3D Animated Product Videos: Are they a better choice than live-action?

In the dynamic world of product marketing, the debate between 3D animated and live-action videos is more relevant than ever. With the advent of advanced animation tools, 3D animated product videos have become a go-to for brands aiming to captivate their audience. In this article, we delve into this trend, drawing from our experiences with The Ridge Watch and Aperia Technologies to provide you with an in-depth analysis.

The Rise of 3D Animated Product Videos

What is 3D Animation?

3D animation transforms digital objects into a three-dimensional space, creating a lifelike representation of products. This technique allows for intricate detailing and a level of customization that live-action struggles to match.

Why Brands are Choosing 3D Animation

Brands are gravitating towards 3D animation for its ability to present products in innovative and engaging ways. Unlike live-action, 3D animation isn’t constrained by the physical world, offering a canvas limited only by imagination.

Advantages of 3D Animated Product Videos

Creative Freedom and Flexibility

3D animation opens doors to creative realms that live-action can't access. Whether it’s visualizing the intricate mechanics of a watch or demonstrating a product’s internal features, animation provides a clear and engaging visual narrative.

Cost-Effectiveness Over Time

While the initial investment in 3D animation can be substantial, ranging from $10,000 to $50,000 for a minute-long video, the long-term benefits are significant. Unlike live-action, animations don’t require location fees, actors, or extensive crews, leading to substantial cost savings over time.

Consistency and Branding

3D animations ensure a consistent visual style across all your marketing materials, reinforcing your brand identity. This consistency is crucial in building trust and recognition with your audience.

The Process of Creating a 3D Animated Product Video

Creating a 3D animated product video is a meticulous process that involves several stages, each requiring a unique set of skills and tools. Here’s a breakdown of the journey from concept to final product:

Conceptualization and Storyboarding

The journey begins with brainstorming and conceptualizing the video. What story do you want to tell? How will the animation highlight your product’s features? Once the concept is clear, artists create storyboards, providing a visual script of the animation.

3D Modeling and Texturing

With the storyboard as a guide, 3D artists use software like Cinema 4D (C4D) or Blender to create the 3D models of the product. This stage is crucial as it lays the foundation for the animation. Once the models are ready, they are textured to add colors, patterns, and other details, making them as realistic or stylized as required.


The next step is animating the 3D models. This is where the magic happens, bringing the product to life. Artists use keyframes to define the movement of the models over time. Software like Houdini can be used for complex animations, especially if they involve simulations like fluid, smoke, or fire.

Lighting and Rendering

Lighting is added to the scene to enhance the realism and mood of the animation. This stage is crucial as it can make or break the visual appeal of the video. Octane Render is a popular choice for this stage, known for its ability to produce high-quality renders quickly. The rendering process transforms the 3D scene into the final video, a process that can take a significant amount of time, depending on the complexity of the scene and the quality of the render.


The rendered video is then taken into post-production, where it is polished and finalized. This stage may involve color correction, adding special effects, or integrating the animation with live-action footage. Adobe After Effects (AE) is a commonly used tool for this stage, offering a wide range of post-production capabilities.

Final Delivery

Once the video has gone through all these stages and is approved, it’s ready for delivery. The final product is a 3D animated video that tells your product’s story in a compelling and visually stunning way.

Case Study: The Ridge Watch

For The Ridge Watch, a brand known for its diverse range of high-quality accessories, a 3D animated product video was the perfect solution to showcase their intricate designs. The animation highlighted the sleek craftsmanship of their wristwatches, field watches, and titanium watches, providing a detailed view that live-action couldn’t achieve. This video became a pivotal part of their marketing strategy, contributing to an increase in customer engagement and sales.

When to Choose 3D Animation Over Live-Action

Assessing Your Product’s Needs

Choosing between 3D animation and live-action depends on your product’s characteristics and your marketing goals. If your product has intricate details or internal components that need highlighting, or if you’re looking to create a fantastical, out-of-this-world visual experience, 3D animation is the way to go.

Balancing Budget and Quality

While 3D animation can be more cost-effective in the long run, it requires a significant upfront investment. It’s crucial to balance your budget with the need for high-quality, engaging content. Remember, a well-made 3D animation can provide lasting value, serving as a versatile marketing tool for years to come.


3D animated product videos offer a blend of creativity, flexibility, and cost-effectiveness that live-action struggles to match. Through our work with The Ridge Watch and Aperia Technologies, we’ve seen firsthand the impact a well-crafted animation can have. As we move forward, the role of 3D animation in product marketing is set to grow, providing brands with unparalleled opportunities to connect with their audience.


Q: How much does a 3D animated product video cost?

A: The cost can vary widely, ranging from $10,000 to $50,000 per minute, depending on the complexity of the animation and the level of detail required.

Q: How long does it take to produce a 3D animated video?

A: Production times can vary, but a typical 3D animated video might take anywhere from 4 to 12 weeks to complete, depending on the complexity and length of the animation.

Q: Can 3D animation be used for any type of product?

A: Yes, 3D animation is versatile and can be adapted to suit a wide range of products, from tech gadgets and machinery to consumer goods and apparel.