The benefit of 3D Modelling
There is always a barrier as a product photographer when trying to get the best points of something across via the internet. Selling an e-cigarette over the internet is the equivalent of flicking through a catalogue, compared to a luxury personal shopper experience. It’s missing that…. je ne sais quoi. Let’s try and fix that with a 360 product turnaround.
Until the hallowed days of personal hologram projectors and teleportation (that I’m still so eagerly awaiting from 5th element) it’s my job to try and make that barrier as small as possible so that you can really get a feel for that fantastic new e-cig you’ve been looking at. Everything from the beautiful stainless steel shape (finely articulated by our masterwork engineers and designers) to the ease of flicking through variable temperature modes, without being intimidated by a lengthy manual. We can tell you all of these things, but unless you can really see the product for what it is, they’re just words… that’s where I come in.
The idea of the 360’ view is a simple but effective one, working with the original product designers I translate the product into a 3D object that can be manipulated, animated and textured. What does that mean though? To put it simply, we’ve created a representation of the e-cig that, while not 100% accurate to the last divot and thread, can be loaded into a browser or mobile device so you can rotate, zoom and almost feel the device for yourself before you buy.
PHEW! That’s all of the jargon out of the way! Let’s have a closer look at how to make a 3D model of an e-cig.
A Closer Look
1. Research: Talking to the designers, finding reference and most importantly, the product itself, I take great glee in being able to play with new e-cigs before anyone else and getting a good feel for how it should be held and used. The new V-Pipe got me a lot of dirty looks from jealous eyes across the office. “A burden I must bear with a heavy heart” (and a big smile).
2. Orthographic projection: A big old fancy word for blueprints, a front, side and top image. Correct dimensions are a must here, otherwise you might end up with a funny shaped device that looks more like a pear than an e-cig! In 3D space it looks a little like this:
3. Build: A good artist will tell you the world is made from primitive shapes, you can look at a church and see a series of cubes, cylinders and triangles and the same takes place with e-cigs (although I’m sure if the engineering team heard me say that there may be a few ruffled feathers).
4. Texture and refine: There’s a running joke around the office about one specific church I keep having on my screen. No matter how many times I preach “It’s got perfect lighting!” I’m still met with confused looks and sniggers. In reality, a shiny metallic texture is only as good as the room it’s in, imagine taking a photo of a shiny chrome car bumper in a wood shop. That’s a lot of brown reflections and light sources so unless you really love birdhouses, not the best representation of the product.
5. Engine generation: Nothing to do with the aforementioned chrome car I assure you! The engine is the ‘World’ the e-cig will be generated into! This is a small program that will tell your computer or phone how the product will work and how light will bounce off it, much like a video game engine but on a much smaller level.
6. Coffee: Luckily, Jonny is always willing to make me a good brew after a long day’s work. (hint hint)
So there you have it! I’m always looking for more ways to show off our fantastic products and the world is always moving on with technology, much like e-cigs!