The sector of hard packaging and consumer goods has for some time used digital tools, in design visualisation as well as at the manufacturing stage. But as the software used to design the packaging evolves, 3D tools are making an appearance in the overall design process at earlier and earlier stages.
3D tools can provide a great bump in efficiency at the design iteration stage. When an entire packaging design can be tweaked simply by adjusting a slider, for instance, and when that design can be accurately visualised in 3D, designers can communicate proposals clearly and effectively, in real time. As a result, iteration loops speed up immensely.
Iterating in 3D is also a more sustainable solution than conventional ways of working. Designers can iterate without resorting to costly, lengthy prototyping processes. There is no wasted time waiting for prototypes to be created and shipped — just as there is no wasted paper. Packaging designers can visualise dieline cuts and print effects like embossed images or logos entirely in 3D. The need for real-life samples is vastly reduced.
Moreover, as online retail and ecommerce become more and more prominent, a 3D-centered packaging design workflow goes hand in hand with an increasing need for visuals.
Designing colour and finishes for product packaging in 3D is remarkably simple, as every validated variation can be shared between departments as needed — the design and visualisation images can be shared between design, engineering, and marketing departments, for instance, from the moment a final design has been validated. There is no need to re-create something several times in several formats; information is transmitted unimpeded and can be used for purposes such as virtual photography, print advertising, online display, and animated commercials.
The Adobe Substance 3D toolset provides packaging and graphic designers with the complete creative freedom needed to work on packaging designs. Enterprise customers will be able to convert CAD (Computer-aided Design) data to create packaging designs, or use any common format into the Substance 3D toolset — including FBX, GBL, USDZ, and more. Similarly, you can create 2D designs in Adobe Illustrator, import and apply them as decals or patterns to your 3D model, and get outstanding results in real time thanks to interactive path tracing.
If you prefer to draw on existing resources, the Substance 3D asset library provides thousands of ready-to-use materials that you can directly import in any of the Substance 3D applications, allowing for quick iteration and visualisation on your packaging design. Use Substance 3D Stager to apply materials based on substrates (such as paper, plastic, or rubber) for realistic visualisations, and hit the render button to get that perfect shot.
Hyper-realistic 3D packaging renders
Testing out graphics in 3D is easy, and fast. It’s a matter of simply dragging and dropping materials, decals, and imported Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator files. Rapidly test different layouts and visualise your iterations in real time for a more intuitive design experience. Integrated UV export allows you to never lose track of the original dieline cuts and print requirements.
“The assets are completely on brand, and they look hyper-realistic. Anybody who looked at them wouldn’t be able to tell that they weren’t just shot using traditional photography” — Gail Cummings, Global Digital Design Lead, Ben & Jerry’s.
An intuitive material layering system
The use of PBR materials allows for photorealistic visualisation of any material: paper, plastic, rubber, metal, glass, and much more. The Substance 3D asset library provides a vast range of ready-to-use materials and presets that you can drag and drop onto your assets, or you can import 3D materials from any third-party source.
Alternatively, you can create your own materials. You can, for instance, use existing material scanners, such as those created by Vizoo or 3D Systems, to capture data from a material reference, and then use this data to construct your 3D material in Substance 3D Designer. You can use the material exactly as it is or modify it further, changing its components or adding completely new characteristics.
You can also use Substance 3D Sampler to create your own digital materials. Simply take a photo of your material sample and input the image into Sampler — the tool will convert it into a 3D material. You always have the ability to modify a material’s characteristics as needed, and layering these materials with additional effects is easy.
Test packaging with lighting and context
Substance 3D Stager allows you to simulate different lighting conditions to improve design and legibility. You can either import or capture lighting environments yourself, or import background images and use the Match Image feature to automatically match the lighting and perspective of those images to your 3D model. You can see your design in context and evaluate it as needed.
Are you interested in encouraging your organisation’s creative team to use Substance 3D? Get in contact with us to learn more.