Firstly we need to answer: What is a Packshot?

A packshot is an image or photo of a product which displays its packaging and labelling in a realistic way. Its a visual tool used in the process of marketing and advertising the product in printed and screen formats.

Why is it called a 3D Packshot?

Packshots are traditionally product photos taken by product photographers with high spec cameras and lighting.

But the capabilities of 3D software has increased significantly and photographers as well as packaging designers have managed to harnace the accuracy, speed and versatility of this technology to create packshots that are as realistic and even more accurate without the need of a photography studio and expensive equipment.

Benefits of 3D Packshots VS Product Photography

There are many benefits of using 3D software over traditional product photography for both the creator and the client.

Accuracy

3D: Clients can expect close to 100% accuracy because 3D software allows designers to hone in on detail. This results in clean packshots with zero scuffs.

Photography: Detail is usually dependent on sample supplied with some container and label surfaces damaged. Photographers need to spend time retouching to cover up the inaccuracies of the photo.

Timeline

3D: We know that receiving a high quality, advertising ready packshots is vital to product marketing success and that is where 3D rendering has one distinct advantage. Packshots can be created early on in the design phase of a product and a final 3D visual of the product can be available within 24 hours of label artwork approval.

Photography: Photographers must wait for labels or packaging to be printed and delivered before they can start snapping. The time gap between label artwork approval and approved product photograpy can be weeks if not months. A huge time waster for Brand and Marketing Managers.

Flexibility

3D: 3D software is extremely advanced compare to camera technology and software such as Photoshop. The amount of variations a 3D designer can produce are endless. Lighting, Materials & Textures can all be tweaked to a high degree at the click of a button to enhance the visual appeal of packshots. Changes from clients can usually be tweaked quickly and effortlessly.

Photography: Physical Camera and Lighting is limited in many ways and can take several iterations to get the perfect setup. It really takes an highly experienced photographer to get the perfect shot. And when the client reverts with changes such as lighting the setup usually needs to be redone.

Speed

3D: Although creating 3D product renders can take time especially in the initial setup once the prototype is complete product range variants eg. New flavours using the same size pack can be duplicated with ease and accuracy, then rendered and delivered in a matter of hours.

Photography: Sure, a photographer can take photos of variants and complete in a similar time frame, but not if the range variants are ordered on a different date. Firstly they need to wait for the products to be delivered. Then its back to square one, adjusting the equipment configuration to try match the exact lighting as before. Not that simple. Time consuming. Frustrating.

Consistency

3D: Range variant packshots generated by software can be set up to be 100% consitent with each other all areas such as camera angle, lighting, colour, quality etc. This provides a predictable outcome and zero time spent in post-processing, a technique used by photographers to touch up photos to compensate for the lack of consistency between each photo.

Photography: Photographic packshots must get attention before they are sent to client and still they will not be 100% consistent. Common tasks which suck up time are cutting out the background, covering up scractches on labels, adjusting exposure, fiddling with colour not to mention the headache of trying to match to a job done in the past, none of which is necessary with 3D software.