Why CGI is important for small and medium-sized businesses

By Alyssa
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by Tim Rau, Head of Experience Creation, 3DEXCITE

Computer Generated Imagery, or CGI, has long since transcended its role as a niche sales and marketing tool that only a select few can access or afford, and has became a powerhouse must-have weapon in today’s hyperconnected business landscape. Proof of its ubiquitous status can be found in many of the latest car advertisements, print imagery, and as the sole driving force for the latest immersive VR experiences.  CGI’s flexibility and capacity to scale across all digital devices and platforms gives it an edge that practical photo shoots and antiquated content creation methods cannot match. Case in point: while advertisements crafted with CGI can be continuously refined and improved because they originate from a digital source, photo shoots are more or less set in stone once the initial shoot takes place, aside from what Photoshop can accomplish, and are subject to costly reshoots if the product or advertising need changes.

Using the same technology that powers Hollywood’s superhero-laden, assault-on-the-senses blockbusters, CGI for sales and marketing is capable of realistically visualizing any concept or idea, no matter how far-fetched. In today’s economy, where some of the fastest growing businesses revolve around innovative software or service concepts, this is an extremely powerful mechanism. Many companies, especially small and medium-sized businesses, need to generate buzz and gain visibility before their products actually exist, in order to survive in a world dominated by big brands and multinational conglomerates that leverage massive marketing budgets to drown out their competitors. CGI not only allows businesses to generate marketing materials at an earlier stage of product development than has previously been possible, it also shortens the sales cycle, enabling small businesses and start-ups to get their products to market sooner. When fledgling organizations seek funding from interested venture capitalists, or crowdsource their operating budget from sites like Kickstarter, CGI provides them with essential promotional content that allows potential backers to visually understand the benefit of, and need for, their product or service.
Crafting sales and marketing collateral with CGI allows for minute segmentation of, and carefully orchestrated interaction with, a business’ target audience. For example, a marketing campaign launched on Facebook or Snapchat would interact with, and reach, audiences in vastly different capacities than a national TV advertisement would. The lesson is: content must be carefully curated to take advantage of the specific strengths of the platform it is being launched on. To antidote traditional content creation methods that quickly stagnate, CGI allows for trial and error analysis in multiple ways. Scenes can easily be tested and restructured; whereas, a photo shoot is oftentimes too expensive to reshoot, and its output is limited by time and budgetary constraints. Digital content offers marketing and advertising professionals many extra degrees of flexibility and freedom. Different viewing angles can be achieved with just a few mouse clicks. Product colors can be tried and tested just as easily. With CGI, the limitations of physical production are a thing of the past.

The most time-consuming aspect of producing quality CGI is conceptualizing a product or scene, and creating all creative assets from scratch. As a basic analogy, creating CGI is akin to building a LEGO® scene – the more digital bricks you have to start with, the quicker, easier and less expensive the process becomes. Today, many CGI assets, such as objects, materials, environments and animations have already been professionally generated, and are digitally available through a multitude of online libraries and marketplaces. Starting with a CGI workflow is easier, more affordable and creatively empowering than ever before. Simply locate the digital content and let the creatives – get creative.

By adopting a digital workflow for product design, and a CGI strategy for marketing, small companies with modest marketing budgets can vastly accelerate and improve the outcome of their often make-or-break campaigns. Options for this kind of speed and creative freedom were previously only available to companies with marketing budgets that were far out of reach for most organizations. Thanks to increasingly affordable and accessible technology, software platforms and services, small and medium-sized businesses now have access to the CGI content creation capabilities that allow them to confidently compete toe-to-toe with their deep-pocketed rivals.

Please contact 3DEXCITE for more information, let us help you accelerate your business.




Is the Age of Experience Design-driven or Science-driven?

By Alyssa
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By Philippe Laufer, CEO, CATIA, Dassault Systèmes

Mathematics, mechanics, electronics, systems, simulation—these are usually seen as concepts of science, not usually associated with “Art” or “Design”. Yet the Designer of a wireless Bluetooth speaker with patterned smart light, natural wake alarm and remote control looked to the fruits of science for the elements to create this consumer experience.

