sproutrospectives

Disrupting Inventories, One Industry at a Time

How batch product visualization, based on a handful of physical products, can unify a brand language and achieve economies of scale and time.
Jack O'Farrell
July 12, 2021

Nearly three-quarters (74%) of consumers cited brand as an important factor when viewing and selecting a product.

- FORBES (2019) 

Companies adopting CGI have a 40% higher online conversion rate and a 30% lift in average sales prices.

- FORBES (2019)

Perspective

Taking the leap to digitize your product imagery can be daunting, especially when your SKU count is broad, deep,and growing. But don’t let a vast portfolio discourage you. Because CGI benefits from economies of scale, industries that rely on expansive, catalog-based portfolios are an ideal fit. It is often easier to wrangle a product line where SKUs number in the hundreds or even thousands. They particularly lend themselves to the development of a visual brand language (VBL), the design specs that CGI leverages to systematize product listings. A finely tuned VBL is an investment. It not only unifies related products,but it also differentiates your brand from competitors and deters copycats.

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VBL Development is a Team Sport

Developing an ideal VBL is a collaborative effort. It works best when it flows from an open dialog between the design team managing the brand and the CGI team preparing it for digital success.The same design attributes the brand stewards use to guide the design of a product—to present it on a shelf edge or feature it in a video—are an ideal baseline. What is the look and feel that makes your brand your brand? Are we Bold? Sturdy? Smart? Attributes matter.Translating those cues to a digital palette requires both a tight brief by people closest to the brand and a deep understanding of how CGI tools can bring those attributes to life. Wise choices by an extended team also help humanize the storytelling in a digital world.

Don’t Byte Off More Than You Can SKU

Executing an agreed VBL can become tricky for portfolios with products of various sizes, configurations, and functions.The maxim “well begun is half done” certainly applies here. A VBL which anticipates the dynamic range of the products to come can simplify things. Standardizing around materials and finishes, agreeing on lighting techniques that provide the most flexibility, and simplifying other design choices can help streamline the process. By matching the attributes of your products that are most challenging to depict, with variables that are easy to manage in the CGI process, you can harden your VBL for the work ahead.

"Imitation isn’t always flattery. Sometimes it’s theft."

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When the Going Gets Technical, The Technical Goes Pro

No surprise, having used digital tools to create CGI files for years, we have developed digital shortcuts to make our protocols go faster. Coders gotta code.Sprout Viz workarounds rely on in-house custom Python scripts. They equip us to batch process the set-up, editing, and rendering files as outlined in the VBL,squeezing time and risk out of the process. Rather than touch every file, which introduces the possibility of human error(a common render farm glitch), we use our Python script, embedded within the Keyshot app, to normalize each CAD files we ingest.

Still reading? Here’s the recipe:

Open the default VBL design parameters (to index lighting, planes, and other camera settings).

Load the CAD file(s) into the pre-set software.

Resize the 3D CAD file to fit the desired frame (to ensure products fit the VBL composition spec).

Apply the VBL color, material, and finish choices.

Render a preview matched to the VBL spec.

Export each product rendering to its own file.

Rinse & Repeat for the entire inventory.

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About SproutViz

Sprout Viz is a product visualization studio focused on creating high resolution, photorealistic, computer-generated imagery (CGI), renderings, and animations. We help our clients define a visual brand language for their digital assets that will increase customer engagement with their brands, encourage purchase confidence, and stand out in a crowded digital economy.

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