What is Product 3D Animation

Product 3D Animation is a form of product marketing which utilizes a computer generated 3D model to render a sequence of images showing the product from various angles, often with the aim to highlight specific features, utilize exploded views of internal parts, or add interesting visual effects. Product rendering has been used for years by leaders in the tech industry, such as Apple, Samsung, LG, and countless others, and has become a standard for commercials, launch trailers, and social media content. It has, in fact, become so popular that full commercials often don’t feature the real product at all, and are entirely CGI. The process usually begins by obtaining the CAD 3D file of the product, then shading, lighting, animating & rendering the animation.

While the common misconception is that creating a 3D product animation is a very expensive process, it’s not the case anymore. Due to advances in computing power & access to high-end software, it’s become surprisingly affordable & even smaller companies & startups can often afford a beautiful rendered animation of their new invention.

The main advantages of 3D product rendering over traditional videography include

  • the ability to show the product from all angles without being constrained by real-world physics (a 360 spin is quite difficult to do in-camera)
  • complete control over lighting
  • ability to change shape, materials, surface details & many other parameters quickly
  • no need for crew, location, talent, expensive cameras, lights, an editor, and other personnel
  • ability to add exciting visual effects
  • get impossibly close to the product & show microscopic level of detail
  • and that’s just to name a few

In the below video, I go over some examples of CGI commercials created by big players in the last few years, as well as show you the behind the scenes of creating one of our projects for Shift and their RevolCam product. I touch on liquid simulations we used to add visual interest to this piece, how we’ve utilized exploded views to communicate the value of the product, and some general approaches we take when creating a product animation trailer from scratch.

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