Visualization helps communicate concepts
There are many ways to represent product concepts, both 2-dimensionally and in 3-D.
The methods we select are based on what our customers need. Some can easily visualize forms and colors. For others, it’s nearly impossible to translate variations on a theme in the mind’s eye. In the past we started with sketches, moved to computer (solid) modeling, then to 3-dimensional study models as the design direction became more focused. In general, preliminary concepts are still loose in early phases; sketching is fast and it is easy to generate many ideas quickly.
Now we do our conceptualization in the virtual world
Producing computer renderings is not as fast as sketching, but the trade-off of time versus comprehension is worth it. Concept variations are easier to demonstrate, and because they look so real, consensus can be reached earlier than with hand sketches. What computer models can’t do is replace physical models for ergonomic critique and verification. To show the mechanics of an assembly, or for presentations to non-technical people, solid models are what most of our clients are looking for.
Clients want photo-realistic renderings that make yet-to-be-manufactured products look like they actually exist.
For those wanting phtorealism we use KeyShot™ and 3-D StudioMax™ software. Photo-realistic rendering of a solid model adds 3 elements: 1) material textures and surface finishes, 2) lifelike lighting with shadows and reflectance, and 3) a setting or environment which adds scale and the illusion of mass to the image. These type of renderings are often used before more costly prototypes are constructed, or to make absolutely sure concept details are really understood. Time wise, the extra step is minimal, but the added impact is vital for a marketing brochure or when persuading prospective investors. If we start with a solid model, it can usually be transformed to a photo-realistic rendering that same day.