So what comes first? Does Science drive Design? Or does Design drive Science?

When the first cellular phones came out, you had to carry them in a bag… One of the first “portable” computers from IBM in 1984 had a nine inch monochrome monitor, 5¼ inch floppy disk drives, 256 kB of memory (expandable to 512 kB), a 4.77 MHz CPU and weighed 30 pounds (13.6 kg). This was not so much a laptop as a “luggable.”

But thirty years ago, these products awakened consumer experience excitement. You were no longer tied to your office. You had a personal phone on the road. But what IF WE could make electronics smaller, expand data storage while shrinking its size and weight, expand the monitor, add color, eliminate keyboards, lower power consumption and create a better power source?

Just maybe a gifted designer could leverage these advances into a product small enough to fit in your pocket, maybe with a phone, a camera, voice and video recorders, and more. And with further exploration, modeling, ‘Cognitive Augmented Design’ (CAD) and collaboration with other disciplines, perhaps create an experience that would sweep the world.

Great experiences seem to arrive from a confluence of Design and Science. Scientific exploration helps liberate Design to expand into areas of speculation, and then inspiration drives Design further to explore what is physically possible. Design leverages theoretical and mathematical components. It transforms shape and style into real objects—products, buildings, systems—that fulfill needs for customers.

Experience thinking asks the questions and channels the inspiration of design—bringing new technologies in manufacturing processes such as 3D printing, materials, Cyber Systems, chemical and others into a solution—using and then meeting the requests, perceptions and desires of customers. This is the promise and the challenge of Design in the Age of Experience.

Designers, engineers and industry leaders from around the world will come together at Dassault Systèmes’ Design in the Age of Experience event April 4-5 during Milan Design Week. I’ll be there, and look forward to seeing you as we explore the shift from designing products to forming consumer experiences. For more information, you can visit the event website.

Why EXPERIENCE Thinking? (And not just Design Thinking)

By Alyssa
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By Valerie Pegon, Experience designer & Innovation Strategist, Dassault Systèmes

Designers hate to stand still. They permanently reflect back on their practice, redesigning and testing, in order to improve it.  Every time, when something seems sorted, another challenge emerges.  Little by little, the practice gets more professional, and more specialized.  But occasionally, there is a need for regrouping, for reconnecting.  It is with this intention that we reflected back on design thinking and saw opportunities to make it more powerful.

Unfortunately, design thinking is often reduced to a recipe, to define user journeys that are relevant to today’s user needs.  But what about tasting the dish to check how it is coming along? What about gathering the right ingredients (the diversity of people, a broader knowledge, unusual ingredients)?  What about the restaurant itself and the suppliers (the organisation, the partners and the business models)? And tomorrow?

We believe Experience Thinking can take companies to another level; helping businesses in their transformation. There are indeed a few top-level challenges and opportunities it can help with.

First, agility. While it may sound obvious for digital companies, agility remains complex for other industries. However, the evolutions of technologies and science unlock new possibilities that designers can start to harness. Imagine, as a designer, being able to simulate your design right away, in real time. Or being able to test virtual experiences quickly, as if you were there, without having to develop a full serious game?

Second, the Internet of Things. Remember Gartner’s hype curve: the hype may be over today but now, the possibilities are here for you to grasp. Sensing and data analytics enable a continuous feedback loop to improve new designs, to adapt in real time. Connected objects enable services that totally change the way people use products, the business models and even the approach to designing these products and services together, as a whole.

Third, social systems. Like cities, the systems companies create are multi-player and contextually adapting to a wide range of users and stakeholders. Building these ecosystems require some level of structure (we talk about “experience architecture”) to work smoothly, a high level of flexibility and a deep connection to the context and usage.

In the end, we always come back to the experience, because that is where the value lies. But the way we think and enable the experience we dream of is changing.

Discover more about Design in the Age of Experience at our event website

Find out about Dassault Systèmes’ Design Studio here.



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