In the past year, we’ve been working with our existing clients on a concept many refer to as CAD-to-AD. The concept is simple, leverage the existing SolidWorks CAD data many engineering-based companies already own, and use it to create photo-realistic imagery using 3D software and high-end rendering techniques.

The process is simple. Clients send us their CAD data with some minor optimization adjustments. We then convert that CAD data into a format our 3D software can use. We then make any necessary adjustments, such as add or modify the materials applied to surfaces. Once we’re happy with the materials and that all the CAD data converted correctly, we can pose the product and light it in the 3D environment, just as we would a photo-shoot.

With a few camera effects, and some minor post-production tweaking, we can produce photo-realistic rendered images that fool even a trained eye.

Final 3D Rendering

What are the benefits of using Engineering CAD data vs. taking traditional photos?

There are several reasons why the CAD-to-AD concept makes great sense. Especially for product imagery.

  • There’s no shipping costs to send the products and return them
  • There’s no clean-up of photographed images, no clipping paths to create
  • We can create imagery before a product is officially released, or even before it’s created
  • We have more flexibility for future use, no photos that have set lighting or camera angles

If the CAD data already exists, we’ve found that it takes just as long to convert the CAD files and convert them for use as it does to set up a photo shoot set. With the flexibility for future use, we’re finding that this process is not going away any time soon.