3D rendering makes action movies look cooler, brings architectural designs to life, and now, helps marketers promote their products. From the latest Avatar movie to Spotify’s last campaign, things are just better with 3D.
In the world of marketing, 3D product rendering helps brands create high-resolution images and videos of a product that can be used in a variety of ways, like on product pages, promotional materials, or on social media.
3D product renderings can also be used to create interactive experiences for customers, like 360-degree product views or augmented reality (AR) experiences. These experiences can help customers better understand a product’s features, allowing them to make more informed decisions when shopping online.
But before we get too far into it, let’s review the basics.
What is 3D product rendering?
3D product rendering is the process of creating a 2D image from a 3D model. In other words, it’s like taking a photo of a product that exists within computer software—so that it can be easily viewed and shared.
Over the past few years, with the availability of 3D modeling and rendering software, 3D renderings are now more commonly used for marketing and promotional purposes.
Designers, manufacturers, and marketers use 3D product renderings to produce photorealistic photos, animations, and interactive 3D models that help explain, promote, and sell a product.
The end result of a 3D product rendering may vary depending on a few factors. The talent, modeling software, and rendering engine affect the final output.
How does the 3D product rendering process work?
Rendering is usually the final stage of a 3D project. It involves transforming a digital model into a photorealistic image or animation. The process begins with the creation of a 3D model using computer graphics software.
After you’ve created your 3D model, is then loaded into a rendering engine, which calculates the lighting, materials, and camera angles and transforms the model into a two-dimensional image or animation. After the image is rendered, it’s usually post-processed and composited to create the final image or animation.
Let's review the different steps of the full 3D product rendering process in more detail.
The process begins with a 3D model created in 3D software like Cinema 4D, Blender, Autodesk 3ds Max, or Maya. Different 3D modeling software offers different solutions, workflows, or toolsets—but the end result should usually be the same.
Since the 3D model is the foundation of the 3D product rendering, it’s important to note that a more accurately built 3D model will produce better results. A good model will let details stand out and will look more realistic.
A more accurately-built 3D model will also reduce the need to make manual adjustments in order to achieve the desired results during the texturing phase, which can save a lot of time and effort.
Texturing involves adding materials and surface properties that give visual characteristics to a 3D model and determine how the model interacts with light. Texturing is the process of adding colors, patterns, and other significant details to a material. This can be done by either painting on the model’s surface or applying a texture map on materials.
Texture maps are digital images that are projected onto a 3D model’s surface. Texture maps can be used to project colors and patterns, and simulate bumps, scratches, and other surface imperfections. Additionally, maps can also be used to add realistic effects such as shadows, reflections, and ambient occlusion.
Materials and textures allow for more realistic and detailed result in 3D visuals and brings the flat 3D model to life.
Lighting in 3D works similarly to lighting in real-world environments. The light source object has several properties, such as intensity, color, direction, and falloff, that affect the way the scene is lit. The artist can control how the light interacts with models in the scene by adjusting these properties.
The artist can also create and add different types of lights, such as spotlights, ambient lighting, and point lights, to create specific lighting effects in the scene. This can have a big impact on 3D product rendering.
Combining different types of lights allows the artist to control the overall look and mood of the scene, just like a photographer in a photography studio.
The camera setup is a significant step before rendering the scene. It is important to understand how camera settings such as field of view, aspect ratio, focal length, exposure, and other settings affect the way the model looks. Additionally, fundamental rules of photography apply to how you place your camera in the scene.
Understanding how camera placement and settings affect the scene and 3D models can help a 3D artist create more meaningful, art-directed compositions, set up models that look more natural in a 3D environment, and ultimately create more realistic rendered images.
Rendering is the final process of taking 3D models and turning them into 2D images or animations. Rendering involves the use of a variety of software tools, such as 3D modeling, rendering engine, and compositing software.
The process can take anywhere from minutes to days depending on the complexity of the scene. After the render is complete, the image or animation can be used in games, movies, and other media.
Finally, post-production in 3D modeling is the process of refining and enhancing the rendered image by adjusting colors, and adding effects in 2D space. This process is usually done in 2D software such as Photoshop or After Effects. Post-production includes color correction, lighting effects, and compositing to create a final, more polished look for a 3D model.
Compositing in post-production is the process of combining multiple elements such as reflections, shadows, and ambient occlusion together to create the final image or scene. This process helps the artist to have a better control over different elements that puts the scene together. Compositing allows the artist to adjust various properties such as color, brightness, and contrast of individual elements easily and add effects like light flares and motion blur.
How much does 3D product rendering cost?
The cost of 3D product rendering can vary greatly depending on the complexity of the product, the level of detail you want, and the amount of time it takes to create the final product.
Generally, a basic 3D product rendering can cost anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars, while more complex 3D product renderings can cost anywhere from a few thousand to tens of thousands of dollars.
What is needed for 3D product rendering?
At Outlier Creative, we typically create renders of products that will be used in marketing materials. For example, social media ads, product listings, landing pages, brochures, and more.
For these types of projects, we usually ask for 5-6 high-quality product photos in good lighting from different angles. If you have technical drawings of your product, we will use these to make your model(s) even more accurate.
Can you make a 3D rendering of a product that rotates?
Yes, a 3D rendering of a product that rotates can be made using 3D software like Autodesk 3ds Max, Maya, or Blender. The process involves creating a 3D model of the product, setting up the lighting and materials, and placing it into the scene. Then the animation process can begin, setting up the camera and scene, and creating a rotation animation.
What are 3D product renders used for?
Product design and manufacturing
Most commonly, 3D renders are used in product manufacturing during the prototyping and testing of products, as well as for visualizing the product before it goes into production. This can give manufacturers insight into the product design and help them make the necessary adjustments before manufacturing.
3D renders can also be used to create detailed instructions for assembly processes, as well as to create visualizations of the product in different environments. This helps manufacturers better understand the product and ensure that the final product meets their expectations.
Marketing and product promotion
Businesses can showcase their products with the help of 3D renders. Again, 3D modeling rendering is becoming more common, so it’s no longer just for big movies or brands with huge budgets.
These renders can be used in product advertisements, on websites, or in catalogs. 3D renders allow people to get as close as possible to experiencing a product without ever actually experiencing it.
3D renders are commonly used in architecture to help visualize a proposed building or design. They are used to create realistic images of the proposed structure that can be used to show clients and other stakeholders what the finished product will look like.
3D renders can also be used to analyze potential design flaws, identify potential material usage, and evaluate the overall aesthetic of a project. They can also be used to create walkthroughs of the space, allowing clients to experience the design before it is built.
Special effects in movies and television
3D renders are used for a variety of tasks in special effects and movie production. They help create realistic environments, creatures, and objects that would otherwise be too difficult or expensive to create in real life.
They can also be used to add extra depth and realism to existing scenes or to create more realistic environments and objects.
3D renders are used to create graphics for video games. They are used to create characters and environments, as well as textures and other elements. They provide a realistic and immersive gaming experience. 3D renders are also used to create the cinematics and cutscenes seen in many video games.