By Jason Vander Griendt

December 22, 2017 at 5:54 am

What is 3D Product Animation?

3D Animation is the way of the future in movie making, advertising, merchandising, product design etc.

Mechanical 3D product animation is the process of developing authentic three-dimensional Computer-Generated Imagery (or CGI) animation to visibly represent the design, assemblies and methodologies or processes of various mechanical products and their elements.

3D product animation not only enhances product features for a host of advertising purposes, trade shows and use on websites, but it adds a ‘life-like’ aspect to items we want to showcase to a specific market or consumer.

With 3D product animation, the customer can envision themselves using the product because it lifelike and complex designs can be seen from all angles, and animated to show the role the product will play in real life.

3D animation can be costlier and more time consuming than 2D animations as there are more steps and processes involved, so you might need a bit of help unless you are skilled enough to handle the 3 key steps yourself.

Step 1 – Gather specifications and plan your animation:

Gather the specifications of the product and create a composite.

Here you will create the concept and storyboard.

Step 2 Begin building the initial model of your product:

Now the product needs to be built with 3D software.

There are various options available such as Adobe After Effects, 3DVIA composer, Art of Illusion and Element 3D software to name a few. In most cases however, you will find it much more cost and time effective to hire professional product animators rather than purchasing software and trying to learn the rendering process yourself. If you’re not sure where to start, use the chat box below, send an email to our friendly CEO Jason at or call 1.888.202.2052.

Now you are creating the prop by making a 3D modelling.

This is also where you’ll add texture, color, design and so on by layering 2D designs over your 3D model.

Step 3 – Animate your product frame-by-frame:

The product needs to be animated and brought to life. The commercial specifications are also added at this stage.

Rigging takes place here as well as skinning. This is where you bulk up your model by adding a skeleton in order to produce movement of the model.

Now the fun begins. You can start animating. Here objects are manipulated frame-by-frame to create the scene.

Pro tip: Remember to focus on lighting. Inadequate light can cause a scene to be unclear and faded. It is also important to have the correct camera settings and angles for optimum viewing pleasure.

Step 4 – Render the animation:

Rendering is a crucial final step to 3D production. This is what brings depth to your scene and takes special effects to the next level. Many beginners overlook this step, so be cognizant and render!

It’s time to do your Compositing (blending live with computer generated footage) and Special effects, for example making things morph, blow up, do blue or green screen replacement if necessary.

Don’t forget the audio. This will make your animation well rounded and add tremendous value to the end user. Add your music and sound effects now.

Step 5 – Export your animation:

And the final cut! Complete your edits to ensure everything is synchronized. Once complete you can export in the correct formats required and deliver to your customer. This final render and export can be massively time-consuming depending on the complexity and quality of your animation, so hold tight.

Where Can I Find Professionals to Help me?

As you can see, product animation is a fairly involved process (and we have barely scratched the surface here), therefore for quality work I suggest you seek out a Professional such as the team here at JCAD international, especially if your product is aimed at reaching the consumer market and you need your animation to be professional quality. We can even take it a step further into virtual reality!

There are no physical limitations or drawbacks with 3D animation, so your imagination is the limit.

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Jason Vander Griendt

Jason Vander Griendt is a Mechanical Engineering Technician with years of experience working at major companies such as SNC Lavalin Inc, Hatch Ltd. Siemens and Gerdau Ameristeel. He is the CEO of JCAD – Inc., a company he started in 2006 after seeing a gap in the market for businesses who could assist clients through the entire product design and manufacturing process.

Jason has been featured in Forbes, has had his businesses analyzed and discussed in multiple start-up books, was a previous winner of the Notable8 Digital Innovator of the year award, and is a regular guest on business panels and podcasts. Email Jason at or follow him on LinkedIn.

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