Tuesday, 12 October 2010

3D Graphics & CGI for Online Content Marketing

Creative Content for your Blog or Website
By Ashley Taylor

I’ve been creating commercial 3D graphics for about 10 years now. I started out just as Woody and Buzz Lightyear burst on the scene with the first Toy Story.

photo realistic product images in 3D
And things have changed. A lot. Back in the mid 90s it would take me days to render a still image that looked pretty plastic. Now it takes a few hours to create something you could easily mistake for a photograph.

And it’s given creative people so much freedom. Not just the Hollywood directors, but the marketing people too.

Want to see a car transform into an ice skating robot? No problem. How about one celebrity’s head talking on top of another’s body?

And then there’s the 3D you don’t know about. Health and beauty creatives, I’m looking at you.

But that’s the big brands with the big budgets, isn’t it? What about 3D graphics for the rest of us?

Well, that’s my territory. 3D graphics can and is being used by smart marketers and graphic designers, without the Hollywood price tag.

So let me show you where 3D rocks. Where it knocks traditional photography and illustration into a tin hat.

Bring Products to Life

studio photography, or 3D?
Everyone loves those pristine studio shots of their products floating in white space. Nowadays, a whole lot of them are not photos but 3D graphics. Why? A 3D artist like me can create photo-realistic product images for the same kind of price as studio photography. And with 3D, if you want to change a few dimensions, add a new label, alter the lighting, the angle, go from pink to lilac, you don’t have to pay for a whole new photo shoot. For me, it’s simple tweak and re-render. And once I’ve created a product in 3D it’s very easy to animate it as eye-catching web content on your own site or social media sites like You Tube. And you don't get any reflections of the camera in your shiny surfaces.

Buildings for Print or Online Brochures

Architectural visualisation – or arch-viz as we 3D geeks like to call it – includes creating 3D buildings before they are built, or re-creating buildings that have been lost or ruined.

It’s perhaps 3Ds most traditional application, but it’s also an amazing area in the future.

Arch-viz 3D is very handy when you need glossy brochures for a prestigious housing development, but the ‘houses’ are in reality a muddy field. But it’s not just stills. I’ve also done animations of house extensions for clients to help them get planning permission.

And then there’s the cut-away diagram and the exploded diagram, showing what’s going on under the roof or under the ground – literally.

3D arch viz created to sell houses not yet built
3D can also come into its own with exhibition space, tried and tested with a 3D walkthrough. If you’re the agency pitching to win the work, or you’re on the board deciding what design to spend your funding on, a walkthrough animation really helps test an idea before you lift a hammer.

But my favourite arch-viz is the historical stuff. Turning a ruined abbey back into a living building.

To create a detailed Cistercian abbey in 3D, have children download it as an app on an iPad which detects their exact location, then watch them walking round the site holding up the iPad as a moving window to the past. Now that’s a commission I want!

Reveal Your Brand’s Hidden Processes

3D process animations for web and exhibitions
A lot of marketing effort goes into explaining a process. The trouble is, processes can be complex and hidden. They can happen inside machines, in toxic environments, at molecular levels, at global levels. A camera cannot capture these things, but 3D can. My animations can pass through metal, zoom in or out at speed, slow things down or speed them up. It’s really the best way to ensure your customer ‘gets’ a concept – and “getting” it is 95% of the way towards “wanting” it.

But it’s not just sales. There’s also education. A recent fire safety animation of mine highlighted the key fire hazards in the home; this is not shifting product but saving lives.

We’ve all seen the obviously fake room set alight with the locked-off camera recording events. With a 3D animation the viewer is not tucked in a distant corner. They can be taken right to the heart of the fire and come away thinking about their home and how to make it safer.

Explanations for You Tube and Squidoo Lens

Text and still images are notoriously poor at explaining how to do things. Just try explaining how to tie a bow with only words! Video is better, but 3D graphics can give insights that are just not possible with a camera.

Have a look at this animation I did that explains how to install an edge protection system on a building site. Not only does it explain how the product works, it also gets across its USP – speed – in a sexy and convincing way.

So that’s my take the main marketing challenges where 3D graphics are the tool to use.

Did anything surprise you? Did I miss anything? Please leave a comment. It would be great to know what you think.

To watch Ashley’s latest 3D graphic work, click this link to see his 3D graphics at Push Creativity's website.

1 comment:

Sara Luxe said...

this was all really interesting
i learned a lot so thankyou !


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