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Harrogate, North Yorkshire, United Kingdom, 2013/04/09 - In the cinema or on our games consoles, most of us are familiar with 3D technology. Leading Yorkshire design agency SoVibrant believes it's also the future for retail and commerce - and is leading the way when it comes to making it more mainstream.
So you have a concept for a product and you want to get it to market? Until recently, the next natural step would be to transform your drawing-board design into a prototype, perhaps running a few off to be sure they work mechanically or aesthetically.
And, once you have that perfected, you might want to make a few changes; a tweak here a refinement there, perhaps do a little test marketing. Once the modifications are made and suppliers found for the necessary raw materials, the next step would be to fire up the production line and start stocking up ready for launch.
But what if you could take your product to show a potential client before it’s available on the high street? Imagine showing someone what your latest innovation would look like in their showroom, their shop, their home, their hotel lobby all without having to find a real customer from the relevant sector willing to let you use their premises as a photo studio.
Of course, the technology has existed for some time for so long, in fact, our children pretty much take it for granted as they battle with the bad guys on their Xbox or PS3.
But it’s only recently that 3D technology has spread into the commercial world and the battle is on to be at the cutting edge of a revolution which could even change the way we go shopping for ever.
“I started my career in the games industry where imagery is king,” said Yorkshire-based SoVibrant’s head of media Mo Akhtar. “It’s all about making things feel as real as possible to give the gamer the sense they’re really there.
“That’s not been so important commercially until now but, with 3D imaging becoming an increasingly established part of the marketing mix, the demand for innovation is likely to grow and we’re determined to lead the way.
“In the past, companies like ours have steered away from offering virtual environments as acquiring the necessary computer hardware and software has been dismissed as too expensive. However, if demand and clients’ expectations continue to grow, more studios will want to overcome the obstacle of costs - and those who don’t could find they’ve been left behind.”
SoVibrant is no stranger to large-scale projects. The company is the creative force behind designs for glassolutions - the UK’s leading provider of glass for the architectural and building industries - and innovative office furniture designers Orangebox
Using 3D technology has allowed both to show off their latest products in the best possible light - all without the need to build, staff or maintain warehouse-sized showrooms or to hire studios for photography.
“So far, our sector has been all about creating what the eye expects to see, not what is actually there,” said Mo. “In real life, you might be looking at an item next to something illuminated by an orange light bulb; there is bound to be some tinge or reflection on any bright-coloured surface nearby.
“In real life, your eye doesn’t notice it but put that in a picture and you can’t help it; it just looks wrong. A good 3D studio can correct that and allow a client to show off their product in the best possible light.
“You can also place a client in a market they’re aspiring to enter but haven’t yet managed to crack. For example, if you wanted to show how your furnishings would look in a hotel but you don’t yet have one on your books, we can just create a “virtual” lobby or a bedroom in 3D.
“Suddenly you can compete in that sector and all without having to target a buyer who may be able to open doors.”
Kathryn Dalglish of Glassolutions confirmed, in her company’s view, flexibility is one of the main assets of 3D.
“It was a way for us to showcase a variety of products in one setting, and to create others relevant to our target audiences,” she said.
“Key advantages are savings in both time and cost. If you’re using 3D, you don’t have to wait until a new project is completed before you can put it on display or spend money on “sets” which can be expensive.
“I think I can say with some confidence that it’s certainly going to be a key tool for us moving forward.”
And Guy Stanley from Armour Blinds said 3D imagery is already a vital tool which allows the company to show clients what its products would look like in a working environment.
“Our clients can get an impression of what our range would look like in an environment which feels familiar to them without us having to invest in showroom space and sales staff to fill it,” he said.
“We’re all about innovation in the workplace and using 3D helps us present ourselves and our products in the best possible light. It’s sharper, reflects our up-market image and it’s a lot more flexible.
“Images are massively important for us and our clients and play a massive part in projects and marketing. A return on investment is hard to measure on any marketing strategy but it certainly helps create a high-class brand image.”