Is 3D Visualisation More Cost-Effective Than 2D Images?

3D Solutions | 9 min read |
Comparing 3D and 2D Visualisation

Did you know that 3D visualisation has been around since the 1960s? Yep, the stereoscopic process used to build the ViewMaster was used by kids to fully immerse themselves in the world of Mowgli, Globi and Winnetou. Despite its popularity with children, ViewMaster never really saw mainstream adoption for applications such as product photography. This is because of the introduction of digital cameras in the 1990s, which marked a major shift, especially in product photography. Digital cameras made it possible for photographers to see their images instantly and make adjustments on the fly, leading to more precise and consistent results.

As per reports, the number of digital camera shipments worldwide increased from 4.7 million units in 1999 to 115 million units in 2011, indicating a significant shift towards digital photography. This rise coincided with the growing popularity of eCommerce, which led to an increased demand for immersive product visuals. In response, 360-degree product photography became a popular solution. Soon after, with the advancements in technology, the latest development in product photography was the rise of 3D visualisation.

Businesses are now leveraging 3D product visualisation technology to create highly detailed 3D models of their products, which can then be rendered from any angle or perspective. This allows for more realistic and customisable product visuals. This trend of 3D product visualisation is gaining traction across various industries, as indicated by its market size surpassing $3 billion in 2022, with a projected CAGR of over 20% from 2023 to 2032.

Wondering why 3D product visualisation is becoming popular amongst businesses?

3D Visualisation Is More Cost-Effective Than Age-Old 2D Photos

Representative image of cost-effectiveness
Representative image of cost-effectiveness

In recent years, businesses have recognised the potential of using 3D product visuals to market and advertise their products. At the same time, they have come to realise how 3D visualisation is a great cost-effective alternative to traditional photography.

While no doubt creating 3D visuals requires the use of skilled resources and investment in technology, here are three areas where it has proven to be more pocket-friendly for businesses:

Transportation of Products

Traditional photography requires the presence of a physical product. This product may need to be manufactured, assembled and shipped to the photography studio or another location. These costs can add up, especially for businesses that produce many products or require frequent photoshoots. With 3D product visualisation, instead of producing physical products for photography, a digital 3D model is created and rendered into photorealistic images. This process eliminates the need for physical prototypes, significantly reducing the costs associated with traditional product shoots.

Renting a Studio

Once the product is available, the photography studio or location must be locked in. This can be expensive, especially for businesses that are starting out. Setting up the lighting, background and other necessary equipment also adds to the cost of the shoot. With 3D visualisation, businesses don’t need a physical studio or location for the product photoshoot. Everything is created digitally, and the rendering process can be in-house or outsourced to a 3D visualisation company. This can result in significant cost savings for the business.

Production of the Shoot

The cost of styling, props and models can vary depending on the complexity of the product shoot and the number of products being photographed. Stylists and models can charge by the hour, and the cost of props can add up quickly, especially if they need to be purchased or rented specifically for the shoot. At times, even elaborate sets need to be created to showcase a product in a particular way. However, using 3D visuals, designers can create every bit of the set and props digitally. This saves time and revenue that businesses can put to better use.

To put this in perspective, a study found that the global average cost to shoot at least five products using traditional photography is six times higher than 3D visuals.

More Benefits of 3D Visuals on Businesses

3D visualisation offers multiple other benefits to businesses that not only make their marketing and advertising more efficient but also help enhance sales and customer satisfaction.

Increased Control Over Final Output

Customising a car to see the final look
Customising a car to see the final look

3D product visualisation offers businesses greater control over the final output, allowing them to create the exact images they require. In traditional photography, the final image is largely dependent on the photographer's skill and external factors such as lighting conditions, which can lead to inconsistencies in the final product. With 3D product visualisation, businesses can manipulate every aspect of the product image - from the camera angle and lighting to the product's material and texture. This level of control enables them to produce high-quality product visuals tailored to their brand and product offerings. The high-quality visuals help build customer confidence and increase their chances of purchase. Designers can also create images that are consistent with their brand identity, which helps increase brand recognition.

