How OTTO makes CGI profitable
Interview with Heike Wickel, Senior Content Manager, OTTO
In recent years, CGI, Computer Generated Imagery, has found its way into the content production of online retailers. With just one 3D product image, product views, variants or animations can be created quickly and easily. Heike Wickel, Senior Content Manager at OTTO, reveals in an interview how online retailers at otto.de benefit from CGI.
from Francesco Di Bari
Moin Heike, why does OTTO need CGI?
The advantages are manifold. A created model can be used multiple times – as product visualization, for teaser productions and much more. With CGI, many variants of an article, such as material or color variants, can be created quickly and easily in very good quality. Augmented reality technologies are particularly helpful here. This makes it possible for customers to experience the articles created. Whereas in the past, for example, a sofa was transported halfway around the world to our photo studios, today it is sufficient for the materials to reach us physically and for product data to be sent digitally. On this basis, we can create a wider range of variants. The best thing about it: We use digitized materials or digitally created rooms for different models and products again and again.
How long does it take to create a product image by computer?
That depends on several factors: To be as fast and efficient as possible, we have divided our production at OTTO into three subareas. In the first step, we digitize all the materials that are used for the products. Then we model the shape of the item. This is done on the basis of CAD data (computer-aided design data), i.e. 3D design data. If CAD data is missing, then we use reference images of the item, dimensional sketches and product information. In the third step, we stage the article in an inspiring ambience. Here, a digital space is created in which the model is placed. Once we have released it, we can use this as a basis for creating images for all article variants – i.e. position and function variants, fabric qualities or even ambience and combination shots that used to be produced at great expense in a photo studio.
And since when has OTTO been using CGI?
In order for us to find out which assortments are best suited for CGI production at OTTO, we started by conducting a potential analysis and thinking about a possible production process – that was about three years ago. On this basis, we started test production. In the meantime, we are in a regular monthly production process, through which we are constantly gaining new insights. This helps us to further optimize and adapt new product ranges to the process.
What opportunities does CGI offer online retailers?
Of course, it is possible to display a sofa in different rooms at the push of a button, for example, and thus provide inspiring content for customers. But once the models have been created and are available digitally as 3D files, any kind of content can be produced, for example videos or augmented reality applications. Does the size, the shape, the color fit? How does the piece of furniture look in my own living room? Where should I put it? All questions that can be better imagined and thus more easily clarified thanks to CGI. Thanks to CGI, the article can become more real and better imaginable for customers and they are given a better impression of the product.
What challenges does CGI bring?
It sounds simple, but the most challenging thing is to have a reliable and stable database. Without this, we can work with difficulty. This is fundamental and makes automated and standardized production possible in the first place!
Learn more about the CGI Service for partners.
About Heike Wickel
Heike is Senior Content Manager at OTTO. Together with her team, she developed the CGI production process at OTTO and has since been overseeing the ongoing CGI productions of Home & Living as a content producer.