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Daniel Erning
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How 3D visualizations transform fashion and fashion marketing

3D visualized bath towel over a rod in various colors with CGI rendering
November 13, 2023

3D visualization for fashion and textiles

In the fast-paced fashion world, where visual aesthetics play a prominent role in attracting customers and standing out from the competition, traditional photography was the means of choice for presenting fashion products for a long time.

But a powerful alternative has quietly but steadily transformed the industry: 3D visualization. This comprehensive guide shows how 3D visualization (also known as 3D rendering in everyday language) is revolutionizing fashion marketing and product management.

Whether you're a marketing expert or a product manager in the fashion industry, this article should help you get started with the potential of 3D visualizations as a game changer in the fashion world.

The big 4 benefits of 3D visualizations for the fashion industry

In a rapidly evolving fashion landscape, staying one step ahead of trends is not just a strategic advantage, but a necessity. Traditional fashion photography may have a long tradition, but it is not without limitations. This is where 3D rendering comes in, which offers a wealth of benefits that are well received by marketing and product managers in the fashion industry.

1. Cost efficiency: Marketing budgets are always under review, and every euro counts. Traditional fashion photography involves expensive photo shoots, models, technology and location rentals, and post-production costs. In contrast, 3D rendering makes it possible to create photorealistic images without the need for physical setups, significantly reducing costs. Marketing managers can use these resources for other important areas of their campaigns.

2. Flexibility and creative freedom: In the fashion world, the ability to adapt to rapidly changing trends is crucial. With 3D visualizations, garments can be virtually draped, adapted and styled with ease. This means that marketing managers can quickly change the product presentation to adapt it to new fashion trends or tailor it to specific target groups. The creative freedom that 3D rendering offers is unparalleled.

3. Sustainability: In an age of increased environmental awareness, sustainability is an important aspect for brands. Traditional photo shoots in the fashion industry consume significant resources, from travel to wasted paper to energy consumption. With 3D rendering, resources for logistics and manual activities are drastically reduced and can therefore make the CO2 footprint of a marketing campaign significantly more positive. This is not only in line with responsible business practices, but also appeals to environmentally conscious consumers.

4. Consistency and speed: In a global fashion market, maintaining visual consistency across campaigns and platforms is a challenge. 3D rendering ensures that the product presentation remains consistent regardless of where and when it is used. Light, looks and visual CI are therefore practical computational settings and can be controlled much better.
In addition, it speeds up the production process so that marketing managers can react quickly to market changes and seize opportunities.

In the area of fashion marketing, 3D rendering is proving to be an adaptable and sustainable alternative to traditional photography. Its cost efficiency, creative flexibility, sustainability, and speed make it a strategic advantage for marketing and product managers who are trying to manage the ever-changing trends in fashion.

Basis: Photorealism of textile fabrics with 3D and CGI

In the fashion industry, textile fabric is the fabric that customers' dreams are made of.
The perfect presentation of product images is therefore crucial for manufacturers and retailers of fashion products.

Can this now be visualized completely digitally and through CGI (Computer Generated Images) and 3D?
The short answer: Yes, and it has been for some time now.

And the technologies are getting better and better, so that, in addition to the photorealistic quality of the images, production is also becoming even faster and more cost-effective.

What's more: The visualization of textiles is one of the disciplines that can impressively show the power of 3D rendering.

In order to be able to understand this as a marketing or product manager, here are a few basics of 3D technologies for visualizing fashion products.

How 3D designers create photorealistic product visualizations with CGI

One of the important pillars consists of the materials, fabrics and textures that are used with 3D software. Many samples of these are already available in databases.

3D designers have access to extensive Material librariesthat simulate a wide range of fabrics, including cotton, silk, denim, leather, and more. These libraries include detailed textures and patterns that imitate the real look of each material.

These materials are then “mapped” onto the finished model, i.e. placed on top of each other. 3D models are created with precise Texture Mapping creates, in which 2D images of actual substances are applied to the surface of the 3D model. This process ensures that the virtual presentation comes very close to the visual and haptic properties of the real material.

