360 spin

A 360 spin (also called a 360º spin, a 360º image, 360-degree spin, or a 360 rotation) is a type of product photography that offers a 360-degree view of a product on a screen. 360 spins can be created in two ways:

  1. Taking dozens of still photos of a product, then digitally stitching them together to create a 360º image that viewers can “spin” with a mouse or a finger.
  2. Using software to generate a 360º view of a product from a 3D file or other information, also “spinnable” by viewers.

360 spins have been shown to increase conversion rates by up to 40 percent and decrease product return rates by up to 80 percent.

Related:

360º image

See “360 spin.”

3D commerce

Buying and selling supported or enabled by 3D technology. Examples:

  • Ecommerce websites with interactive 3D or 360º images
  • Web AR and AR applications for mobile
  • Virtual reality applications

3D commerce is a growing force in today’s visual economy. Ecommerce brands can incorporate 3D commerce into their operations by adding 3D elements to their existing lead gen, sales, marketing, or product offerings.

Related:

3D configurator

A website application that lets visitors visualize real-time product customizations in 3D. Adding a 3D configurator to a product page can help customers visualize what their customizations will look like as they go, which can reduce the likelihood of returns. On the back end, 3D configurator software enables business users to define and adjust a product’s customizable elements to create an immersive online shopping experience.

Related:

3D models

A two-dimensional representation of a 3D object’s shape. 3D models are one part of 3D assets, which are used to create 3D renderings and photorealistic two-dimensional images. To move from a pure shape to lifelike representation, other elements are added to a 3D model:

  • Materials, which are the colors added
  • Texture, which simulates the real-life texture of an object
  • Lighting, which simulates real-life lighting and gives the object a sense of place

Together, these components of 3D assets contribute to its “weight,” which affects its performance. “Heavier” assets tend to perform more slowly (like larger files), while “lighter” objects tend to offer quicker performance.

Related: A simple guide to high performing 3D models for e-commerce

3D rendering

The process of using digital 3D models to generate photorealistic two-dimensional images. Typically accomplished with software, the process involves…

  • Generating a 3D model of the object or scene being rendered.
  • Using algorithms to simulate lighting.
  • Mapping texture and color over the 3D scene.
  • Converting the information to a high-quality two-dimensional image (this is the actual “rendering” part of the process).
  • Refining to make sure the image meets expectations.

Because 3D rendering is usually more cost-effective than capturing two-dimensional images or creating models, it’s becoming more common in architecture and automotive design, product prototyping, medical imaging, aeronautics, and ecommerce.

Related: What Is 3D Rendering?

Augmented reality

Technology that makes it possible to view interactive 3D over images captured by a smartphone or other device. Pokémon Go took AR mainstream in 2016; today, ecommerce brands are using the technology to let shoppers visualize larger items like furniture and appliances in their homes or offices.

Related:

Configuration

An extreme way of modifying products that lets customers request “off menu” modifications not offered to the general public. Contrast with customization, which lets customers choose from a fixed set of modifications, and personalization, which lets customers create unique, one-off creations. Configuration is typically reserved for B2B applications and experienced customers with deep product understanding.

Related: Personalization, Customization, Configuration: An Intro for Ecommerce Marketers

Customization

A way of modifying products that lets customers choose from a limited set of modifications, such as color and add-on attributes. Contrast with configuration, which involves specialized modifications, and personalization, which lets customers create unique, one-off creations. Customization is frequently used for clothing, furniture, and accessories.

Related: Personalization, Customization, Configuration: An Intro for Ecommerce Marketers

Ecommerce image

A visual asset used to depict a product in online commerce. Also called “product images” or “ecommerce photos,” these visual components enable online shoppers to see what they are ordering before they actually receive it. Once created solely via traditional photography, today photorealistic two-dimensional ecommerce images can be created with software. As consumers are exposed to more visual content, expectations for ecommerce images have increased: today’s shoppers expect eight images of each product offered on a website. Interactive 3D, 360º images, and lifestyle images are all types of ecommerce images.

Related:

Ecommerce photography

Photography directly in the service of selling online. Typically, ecommerce photography consists of still product photos and lifestyle photos; increasingly, it includes videos, 360º images, interactive 3D, and other rich media assets. As internet users are exposed to ever more visual content, they expect increasing quality and quantity of ecommerce photography.

Related:

FBX

A popular 3D data interchange format used by 3D editors and game engines, created as the native file format for Kaydara’s Filmbox motion capture tool. The file name and extension (.fbx) derive from the word “Filmbox.” 

FBX is just one of many file formats that 3D artists can use to create 3D models and renderings. Compared with other formats, its benefits include wide feature support, separate position (for UV layouts and normal topology), speed and efficiency (thanks to its binary format), good compatibility, and a powerful SDK.

The drawbacks of FBX include the fact that it is a closed format (and so can’t be used in open source projects or on web browsers, for instance); that its wide feature support means it can be difficult to maintain; and that it uses legacy materials and legacy lighting.

