By Olivia Cahoon
Part one of three
Packaging layout and three-dimensional (3D) visualization tools help print providers sell and market solutions while effectively producing packaging applications. The software is designed to streamline design, proofing, prepress, and manufacturing.
Packaging Software Tools
3D visualization tools address digital print packaging needs. The tools provide designers and clients with a visual of the actual products while ensuring proper alignment and composition.
Larry Moore, VP, partner programs, Esko North America, finds that packaging layout tools must demonstrate an understanding of the package structure and interact with full-featured graphics. “It should easily interpret a 2D file and transform it into a 3D visualization.” 3D visualization tools alert the designer of the graphic’s proportions in relation to the package layout.
For converters and printers, visualization tools provide print-ready output, document editing within automated workflows, 3D visualization of end results, and reduce in-house edits for cost savings. Geert Fransen, product manager, CHILI Publish, believes brand owners benefit from the software’s ability to enforce strict adherence to brand guidelines, provide regional or channel independent creation of campaign collateral, create shorter approval times, and individualize packaging and labels.
For orders submitted online, it’s important the package be as accurate as possible to manage customer expectations up front. “3D visualization becomes the best way to give customers an opportunity to review final results before sending packaging artwork to the printer,” says Svend Agage Kirk, CEO, TurnAvisual. Using this software, customers may view the final product before it is printed and shipped.
According to Moore, design and editing applications that handle structure and graphics create a streamlined design process that works efficiently from the package design to the production line. “It minimizes the risk of potentially unseen errors,” says Moore. The software also allows the supply chain to view embossing, reflections, special inks, and the product on the shelves.
Implementing the Software
To help process digital packaging demands, print providers may look to packaging layout and 3D visualization tools. Fransen believes print providers should consider integration, noting that packaging is no longer rigid, but responsive and agile. “Investment in digital technology is inevitable,” he says.
Moore believes everyone in the packaging supply chain may share and benefit from this technology. He explains that the brand owner and designer typically use visualization tools in the creation of the package design, the prepress department uses the tools for quality assurance, and converters and printers use them for step and repeat.
Vitaly Ovchinnikov, product manager, Appsforlife, says that because 3D visualization finds and fixes errors before the printing process, its saves both time and money. “If a print provider suggests or even requires customers to proof their designs with packaging layout software, they help both themselves and customers.”
Print providers should also determine if their shop is prepared to handle packaging layout and 3D visualization software. Derek Cicero, industrial design products, The Foundry, explains that as with any 3D packaging tool, there is a learning curve for users beginning to understand concepts like 3D modeling and photorealistic rendering.
A Taste of Visualization
Appsforlife features a range of packaging design applications that provide solutions for folding flat die-lines into 3D shapes, composing shapes into scenes, and for further professional rendering or online exporting. Appsforlife produces Boxshot, a 3D packaging software that features over 50 customizable shapes. The software features a simple user interface to help non-professional users focus on design. “We believe that you shouldn’t spend weeks to get yourself around the application,” says Ovchinnikov. Boxshot includes photorealistic rendering that creates production-quality images.
CHILI Publisher offers an online editing solution that integrates into existing web portals and customizes brands. “The open architecture and APOI gives amazing flexibility in creating new publishing opportunities for the web portal,” says Fransen. The interface is HTML5 operational and features a professional online editor, 3D visualization with real-time interaction, and IME language support. It targets shops of all sizes and serves markets including commercial print, package printing, label printing, design agencies, web developers, brand owners, pre-media, MIS solutions, and DAM/PIM solutions.
Esko provides a range of packaging layout and 3D visualization tools for small to large shops. Esko ArtiosCAD is a structural design software for packaging that allows designers to create reusable, parametric designs with simple drafting tools. Designers may also import 3D solid models from other 3D modeling programs directly into ArtiosCAD to create packaging based on the imported product, part, or assembly. Esko Studio is created specifically for packaging artwork professionals. It is compatible with Adobe Illustrator, ArtPro, and PackEdge and uses a 3D navigator to zoom into the artwork and rotate the artwork canvas. Esko Studio creates 3D PDF files to Adobe Reader and models the package’s 3D shape.
The Foundry features MODO 10, a modeling tool for package designers for shops of all sizes. MODO features modeling, UV workflows, sculpting, painting, rendering, rigging, and animation. “MODO is used extensively in some of the largest packaging firms in the world, such as Sonoco-Trident, and by individual freelancers,” says Cicero. The software focuses on the traditional 3D market of TV, films, and games, and the design sector focuses on the creation and design of goods like footwear, soft goods, and packaging. MODO is priced at $1,799 for a new seat and $499 for an upgrade.
TurnAvisual is an online 3D platform for packaging manufacturers, designers, and brand owners. As a do-it-yourself tool, it creates 3D packaging layouts without any previous experience or training. TurnAvisual is applicable to folded carton, rigid, and flexible foil packaging with specific modifications per market. “A packaging manufacturer, brand owner, or a design agency—whether they use digital print or not—can get their own online 3D studio, which will provide access to all available 3D shapes and provide the ability to create 3D mockups,” says Kirk.
In the digital space, packaging layout and 3D visualization tools offer structural design for package construction.
Mar2017, DPS Magazine