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Online retail is growing each year. Both B2B and B2C companies are seeing the results. As adoption has risen, so have consumer expectations. If customers don’t see all product colors and views, they can become antagonistic towards your brand. We cover all of this and more in The Ultimate Guide to Your Products in 3D on the Web


We also discuss 3D Web technology and its role in creating product configurators. These 3D configurators are infinitely flexible and more efficient to create than their photo-based counterparts. They also fulfill consumer demand for richer experiences. According to KPMG’s 2017 Global Online Consumer Report, “Creating an online shopping experience enhanced by technology such as augmented and virtual reality or 3D is becoming at least as important as providing convenient and personalized ordering, payment and delivery options”

There are a number of great 3D configurator examples online. It seems more are being added monthly. So we decided to pick our Top 10, in no specific order.


Smythe & Digby
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A retailer of high-end men’s dress footwear, Smythe & Digby don’t seem likely candidates to make this list. But if you checkout their 3D configurator, you will see why they made it. They allow for customization of 14 widely differing styles of shoe. Consumers can customize colors and finishes across all areas of the shoe. Including the toe, heel, side, sole, tongue, laces and inner lining.


The experience allows for full 360 degree views of the product on any axis. Once a shoe has been customized, a snapshot can be taken from any angle. The snapshot of your creation can be downloaded, shared on social media or printed. 


The only real drawbacks are the inability to zoom and some additional load time when choosing new options. These are minor inconveniences, given the overall richness of the experience.

BikeConfig.com

We included this one on the list for a few reasons. First, the intricate detail included on the 3D model, with a high degree of photo-realism. Second, the sheer number of parts that can be Screen Shot 2018-02-07 at 10.53.45 AM.pngcustomized. From the grips to the brakes, there are too many to list. Allowing different model choices per part, each with 12 colors.

This experience also allows full 360 degree views, as well as a top down view. Full zoom is allowed, although it is very sensitive, making it difficult to control. A snapshot of the current configuration can be created and downloaded. There are also a few extra features, such as dimensional lines and saving of up to 4 configurations.

This 3D configurator is a little different than the others on the list. It was created by a company called Elementals as a proof of concept. It seems Elementals hopes to generate enough interest in the project to bring it to market. Go check it out, and if you like it, share it!

Coalesse LessThanFive Customizer

This 3D configurator made the list because it is both simple and elegant. Just like the product. Coalesse’s LessThanFive chair is named as such because it weighs less than 5 Screen Shot 2018-02-14 at 4.37.52 PM.pngpounds. The carbon fiber design makes it both sleek and lightweight. The fact that you can customize it however you like makes it really cool.


The configurator’s design is simple, yet powerful. Just pick colors, add custom artwork and share. Easy peasy. Colors can be completely customized, including the ability to create gradients. Add your own custom artwork to create a completely personalized chair. Then share on social media or with Coalesse to get a quote.

This experience was created by our friends at ThreeKit. They have created configurators for companies in a number of industries. Always delivering with their powerful 3D configurator platform.

Under Armour ICON

The Under Armour ICON experience is the second shoe configurator on our list. But we felt we couldn’t leave it out. Building on the popular Nike ID concept, Under Armour upped the ante by creating a 3D version. In doing so they provide even more flexibility for the consumer.

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The ICON experience centers around a fully interactive 3D model. The shoe can be rotated for a view at any angle. There is also a single level of zoom, which may be the only drawback. It would be nice to zoom further into different parts of the shoe. All parts of the shoe are customizable with some predefined colors. The color selection is a bit limited as of now, allowing for 4-15 colors depending on the section. This configurator gets really powerful around the main overlay. Here you get a choice of different patterns and even the ability to upload your own artwork or logos!

Once you’ve finished your creation, you can buy, save or share it. Sharing on social media or via email allows others to view exactly what you’ve created in 3D. Overall, this is a great configurator experience that we feel will only get better.

