Celebrating 50 Years: 5 Facts You Didn't Know About the Moon Landing

This month is the 50th anniversary of the infamous Moon Landing. Here at Orbital, we are taking the opportunity to look back at how far technology has come, and where it is taking us next.

 

To kick off the celebrations, we have 5 facts that we bet you didn’t know about man’s first steps in space.

1. The first drink consumed on the moon was wine

Edwin ‘Buzz’ Aldrin actually remembers his first drink on the moon being wine, and the way it “curled” up the side of his cup gracefully. As he told Guideposts, “In the radio blackout I opened the little plastic packages which contained bread and wine.” He had wanted to televise the moment to share with the world, but apparently NASA wasn’t entirely comfortable with the idea. Madalyn Murray O'Hair had previously protested the reading of Genesis by Apollo 8, so the idea that the second man to step onto the moon would perform a religious act may have been a bit much in that climate.

 

 

So, Aldrin drank his wine privately. We think Wine is the perfect way to commemorate such a long journey. Let’s just hope Neil Armstrong was the designated driver.

2. Armstrong carried with him a piece of wood from Wright brothers' aeroplane

The first recorded flight was achieved by the Wright Brothers in 1903, 66 years before the Apollo 11 lunar mission. Neil Armstrong chose to take with him fragments of wood from the pioneering Wright plane along with a piece of fabric from the plane in the hopes that the lunar mission would be just as iconic in its success.

3. The astronauts declared "moon rock and moon dust samples" to customs when they returned to Earth

In 2015, Buzz Aldrin tweeted a picture of his "travel voucher" outlining the list of expenses from his trip to space, just like somebody would for a family holiday. He then revealed that the astronauts had to sign customs forms on their return to Earth, where they were required to declare the "moon rock and moon dust samples" they were carrying.

4. The astronauts landed with only 25 seconds of fuel to spare

During the planning of the Apollo 11 mission, a site on the Moon was picked as the landing site that was thought to be safe and flat. But while the Apollo was descending, Aldrin and Armstrong realised the site was covered in boulders and knew it would be dangerous to attempt the planned landing. So, Armstrong began to manually navigate the probe; skimming over the risky site, a decision which meantmore fuel would be consumed while finding a new location. The probe had a fuel limit which would make the mission automatically abort if reached. The probe landed just 25 seconds before reaching its limit. If the probe had landed 25 seconds later than it did, the probe would automatically reverse back into the moon’s orbit, to head back to Earth, and no man would have stepped on the moon’s surface.

5. The Apollo Mission required the work of over 400,000 engineers, technicians and scientists

Many of these people had never worked in the aerospace industry, and none had worked before on machines designed to transport humans to another world. Overnight, as their companies won Apollo contracts, their day jobssuddenly took on a greater purpose. Achieving technicalmiracles, an accomplishment which, if achieved, would transcend nationhood. Such global unity was something that no peacemaker, politician or prophet had ever quite achieved. But 400,000 engineers with a promise to keep to a president managed it.


Designing in a Virtual World

Forget starting your new design with a pen and paper, new virtual reality (VR) technology boasts the ability to see and walk around a 3D sketch of your new product at the very first stages of the design process.

 

Using new headset technologies, it is now possible to conjure 3D shapes out of thin air, using a ‘virtual pen’, and share the life-like design with clients and colleagues around the world, in real time.

 

While a similar process is already available, where companies are cutting time and money by sending prototype sketches to 3D agencies (like us) to create and edit their new products without building a single piece, the whole process is looking to become more accessible over the next few years. For those who have the budget, that is. VR is finally beginning to fulfil its potential for business.

 

"You can walk around your sketches so you can see how your lines work in a 3D environment, and move freely in a room, explains Jan Pflueger , augmented and virtual reality co-ordinator for German car firm Audi.

 

In the past, the technology - hardware, software, connectivity - simply wasn't up to the job.

 

"Designers didn't like using headsets because the image resolution was too low," says Mr Pflueger.

 

As well as low resolution images, the headsets were bulky and full of wires making them uncomfortable and impractical. But now, with advancing technologies and internet speeds VR is becoming more like reality every day.

