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How can CGI and 3D rendering reduce a company’s carbon footprint?

How can CGI and 3D rendering reduce a company’s carbon footprint?

Companies and businesses spend precious time, resources and energy trying to market their products and services through traditional methods. Creating physical prototypes, product photography and printing marketing images to be distributed are just some of those techniques which have so far stood the test of time.

However, as technology advances, companies are finding alternative ways to showcase their products and services more effectively and sustainably, such as CGI and 3D rendering. But how can CGI and 3D rendering help lower a company’s carbon footprint? Let’s look more closely at the ways this digital product design and visualisation is revolutionising how companies market their materials.

What are CGI and 3D rendering?

If you are a fan of movies then you will probably have heard the term CGI before. The term stands for computer-generated imagery and it requires computer software to create visual effects. Using digital technology, CGI specialists create and manipulate visual content such as images and video. In product design and visualisation, CGI is used to create photorealistic versions of products or prototypes in either still-form or as an animation.

3D rendering is a similar process but it is the act of creating a two-dimensional image from a 3D virtual model. You may think of it as taking a digital photograph of a 3D virtual object however it is particularly effective for placing the 2D image into an environment to help designers and engineers see how the final product looks in the real world.


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Fewer prototypes

Moving onto how CGI and 3D rendering can reduce a company’s carbon footprint and the first port of call is where many products are born; the prototype stage. Rather than having to make multiple versions of a physical prototype, many companies can now use CGI to create photorealistic ones.

This comes with the environmentally beneficial ability to fine-tune and tweak a prototype virtually rather than having to discard physical products and start again. Besides how wasteful they can be, in many cases, physical prototyping isn’t a cheap endeavour, especially where multiple versions of the same product are concerned.

But, if a company only needs to make one prototype and then use CGI to change the colour rather than producing another 10 for the same promotional images it can substantially reduce its environmental impact. In truth, some companies could avoid even making one prototype for marketing image purposes through CGI and 3D rendering if they so wished.

Reduced transporting of goods for promotional activities

Whether prototypes or the finished article, once a company has created a product it’s important to promote it effectively to encourage sales. Rather than shipping physical versions of their products to various locations for promotional photography, 3D models and CGI versions can be used instead. This can reduce a company’s carbon footprint in several ways.

Firstly, transportation of the products from one photo shoot to another is eliminated, saving resources and reducing emissions from the transit time. Secondly, converting to creating your visual marketing through digital means ensures that there is no need to cart the products back and forth if reshoots are required.

While this may be essential for traditional photographic marketing, with CGI and 3D rendering the product can be altered and edited until your heart’s content. Finally, with little to no prototypes created, there is no need to make space for them in a warehouse or storage facility.

Meeting customer expectations to reduce returns

A 2020 study discovered that 64% of product returns were because the item didn’t match its description. This just goes to show how important it is that brands and retailers set customer expectations as best as possible. CGI and 3D rendering can help meet customer expectations as they can show a product off in photorealism from 360-degree angles.

Customers will be able to see from your virtually generated images exactly what they are buying, reducing the return rate. This is important for reducing your carbon footprint as a business because sending products back and forth frequently quickly adds to your emissions total.

Research by sustainable returns company Optoro discovered that returns generate 15 million metric tonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Helping to reduce your company’s returns through effective 3D modelling can help to lessen the impact of this common practice.

Reduce, reuse, recycle

An important principle for reducing our environmental impact is to reduce, reuse and recycle wherever possible, focusing on a circular economy. Businesses can become more circular by aiming to reduce their waste through design. This principle is particularly effective where virtual image generation is concerned.

Consider a bathroom or interior designer and the number of resources they can spend installing their latest trends in a home or showroom. The bathroom designer might only have space for one set on their premises and once their promotional photographs are complete they have to rip out one bathroom and install another. This is a time-consuming process and whether it’s one bathroom set or several, they will still be frequently taken out and replaced by newer versions for promotional photography.

Building photorealistic digital models stops wasting furniture, tiles and equipment as everything can be replaced virtually rather than physically. In a digital space you can swap out everything and make certain aspects of the room larger, brighter or a completely different shape to show off your products even better.

Do CGI and 3D rendering offer a competitive advantage?

This form of visual product design helps companies lower their carbon footprint through various avenues but it can also be commercially beneficial to adopt CGI and 3D rendering as part of your operations. Customers are more sensitive to a company’s environmental impact and if you can show you are reducing your impact across the board then it really is something to shout about and enhance your brand’s reputation.

Producing images virtually allows you to lower your production costs and streamline the process of getting products to market. It is commonly a faster process than some traditional visualisation methods that use physical prototypes, with in-house or freelance teams completing renders and 3D models able to complete projects rapidly. With the rise in e-commerce competition, speed is becoming more and more important.

by Annie Button

Author Image
Janet Richardson

Janet is an accomplished director and writer at The Renewable Energy Hub. Janet has worked at a senior level at a number of publishing companies and is an authority on renewable energy topics. Janet is passionate about sustainable living and renewable energy solutions, dedicated to promoting eco-friendly practices and creating a vibrant community of eco-conscious individuals and businesses seeking sustainable energy solutions.


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