Because digital technology is increasingly influencing how customers shop, companies need to create innovative ways to engage with customers digitally.
Why is this of relevance on a blog devoted to CAD technology and its use? The CAD programs that engineers use every day have uses beyond engineering. Like for advertising. Those models can be—and often are—turned into what’s called photorealistic images. That is, though the model depicted via CAD hasn’t yet been manufactured, rendering tools can bring it to life and allow it to look like an already-fashioned, beautifully photographed image.
Engineering firms have used photorealistic images to demonstrate to customers how products would look after they’ve been manufactured. And now, those images are increasingly being used by advertisers.
For example, Toyota Motor Europe recently said it will be turning its already-existing engineering images into virtual representations of vehicles, to be used for advertising purposes. For this, the automaker will use 3DExcite visualization applications from Dassault Systèmes. The latter also makes CAD, simulation, visualization and rendering software used by many engineers.
The visualization applications also help Toyota Motor Europe target and localize its advertising. Its automated end-to-end asset production processes allow the company to produce brochures, online video content, web configurators, and other assets featuring new vehicle models or colors localized for preferences in specific markets or personalized to individual customer tastes, accommodating nearly any product requirement, says Alex Carnazza, the carmaker’s manager of web content and brochures within the marketing communications department.
Actual 3D CAD models as well as photorealistic images can help customers as they explore products from home and even virtually test them out, according to Hi-Tech Engineering Services, an engineering and design firm located in India.
Furniture manufacturers in particular struggle to find the right way to advertise their products, the firm states.
Too often, sales team have seconds to peak customers intrigue and get them to look further at product details. Because even if they manage to bring interest, sales teams still have to demonstrate the furniture features.
While companies that sell furniture, like other companies, often use product photography for print and digital ads, the process can include bottlenecks and be expensive. A photographer require an environment that uses physical objects and lights to stage the furniture in a manner that looks attractive and appealing to customers, which can add to advertising costs.
And manufacturers who make competitive products like cabinets, shelves and tables face even thinner margins because these products are usually mass manufactured. Professional photography in such cases really affects the ROI, according to Hi-Tech
A less-expensive solution uses 3D CAD models of furniture, which have been developed for manufacturing, for 3D rendering as well. Realistic images of the models can be created via rendering. Rendering tools offer high-quality photorealistic images much faster and at lower costs as compared to product photography, Hi-Tech says.
Furniture maker Herman Miller, for example, has put its 3D CAD models on its web site to allow potential customers to virtually manipulate and “test” the furniture. Users must download CAD Pack Furniture Manager, a Revit Add-In utility for Revit Architecture—from Autodesk–to access the models.