By using 3D product visualisation, businesses can create photorealistic images of their products. This allows the customers to view the product in greater detail than traditional 2D images which, in turn, helps them make well-informed purchase decisions. Not only that, but it also helps reduce the likelihood of returns and negative reviews.

Reduced Product Development Time

The traditional product development process includes multiple stages, such as design, prototyping, testing, manufacturing and refining. All of these stages are followed to ensure that the end product meets the needs and requirements of customers. While these stages are essential to creating efficient products, they are also time-consuming and costly. However, with 3D product visualisation, the product development time can significantly be reduced.

Designers can not only create 3D models of products but also modify them more easily and quickly than physical prototypes. This, in turn, results in faster feedback loops and reduced time to market for the products. Additionally, 3D product visualisation enables designers to visualise and test products in a digital environment before they are produced physically. Businesses can use this to their benefit by identifying potential design issues and making changes early in the product development process. This helps reduce the risk of costly mistakes later on.

Increased Reusability

One of the major benefits of 3D visuals is their versatility. Businesses can use the same 3D models for marketing, e-commerce and product demonstrations without incurring additional costs. For instance, 3D product visualisation can be used for marketing purposes, where businesses can create high-quality visuals of their products for advertising campaigns or on their websites. These 3D models can also be created in different formats, such as animations or interactive models. This would lead to enhanced customer engagement and improved user experience.

Similarly, businesses can use 3D product visuals in e-commerce, displaying their products in photorealistic images. This would also allow customers to see the product from different angles, increasing customer engagement, improving conversion rates and reducing the number of product returns. In fact, businesses can also showcase their products in a virtual environment using 3D product visuals, allowing customers to see how the product works, its parts and functions. This can be particularly useful for complex products, where it may be difficult to demonstrate functionality in real-life situations.

Improved Communication

Improved product communication with related information
Improving the communication of your product with related information

3D product visualisation can greatly improve communication for businesses. This is because it allows for a more accurate and detailed representation of a product, which can help reduce misinterpretations and misunderstandings. Businesses can create digital 3D models that can be viewed from various angles and in different lighting conditions, providing a more complete and realistic representation of the product. This helps customers make more informed purchase decisions.

Moreover, 3D product visuals can also help improve communication within teams and with clients. Using a 3D model, designers, engineers and marketers can collaborate more effectively, providing more detailed feedback while also making changes to the design in real-time. Implementing 3D visuals for product demonstrations and simulations represents a valuable tool for businesses seeking to enhance customer communication while minimising the need for a physical sales representative. This approach not only enables cost savings by reducing staffing expenditures but also facilitates a strategic reallocation of resources towards growth-focused initiatives.

Enhanced Customisation

With 3D product visualisation, the digital 3D model can be easily customised, without producing physical prototypes or arranging new photoshoots, which can be quite expensive. This ability to make quick and easy modifications allows designers to experiment with different designs and variations to test and refine the product before it goes into production. This can lead to cost savings in the long term, reducing the likelihood of costly mistakes made during the production process.

3D product visualisation can help businesses to respond quickly to changes in customer demand or market trends too. For instance, if a product design proves unpopular with customers, designers can quickly modify the 3D model and create new visuals to reflect the changes. This allows businesses to stay agile and adapt to changing market conditions, giving them a competitive edge over their rivals. By adopting 3D visuals, businesses can ensure 66% higher conversions than 2D solutions.

Conclusion

The future of 3D visualisation for businesses is promising as technology advances. With the increasing demand for online shopping and e-commerce, businesses are looking for innovative ways to showcase their products and improve customer experiences. 3D product visualisation provides a cost-effective solution that allows businesses to create photorealistic digital images of their products, giving customers a realistic representation of the product before they make a purchase.

If you’re a business that is looking to integrate 3D visuals into your marketing strategy, Exhibit 360 can help you. We provide unique and innovative 3D product demo solutions that will help you increase conversions, better communicate with your customers and reduce returns without burning a hole in your pocket. Contact us to learn how 3D product demos can give you that competitive edge.

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