 

Looking at the big players ahead of the game, Audi is working with Finnish start-up Varjo, “which has recently starting selling a high-end (€5,995; £5,170) headset boasting ‘human eye resolution’ using a technique called ‘foveated rendering’. It uses eye-tracking technology to tell which part of the image you're focusing on, then concentrates its processing power on that section to render it in high definition.”

 

With the images being high resolution, it means that designers can see necessary modifications and make changes before any expensive physical prototypes have been made speeding up the design process at a very early stage. Not only can you share the designs with colleagues, but also clients. The efficiency of the process is heightened by adding input from the end-user at the very beginning. Pretty cool if you ask us.

 

The possibilities this opens is endless, with customers being able to walk round a show home or car showroom, and tailored designs available to edit in real-time, taking away lengthy waiting times on decision making and removing the hesitation from the buying process. Giving the interchangeable choice of colour schemes, flooring and carpet choices, kitchen options and on. But such high-quality graphics require a lot of processing power, so most high-end headsets have to be "tethered" to a powerful computer. But not for long.

 

A big breakthrough will be to offer near human-eye resolution VR without the need for any cables. And this is where high-speed 5G connections will have a big impact. With streaming speeds 10 to 20 times faster than existing connections, the high-res images will be sent to the headsets wirelessly.

 

Looking into our Orbital crystal ball, we can see that design processes will be completely transformed over the next five to ten years as VR technology becomes more accessible. But if you’re not quite ready to take into account this type of spending, take the first step and see how we can revolutionise your marketing materials, with the use of 3D.


New Burger King Ad Campaign Shows Cheeky Humour is PR Gold

Last week, The Cannes Lions Festival held its annual awards ceremony, honouring the most creative and successful marketing campaigns of the past year. It is always a great week to keep an eye on if you have an interest in marketing. And this year, it showed that when even the biggest companies take a risk, it can really pay off.

 

One of the biggest winners for 2019 was the almighty Burger King. Stepping up its smear campaign against McDonalds with a light-hearted twist saw the company scoop a whopping (don’t excuse the pun) three Grand Prix prizes.

 

The King of campaigns was this year offering customers their most popular burger for just a penny. But only if you ordered it from a McDonalds. Carrying on its ongoing anti-McBurger campaign, the new Whopper Detour App offered customers an almost free burger when ordered within 600m of a Ronald McDonald establishment. The app would then direct you to your nearest Burger King to pick up your 1 penny Whopper.

The award-winning campaign highlighted the importance of mobile when advertising. Linking the new mobile food order culture, as well as the age of gaming and the joy and shock that comes with bending the rules of sportsmanship, the Whopper Detour app was a mixture of creativity, cunning and comedy.

 

It is not the first time this year that Burger king has used McDonalds’ extensive advertising budget for its own gain. Flame-grilling has always been Burger King's signature cooking technique since opening in 1954, and in March this year, the burger chain used virtual flames to "burn" its biggest competitors. While it didn’t specify McDonald's by name, the pixelated imagery of billboards and print ads suggest that the app campaign was directly targeting the key rival.

Admittedly, many of us may not have the budget or brand significance for the publicity that these ad stunts have created. But we can take a leaf out of the burger giant’s campaign book. Burger King stays at the top of the awards list because they look forward. With this flux of new technologies, using mobile apps and AR is a sure-fire way to get strong engagement from your target audience. You may not be in the same industry, but the rules still apply. Always keep on eye on the horizon and have fun with your campaigns.


Digitising Your Fabrics: Our Process

We understand that not everyone has been immersed in the world of 3D. You may have been told that you will need 3D assets of your fabrics, but you are not sure how the process works and it is stopping you from taking that first step. So, we thought we’d give some clarity:

1. The Pitch

We want to show off what we can do, and we want to make sure that will help the development of your business. So, the first step is inviting you to come to our office to have a peek of the projects we are currently working on, and we will probably show off some technical wizardry – the team is pretty talented, we can’t help showing them off. We will then sit you down and talk about where the gaps in your visual marketing and online sales are, and the best way to solve them. Don’t expect any visual concepts yet, but we can show you some of our case studies that may sway you. (We also serve a great lunch which is worth the visit alone.)

 

Then there is increased SEO. Search engines favour relevant content. And images getting clicks are exactly that type of materials: they bring visitors to the website, lead them to explore its content and interact with it. So, the more successful images you have, the more chance you have of getting and keeping top positions in the search results.

