Producing 3D/AR product visualization for eCommerce is no fun for retailers whose main line of business is marketing and building a site. Most experiences we have had at #Hexa3D began when the eCommerce manager saw the value in 3D/AR and started looking at model creation. The first complication in the process starts by not seeing the process end while to see it, there is a lot to be learnt. This is why I decided to write this article — to untangle some future frustrations.
3D Model creation alone can be considered as an art form, or at least a heavy time consuming and costly practice. There are many moving parts to understand, techniques and platforms to learn and if you think you want to do it while managing a business, just don’t. Now let’s say you already have super high quality 3D models. What’s next ?
Even though the infrastructure today supports in some areas up to 200MBPS on wireless transmission, it will still take your super high quality model a couple of minutes to load. Your customer will be long gone by then and here are some more PPC dollars down the drain. Now, you’ll find yourself back at the drawing board outlining a — reproduction of that super high quality model but with a “streamable” size. You will start looking for a 3D studio that will be able to make the item look great but with less data, is it possible — YES!, is it complex- VERY!, can any studio do it? ABSOLUTELY NOT! But let’s say you’ve done you research and found one — Kudos!
OK, having a streamable 3D model is great. but still needs infrastructure. This part of the game is more riddling, it involves new moving parts which are to support the front-end (the model). Those are, Content Management System, , analytics, Web 3D viewer, UX/UI, storage & security. There are more than 100 providers for each of the above focused on 3D, some offer Augmented Reality, some don’t, some are easy, some are difficult, most are very expensive and you’d have to make a very large table to manage this project, only to realize — it is a project!
I believe the number 1 reason we still don’t see 3D on each and every eCommerce site is purely time. There simply isn’t enough time to figure out all the moving parts in a productive and cost effective way. Enterprise grade retailers struggle with creating usable UI/UX, with scale and quality for the 3D items. It’s treading foreign waters for an eCommerce manager, an artistic director or even a polished up project manager to define the project roles, requirements, timeline and nail it all correctly.
So as far as the story goes, I hope you could get a clearer picture on the complexity of the moving parts. I’d like to pitch my 5 cents on some of the terminology so you can get a clearer idea what to think of when looking at a piece of this puzzle, here’s the tech stack:
“3D Viewer” — speed, real time rendering capabilities like lights and animation, compatibility with browsers, security, ease of integration, price and performance, support for Augmented Reality, support for different 3D file formats.
“Content Management System” — Ease of use and integration with the viewer, who will manage it?, costs, additional options to export & organize items in categories.
“UX/UI” — Think where the buttons will be, design, actions preformed.
“Analytics” — How will you measure the success of this project, the performance of each item, what tools will you use?
“Storage and Security” — Cloud storage costs, connecting the stack, securing and monitoring connections, data-plan, maintenance.
I hope this clarifies some points and empowers with some actionable tools to analyze the project. now that we have come to a full process description, I’d like to suggest going back and thinking on item selection.
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