Product design services often have several methods of getting their ideas from rough concept to finished product. The process usually starts with a few drawings and ends with the creation of a prototype so that photos can be taken from all sides. The photos are then used to help raise funding for the project, test for issues, and help manufacturers get a clear understanding of mass production.
Unfortunately, this common technique has its problems. Creating a single prototype to photograph it is expensive and may not prove worthwhile if it fails to garner support. Other problems include the time needed to create a physical prototype and how difficult it is to get just one of anything manufactured.
Renders have become a popular stand-in for photos and can also take the bulk of the work out of physical models. A render can be so realistic that it’s very difficult or impossible to tell from the real thing, and renders can be used to 3D print a single model if a physical prototype is necessary.
Many times, the physical prototype isn’t necessary at all or isn’t needed until final testing. Many types of rendering software can also run an analysis on the product, helping check for strength and safety long before the first copy ever comes into existence.
Rendering is an excellent tool for the freelance industrial designer, and if you’re not familiar with it, learning more about photorealistic product renderings is a useful thing to do.
When to Use Renders
Although photorealistic renders are great for many different projects, they’re not suitable in every situation. They also shine more in some areas than others, so it pays to figure out when you should stay with a sketch or model and when a render is worthwhile.
Renders are highly useful when the product idea is highly novel, and there may be issues explaining to a contract manufacturing service what it is you have dreamed up. This is also useful if you’re trying to raise funding for research and the technology itself has not yet been developed.
Creating the product is difficult or impossible in these situations, so a render can help communicate with those who need to be informed. Renders are also particularly useful for complex products such as cameras or phones because it’s easy to show a cutaway that allows potential investors to see the interior.
One of the most common reasons renders are chosen, however, is to help get a jump on advertising. A render can show what the product looks like realistically. It can be placed on any kind of backdrop, and the lighting and angles are carefully chosen so that the advertising team can plan their campaign before the first product is even out.
Help Communicate to Financers
If an idea for a product is complex, a potential backer may fail to understand the value of the product being propositioned. Simple sketches don’t always show everything a potential backer needs to see.
On the flip side, a render shows with complete clarity what the product looks like. What’s more, they can be made into animations showing how the product works, or they can be demonstrated rotating so that it can be seen from all angles.
Even a simple product looks more polished and professional when shown in this light, and it helps give the impression that the people designing it know what they’re doing and are serious about the product.
Working with a 3D rendering service is especially important if you’re seeking crowdfunding as a source of funding. Crowdfunding is typically used for products that investors aren’t willing to risk on or can’t get funding for other reasons. During crowdfunding, videos and sketches are shown to regular people, and if they like the product, they can donate to the creation of the product.
Although these ordinary people are more likely to take a risk on a product compared to an investor, instead of convincing one person to donate thousands or millions, you are asking thousands or millions of people to plunk down a few dollars.
This can actually be harder since you have to sway so many different people to your cause. A render can go a long way to convincing these people, especially if the render is also animated or shows off the product to the best effect. A great render will help communicate the product more clearly, so it is easier for these people to determine whether the product is worth the money or not.
Helps Develop the End Product Better
Although what the finished product might look like is a curious place to start the technical aspects of creation, a finished product render can help developers. By looking at the desired outcome, design for manufacturing and assembly services can put together the wiring and other technology needed to make it work more easily.
These finished renders can also be sent along to the manufacturers and other data to help clear up any confusion regarding how the product is supposed to look. A render can provide very clear communication on what needs to happen and save a lot of time and money in terms of the products’ mistakes.
Rendering can also be used as one of the testing and safety steps. An analysis of the product can be run using the data from the render, and it can tell you whether the product is safe, if the materials are strong enough, and many other details.
While you still might need to create a physical product for testing, a render can help save time and money by reducing the number of physical copies needed.
Makes Getting a Prototype Easier
The data used in a render can often also be used to 3D print a copy of the object. While this may not be practical in all situations, it’s usually a lot cheaper to have one copy of a product 3D printed than to have a short run done by a manufacturer.
Many DFM services require a certain number of the product be made, and the price for a small run is considerably higher than the price of a large run. This is understandable since the manufacturing area needs to be set up for your product, but it is still very expensive.
Not only does using a 3D printing service reduce costs, but it also helps save time. The prototype may not have to travel as far to get to you after being 3D printed. For simple products, they may even be printable yourself at home if you have a 3D printer.
Otherwise, a single 3D print may be readily available close by. The faster you can get a product back, the faster you can finish the production cycle, which means getting the product to consumers faster.
Retain More Customers
One of the hardest parts of getting a new product out there is attracting customers. There is a lot of competition, and many times, we’re not the first one to bring out a certain type of product. When there are so many other similar products out there, getting yours purchased over others can be a real challenge.
Although it might not seem like it, rendering can help in this situation as well. When a product is completed, it can be set on an attractive backdrop. Lighting and angles can be carefully managed in a much more precise way than any photographer could ever hope for.
Once all the conditions are as perfect as possible, a realistic render can be created. The result is a beautiful render that can then be sent to an advertising agency. The agency can apply filters and other information to make the render even more attractive, and it can then be used in advertising.
Great renders draw attention to the product and can sometimes be so attractive that it brings customers back for a second look. When in a highly competitive market, a well-made render can be the difference between a potential customer choosing your product or going with a different one.
Renders have rapidly risen from new technology unheard of by many to an essential part of almost every business. A render is a valuable tool in virtually every aspect of the creation process. It helps encourage investors to fund the project, provides clarity for manufacturers when the product is sent away for production, and attracts clients who may wish to purchase the product.
Photorealistic renders are much more commonplace compared to what they used to be and are now a logical step for most businesses. If you have not yet used a render in your product design yet, you may be falling behind others in your industry. Give yourself an edge and look at what renders can do for your product design today.
Cad Crowd has a network of 3D rendering and product design professionals ready to help. If you’re looking for assistance with your project, contact us for a free quote.