 

Needless to say, each product shot needs alt and title tags, and descriptions. So when your high-quality, engaging product design renderings have well-written attributes with relevant keywords, search engine rankings will know that your page content is high-quality and therefore useful for your target audience.

2. The Brief

Once we’ve got the job (thanks!), we will ask for a swatch or flat photograph of each fabric that you need digitalised so that we can work our magic. If you were really great clients you would also send us a lifestyle shot of the fabric, wrapping a product, so we can see the way light hits it at different angles.

3. The Build

Our team will then recreate your fabrics with flawless step and repeat patterns, photo-realistic textures and colour matching perfection. You don’t need to know too much about this part, except that we can recreate your fabrics in record time. Seriously, we can have a fabric swatch perfectly digitised in under ten minutes. You really won’t believe it.

4. The Finished Product

You have proofed and fallen in love with all the images. So now it is up to you where you are going to use them. We can put them in a great brochure design. Use them to drastically improve your eCommerce website or ask us to build room sets for them to be placed into for a time and cost effective alternative to photoshoots .

It really is as simple as that. We always make sure you’re involved in the whole process and our door is always open. Why not check out some of our previous work here . Come and meet us (or Skype if you’re too far away), send us your fabrics and that’s it! You’ll have your perfect 3D assets in no time at all. What are you waiting for?


Why IKEA is Thriving in the “Retail Graveyard”

This Swedish powerhouse really needs no introduction, with genius branding and advertising, they know exactly who they are, and so does the rest of the world. It was the brainchild of 17-year-old Ingvar Kamprad in 1943 but has been named on Forbes’ World’s Most Valuable Brand list in May 2019. So how is this flat-pack furniture brand still ruling the retail industry and staying so relevant? The secret is staying ahead of the market in not only trends, but technology. Every furniture seller should be taking a leaf out of their infamous catalogue to share some of the success. And here’s how.

 

In April 2018, the retail giant realised that it was facing a problem: it hadn’t been keeping up with the digital world and this sparked a shift in their business development strategy. Although IKEA has been ahead of other furniture companies, technology had been globally advancing, leaving many retailers behind. They started by investing in “personalisation at scale” allowing it to send precisely-targeted communications to people based on what they are doing online. “When people buy a bed, they actually spend two weeks researching online. There is a lot of information that we gather so that we can actually be relevant to the person wanting to buy a bed in those two weeks”. -  Barbara Martin Coppola, IKEA’s Chief Digital Officer, talking to CNBC.

 

The key to this strategy shift was the incorporation of CGI on a large scale. The Swedish furniture company has been aggressively ramping up its use of computer generated imagery in their catalogues, starting in 2006 with their first CGI photo of a Bertil pinewood chair. By 2012, the Wall Street Journel reported that 25% of their products were computer generated. And with its rapid globalisation, with products reaching multiple cultures CGI and 3D rendering is invaluable.

 

The newest addition to IKEA’s futureproof strategy is the Place app. Allowing customers to place IKEA furniture into their own home, digitally, before purchase. It automatically scales products – based on room dimensions – with 98 per cent accuracy. Customers can see the texture of the fabric, as well as how light and shadows are rendered on furnishings.

 

The secret to IKEA’s success? Always being one step ahead. Especially in technology. With retail ever struggling, a business strategy that constantly stays ahead of technology and is digitally driven will drive sales and success. And what is the first step to the forefront? 3D rendering and digital marketing. It all started with the humble furniture visualisation. Once a company’s products are rendered, it opens a world of possibilities that are then ready-made.

 

To talk about how your products can be digitalised, get in touch with us today.


How One 3D Render Can Transform Your Marketing Process

Furniture CGI has revolutionised product marketing and advertising. Previously, getting marketing imagery required a longwinded and costly photoshoot. Naturally, each change in season or new addition to a range required a new photoshoot, so the process started all over again.

 

With the advent of photorealistic 3D product rendering, Marketers and Manufacturers get perfect imagery in a simple and cost-effective way. Furniture CGI of any type – lifestyle, product shots, animation – can be created digitally, with no limits to creativity. And it can all be created from one simple sketch. Let us tell you how.