Vossen 3D

This 3D configurator is one of our favorites. Created to showcase Vossen Wheels, this configurator has a little bit of everything. A great 3D experience, powerful configurator, solid Ux, and a lot of extras. Frankly, we are a little jealous that we didn’t create this one ourselves!

 

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The Vossen 3D experience includes a fully interactive 3D model of a car. And not just a single car. You can choose between 36 makes of automobile, each allowing a choice of multiple models. Once you’ve chosen your dream car, you can rotate it to any angle and zoom freely. You can even change the color of the car as well as other things like the level of window tint. There is a fairly substantial initial load time. But once you get past that, the experience is smooth and performs well.

Enough about the car, let’s get to the purpose of this configurator. Each car has a choice of wheels, which can be displayed on the car or individually. The Tesla alone has 49 different wheel types to choose from! Once you’ve chosen the wheels, the color and size can be configured. You can even spin the wheels to see how they look in motion. Once you like your creation, you can take a screenshot to add to your photo gallery. Any photos can then be shared on social, email or printed.

Hats off to Andari Systems who created this experience for Vossen Wheels. We couldn’t have done it any better ourselves!

JEWELv

We’ve always wondered why there weren’t any 3D configurators for jewelry. Once we found this one by JEWELv, we are now wondering why there aren’t morScreen Shot 2018-02-15 at 8.26.48 AM.pnge. The pendant we customized was viewable from any angle, on each axis. The experience doesn’t allow the user to zoom freely, but instead offers four pre-defined views that offer some level of zoom. Not ideal, but not a major hindrance. The stone and metal can be configured using a variety of pre-defined options. There are no snaphsot or sharing options, so there is definitely room for improvement.

 

Overall, we found this to be a great way to visualize jewelry. The ability to see all angles provided great perspective on the product. The Ux could use some work, so this one has some room to grow. It’s worth noting, that this is the only configurator on our list that is built using Sketchfab.

Xenith Helmets

This 3D configurator made our list because we created it. Seriously though, all bias aside, this is a great configurator. And as far as we know, it may be the first 3D configurator available on the web. Xenith was way ahead of the pack, hiring ONU to create this experience back in 2015.

Screen Shot 2018-02-15 at 8.50.02 AM.pngThe 3D experience itself is fully interactive. The helmets can be rotated fully on any axis. Plus the user has full control over the level of zoom. A full range of color choices are available for the shell and facemask portions of the helmet. The facemask style can even be chosen from over ten different options. Round it out by customizing the chincup and adding an optional visor.

The best part may be the abilty to explode the helmet. Doing this reveals the inner technology used in all Xenith helmets. Showing why they were rated as the safest helmet by the NFL. After using this configurator, you will understand why it helped put both Xenith and ONU on the map!

Michael Andrews BESPOKE

The Michael Andrews 3D experience is the only clothing configurator to make the list. Allowing customers to personalize dress shirts of varying designs and styles. You can even add a tie to the shirt to finalize the look. 

Screen Shot 2018-02-15 at 8.55.56 AM.pngThe 3D experience isn’t as interactive as others on the list. Rotation is done using a button, which rotates between one of eight (8) pre-defined angles. Similarly, zoom is either on or off and when on further limits the available rotation angles.


What the experience may lack in interactivity, it more than makes up for in flexibility and visual quality. Change between different fabric, collar, cuff, pocket and sleeve options. Your shirt can even be personalized with a monogram. The visuals are photo-realistic, leaving no doubt as to the quality of the final product. Zooming in on the shirt reveals minor details with stitching, buttons and pleats.

Once your shirt is complete, add it to your bag or wishlist. We’d like to see some snapshot and sharing capabilities added in the future. Otherwise, this is a great 3D configurator and definitely belongs on our list.

Zodiac Configurator

This 3D configurator is definitely the most unexpected one on our list. Using the Zodiac configurator you can create a completely custom inflatable boat. And why not. If you’re going to spend 100K on a boat, you should get what you want!