Light and shadow contribute to a high degree of photorealism: 3D designers use this PBR techniques (physically-based rendering)to simulate how light interacts with various materials. This includes an accurate representation of reflections, refractions, and shadows, creating a lifelike appearance that brings out the unique properties of each substance. There are also extensive libraries for this purpose, which assign the appropriate properties to individual materials.

PBR also makes it possible to reproduce complicated surface details, such as the weave of a fabric, the fine irregularities, and the way light interacts with the fibers. As a result, the 3D visualization is in no way inferior to product photography here.

Mop in space: Professional 3D visualization with a digital twin that brings even the finest structures to life photorealistically.

Light, movement and material properties are physics: And 3D simply imitates them

3D visualization software makes it possible to simulate the draping, folding, and movement of fabrics. This dynamic simulation takes into account the physical properties of various textiles and allows designers to visualize the behavior of a garment under various conditions and movements.

Experienced 3D designers can adjust parameters such as stiffness, elasticity, and friction to accurately represent the unique properties of each type of fabric. This level of customization ensures that the virtual presentation matches the specific properties of the fashion label's materials.

A strong, technical infrastructure enables content output day and night

3D renderings, i.e. the final creation of models and presentations previously created on a computer, enable high-resolution output that captures fine details and subtleties of materials and yet performs ideally for any application: Whether as a 3D AR model for virtual trying on (Virtual Try On) or simply as a 3D view in GLB file format.

Or when it comes to the smallest possible file formats such as WebP for an ideal resolution in the online shop. Every output format is possible based on a 3D visualization.

Unique advantage: 3D renderings save a particularly large amount of time because the product does not have to be physically available. For the campaign for a new shoe model, for example, this means: Once the shoe has been designed but not yet produced, all visuals can be created and staged using a 3D model in parallel with production in order to serve all marketing channels with high-quality, visual content at the product launch.

Which 3D based applications does the fashion industry use?

  • Fashion design: 3D technologies are already being used in the fashion world well before product visualization. Designers can create digital prototypes, experiment with different fabrics, and perfect their designs with precision.
  • E-commerce and online retail: In the area of e-commerce, 3D rendering improves the online shopping experience. Product managers can present fashion items with 360-degree views, allowing customers to view the products from every angle. This immersive experience bridges the gap between physical and online retail.
  • Visual merchandising: The art of visual merchandising is brought to life with 3D rendering. Marketing managers can create compelling store displays and window designs and ensure that the visual narrative is consistent with the brand's identity and message.
  • Advertising and marketing campaigns: Marketing managers in the fashion industry are increasingly using 3D rendering for advertising campaigns. It provides the flexibility to design visually stunning and concept-oriented campaigns with ease.
  • Virtual fashion shows: Virtual fashion shows have become a trend and offer designers a platform to present their collections to a global audience. The use of 3D rendering enables creative presentations that go beyond physical limits.
  • Product catalogs: Product managers can create dynamic and interactive product catalogs using 3D rendering. With this tool, customers can virtually scroll through pages, zoom in on details, and interact with the catalog in ways that aren't possible with traditional print products.

Using 3D for fashion marketing strategy: What needs to be considered?

For marketing and product managers, a successful implementation of 3D rendering can be a decisive factor when it comes to delivering compelling imagery and improving brand perception. And to optimize the budget sustainably.

The 3 most important tips to consider using 3D visualization as a more cost-effective variant of product photography for fashion marketing.

1. Cooperation with 3D rendering agencies: Working with professional 3D rendering agencies can streamline the process and ensure high-quality results. Experienced agencies have workflows and professional designers and advice to start collaboration quickly and conveniently.

2. In-house capabilities: For brands with more extensive 3D rendering requirements, building up their own 3D or CGI capabilities can be a strategic decision. This enables better control over the process and faster response times to market changes. The exchange with external service providers is significantly improved.

3. Understanding workflows: A basic understanding of the workflows of external service providers and their ability to adapt to the company's processes are important. Process steps such as modeling, shading, staging and rendering, including appropriate approval mechanisms with stakeholders, are the basis.

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