1. 3D visualisation for websites

Once your first 3D model is built, you can get a whole variety of furniture CGI: close-ups for demonstration of textures, materials and tiny details; cutouts for highlighting the inner structure of products, front views for general outside looks, side and bird views for showing the design from every angle.

 

Most importantly, the process is simple if you hire the right team. All a Manufacturer needs is to provide the 3D Artists with a reference image of the furniture product and its dimensions. No photoshoots, heavy prototypes transportation, and no need to control the process: 3D rendering companies create everything digitally, and in photoreal quality.

 

2. A CGI model allows for any colour-way to be showcased

A 3D visualisation can be edited. This way, 3D Artist can change fabric colours and textures for the Marketer to showcase all colourways and finishing options. Which is way more cost-effective than producing a separate prototype for each colour and send them all to a photography studio. Moreover, photorealistic CGI colourways will look every bit as impressive as a photo.

 

3. 3D model is perfect for showing different configurations

A professional 3D rendering team can make changes to the image geometry and get new furniture design configurations, for instance, add new armrests to a chair. Which is a great way to show all design variations in a furniture catalogue, as well as getting the cgi for a new upgraded version of the same design.

 

Making changes to a furniture configuration is also handy when it comes to testing the market. Before even having the physical prototype for models with upgraded design, companies can upload images to their website and start selling by pre-orders.

 

4. 3D Model of a furniture item can be put in a variety of scenes

With one 3D model, 3D Artists can place a product in a multitude of scenes, whether one needs a plain background or roomsets in different environments. Various lifestyle cgi is a great idea for furniture advertising, because different interior scenes showcase different benefits of a design and therefore appeal to different audiences.

 

Just imagine: one 3D model, and a plethora of lifestyle images without buying decor or going to locations, as it is the case with photography studios. Professional 3D Artists will create any kind of tailor-made interior scenes digitally, specifically for the product.

5. A 3D model can be further reused for any type of furniture CGI

Another advantage of 3D modelling for product design is that it can be used to get any type of 3D renderings, be it still furniture images or interactive solutions. With a ready 3D model, a Marketer or Manufacturer can get new visual materials in less time and at a reduced cost across all types of media. Online marketing campaigns benefit from photorealistic 3D animations, 360˚ views, even brochures and Virtual and Augmented Reality. The possibilities really are endless.

Furniture cgi has changed the product promotion process forever. Now, photorealistic 3D renders are an asset allowing to get top-notch images for online and traditional marketing, and refresh them any time. 3D modelling and visualization allow companies to get visuals faster than with photography, and it costs less. To get started on your 3D journey, contact Orbital today.


Orbital Acquires Contracts For Duresta, Cotswold Co and Style Library

Adding to what has already been a fantastic year, Orbital Vision has acquired contracts for three of the biggest furniture and fabrics companies in the UK; Duresta, The Cotswold Co. and Style Library.

 

Duresta is a highly successful and infamous brand, who has been crafting upholstered furniture in Long Eaton since 1938. Part of Sofa Brands International, Duresta followed quickly on from their sister company, Collins and Hayes after seeing the impact of the team’s 3D rendering skills on their sales and opportunities . The marketing team at Duresta quickly built a great working relationship with the graphics team in our office which made their decision to create an account with us easy. We are pretty fun, what can we say.

 

In the last week, two more accounts have chosen to work alongside Orbital to transform their digital footprint, the first of which is The Cotswold Co. Known for their quintessential English cottage style selection of furniture and home accessories, they have tasked us with recreating their timeless, rural classics in 3D. Thy couldn’t say no after visiting our stand at The January Furniture Show and seeing no difference between our renders and real photoshoots, realising the potential time and costs savings they were about to enter into with our team working alongside them. Along with the fun of playing with our virtual reality headset at the show.

 

The second account win over the last week was Style Library. For the Scion brand, Orbital will be recreating legacy photoshoots along with digitally creating their huge selection of fabrics wrapping a number of different products to make their website more accessible, and is sure to roll onto other digital opportunities. Orbital were one of three agency options for Style Library, but after a visit to our home at The Exchange, along with seeing the standard of rendering and success Orbital achieved with Linwood, there was no question of the right team for the job. (The fact that we offer a killer lunch may have also been a helping hand).

