Premium packaging, with its multiple layers of complex finishes, materials and print effects, has a reputation for being very difficult to prototype – especially when glass materials are involved – but with the latest 3D CGI technology, we can bring these luxury products to life, as 3D visualisation for print, digital and in video formats.
Visualising complex materials
The highly customised glass bottles used by premium spirits brands are extremely challenging to visualise. A physical prototype of a glass bottle with an intricate printed label can be as expensive and time-consuming as going into full commercial production. 3D printing offers an alternative, but the material used doesn’t really look or feel like the real thing. And that’s before you even get into print effects.
Despite these challenges, luxury brands need to bring their packaging to life, for effective visualisation of design concepts and refinements during new product development, and production of dynamic sales materials to secure retail orders in advance of physical product rolling off the production lines, as well as to build effective activation campaigns in advance of launch. With the developments of 3D CGI software coupled with the expertise of our designers to fuse creativity with technology, we can effectively prototype even the most intricate of packaging finishes, to fulfil all these needs.
Giving an impression of the (premium) impressions
We helped premium Scotch whisky brand Balblair visualise their premium 18- and 25-year impressions; elegant glass bottles housing liquid, featuring complex graphic labels, wrapped in stunning rigid presentation cases with slide-out drawers, and finished with multiple high-end print effects and ribbons – a series of acid tests for a visualisation service.
Ingesting the graphic design files, we crafted 3D CGI imagery of the newly designed bottles and presentation boxes. As you can see, we replicated every last physical feature of the product, right down to paper textures, reflections in shiny surfaces and the glint of light on precisely moulded glass.
The result of our work was a portfolio of still and moving photo-realistic renders that Balblair could utilise to promote their new brand design. They were able to use our renders at the International Beverage global summit in spring 2018, well ahead of the new brand launch in April 2019.
One file, hundreds of uses
Once 3D product models and renders have been created, the potential uses (and reuses) are almost infinite. And such reuse represents a significant saving vs the time and cost of additional photography and reshoots.
During new product development, CGI renders can replace or complement sketches and prototypes; the assets can be interrogated from all angles and even integrated with Augmented Reality solutions to give the digital illusion of the print ready prototype. This saves significant time and cost and helps global teams collaborate during the design innovation process, to streamline and accelerate approval.
They provide excellent product images for marketing and advertising, both online and offline, as well as in-store merchandising. Since everything links back to a single asset, it’s fast, simple and inexpensive to generate assets with a consistent look across the board – in contrast to disjointed, traditional approaches where teams re-photograph every product, every time.
The future of new product imagery
Video drives engagement in digital advertising and on social media, and boosts key website metrics such as conversion rate and visit duration. For brands like Balblair, who sell through digital channels such as online duty free, this presents a big opportunity to fully express the value and character of a premium product.
The renders can provide engaging assets for these channels; the product floating and rotate through 3D space, boxes opening, pages turning and light playing across surfaces. With traditional cameras, this would be technically challenging and cost prohibitive – but once you’ve created CGI models, it’s cost and time efficient.
There are also many opportunities for consumer interaction; the viewer can rotate or zoom themselves, as if they were holding the product in their hands. 3D CGI imagery can even be inserted into virtual reality or augmented reality, so your smartphone shows you ‘holding’ a product that isn’t really there.
Whatever stage the product, from initial brand development through to marketing activation, product visualisation brings you as close as you can get without actually touching it. It’s the future of product imagery and a big step up from traditional photography – perhaps even better than the real thing?