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Should You Use 3D or Photo?

by | May 7, 2019

When deciding how to unveil and market a new product, business owners are a lot like Hollywood directors and producers shooting a movie. Business owners must decide which medium is the best way to showcase their product, just like directors must decide how to shoot certain scenes. In the past, if a scene was set in the desert, the crew had to travel to the desert. Thanks to advances in CGI and 3D technology, any studio with a greenscreen can be made to look like the desert. Similar advances in 3D rendering technology have allowed for the same kind of growth in marketing.

When advertising your new product, should you travel to the proverbial desert and use real photographs to advertise? Or are 3D renders (aka the studio and the greenscreen) your best bet? HighRock lays out the case for both:

The Case for 3D Renders:

    • Cost: 3D renders are often more affordable than having professional photos done. For people like real estate developers, if you have the architectural files and plans completed, 3D artists can use those to create graphics of your development quickly and cost-effectively. Each year, advances in 3D technology allow it to become more accessible and affordable to the public.
    • Timing: 3D technology allows you to market your product before it’s finished. Using 3D renders, you can get investors or buyers on board before product development is completed. Big advances in the video game world are now a part of the 3D rendering world. Just like your teenage son can wander the digital streets chasing bad guys, your potential future tenants can wander the halls of your new building before it’s finished. 3D renders are also a useful tool for small products; HighRock created 3D renders for projects like Sagamore Distillery’s bottle design and Polk Audio’s headphone design before they were completed so that they could get a head start on their marketing campaign.


  • Customization: The possibilities for 3D renderings are impressive. Since 3D renders are typically created before your project is done, you can customize and edit features that you might not be able to with photo. For instance, if you’re developing a business park, 3D technology allows you to finalize landscaping and interior design elements right away, rather than waiting for project completion. For many projects, HighRock has created renders for spaces that were only hypothetical; our renders for proposed Amazon HQ2s were generated to create buy-in.

  • Safety: 3D can easily allow you to demonstrate features that are hard to capture in photo. For instance, if you’re marketing a product that protects from injury in a dangerous situation (e.g. a car with safety features), a 3D render is a much safer, more thorough, and less expensive way to demonstrate those features than actually crashing a car.

The Case for Photographs:

  • Personalization: Photographs are the best way for you to capture actual people interacting with your product. While people can be rendered in 3D, there’s nothing quite like actually using a real person to market your product. Additionally, this leaves the door open for you to use a specific person, like a celebrity, in your marketing campaign.
  • Authenticity: Photo will always be the best option once your project is finished. People recognize the authenticity of a good photograph and knowing exactly what they’re looking at and what they can expect will build customers’ trust. Photos present a polished look at a final product.
  • Cost: If you’re budgeting for your marketing campaign, allow for 3D renders to be made of your product during development stage. This will save you money up front and leaves money for a good photographer once your project has been completed. You can have the best of both worlds!

Should You Use 3D or Photo?

Depending on what stage of product development you’re in, you could use both 3D renderings and professional photos for the best results in your marketing campaign. Each one has its own place for specific purposes and can be used in an effective campaign.

If you’re in the midst of product development and want to start strategizing your marketing plan, contact the team at HighRock for help with strategic marketing and building a strong 3D campaign.

About the Author: Pieter Bickford, Marketing Executive, HighRock

The first thing that is obvious about Pieter is the unique spelling of his name. Though his parents have never really given a straight answer for the extra vowel, the most popular explanation is he was named after a character in the novel “Crime & Punishment.” Perhaps taking the cue from those literary roots, Pieter spent much of his career in journalism, and today his favorite part of being a Marketing Executive is discovering the stories behind a company or organization. Specializing in Cinema Services was a natural fit, given his love of story and all things entertaining.

Pieter’s involvement in the community is deep, having worked with a number of nonprofits throughout the years and currently serving on the Washington County Board of Education. His perfect day outside of HighRock would be sleeping in, going to brunch, and seeing a movie (at Leitersburg Cinemas, of course). He and his wife Stephanie are empty nesters, while their daughter is exploring college life outside of Boston.

HighRock is a Capitol Communicator sponsor.

About the Author

This post is authored by a Capitol Communicator native advertising sponsor.


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