 

We can’t wait to get our teeth stuck into the new challenges and projects that these accounts will bring to our desks, and feel very excited about growing our relationships with well-established brands in the industry.

 

*All photography credits to Duresta, Cotswold Co. and Style Library


Furniture News cameo written by Paul Farley, Editor-in-Chief

This month, Orbital Vision have made a three page cameo in Furniture News Magazine. A great write up courtesy of Paul Farley, Editor-in-Chief, explaining what we have been up to since our pledge at the January Furniture Show. Read the original article here

 

For those of you who missed it, Orbital pledged to create this years five winners of The Furniture Awards - Sealy UK, Weimann, Hartman UK, Parker knoll and ALF Uno - star products rendered in all it's photorealistic glory, using specialist 3D software. Furniture News checked in to see how the project was coming along...

 

We collected all reference imagery and photographed the measurements of the products in person. Using that imagery we then build the furniture in 3Ds Max.  Devil is in the detail and therefore the building stage is probably the most time consuming. We spent a lot of time ensuring that every piece of detail is spot on, including all the little imperfections that which make all the different to to a build looking real or fake.

 

Once the five builds were completed, the winners received a white-out of their product so they could sign off the overall shapes. We didn't apply any fabrics or materials at this point purely so they can focus on the shape.

 

Once they were happy, it was time to get down to mapping. This consists of setting up the product so fabric can be applied and where it sits on the Fram. It's a little bit like a digital jigsaw for simpler terms. Next, we look closely at the fabric - in order for us to get the best results, we treat fabrics as a separate part of the process and how we build the fabrics is all dependent on the type we're dealing with. From simple cottons, to fabrics with multiple layers and weaves to velvets.

With the products built and mapped, this can be rendered out in every different fabric option, at any cameo angle (including 360s). For most, the next step is to situate their product in a room-set.Like any photoshoot, we start by putting together a mood-board of the what look we want to achieve, and which accessories to use and colour scheme to go with. From here we build everything from the ground up, unique to the winners. A benefit of this is that the room-set is the free to use over and over again for upcoming projects, just by changing the colours and accessories, walls and floors to make it look like an entirely new room!

 

Reaching the final stage of the process, this is where things really come to life. With our super high-tech rendering machines, we can render out any model in any fabric range of different colours and even at any angle all with the click of a button. Everything is rendered in high resolution, so can be used in print, PoS, online and social media marketing.

 

Working with this years award winners has been so diverse for Team Orbital. From creating all the different types of furniture to also introducing our 3D services and showing the alternative to a traditional photoshoot.


The Secret of High-Profile Retailers Driving Sales Using Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality in 2019

These are doubtless challenging times for brick-and-mortar retailers who prove slow to incorporate new technologies in their operations. But disruption also means opportunity for those who embrace innovation and are willing to reinvent themselves in the digital age, and immersive technologies are becoming an increasingly big part of that picture.

 

According to a number of studies, e-commerce is expected to be the number one sector for AR technologies. Smart retailers are looking to visualisation tools like 3D products, Augmented Reality, and Virtual Reality as a way to show off more products in less space reducing the need for square footage.

 

Amazon, IKEA, and Wayfair are all using these technologies to bring together the advantages of online shopping with brick and mortar retailing to add value to real-world shopping experiences with a minimal learning curve for both employees and customers. In the U.S, Macy’s has introduced a Virtual Reality furniture experience allowing people to design their own living spaces, populating it with items from Macy’s extensive catalogue of products, using a VR headset to then walk around these spaces in Virtual Reality.

 

Ikea is one retailer that shows how the combination of physical and digital space can be used successfully by providing VR as an on-site service in strategic places where it makes sense to do so, such as helping shoppers build their kitchen with a specialist and visualize it in an immersive way. In parallel they also offer AR capabilities to let customers see how items look in their own home environment with the Ikea Place mobile app.

 

The world’s largest retailer, Walmart, has also embraced immersive technology in a wide variety of ways. They have actively explored the use of Mixed Reality technology to streamline its warehouse operations and recently integrated an AR functionality into their official app to help customers price check items quickly in store. Walmart’s most ambitious VR rollout to date, however, has been in staff training. They are scaling up their use of VR training program on the Oculus Go in a bid to offer access to such training to every one of its U.S. based employees.