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The 3D experience is fully interactive, allowing unbridled rotation and zoom. You can also choose between five (5) pre-defined views. The visual quality is strong while retaining great performance. Colors can be modified across the entire product, including the inflatable tubes, upholstery, deck, hull and floor. You can even change engines and add optional equipment, such as a ski pole or sun roof.

Once your boat is complete, you can download and share on social media. That way you can send it to all the new friends you will have once your boat arrives!

Penny Skateboards

Last but certainly not least on our list is the Penny Skateboards 3D configurator. We ran across this experience over a year ago and were immediately hooked. The simple, yet elegant Ux is mesmerizing and kept us engaged for longer than we’d like to admit. Given we are too old to be in the market for a skateboard.

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The 3D experience is very interactive, allowing full rotation. The lack of zoom is a curious omission. But we can forgive that, given the richness of the overall experience. Colors can be completely personalized, for the deck, wheels, truck, bolts and more. All of the options are easily accessible. But the best part is how the skateboard automatically rotates based on the selected option. This provides the perfect viewing angle and makes this the best user experience on the list.

Once you’ve created your skateboard, you can buy or share it on social media. You can even watch your skateboard in action by rolling it across the provided ground plane. A cool feature that was like the cherry on top of an amazing experience. Whether or not you’re into skateboarding, we would suggest you try out this 3D configurator.

So that’s our list. We hope you had as much fun reading as we did researching. We’d love to hear your feedback on these 3D configurators and any others that you think should have made the list. Happy configuring!

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Maybe you’re a manufacturer with a bunch of amazing products. Meaning you have great product stories to tell. Considering some sort of 3D experience to educate and engage your customers? An augmented or virtual reality experience? Or something on your website, like a product configurator.

Why not? We have reached a point where the technology is available. Companies are using 3D experiences across their Enterprise to increase their bottom line. Opportunities exist in product marketing, sales, service and training.

 

You might be wondering where to start. If so, read The Ultimate Guide to Your Products in 3D on the Web for more information on how to get your products online in 3D. We detail a number of options for creating 3D visuals for your products. One of these options is using CAD data. The good news is that you’re a manufacturer, so you likely have CAD. Hooray! The bad news is that CAD data is not easily translated for use in 3D Web, AR, or VR. CAD data is NURBS based, while these 3D experiences require polygonal 3D models. CAD is also very dense and cannot be rendered at the required 60-120 frames per second.

 

As a result, most companies rely on retopology to manually create 3D visuals from their CAD data. This means creating a 3D model from scratch, using the CAD data as a guide. This method is inefficient, time consuming, and costly. What if there was a better way?

 

Enter ONU 3DLite. We empower digital content creators to build the perfect asset in a fraction of the time. Then put those assets to use in 3D Web, AR, VR and mobile experiences. Automatically convert native CAD into low poly FBX files in minutes. Realize up to 100x density reduction without compromising visual accuracy. Adjust the level of detail to further reduce density or increase quality. Easily identify and remove unnecessary pieces. See the result of your changes realtime.

 

I have included a “tale of the tape” style comparison below.

 

 

ONU 3DLite

Manual Retopology

Free Your Workstation

Tessellate CAD files on the ONU cloud while you work on your workstation
Wait and wait while your high-end workstation processes

Convert My CAD

Convert any native CAD files to poly in minutes.
Buy third-party software to convert each CAD format

Tessellate with Quailty

Automatically reduce density up to 100x and maintain visual quality
Decimate density AND visual quality with your 3D modeling tool

Save Time and Money

Create lightweight meshes in minutes with our second-pass optimization tools
Spend days doing manual retopology

Retain Assembly Info

Retain part numbers and assembly hierarchies for 3rd-party system integrations
Lose all valuable assembly information during conversion

Create Multiple LODs

Automatically create multiple Levels of Detail (LODs) and choose the one that works best
You get one LOD. Choose wisely…

Share Easily

Share your work any time with anybody via a web link viewable on any browser
Peers or customers need your software to review your work in progress

Centralize and Store Safely

All of your assets in one place, the secure ONU cloud
Files are safe on artist workstations, until they’re not…


Of course, there is no silver bullet. Once CAD data is converted and optimized using 3DLite, there may be some manual defeaturing or minor retoplogy necessary. In our expereince, using this optimization method reduces content creation time by 10 to 75 times. In one instance, we reduced the time from 100 hours to under an hour!


