One of the more critical steps during produce design is product visualization.  While critical, many people do not fully understand what product visualization is, or why it plays such a critical role in produce design and creation.

Product visualization involves visualization software technology for the viewing and manipulation of 3D models, technical drawing and other related documentation of manufactured components and large assemblies of products.  What this accomplishes is to allow the end user to have a visual representation of the product they are designing instead of simply relying on imagination. Product visualization can include:

  • Product modeling
  • Product illustration
  • Animation
  • Prototype design analysis
  • Manipulation of 3D models
  • Technical drawings
  • Design documentation

Typically done with software, this functionality also aids with product simulation.

So why is product visualization so important to companies and why do they need it?  Whether a company is attempting product design on their own, or leveraging the services of experienced design engineers, the importance of creating a mutual understanding of the product design, especially during the concept ideation phase of a project, can save significant time and expense by avoiding disconnects and misunderstandings regarding the products design, functionality or purpose.

As mentioned previously, product visualization can be done in several ways, including 3D renderings, 2D design drawings, photo realistic renderings and even by video. Each options serves a specific purpose or is useful for different audiences.  If a company is in need of showing some kind of visualization of a product during the concept stage in order to attract investors, photo realistic renderings will likely suffice for this requirement. If product visualization is needed for patent requests, manufacturing prints or assembly drawings, a 2D version will serve this purpose nicely.

Companies that are involved in any aspect of product design or product creation need to product visualization to accurately communicate the product they hope to create. For businesses focusing on products for consumer use, it’s critical to provide compelling visuals that will attract those customers or end users.  Other businesses may merely have an idea for a product, with no product design done to date.  What they may be seeking is to provide better insight on how a product will look to the benefit of their product engineers so they may better identify any potential flaws in the development process.  As you can imagine, identifying any potential areas of error can be a significant cost savings.

Product visualization can also assist in product analysis.  Before product visualization, the ability to estimate the performance of a product had to wait for the product, or a prototype of a product, to be created.  Now, with product visualization, design engineers can assess the performance before the product even exists!  Such assessment may lead to changes in design, better understanding of product performance, or could ultimately lead to the product never being manufactured if the assessment determines the functionality does not meet the expectation of the company. Imagine the time, energy and money saved by such efforts.

Overall, companies need product visualization to help move their product designs from concept to reality. They have the ability to present their design concepts to investors, can analyze the performance of a product without significant outlay of cash for product creation, can adequately identify what resources will be needed to create the product, and accurately communicate the functionality of the product for sales and marketing. It is an essential functionality in the product design process.

Morten Jensen
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