aren’t due to touch US soil at these prices just yet, they put the reality of low-cost tablet production in clear view. [Read more…]

    4 Reasons Animation is Superior When Teaching a Process

    Recently, Ruth Clark, a specialist in instructional design and training, challenged the use of animation when teaching a process — for example, how a toilet flushes or how brakes work.

    Clark referenced an experiment comparing animation with still images. The experiment begs the questions:

    • What type of animation was used?
    • How well was that animation designed?

    While Clark claims that animations “risk imposing too much mental load,” we suspect that the research is referring to Flash-based video rather than interactive instructional animation where the user can control the time frame and order in which information is presented. And, of course, the quality of the animation could easily impact the effectiveness.

    Well-designed instructional animations (especially interactive) are effective in demonstrating processes for several reasons: [Read more…]

    QR Codes, After the Sale [Infographic]

    After the Sale: Using QR Codes to Deliver on Product PromisesThere’s a lot of hype around QR codes as one-click sales and marketing tools. And we’ve seen a ton of executions aimed at wooing consumers before the sale – links to promotional content, online reviews, slick branding videos and landing pages.

    But what about after you’ve gotten the customer to fall in love with your product and take it home?

    Here’s where consumers get left in the lurch – feeling frustrated, abandoned and on their own. Confusing printed instruction manuals leave them with questions. User error leads to lack of confidence in the product (and the brand). Improper assembly leads to product damage. And, all of that confusion and frustration leads to customer service calls, complaints and returns.

    Keeping the customer satisfied is as critical as securing the initial sale.

    QR codes that deliver instructional animation help boost customer satisfaction and reduce service incidents and returns. Animation makes “how-to” steps simple and surpasses video in its demonstrative ability. Easy access to guided instructions via QR code and a mobile device, puts help on-hand to squelch customer frustrations the very moment they arise. When done well, QR codes can head off consumer frustration altogether by following through on the promises made before the sale.

    [Read more…]

    The Science of Distraction: Why Your Audience May Be Missing Your Message

    Remember the famous airport scene from the movie “Catch Me If You Can?” Legendary con man Frank Abagnale, Jr. successfully impersonates a PanAm pilot by surrounding himself with a bevy of beautiful would-be flight attendants.

    Incredibly, the master distracter strolls past dozens of police officers and G-Men actively searching for him. In real life, Abagnale executed this trick by hiding in plain sight as his pursuers focused on the lovely ladies and overlooked the criminal they were hunting.

    Intrigued by similar real-life accounts of mass distraction, neuroscientists Stephen L. Macknik and Susana Martinez-Conde launched a thought-provoking study that confirmed what they’d already suspected — that viewers can be so distracted by faces that they miss what’s happening right in front of them. We found these results especially relevant in light of our previous blog post about onscreen talent and the way it can distract viewers when used in instructional videos.

    Shut Your Face

    When Macknik and Martinez-Conde began to explore the distraction phenomenon by studying magicians in Las Vegas, they were particularly interested in understanding how we can be so easily deceived by simple magic tricks— even though we know that magicians are out to trick us. It turns out all the magician has to do is divert our focus a bit.

    So what’s one of the most effective tools in the magician’s bag of tricks?

    His face.

    [Read more…]