Turn CAD Models into 3D-Animated Product Videos

HiLo Media recently collaborated with marketing firm Apogii on a 3D-Animated Product Demo Video for the SanDisk Extreme Pro portable SSD drive. You can see the finished video above.

Initially the challenge was to create "something" out of "nothing", in this case, not nothing, but a CAD model of the product used for production.

What is a CAD model?

CAD, which stands for Computer-Aided-Designs, are the physical representations of the product that can be built and animated. They are a great way to visually communicate a product idea to clients, partners, or even friends. They are also used to build physical products.

After some creative brainstorming, the following workflow appeared:

Collaborate with a CAD engineer to properly set up and texture the 3D model

A CAD model generally is used for production, so it doesn't look very realistic for a 3D animation. We collaborate with the design engineer, using real-world objects and production photos to add realistic textures (think metal, plastic, rubber, etc) using 3D animation software (in our case, Cinema4D from Maxon).

Storyboard a concept with Apogii and SanDisk to come up with a look and feel for the video

The concept was to create a drama around the hard drive, including showing the model "exploded" with all its interior parts, plus show the 3D model in real-world situations to help the viewer understand both its uses and its actual scale.

Light, Animate, and render 3D scenes

Using both Maxon Cinema4D and Adobe After Effects, we created a scene with lighting and camera moves to really sell the drama of the product video. The 3D model itself is a very intricate model with thousands of internal pieces, so we'd use a mixture of a local render farm and occasionally would offline some rendering to a dedicated render farm in the cloud to speed up the workflow of the complex scenes.

Finish the project with exciting music and supporting text

Our HiLo Media video editor team pieced together the final 3d renders and edited a dramatic, high-energy video with overlayed text to communicate the marketing ideas written in the script.

In the end, the finished video was an exciting product overview that showed off the small size of the hard drive and all the main features and specifications. 

Something out of Nothing indeed!