Create photorealistic imagery digitally with virtual photography.

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As an experienced graphic designer, Julian has spent years creating head-turning imagery for high-pressure campaigns, marketing everything from headphones to baby food. But even he felt the nerves kick in when a global home decor company hit him and his team with a rush job designed to test their limits.

The client was planning to release a new line of 12 luxury candles, one for each month. Every candle had its own visual brand to reflect the attributes of its corresponding season. The photography-based campaign assets Julian’s team needed to create for each one had to reflect those differences, but their deadline was just three weeks away.

In the end, Julian’s team was able to create even more stunning images for each product than the client had asked for — all on time and under budget. Best of all, no one had to work late nights or weekends. Instead, the designers used the client’s 3D model of each candle to stage, light, and capture photorealistic images of each one 100% digitally.

This emerging workflow, known as virtual photography, allows graphic designers to leapfrog over many of the time- and resource-consuming steps associated with traditional photoshoots, from scheduling studio time to pulling together prototypes and props for a shoot. Since virtual photography begins with a 3D model of a product, designers don’t even need to wait for it to be manufactured physically or shipped to them to get started.

Gone are the days of creating the illusion of flying objects with fishing wire and tape or spending days scouting locations that never quite match what’s in your head. With virtual photography, you can create any composition you can dream up — all from your computer.

Read on to learn more about this new era of creative freedom, precision, and scalability made possible by technology that is powerful and easy to use.

Redefining scalability.

According to a 2020 Forrester study, 81% of creative professionals believe customers demand tailored content now more than ever. As a result, teams have faced two choices: Spread your existing team too thin or lobby for more resources. With virtual photography, they now have a third option — replace taxing physical processes with a nimble, 100% digital workflow.

By making virtual photography part of your design workflow, you not only get to skip all the demands and timelines of physical photoshoots. You also gain the ability to iterate your designs on the spot and at lightning speed. Simply swap 3D models, backgrounds, and lighting in and out of your “shoot” to transform any composition and create a large selection of campaign assets in no time.

Meanwhile, the ability to quickly import and apply any 2D design elements to your 3D models means regionalization can also happen faster than shooting multiple prototypes or managing multiple Adobe Illustrator files with region-specific variants.

After Julian and his team completed the visual assets for the candles themselves, the client put them to work on the packaging. All told, they needed to generate marketing assets for 6 regions — for all 12 candles. Rather than photographing 72 different boxes, as a traditional photoshoot would have required, they again turned to a virtual photography workflow. This meant they only had to place the box once and apply a different label to it after each render. In the end, they had nearly 100 images customized for each region, created in a fraction of the time it would have taken to manufacture, shoot, and retouch physical prototypes.

Forget sifting through hundreds of shots to select the ones you want to edit. With virtual photography, you can create the precise image you want and render it on the spot. With a workflow so fast and flexible, gathering stakeholder feedback no longer comes with worries about a possible reshoot. You can even share assets with customers and make adjustments based on their feedback before going live with a campaign — thereby taking the guesswork out of what will and won’t connect with buyers.

A new frontier in creative freedom.

Virtual photography is photography untethered from the physical realm. The result is unprecedented creative freedom and control, allowing you to create compositions without being limited by the practical restraints of the past.

Best of all, 3D design is naturally nondestructive, allowing for infinite resolution and camera changes. And since 3D tools are built on input systems that enable you to quickly swap assets from models, labels, backgrounds, and more, your composition’s lighting and shadows adapt to your changes in real time.

“Experiment and play,” said Sebastian Shaw, director of strategic development at Adobe. “And when you're ready to nail the idea that you’ve got, you can do it with pixel-perfect control.”

Hand in hand with this freedom is a level of precision that comes from being fully in control of every element. Not even nature can defy your creative vision when your photography studio is virtual.

Take your graphic design to the next level.

In the past, creating photorealistic 3D imagery meant mastering a new suite of complex, costly software. That’s changed with the arrival of tools like the Adobe Substance 3D Collection.

Built to replicate the user experience of popular 2D creative apps, the Substance 3D Collection helps you apply the design skills you already have to a new discipline. And seamless integrationstus with Adobe Creative Cloud apps further reduce the friction of incorporating 3D design into your existing workflows.

Democratizing 3D design isn’t just about simplifying the process, however. It’s also about making quality 3D asset creation available to users of all backgrounds. That’s why the Substance 3D Collection comes with a robust asset library of production-quality 3D models, materials, brushes, backdrops, lighting presets, and more. Incorporate them in your virtual photoshoots to create images that are indistinguishable from the real thing.

Adobe can help.

Smart creative apps and an ever-growing library of production-quality assets combine in the Adobe Substance 3D Collection to make 3D design more approachable than ever. Easy to use and impossible to outgrow, these tools are transforming workflows for designers of all backgrounds and across industries, allowing them to create stunning content at warp speed.

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