Reduce your photography costs with 3D

Posted on January 7th, 2020

Selling furniture online needs inspirational pictures on your website. Every eCommerce player wants its product to look real.

Interior designers and art directors play an important role by providing these photographs, known as product shots or life imaginary pics. While working with several eCommerce players and interviewing them on their costs associated with photography, we realized that cost on an average per SKU comes between USD 600 – USD 800 per product, which is a very high cost. It includes transporting product, warehouse, photo studio, resources etc. Products keep changing and some goes out of shelf quickly.
3D is already giving an edge and eCommerce players who are investing in 3D are reaping the benefit of reduced cost of developing these photographs with 3D rather than in photo studio. Take an example of IKEA. Almost 80% of their catalogue is coming from 3D. We would like to provide you 5 steps you can take to start reducing your photography costs with 3D. Average CGI costs including modelling comes around USD 120 or even less.

Step 1 – Collect or invest in 3D models 

To generate lifestyle images as it does not require any real object, only 2D images or CAD drawing are enough. Just create 3D model matching with reference to your product. Of course many eCommerce players sometimes have 3D models from the manufacturers but they are not using it. In case you don’t have 3D files then you can always start working on getting those models created, there are multiple ways. You can reuse one 3D model in different environments. The 3D model must be compatible to be placed in the scene.

Step 2 – Choose product shots as compare to lifestyle imagery pics

Our practical experience says that it takes lot more time in 3D to match quality of lifestyle pics with photograph. Either you spend lot of time in 3D to create your pictures more real. It’s not perfection but realism which creates difference. You don’t want your customer to get a feel that this room is not real. So, how do you save cost here and still keep it real?
You can choose to create product shots in minimalist environment than creating a full-blown image. Here are some pictures.

Product shots are easy and models can be replaced easily and you can create multiple images.

Step 3 – Develop interior design and art direction guide for your 3D team

Interior designer and art director in your team has complete knowledge and they can visualize how the end results can look like. Another important step you can take it by allocating your resources to developing interior design, art direction guide for your 3D team. They can train the 3D team. This will help develop 3D images efficiently and in a cost-effective way.

Step 4 – Look for reusability in 3D like you do in Studios

Photo studios can be replicated in 3D, you can think about creating similar rooms with minimal setups and replace props in 3D. There are a lot of free props available in the library so you can choose the first rather than modeling everything from scratch. All the 3D companies that are developing 3D models have these props in their library. Reusability of similar room scenes, props can save a lot of effort.

Step 5 – Choose 3D partner that knows how eCommerce works?

A person who deals with e-commerce sector clients knows how to get the attention of the customer with inspirational images by focusing on the product. You can save lot of efforts by choosing 3D artist that has more experience in product shootouts. Generally, 3D images are widely used for Interior architects however their focus in those inspirational images to wow customer with 3D. Product is not the main focus.
If you are choosing a vendor, prefer one that knows how eCommerce works as he knows how to ensure the attention span of customer on the product you want to sell by choosing right lighting and placement of objects.

In summary, by following these small steps you can calculate cost of lifestyle images and save costs up to 70% on your photographs.

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