So Stop the Retop and sign up for your free trial on ONU 3DLite today.

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ONU has been creating 3D Web technology and experiences for over 3 years. Making us a pioneer in this exciting new space. So we decided to write The Ultimate Guide to Your Products in 3D on the Web. Everything you need to know about how to get your products online in 3D.

With the rise of e-commerce and the race for online sales, consumers are expecting more and more from their online shopping experience. They expect not only education, but also engagement with your products. There is also an increasing desire for consumers to personalize products to fit their precise needs. Using devices ranging from laptops, to tablets, to their phones.

Chances are, your website uses traditional photography for product education and engagement. This falls well short of expectations for most consumers. You may use 360 degree photography for more complete views of products. This is a nice upgrade, but still leaves most consumers wanting more. More engagement, more information, more interactivity.

 

In response innovative companies have begun to adopt 3D web technology. Finding immediate benefits in online sales and marketing. Providing customers the ability to customize and personalize a product, and instantly see the results. Some retailers are even using 3D product visuals to provide better service and training for their customers. Read The Ultimate Guide to Your Products in 3D on the Web to find out how!

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Screen shot of ONU 3DLite being used to optimize a Reverie bed for 3D Web

More companies are using 3D web technology to display their products online. These companies are bottlenecked by the 3D asset creation. The process is inefficient, time consuming and costly. For companies that design and manufacture their own products, CAD data is the answer. Using existing CAD provides the starting point for more efficient and cost-conscious asset creation.

 

The other consideration when displaying products online using 3D is performance. Starting with CAD data will result in dense 3D models. This density creates performance issues on a browser, particularly on mobile devices. Where rule of thumb for 3D assets to perform is under 250,000 polygons. For more in-depth information on perfoemance and other considerations, read our Ultimate Guide to Your Products in 3D on the Web.

 

This is where ONU 3DLite excels. Providing high quality visuals without the density of normal CAD files. Companies such as Xenith Helmets use our technology to provide a 3D product configurator to their e-commerce customers. Below is a list of frequently asked questions when using ONU 3DLite. If any of the terms are unfamiliar, our Glossary of Terms For CAD to Low Poly Conversion will be helpful.

 

1st-Pass Optimization – Importing and Automated Tesselation

What CAD formats do you support?

Information about supported CAD import formats and best practices can be found here.

 

What do the polygon count options have to do with my model?

Selecting Low, Medium, or High will help us take an initial pass at optimizing your model. After our 1st-Pass optimization, you will be able to use our 2nd-Pass tools to further increase or decrease detail levels on a part by part basis.

 

If the desired polygon count is unknown, leaving the settings at Medium (default) will produce the best results.

 

What is deviation angle?

Deviation angle, in our tool, refers to the amount to detail applied to the model. A small deviation angle will produce a finer amount of detail, but increase the polygon count. A larger angle will have a lower amount of detail, and use the fewest amount of polygons possible in order to maintain the shape of the part(s).

 

What is auto size?

This parameter defines the lower size limit of an element side. Increasing this parameter will speed up the meshing process at the expense of quality (surface feature details).

 

What does merge meshes do?

By enabling this option, all meshes sharing the same assigned material or color will be combined as one mesh. It decreases rendering time and simplifies your model, however, assembly structure and part hierarchy will not be retained.

 

The initial position of the model is not oriented the way I want. How can I change this?

The model can be manipulated by manually zooming, rotating or panning. Select the Help button in the lower right hand corner of the Viewer for instructions on how to perform these operations on your device.

 

You can also use the Cameras drop-down to choose from Top, Bottom, Front, Back, Left, and Right views of the model.

