While scrolling through Instagram or checking out a new website, you may have come across a new art form that made you feel like you could almost catch it from your screen. These amazing visuals tend to grab our attention very quickly. 3D illustrations are one of the fastest growing trends in the creative and advertising industry. The ability to visualize objects, characters or environments in three dimensions can add a lot to a website. Is this the right type of visual for your brand?
3D art is made using software that allows users to play with different shapes in three dimensions. Using these shapes, the artist can then build anything from very realistic renderings of an object to very cartoonish characters and worlds. 3D art can be printed, animated, turned into a movie, used as an interactive element on a website or simply used as a three-dimensional image. With 3D, anything is possible! Unlike 2D art, which captures a specific view, 3D art can be viewed from all sides and angles, allowing more information to be read. Artists can sometimes reproduce the 3D look using 2D techniques, such as shading and perspective, but the main difference with 3D is the ability to change the angle of the image.
3D art is done in a completely different way than traditional illustrations. While 2D can use different painting software or traditional techniques like acrylic or watercolor, 3D is done in a program that allows users to build models. These programs, such as Maya, Blender, Sketch Up, Cinema 4D and many others, use the built model to calculate shadows, light sources and materials. The software then renders a final image or animation that contains the refined 3D model. While 3D is not better than 2D, they are two very different styles and it is important to understand the difference. As we saw earlier, the main advantage of 3D art is the ability to view it from any angle and perspective, but what does this change for the customer? Since the rise of online stores, one of the many challenges has been to make customers identify with a brand and feel like they are in the store when they are on the website. 3D illustration can bring the shopper closer to that feeling in person. A 2014 study by the International Journal of Internet Marketing and Advertising linked customer experience to a higher conversion rate. Allowing a potential buyer to handle a virtual object, spin it around and almost touch it, brings them closer to the actual purchase!
3D illustration is very popular today for several reasons. In advertising, the use of 3D raises the bar for the brand. It instantly gives a more refined look, which builds authority and confidence in the buyer's vision. It increases the likelihood that the consumer will buy a product, as we give them the opportunity to interact with it.
As a marketer, you can use 3D to help you create a more effective...
Modernize your brand
Need a cool update? 3D may be the right solution for your brand. Even for small businesses, adding 3D elements to a website instantly creates a "wow factor" that customers can't ignore. High quality visuals always catch the eye of the viewer. If that visual is interactive and moves on command, it will be all the more appealing!
Selling an experience, not just a product
People often stay on a website because they like what they see. The longer they stay, the more likely they are to consider buying your product. In the meantime, they will feel a little closer to your brand as they learn about your product, browsing your website for the next animation!
Let the customer in
A quick 3D animation can be very useful to show how a product is made. Show the behind the scenes of your manufacturing process!
Keeping up with your competitors
Staying on top of the latest trends will keep your website in the loop. Sometimes an interactive experience can really set your brand apart from even the most popular ones.
Since 3D is always rendered from a 3D rendering engine, you may think it's hard to tell your brand's 3D look from another's. Fortunately, just like with 2D illustrations, there are different styles of 3D! Let's go over some of them.
- Here Peter Parka, a very famous 3D illustrator, uses many small objects to create his scene. He uses only two colors but the illustration is still beautiful to look at!
There is a huge advantage to animating in 3D! Going from a simple image to an animated image can bring a lot to a website. Some brands even go so far as to create complete stories around their visuals. They use characters to express feelings, settings to create wonder, and the list goes on! Looping animations can keep a potential buyer on a page much longer than a single image. Even a simple rotation around a 3D model can be extremely interesting, showing the customer new angles that they might have only seen by stepping into a store before. If a picture speaks louder than words, an animation should really scream!
Here are some examples of websites that use 3D animation.
This website presents a complete story where different living options are shown: Future Living TV
This one features a little red bird that users can follow throughout the site. The animation is fun and effective: Chirpley
Another one, Mekaverse, uses moving characters and a beautiful environment to create depth on the website: MekaVerse
Finally, Uplinq uses a 3D animation here to show how its product automates accounting. It looks simple and straightforward: Uplinq
Still not sure if 3D is the right path for you? Here's a comparison of 3D and 2D illustrations. Some are similar, but you may be more inclined towards one or the other!
Here, in this very simple object, the 3D version shows more depth and the 2D is generally simpler, so easier to read.
In this example, the 3D shows a little more detail, which may or may not be an advantage for you!
In this case, the 3D version seems closer to a photograph and therefore more realistic than the illustration. The 3D version without contour and with realistic lightning bolts reaches realism.
Even though these two images are very different, this is a good example of how 3D illustration tends to jump forward, as if we could catch it.