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The Do It Yourself Guide to Creating Your Own 3D Product Configurator

3D product configuration with a computer and a 3D bike
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Before Expivi was founded, we were a software company that specialized in building custom 3D configurators for other companies. As we saw that more companies needed a 3D configurator solution, we’ve made the decision to build a standardized 3D e-commerce platform to cater to our growing customer base.

With a 3D product configurator, you can create virtual 3D models of your products, enabling you to create visually rich interactive 3D models of your products to be added to your online store. Combining the 3D product configurator with Augmented Reality (AR) allows customers to personalize your products to more easily visualize how a product will look in their home.

The best part of providing a SaaS platform is that everyone can create their own 3D and AR configurator all by themselves. In this Do-It-Yourself Guide we’re giving you a quick overview of all the steps you need to take to build your own 3D product configurator.

What you need for building your 3D product configurator

Creating your 3D product configurator is less complicated than you might think. There are only 3 things you would need: 3D models of your products, an Expivi account and a website/webshop to sell your products. After uploading the 3D models to the Expivi platform, you can then integrate the configurator in your website or webshop, allowing customers to see your products from every angle and with the smallest details.

How to get 3D models for your product configurator

In order to build your 3D configurator, you need 3D models of your product that can be uploaded to the Expivi platform. Some big companies have a special team to create these 3D models, but for most companies there are other ways to obtain 3D models.

Build your own 3D models

If you have 3D modeling skills, you could create your own 3D models in a 3D graphics program like Autodesk 3ds Max, Maya or Blender (free). This will require knowledge of the program. Before beginning to use the Expivi platform, it’s recommended that you at least have a basic comprehension of 3D modeling. However, this isn’t a requirement for using the software.

Buy your own 3D models

If you’re not selling your own manufactured products, then it’s very likely that 3D models of the products already exist. Ask your distributor or the manufacturer if they could provide this. If not, there are 3D model marketplaces where you can buy a 3D model of the product. TurboSquid and CGTrader are marketplaces where talented 3D artists sell 3D models in any category you can think of.

The advantage of buying models is that this will save you a lot of time 3D modeling, and you can count on it that the quality of the models is top-notch. Always remember to verify the license model of these models when ordering. Different vendors have different license models.

Outsource your 3D modeling work

If there are no 3D models of your products readily available, a good alternative is to outsource this work to freelance 3D artists. To find highly skilled freelancers, you can visit websites like Upwork and Fiverr. There are also 3D agencies (like Pixready) that are specialized in 3D visualization.

Here at Expivi we have a dedicated team of 3D artists that helps our customers with creating 3D models of their products. The advantage of this extra service is that you can count on highly optimized 3D products that not only look great on the Expivi platform, but work smoothly as well. This way we provide our customers with a complete solution for their 3D configuration.

Getting an Expivi account

In order to use Expivi, you need to sign-up for an account or you can contact our sales team that will help you to get started as soon as possible. Once you have your Expivi account, you can upload your 3D models and start building your 3D product configurator.

How to setup your 3D models for your product configurator

After you have obtained the 3D models of your products, it’s time to upload them to the Expivi platform and set up business rules, pricing and the available options for each product.

We have created a lot of tutorial videos to teach you how to do this yourself. On our YouTube channel, you’ll find all tutorial videos for setting up your 3D models on the Expivi platform and how to optimize your models so that they look as photo-realistic as possible.

In short, the steps that need to be taken to setup your own 3D product configurator are:

  1. Set up the hierarchy structure for your product in your 3D modeling software
  2. Uploading your 3D model to your Expivi account
  3. Setup materials in the material groups (if applicable)
  4. Setup pricing (of the product and its available options) and business rules
  5. Configure the 3D scene so that your products look as photo-realistic as possible in the viewer

How to add a 3D product configurator to your webshop

Once you’ve finished setting up your 3D configurator on the Expivi platform, you can start selling your products right from the platform. If you prefer to use your own website or e-commerce platform, then there are several ways to integrate the 3D and AR configurator.

Using integration plugins

To make it as easy as possible to integrate your Expivi 3D and AR product configurator on your website or webshop, we’ve developed native plugins for Shopify, WooCommerce, Magento and Lightspeed (There is an API available, and plugins for other platforms will be released soon!).

For information about our plugins you can read more in our extensive knowledge base.

In short, these are the steps that need to be taken to integrate the 3D configurator on your favorite e-commerce platform:

  1. Installing the special app or plugin on your e-commerce platform you’re using
  2. Create a product on your webshop
  3. Linking the 3D product you’ve set up on Expivi, with the new product you’ve created (or use an existing one). Once linked, the standard image gallery and the “Add to cart” section will be replaced automatically with the 3D configurator.
  4. Add additional custom code to theme files (where applicable)
  5. Optional custom styling to match the configurator with the brand identity of your business

Using the API embed

If you’re not using the 3D and AR product configurator to sell your products, but only for showcasing your products, then it’s not necessary to use an integration plugin. By using the API embed code method described in detail on our knowledge base, you can place the 3D configurator on any page you want. The only thing you need to do is generate an API key and fill in the specific ID of the product.

Custom integration

If you are not using an e-commerce platform for which an Expivi plugin is readily available, it’s still possible to integrate the Expivi 3D product configurator with your e-commerce platform by custom programming. We refer to our knowledge base where you’ll find articles on how to use our API to integrate the configurator on your product pages and hook it up to the e-commerce system you’re using.

Conclusion

Building your 3D and AR configurator is not as complicated as you might think. In this Do-It-Yourself Guide we’ve given you a brief overview of the steps that need to be taken in order to build your own 3D and Augmented Reality configurator and have it integrated with your e-commerce platform.

If you need assistance in any stage of your project, just drop us a line on this page or signup for our live Q&A webinar which takes place every Tuesday and Thursday to answer your questions.

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