3D rendering of Packaging & product


New Member

I'm after some advice, I work for a company where we create packaging and product using childrens characters like spiderman, simpsons etc.. What I would ideally like to be able to do is to use the flat piece of packaging that we create and then be able to turn it into a 3D model - but without using photoshop (which is what we currently use) I have seen 3D renders where you can actually spin them around.

I would also like to be able to apply this to products as well, like maybe a bart simpson money bank or something similar. Because at the moment we render all of these in photoshop or commission an illustrator to draw it up.

Can anyone recommend some software that would be able to do this? We also are mac based, so it needs to be mac compatible.

Thank you in advance for any help you can give me.

Are your products box-like or do they range in complexity? If you just wanted to `mock-up` a 3d box for example with different art on each panel then it's a very simple thing to do (I do 3d for a living). IF you have more complex shapes then it can get more involved.

I can't really recommend a 3d package outside of Maya, which is what I use and it's quite expensive!

Have you looked into Google sketch up? I had a look at this sofware some time ago and seems a fairly easy intro to 3d, but I'm not sure if it will let you texture art work.

Google SketchUp

ps. There is the freeware (open source) 3d package called Blender too which comes in a Mac flavour. I've heard good things about it..

blender.org - Home

Other than that, the main commercial packages that I know of are:

3d Studio Max
Cinema 4d

Haven't used Max and C4d but I've used Maya for years and years, though it's much more than a modelling package so would be overkill really...and its pricey at over £3000!
Hi Ben

Thanks for replying :0)

Most of the packaging is either boxed cartons (easter egg cartons) advent calenders, tubes - that kind of thing. and the products are mainly character shaped (we do alot of tins too, so to be able to show a tin from all the angles and shots of it with and with out the lid is ideal. I need the packs/products to look all singing all dancing really as these are tools that the sales team would use to get the lines away. Do you think Maya is suitable for this?

I'll have a look at the google sketchup

thanks so much :0)

So you would be looking to visualise photo real packaging/products? You would want them to look totally real and perhaps studio lit?

This is bread and butter for the packages I mentioned and again pretty straightforward if you've had experience but might be a steep learning curve if your just starting out.

I used to work at a place that had a side division in 3d visualisation and they were knocking out some stunning hires prints for companies...

I believe they were using Modo, but I can have a check...I think the packages I mentioned would be overkill as they let you create animations/particle effects/fluid dynnamic simulations etc etc!

Last edited:
thanks for all your help Ben :0)

Sorry I didn't say photo real at the beginning! yep they need to look like photographs, real hi-end visuals.

Do you think its hard to learn Modo? I've not had any 3D experience apart from visualising in Photoshop - maybe I need to invest in a good book! ;0)
Well, If I'm being honest, I think you'd struggle if you wanted something top notch and are a new starter to 3d.

I don't know if your planning on doing something asap or If your just mulling over the idea but learining under your own steam would be the best option..!

There are plenty of free online learning resources (just google) for 3d..

A very well known one which you have to pay for is Digitaltutors.com and they cover pretty much everything from all the different software packages..I've used it and it's pretty good.

Again, I would take a look at Blender as I believe its a fully fledged package with all the bells and whistles but its free - how can than that be bad :)

If you did look at Maya (or others) you can intsall a 30 day trial and see if you like it. Careful though as if you fall in love with it, you'll (or the company)have to stump up the cash! :icon_biggrin:
Last edited:
Cinema4D is relatively easy to use compared to some other high-end 3D programs and the built in render engine is capable of good quality renders straight out of the box. With a little knowledge of how it works you can get photorealism without spending a fortune on a 3rd party renderer.


The documentation is great too, with loads of hands-on tutorials.

Product Visualisation Examples
Hi Paul, Maya and Max both come with MentalRay renderer as standard so you you'd get a great rendering solutiion. Like I said though earlier that these programs would be ott for Princess's needs if just for modelling/texturing..

Do you use C4d? I know they like it over on vimeo and have seen some great audio synced abstract videos :)
C4D used to be a lot cheaper than Maya/Max but still had a good renderer which was a strong point for a lot of people. It's also much easier to pick too, at least to my mind. I'm not sure how they differ in price nowadays though.

I did buy a copy of C4D some years back that I use occasionally but the majority of my work now tends to be 2D/photographic. If I can't photograph it, I'll try and render it.

It's certainly capable of professional results. I seem to recall it being a favourite for TV visualisations and animations when it first came out.
Yup, I think Maya has a pretty steep learning curve as you can do pretty much anything and also get under the hood a fair bit. It's pretty expansive and it's hard to keep up with all the updates at times..!

I'm too old to learn any new software as I've invested so much time in Maya there's no going back even if I wanted too..