3D Meets Marketing —Sherburne
THIS YEAR’S Graph Expo was exciting and fun, and it was great to see so much energy after the last several years of difficult times for the industry.
One of the highlights for me was the increasing number of 3D applications that were being shown. You might ask: What does that have to do with marketing? I saw a lot of opportunity with these applications to allow differentiation of your company, which is key to an effective marketing strategy.
3D is primarily being used in packaging. One great example was a pair of applications from EskoArtwork—DeskPack 3d-X, a plug-in for Adobe Illustrator, and Visualizer, which the company got with its acquisition of StoneCube. Both are slick solutions that allow designers to more effectively design dimensional packaging. But what was intriguing to me was their ability to also streamline the proofing process.
For example, once the designer has finished the design using DeskPack 3d-X and Illustrator, the individual can make a 3D PDF. This means that the PDF can be sent for review to the customer who, with the free Acrobat Reader (Version 6.0 or above), can actually manipulate the packaging image in 3D to see all sides of the package.
Taking it to the next level, with different ambient light conditions applied to the design via Visualizer, the designer can make a movie of the final design in specific lighting conditions that can either be manual or auto-run. This takes virtual proofing to a new level, and is a terrific example of digital technologies being leveraged to improve productivity and reduce cost and cycle time. Esko has an online demo at www.Esko.com, under the Software tab.
DALiM was showing a technology demo of a new 3D capability for MiSTRAL, the company’s project management and job tracking system. Once a magazine or catalog has been laid out using MiSTRAL, it can be converted into a 3D image of the publication for more realistic proofing. The image embeds all essential metadata, so the client can check color values and other aspects during the proofing process. This actually puts the publication in e-zine format.
So, in addition to acting as a dynamic proofing mechanism, it is also an independent format for publishing magazines in electronic form. The electronic publication can include embedded links and other interactive features. And, rather than being generated by a third party like Zinio or others, it is a new service that you, as the print service provider, can offer.
For anyone into publication production, this is well worth looking into. And, it is a great way to get unique value out of the growing custom publication market. Although e-zines have not been nearly as successful as initially projected, this application combines business value (i.e., the enhanced proofing ability) with consumer value (a completely customized interactive publication) in a unique manner that is likely to generate new revenue streams for both the printer and the publisher. The company expects to place this in beta in the first quarter of 2008.
FFEI launched RealVue 3D, positioned as 3D visual simulation software for print media, which was created to streamline the communication and approval process between printers and their clients. With simple operation, RealVue 3D gives printers, creatives and marketers a way to design, present and approve jobs via a unique 3D document viewer. I saw this application in the Fuji booth last year as a technology demo, and it has since been spun off to FFEI. The output from RealVue 3D is a platform-independent Java file that allows any computer user to display the print document, turn the pages, rotate the viewing angle and zoom into detail. In addition, the system enables viewing conditions and print characteristics to be changed, including stock weight, finish and texture. Accurate simulation of these print features allows their impact to be evaluated before any expenditure on print production.
These are just three examples of new 3D applications that could really revolutionize the way you interact with customers, as well as open up new application opportunities. As you plan for 2008, take a look at the 3D opportunity to see if you can find a fit.
Whether it is streamlining the proofing process, using simulation to offer clients a visualization of different options, delivering custom publications in new and different ways, or simply adding some sizzle to your customer interactions, take a look at how you can incorporate 3D into your work process to differentiate yourself and open the door to new products, services and revenue streams. You don’t have to be producing dimensional packaging to benefit! PI
About the Author
Cary Sherburne is a well-known journalist, author and strategic marketing consultant working primarily with the printing and publishing industry. She is a frequent speaker at industry events, a regular contributor to industry publications and has written three books, which are available for purchase through the Bookstore section on Printing Impressions’ Website (www.piworld.com). Sherburne can be reached at Cary@SherburneAssociates.com.