 

The opportunities that will soon be widely available with the availability of AR and VR, especially once 5G becomes widely accessible are endless. If established retailers are able to use immersive technology to energize customers and give them reasons to not only visit their stores, but make more purchases and fewer returns, this could prove a game changer for struggling high streets and provide a much-needed boost for the economy. Successful retailers need to always be at the forefront of technology so as not to be left behind, VR and AR are very much on the rise.


5 Tips for Successful Digital Marketing Using 3D Rendering

Product 3D rendering is the best way to get unlimited numbers of marketing imagery fast. Not just images looking good on the website, but images that make visitors click the call-to-action – have a look at the website, learn more about the item and finally make a purchase.

 

So, Manufacturers and Marketers use 3D product rendering services to get creative marketing images. Group and hero shots, plain backgrounds and lifestyles, detail, general, front and top view, with cutouts, customization features, colour solutions – 3D rendering software can create it all, you name it. Let’s look at 5 ways product 3D rendering makes digital campaigns breed results.

1. 3D Visualisation for Websites

When shopping online, customers expect to see at least 3 images of a product. Naturally, the more images, the better chances to get full attention of the audience. Product 3D rendering eases most customer concerns. 3D lifestyles show the types of environment the item looks best in, as well as dimensions and the decor that goes with it, whilst isolated shots highlight the main features of a product and show its design without distractions.

 

And let’s not forget about animation. 3D animations, panoramas, 360 views provide more information on the item and make for a pleasant customer experience. The viewer appreciates being able to turn the object around, zoom in, see the detail. Not only does it make shopping more pleasant, but in 2019, these luxuries have come to be expected, and the fickly customer is likely to leave your site in favour of another online shop which allows them to see all angles in a greater quality render.

 

Then there is increased SEO. Search engines favour relevant content. And images getting clicks are exactly that type of materials: they bring visitors to the website, lead them to explore its content and interact with it. So, the more successful images you have, the more chance you have of getting and keeping top positions in the search results.

 

Needless to say, each product shot needs alt and title tags, and descriptions. So when your high-quality, engaging product design renderings have well-written attributes with relevant keywords, search engine rankings will know that your page content is high-quality and therefore useful for your target audience.

2. Photo Realistic Rendering for Content Marketing

Blog is a must-have for successful product marketing. Sure enough, one can cope without it, but why missing on a sure way to increase brand visibility, drive more traffic to the website and build mailing lists. Product 3D rendering provides Marketers and Manufacturers with imagery to illustrate the articles. So that the blog visitors not only read about how to get a high-quality armchair, but actually see what should be inside owing to 3D cut-outs.

 

Not to mention the ease of seasonal marketing. With 3D rendering you can ever-change the colours, background and interior accessories that surround your product. Making it marketing ready for any season in an instant.

3. Product Visualisation for Social Media Marketing

Social media marketing is a powerful tool that can skyrocket profit. It’s the best way to reach out to practically any target audience, in the age of the internet. Successful social media campaigns allow to build hypes for product launches, increase brand awareness, and drive more traffic to the website. And product 3D rendering allows to get any kind of images for promotional campaigns, whatever the strategy and creative idea.

 

On Facebook, it always makes sense to tap into the power of 360 views and videos for customers to learn more about the product line and the brand itself. 3D visualizations in Pinterest and Twitter will make sure consumers find and pin or retweet your images when looking for inspiration.

4. CGI for Digital Advertising

Much of the power of digital advertising lies in the fact that that Marketers can measure results and kill the ad if it’s no good, or make changes. Unlike photography, product 3D rendering cost and technology allow for the images to be tested and altered without photoshoots and transportation fees. This way, your marketing team can test the image until they find which drives the most engagement. Which is great news for online advertising budgets.

5. Product 3D Rendering for Email Marketing

Email marketing campaign is a time-proven way to drive interested consumers to the website and even reactivate dormant customers. Combined with social media advertising, it has twice as much power.  Having a variety of 3D visualizations is incredibly handy for implementing strategy. Promoting new models, announcing events and sales – high-impact imagery is always handy to build communication with clients.

Digital Marketing Campaigns are now vital for the success of any company. If you feel like you are not making the most of your strategy, and need some advice or want us to send you an example of the flexibility of our renders on one of your products, get in touch with us at Orbital today.