Related:

glTF

GL transmission format (glTF) is a royalty-free, open-source 3D file type, used to develop and transmit 3D files and scenes in applications. Developed for fast loading, compact file size, run-time independence, and complete 3D scene representation, glTF has been available to the public since 2015. It has proven a favorite among those working in web-focused JavaScript frameworks and those with all-online operations, including Google and Facebook.

Because glTF was developed specifically to perform well in online settings, it’s a more efficient file format than other 3D file options.

Related:

Interactive 3D

A way of virtually representing objects in three dimensions that lets viewers manipulate the image of the object by rotating, zooming, changing colors, and modifying features. In ecommerce, interactive 3D is typically used as a supplement to traditional ecommerce photography to illustrate how configurable, customizable, and personalizable items will look when modified.

Online, interactive 3D is made possible by embedding a 3D viewer that translates 3D files into images recognizable to customers.

Related: Which products are best suited for interactive 3D?

Lifestyle photography

Photography that shows retail products in the context in which they’re intended to be used. In ecommerce, lifestyle photography often accompanies product photography to show scale, suggest use cases, and communicate brand identity.

Related:

OBJ

3D file format so named for its purpose of storing 3D objects. OBJ was developed for the Advanced Visualizer 3D modeling package, which was prominent in the 1980s. While that package is now obsolete, parts of its code migrated into its successor, the Maya 3D editing suite.

Relative to other 3D file types, OBJ is considered easy to read and write. It is also known as a good choice for high-quality modeling tools, as it can easily store position, UV, and normal data with different topology.

The drawbacks of OBJ include space inefficiency, longer processing times required for reading and writing, and the fact that it hasn’t been updated since its creation in the 1980s, meaning it does not have a meaningful future in the world of 3D.

Related: OBJ 3D File Format: When Should You Use It?

Personalization

A way of modifying products that lets customers create unique, one-of-a-kind versions. Adding an embroidered monogram to a backpack or a custom engraving to a watch are examples of personalization. Contrast with customization, which lets customers modify products by choosing from a set list of features, and configuration, which lets customers select “off-menu” customization.

Items that tend to work well with personalization include jewelry, clothing, and accessories.

Related: Personalization, Customization, Configuration: An Intro for Ecommerce Marketers

Photorealistic 2D

Still, two-dimensional imagery created with the use of software that has the appearance of being captured with a camera. Photorealistic 2D images are often used as a cost-efficient alternative to traditional product photography. Because they can be generated by software interpreting a 3D file, photorealistic 2D images tend to be far less expensive than images captured during a traditional photo shoot; they can also be generated more quickly.

Related: Threekit's Virtual Photographer

3

360 spin

A 360 spin (also called a 360º spin, a 360º image, 360-degree spin, or a 360 rotation) is a type of product photography that offers a 360-degree view of a product on a screen. 360 spins can be created in two ways:

  1. Taking dozens of still photos of a product, then digitally stitching them together to create a 360º image that viewers can “spin” with a mouse or a finger.
  2. Using software to generate a 360º view of a product from a 3D file or other information, also “spinnable” by viewers.

360 spins have been shown to increase conversion rates by up to 40 percent and decrease product return rates by up to 80 percent.

Related:

360º image

See “360 spin.”

3D commerce

Buying and selling supported or enabled by 3D technology. Examples:

  • Ecommerce websites with interactive 3D or 360º images
  • Web AR and AR applications for mobile
  • Virtual reality applications

3D commerce is a growing force in today’s visual economy. Ecommerce brands can incorporate 3D commerce into their operations by adding 3D elements to their existing lead gen, sales, marketing, or product offerings.

Related:

3D configurator

A website application that lets visitors visualize real-time product customizations in 3D. Adding a 3D configurator to a product page can help customers visualize what their customizations will look like as they go, which can reduce the likelihood of returns. On the back end, 3D configurator software enables business users to define and adjust a product’s customizable elements to create an immersive online shopping experience.

Related:

3D models

A two-dimensional representation of a 3D object’s shape. 3D models are one part of 3D assets, which are used to create 3D renderings and photorealistic two-dimensional images. To move from a pure shape to lifelike representation, other elements are added to a 3D model:

  • Materials, which are the colors added
  • Texture, which simulates the real-life texture of an object
  • Lighting, which simulates real-life lighting and gives the object a sense of place

Together, these components of 3D assets contribute to its “weight,” which affects its performance. “Heavier” assets tend to perform more slowly (like larger files), while “lighter” objects tend to offer quicker performance.

Related: A simple guide to high performing 3D models for e-commerce

3D rendering

The process of using digital 3D models to generate photorealistic two-dimensional images. Typically accomplished with software, the process involves…

  • Generating a 3D model of the object or scene being rendered.
  • Using algorithms to simulate lighting.
  • Mapping texture and color over the 3D scene.
  • Converting the information to a high-quality two-dimensional image (this is the actual “rendering” part of the process).
  • Refining to make sure the image meets expectations.

Because 3D rendering is usually more cost-effective than capturing two-dimensional images or creating models, it’s becoming more common in architecture and automotive design, product prototyping, medical imaging, aeronautics, and ecommerce.

Related: What Is 3D Rendering?

