We typically provide product visualization for new launches, but in this instance we were asked to create a new set of images for a current product line: The original Sound+Sleep, the Sound+Sleep SE, and the Sound+Sleep MINI.
The challenge with creating merchandising materials was the set of legacy product imagery. Photos had been taken at various times over the years, by different photographers, and the original raw image files were lost. There was a wide variety of lighting and editing styles across the images, and they were taken at different angles. This prevented a clean, professional presentation when showing all three products at once, such as in comparison tables.
We began with “white world” hero shots, and then continued with environmental images.
Creating The Hero Images
Here’s an example of a legacy hero shot:
There were several issues with this photo: the color wasn’t accurate (the actual product is white, not beige), the contrast between the white panel and silver panel wasn’t adequate, there were flaws in the photo model that weren’t cleaned up, and the reflection was a bit trailing edge, design-wise. Some of these issues could have been fixed in PhotoShop, but it would not address the problem of the library of product photos using inconsistent angles.
Working from CAD files provided by the manufacturer, we first rendered what’s called a “clay model” to confirm the accuracy of the model and that the camera angles were set up correctly:
Creating The Environmental Images
The next step was to put the products into some scenes. We did this with multiple products and at multiple angles, but we’ll use the Sound+Sleep SE as an example again.
We often save the client money by reusing 3D elements that we already have in our library, but for this project we built a new scene from bed and table models purchased from TurboSquid for a total of $64.00. Here’s the bed model, in wireframe and rendered form:
We began composing the scene by using low-fidelity clay model renderings to show the client several angles for approval. Some examples:
Here are the results:
Here’s a before-and-after with an example of a legacy environmental image and our new work. For the hero shot on the white background above, we used ambient lighting, but for the environmental rendering, we set up the shot for morning light. A benefit of photorealistic rendering is that shadows and reflections can be removed entirely, a task which isn’t so easy in the photo studio and PhotoShop post-production. But, renderings can feel a bit sterile when pure ambient lighting is used for environmental images. Setting up lighting that’s appropriate for the composition is key to successful results.
Photorealistic Rendering vs. Photography
Traditional still photography, both in studio and on location, is still an essential part of the services we offer. In this case, however, photorealistic rendering was the way to go. The client was able to review our work from the comfort of their desks, and nobody had to spend time in a drafty photo studio. And, we were able to complete the entire project in about two weeks. By comparison, our lead time for scheduling studio time is about four weeks.
We’d love to talk with you about doing a project like this for your own products. You can contact us below to learn more.
Completing the Set
We were able to quickly swap out products, adjust the lighting for time of day, and adjust the camera angle to meet the client’s exact needs. Here are some samples.