Bringing Hollywood to the Heartland: Why 3D Graphics Are Ideal for Ag

David Lazarenko

F For the better part of the last two decades, the production of high quality, near photo-realistic 3D imagery has generally been confined to large Hollywood studios and specialty digital FX companies. This was primarily due to the significant costs involved in building and/or acquiring the technology and the major investment in sourcing/developing the creative talent that brings it to life.

Thankfully, the rapid progression and commercialization of 3D technology, coupled with a well-educated and creative workforce, the production and acquisition of high quality, near photo-realistic 3D imagery has never been more available. And for ag, we think this creates an opportunity to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of your agrimarketing.

To stay ahead of the curve, Think Shift invested in 3D technologies like Cinema 4D and Redshift several years ago through our in-house video production department. Since that time, we have seen a steady increase in demand for 3D imagery amongst our ag clients primarily servicing the following four areas:

Capturing/creating objects that are extremely difficult or impossible to photograph.

Whether it’s the uptake of nutrients through a plant’s root system or the visualization of cellular decomposition caused by disease, the scientific nature of ag means that there are many objects, concepts and elements that simply can’t be photographed. Over the past two decades, the capturing of these items was generally left to illustrators with scientific backgrounds, and while this fulfilled the need, it did so in an expensive, time-consuming manner (i.e. making multiple revisions to illustrations was generally one of the most major challenges). Thankfully, 3D design software can create and edit these same images in a fraction of the time with greater ease, making it an ideal opportunity for ag organizations with a focus in:

  • Crop/Plant Nutrition
  • Crop Protection
  • Biologicals
  • Soil Science
  • AgTech

Capturing/creating objects that are very expensive to photograph (or continually photograph).

Whether it’s capturing an entire parts catalogue for an ag equipment manufacturer or applying design changes to a crop protection company’s entire suite of product packaging, 3D graphics provide the major benefit of ongoing editability. Unlike still photos, which can only be photoshopped to a certain extent before a new photo is required (i.e. making a label change on an herbicide container versus changing the handle on the container), 3D graphics allow for nearly endless customization and updating without the need to coordinate expensive photoshoots. This also allows us to manipulate the environment of the photograph including, the angle, lighting and the setting/location. In addition, as CAD files can be used as the basis for 3D graphics, companies are ensured 100% design accuracy. This ability to seamlessly create and edit a large catalogue/library of parts and product imagery makes 3D graphics ideal for ag organizations such as:

  • Large Equipment Manufacturers
  • Storage and Handling Manufacturers
  • Fertilizer and Crop Input Companies
  • Seed Companies
  • Animal Nutrition and Health Companies

Capturing/creating objects that require a greater level of immersion/interactivity.

Whether it be a 360-degree recreation of a new combine or a cross-section of a dairy cow’s urinary tract, 3D imagery can provide your intended audience with a more immersive and interactive experience than standard illustrations or photography. One need look no further than the automotive and consumer electronics industries to see great examples of how companies are using 3D design to provide their audiences with a near hands-on interactive experience with their products and services. In ag, this makes 3D ideal for applications such as:

  • Showcasing complex equipment
  • Explaining abstract/complicated concepts
  • Providing 360-degree viewpoints of single or multiple images
  • Capturing layered and/or multidimensional elements

Capturing/visualizing a physical production.

Whether it’s a new tradeshow booth or an outdoor crop tour, 3D imagery allows for the creation and visualization of physical spaces and prototypes before construction begins. This ability to “visualize the unknown” has long been used by home builders to help guide their customers through the decision-making process and is now available to ag companies looking to optimize traffic flow, generate excitement and gain approvals for the creation of large, costly physical productions (where post-build revisions can be disastrous). As such, 3D design’s ability to visualize large-scale productions makes it ideal for ag companies managing:

  • Tradeshow displays
  • Outdoor plot/crop tours
  • Interactive exhibits
  • Retail environments
  • Field or location signage
  • Vehicle decaling/detailing

While these have been identified as the most likely 3D design applications, we continue to see a steady stream of new and emerging applications throughout the ag industry. As such, we believe that 3D graphics will become the new standard and a mainstay for all ag organizations in the near future.

To discuss how 3D can help improve the effectiveness and efficiency of your agrimarketing efforts, contact us here.

About the Writer:

David Lazarenko – Partner and Chief Growth Officer

David has spent more than 20 years leading strategy and marketing efforts in agri-business. As Chief Growth Officer at Think Shift, he has led successful brand and product launches, re-branding and brand alignment initiatives, sales campaigns, and corporate responsibility campaigns for some of agriculture’s most successful corporations, including ADAMA, Bayer, Cargill, Monsanto, Trimble Agriculture and Westeel. David’s commitment to agriculture and thought leadership in marketing was recognized with his award as the Canadian Agri-Marketing Association’s 2018 Agri-Marketer of the Year.


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