Turn CAD Models into 3D-Animated Product Videos

HiLo Media recently joined forces with Apogii, a marketing firm, to create an engaging 3D design for a product demo video. The product showcased was the SanDisk Extreme Pro portable SSD drive. The final video is presented above.

The initial challenge was transforming a CAD model, a necessary but basic tool in product development, into an exciting visual experience. This transformation is akin to creating "something" out of "nothing".

What is CAD Animation?

CAD, or Computer Aided Design, creates physical models of products that can be built and animated. These CAD animations are a fantastic method to visually communicate product ideas to clients, partners, or even friends. Furthermore, they are indispensable in the production of physical goods.

Our Creative Workflow for CAD Animations

After some inventive brainstorming, we developed the following workflow:

1. Collaborating with CAD Engineers

CAD models are typically used for production purposes, so they often lack the realism required for compelling 3D design. To enhance the realism, we worked closely with design engineers. Using real-world objects and production photos as references, we added realistic textures like metal, plastic, rubber, etc. The texturing process was carried out using Cinema4D, a 3D animation software from Maxon.

2. Storyboarding a Concept

We partnered with Apogii and SanDisk to devise a concept for the video, focusing on a specific look and feel. The idea was to center the drama around the hard drive, show the model in an "exploded" view to reveal all its interior parts, and depict the 3D model in real-world scenarios. This helped the viewer understand both its applications and its actual scale.

3. Lighting, Animating, and Rendering 3D Scenes

We used a combination of Maxon Cinema4D and Adobe After Effects to create captivating scenes with dynamic lighting and camera movements, which enhanced the drama of the product video. The 3D model, being highly intricate with thousands of internal parts, required both a local render farm and occasional offloading to a cloud-based render farm to expedite the complex rendering process.

4. Finishing the Project with Impactful Music and Supporting Text

Our HiLo Media video editing team assembled the final 3D renders and edited a dramatic, high-energy video. The video incorporated overlay text to effectively communicate marketing purposes and ideas outlined in the script.

The outcome was a captivating product overview video that showcased the compact size of the hard drive and all its primary features and specifications. We indeed created 'something' quite impactful out of 'nothing'!

CAD Model Animation FAQ

How can CAD animations improve product marketing?

CAD animations can significantly enhance product marketing efforts. They provide a realistic, dynamic representation of a product, enabling potential customers to understand its features, functionality, and benefits in a visually compelling manner. This helps to foster a deeper connection with the product, which can ultimately drive sales and increase customer satisfaction.

What is the role of CAD models in product development?

CAD models play a crucial role in product development. They offer a detailed, accurate representation of a product, enabling designers and engineers to visualize, analyze, and refine the product before it's manufactured. This can save time, reduce costs, and improve product quality.

How does 3D design contribute to product demo videos?

3D design can greatly enhance the effectiveness of product demo videos. By creating a realistic, three-dimensional representation of a product, 3D design allows viewers to understand the product's features and benefits in a more immersive, engaging way. This can help to increase viewer interest and engagement, boosting the video's marketing effectiveness.

How can CAD animations be used for marketing purposes?

CAD animations can be used in a variety of marketing contexts, from product demo videos and advertisements to online product listings and virtual showrooms. They can provide a dynamic, engaging way to showcase a product's features, benefits, and uses, helping to attract and retain customer interest.

What is the process of turning CAD models into CAD animations?

The process of turning CAD models into CAD animations involves several steps. First, the CAD model is imported into a 3D animation software. Then, textures and colors are applied to make the model look more realistic. After that, the model is rigged and animated, and the scene is lit and rendered. Finally, the animation is edited and polished, ready for use in marketing materials.

Why use CAD animations instead of traditional product photos?

While traditional product photos can provide a static view of a product, CAD animations offer a dynamic, interactive representation. This can help to showcase the product's features and uses in a more engaging, immersive way, helping to attract and retain customer interest and increase sales.

How does lighting and animating enhance the realism of CAD animations?

Lighting and animating are key elements of creating realistic CAD animations. Proper lighting can enhance the model's textures and colors, making it look more lifelike. Animation, on the other hand, can help to demonstrate the product's functionality and uses, providing a more engaging, informative viewer experience.

Can CAD animations be used to demonstrate the internal workings of a product?

Yes, CAD animations can be used to show the internal workings of a product. This can be particularly useful for complex products with many internal parts, as it allows viewers to understand how the product works and what makes it unique.

What tools are used in creating CAD animations?

Several tools can be used in creating CAD animations, including 3D animation software like Maxon Cinema4D and Adobe After Effects. These tools allow designers to import CAD models, apply textures and colors, rig and animate the models, and light and render the scenes.

How is music and text used to enhance CAD animations for marketing?

Music and text can greatly enhance CAD animations for marketing purposes. Music can help to set the mood and engage viewers' emotions, while text can provide important information about the product's features, benefits, and uses. Together, they can help to create a more engaging, informative, and effective marketing video.