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3D rendering vs 2D: what are the benefits of one over the other?

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3D rendering offers a significant leap in realism compared to its 2D counterpart. 2D rendering presents a flattened representation of a 3D structure, whereas 3D rendering unlocks the ability to visualize the structure in its entirety, capturing every detail, and creating an immersive physical object-like experience.  
Nowadays, an increasing number of brands are making the transition from 2D renderings, and photography, to photorealistic 3D visuals. They realized that there are many benefits that overpower 2D visuals on their websites. 
If you are considering the inevitable digital transition, this article will give you valuable insights that validate your decision. In this article, we will analyze 3 main benefits of 3D rendering compared to 2D rendering

1. Enhanced customization

3D visuals excel over 2D visuals when it comes to customization. They provide unparalleled flexibility through 3D product configurators. Unlike 2D visuals, 3D rendering allows for intricate customization options, enabling the manipulation of every aspect of the product’s appearance. From its shape and size down to its texture and color.  
Indeed, approximately 50% [1] of consumers say they would purchase from a brand again if the brand offered a personalized experience.  
Personalization is not only a factor of customer satisfaction but also a factor of differentiation. Creating a customizable offer makes your brand stand out from the rest of the brands. As your offer will be unique to your own brand.  
Contrary to 2D, 3D enables your consumers to personalize their products according to their liking. Our configurator enables your consumer to make endless combinations of the product they desire.  
Furthermore, the customer can witness their product and the changes made to each separate customizable part in live action.  
In addition, the inclusion of photorealistic and 360° views and features. It enhances the user experience, providing a sensation akin to physically interacting with the product. Why is that? The configurator enables customers to turn and view the product from each of its angles and in the greatest detail. 
When it comes to visualizing your customers’ preferences and desires, 3D visuals stand out as the optimal choice. Therefore, if you are considering increasing your brand’s offers through customizable offers, 3D renderings are the way to go. 

2. Optimized brand experience with 3D rendering

2D rendering on a luxury brand's website
Example of a 2D rendering on a luxury brand website
While 2D renderings are the traditional path taken by luxury brands, 3D rendering offers a distinct experience. 
With 2D visuals, customer experiences are limited because of: 
  • Lack of topography: the flat representation of the product lacks detail and precision of materials and textures that react to their different environments.  
  •  A less immersive experience: there is no possibility to visualize the product according to the consumer’s desires. In other words, 2D offers little to no engagement, which lessens the reality of the experience.  
Whereas 3D renderings can enhance your brand experience: 
  • Photorealistic interactive views of the product: the realism of the product visuals enables the consumer to fully visualize their product with scrutiny. The smallest details are represented. Furthermore, the product can be manipulated by the consumer to fit the view they desire.

  • Realistic material views: every material can be examined in detail through 3D rendering. Moreover, this technique enables the creation of photorealistic textures that react to the environment, including the lighting conditions. Consumers can truly perceive the applied texture of their product and anticipate the tactile sensations.

  • More life-like purchases: purchasing online can rapidly become dull. By realistically visualizing the product, consumers feel more involved in the buying process. In addition, the multiple views of the product fully immerse the consumer. Thus, the online buying experience becomes special just like the one in-store.

  • Ready-made visuals for augmented reality: feed your website with augmented reality features on your products. This enables your consumer to visualize their favorite products in real life and increases their chances of purchasing.

All these features generate enhanced consumer trust and increased positive word-of-mouth, generating a good brand image. Therefore, photorealistic 3D visuals offer a more innovative and entertaining experience for customers.  

3. Increase your brand's performance

 3D renderings offer a good range of benefits that contribute to enhancing your brand’s performance. 
First, engaging photorealistic 3D visuals increase the average time spent on a website making consumers more likely to purchase as they grow to like the product. Furthermore, according to Forbes,  3D renderings increase a brand’s conversion rate by 40%.  
Second, with 3D visuals, your returns are guaranteed to diminish. As surprising as it may sound, the number of returns is quite important in the luxury industry. Around 25% [2] of luxury online purchases are returned to their issuing brands today. 
In most cases, returns are the consequence of non-compliance of the product with its picture. With 2D renderings, your brand will be more exposed to the possibility of returned articles due to the lack of precision of a 2D visual. However, with a photorealistic 3D visual, our clients have confirmed they experienced a 40% drop in returns
Graph about the difference in cost of 2D and 3D according to the number of variations
Graph of the costs of 2D and 3D according to the number of variations
Finally, having 3D visuals will allow your brand to save valuable time, money, and resources on costly photo shoots. Additionally, using 2D rendering techniques enables a limited number of packshots. With  3D rendering, once the product is digitized, your brand can generate any visual from any view you desire.  
If your brand has a customization offer, the numerous visuals for one product would consume precious time and money to photograph. Thus, eventually, the costs of adopting 3D diminish to be more profitable than 2D visuals
If you are looking to better your customization and brand experiences and increase your performance, then 3D rendering is a great alternative to 2D. Nonetheless, 2D visuals remain the best option in some cases such as in limited-edition product cases. 

Discover 3D renderings with SmartPixels

Diverse variations of the same Berluti pair of shoes in 3D rendering
At SmartPixels, we guide you through your digital transition and provide your brand with photorealistic 3D visuals for all your touchpoints (website, social media, CRM campaigns…). We help you better your brand experience and increase your performance through technology. 
Check out our innovative solutions on our website. 
[1] https://www.shopify.com/enterprise/personalization-trends#:~:text=In%20a%20recent%20study%2C%2049,experience%20by%20a%20retail%20brand.
[2] https://zigzag.global/the-luxury-retail-sector-trends-in-ecommerce-and-returns/