 

Once the model is oriented to your preferences, use the Default Camera button in the upper left corner of the Viewer to save the current view as your default.

 

2nd-Pass Optimization – Defeaturing (Hiding Parts) and LODs

If I know the part numbers for specific parts, what is th ebest way to find them?

The Tree View contains a hierarchical structure of all parts in the assembly. You can search for an exact matching part name, or type in a few characters and it will filter to match any/all parts containing those characters.

 

What is the best way to identify parts that contain the most polygons?

The Sunburst View is a visual representation of the part hierarchy. The innermost ring represents the entire assembly or top-level, the next ring ring out represents the first level of sub-assemblies, and so forth, with the outermost ring representing individual parts.

 

The Pie Chart View is a visual representation of parts grouped by name. Parts with the same name will be grouped together and represented in a single piece of the pie chart.

 

In both views, the larger the colored section, the more polygons associated with the part or parts. Clicking on one of those sections will select the corresponding parts in the Viewer and provide information about the selection, such as names and number of polygons.

 

Can I select more than one part at a time?

Yes, there are a number of ways that multiple parts can be selected.

 

Hold the CTRL key to multi-select individual parts of the model in the Viewer.

 

Using the Tree View, multiple parts can be selected by holding CTRL key and clicking the individual part names. Holding SHIFT allows you to select an entire range of parts between the first selection and last selection.

 

Using the Sunburst View, selecting a section on any of the inner rings will select all parts associated with the section.

 

Using the Pie Chart View, selecting a section containing more than one part will select all parts associated with the section.

 

What does my reduction percentage value mean?

The reduction is a percentage value, calculated based on the number of polygons removed from, or potentially added to, the model after import.

 

How many Levels of Detail (LODs) are created by default? How do I switch between them?

There are 3 LODs created by default. You can switch between them using the Plus and Minus buttons located beneath the Tree View.

 

Lowering the LOD should decrease the number of polygons in the model and increase your reduction percentage. Note that each individual part can have a separate LOD setting, depending on your needs.

 

How do I defeature my CAD model?

Parts can be hidden by selected them, using any of the methods described above, and then using the Hide button located beneath the Tree View. Note that hiding parts will decrease the number of polygons in the model, bringing you closer to your poly budget.

 

Once I’ve defeatured my CAD model, can I make parts visible again?

Yes, there are two ways to make hidden parts visible again. The first is by locating parts in the Tree View represented with the Hidden Icon. Select any of these hidden parts and make them visible again by pressing the Show button.

 

Is there an easy way to identify parts that are on the inside of the model?

Yes, use can use the Internals button, located next to the search box above the Tree View. This button will limit the parts listed to those on the inside of the model. These can then easily be selected and hidden.

 

How do I make sure all my work is saved?

Use the Save button located beneath the Tree View.

 

Exporting and Sharing

If I share a link to my optimized CAD model, will other users be allowed to make changes?

No, shared links simply allow anyone with the link to view the model. They will be allowed to zoom, rotate and pan, but not select parts or edit the model in any way.

 

I want to export my optimized CAD model for use in Unity. Is that possible?

Yes, our optimized FBX exports can be uploaded to many applications, including Maya, 3DS Max, Modo, ZBrush, Cinema4D, Blender, Keyshot, Unity3D and Unreal Engine.

 

Will hidden parts be included in my exported FBX?

No, hidden parts will be excluded from the exported FBX.

 

I’m working in 3DS Max and my FBX imports with 2D splines around the model. What are those?

3DS Max refers to those as “Dummy Helpers” and can easily be removed with a marquee selection, then delete. Click here for more information.

 

What should be my target polygon count when optimizing my CAD file for 3D web?

Polygon counts between 250,000 – 500,000 are best for performance and quality. However, if longer load times are not an issue, 1,000,000 polygons should be the maximum target.

 

What should be my target polygon count when optimizing my CAD file for the Microsoft Hololens?

Polygon counts under 125,000 work best in the Hololens environment.

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