A

Augmented reality

Technology that makes it possible to view interactive 3D over images captured by a smartphone or other device. Pokémon Go took AR mainstream in 2016; today, ecommerce brands are using the technology to let shoppers visualize larger items like furniture and appliances in their homes or offices.

Related:

C

Configuration

An extreme way of modifying products that lets customers request “off menu” modifications not offered to the general public. Contrast with customization, which lets customers choose from a fixed set of modifications, and personalization, which lets customers create unique, one-off creations. Configuration is typically reserved for B2B applications and experienced customers with deep product understanding.

Related: Personalization, Customization, Configuration: An Intro for Ecommerce Marketers

Customization

A way of modifying products that lets customers choose from a limited set of modifications, such as color and add-on attributes. Contrast with configuration, which involves specialized modifications, and personalization, which lets customers create unique, one-off creations. Customization is frequently used for clothing, furniture, and accessories.

Related: Personalization, Customization, Configuration: An Intro for Ecommerce Marketers

E

Ecommerce image

A visual asset used to depict a product in online commerce. Also called “product images” or “ecommerce photos,” these visual components enable online shoppers to see what they are ordering before they actually receive it. Once created solely via traditional photography, today photorealistic two-dimensional ecommerce images can be created with software. As consumers are exposed to more visual content, expectations for ecommerce images have increased: today’s shoppers expect eight images of each product offered on a website. Interactive 3D, 360º images, and lifestyle images are all types of ecommerce images.

Related:

Ecommerce photography

Photography directly in the service of selling online. Typically, ecommerce photography consists of still product photos and lifestyle photos; increasingly, it includes videos, 360º images, interactive 3D, and other rich media assets. As internet users are exposed to ever more visual content, they expect increasing quality and quantity of ecommerce photography.

Related:

F

FBX

A popular 3D data interchange format used by 3D editors and game engines, created as the native file format for Kaydara’s Filmbox motion capture tool. The file name and extension (.fbx) derive from the word “Filmbox.” 

FBX is just one of many file formats that 3D artists can use to create 3D models and renderings. Compared with other formats, its benefits include wide feature support, separate position (for UV layouts and normal topology), speed and efficiency (thanks to its binary format), good compatibility, and a powerful SDK.

The drawbacks of FBX include the fact that it is a closed format (and so can’t be used in open source projects or on web browsers, for instance); that its wide feature support means it can be difficult to maintain; and that it uses legacy materials and legacy lighting.

Related:

G

glTF

GL transmission format (glTF) is a royalty-free, open-source 3D file type, used to develop and transmit 3D files and scenes in applications. Developed for fast loading, compact file size, run-time independence, and complete 3D scene representation, glTF has been available to the public since 2015. It has proven a favorite among those working in web-focused JavaScript frameworks and those with all-online operations, including Google and Facebook.

Because glTF was developed specifically to perform well in online settings, it’s a more efficient file format than other 3D file options.

Related:

I

Interactive 3D

A way of virtually representing objects in three dimensions that lets viewers manipulate the image of the object by rotating, zooming, changing colors, and modifying features. In ecommerce, interactive 3D is typically used as a supplement to traditional ecommerce photography to illustrate how configurable, customizable, and personalizable items will look when modified.

Online, interactive 3D is made possible by embedding a 3D viewer that translates 3D files into images recognizable to customers.

Related: Which products are best suited for interactive 3D?

L

Lifestyle photography

Photography that shows retail products in the context in which they’re intended to be used. In ecommerce, lifestyle photography often accompanies product photography to show scale, suggest use cases, and communicate brand identity.

Related:

O

OBJ

3D file format so named for its purpose of storing 3D objects. OBJ was developed for the Advanced Visualizer 3D modeling package, which was prominent in the 1980s. While that package is now obsolete, parts of its code migrated into its successor, the Maya 3D editing suite.

Relative to other 3D file types, OBJ is considered easy to read and write. It is also known as a good choice for high-quality modeling tools, as it can easily store position, UV, and normal data with different topology.

The drawbacks of OBJ include space inefficiency, longer processing times required for reading and writing, and the fact that it hasn’t been updated since its creation in the 1980s, meaning it does not have a meaningful future in the world of 3D.

Related: OBJ 3D File Format: When Should You Use It?

P

Personalization

A way of modifying products that lets customers create unique, one-of-a-kind versions. Adding an embroidered monogram to a backpack or a custom engraving to a watch are examples of personalization. Contrast with customization, which lets customers modify products by choosing from a set list of features, and configuration, which lets customers select “off-menu” customization.

Items that tend to work well with personalization include jewelry, clothing, and accessories.

Related: Personalization, Customization, Configuration: An Intro for Ecommerce Marketers

Photorealistic 2D

Still, two-dimensional imagery created with the use of software that has the appearance of being captured with a camera. Photorealistic 2D images are often used as a cost-efficient alternative to traditional product photography. Because they can be generated by software interpreting a 3D file, photorealistic 2D images tend to be far less expensive than images captured during a traditional photo shoot; they can also be generated more quickly.

Related: Threekit's Virtual Photographer