John Godfrey RGD, Creative Director at Chargefield, shares a behind-the-scenes look at the process for creating 3D images using pre-existing assets, and how this tactic can help elevate a designer's client presentations, product promotion and portfolio.
What is Adobe Dimension?
Adobe Dimension is 3D scene design and rendering software, meaning it allows you to generate 3D images using pre-existing assets (as opposed to building models yourself in the software). Models, textures and lights can be added to a scene, camera settings can be adjusted and a final scene can be composed for photo realistic renders.
What are the design applications for 3D software?These tools are helpful to me in a variety of cases, but I use them most in packaging design, where I can create realistic representations of what a final package would look like, as well as being able to composite it into a photograph by matching the lighting and focal length of an image in the software.
Dimension allows designers to elevate the presentation of their work throughout all stages of a project, while making it simpler to do so at the same time:
- Presenting concepts to clients. Presenting initial packaging concepts to clients in 3D allows them to fully understand how the package would appear in the real world.
- Product promotion. When the project is completed, Dimension can be used to create “synthetic photography” for a product: 3D renders for everything from e-commerce to advertisements.
- Portfolio. Finally, the assets can be used once more to get specific design-centric renders for your portfolio.
While designing packaging over the years I’ve presented my work to clients in a variety of ways. Initially, in the early days, in the form of flat artwork which didn’t give much context to the overall design in the physical world. After that was Photoshop mockups which took longer and looked better, but weren’t perfect. Since I work a lot with cans and bottles, Photoshop didn’t realistically represent the kind of distortion around the edges of the package due to artwork being applied to a cylindrical object.
With Dimension I can apply art to 3D stock objects and see exactly how it’ll look as a final product. Presenting 3D renders for approval helps everyone wrap their head around a project; there’s less guess work involved in how the final design will look. There’s actually a mode in Dimension where you can publish your scene to the web and give the client the option to orbit the camera in their web browser to see the scene from every angle.
Once the presentation and revision phase is complete with the client, I’m already in a 3D workflow which puts me 80% of the way there to create renders for the client to use commercially.
Product PromotionAs the uses of 3D become more widely known, design-centric tools are becoming available and accessible in the same way that web design technology has opened up over the past several years. I remember a time when even fairly well-rounded graphic designers, when asked by a client if they could create a simple website, would say no. Nowadays, technology is more accessible to a wider range of skill sets. It’s very common for a designer to put together a website for a client with Wordpress or Squarespace with no coding experience. I’ve even had clients who’ve built Wix websites themselves (before asking me to redesign it). The same accessibility has now arrived for 3D technology. With easier access, 3D is something that clients will be requesting more going forward.
Besides being a time saver to deliver more impressive concepts to clients, I’ve found additional uses for the program the more I've used it. Outside of my brand and packaging work, I do a lot of work in the entertainment industry including movie posters, film titles and album artwork. Dimension is proving to be a tool that is allowing me to creatively explore outside of the traditional 2D space I’ve become familiar with, allowing me to develop 3D renders to either supplement 2D art in Photoshop or create compositions entirely in the Dimension. Once you get accustomed to the software, you quickly begin to realize how adding 3D tools to your skill set can complement your own unique mix of projects.
John Godfrey is a creative director / designer with experience in branding, web, print and motion graphics, working on projects for Fox, SundanceNow, Sony Music Entertainment, Lionsgate, CBS Films, 300 Entertainment, ABC, HBO, Myriad Pictures, Warner Music Group, as well as prominent entertainment personalities. He also specializes in branding and packaging for craft beer, spirits and other fast-moving consumer goods, with a number of successful product launches and rebrands. Check out more of his work at johngodfrey.com
Please note: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the RGD.