Packaging is the first impression of a product. It may be the deciding factor between two seemingly identical products. Marketing research firms put a lot of effort into understanding consumer trends, breaking out target markets, identifying price points, and testing study groups on what they find visually appealing.
All of this behavioral behind-the-scenes research wonít amount to much if that perfect packaging idea cannot be produced. Dedicated packaging software is designed to drive the production of packaging prototypes and mock-ups.
3D Box Shot is a virtual packaging design tool. It transforms artwork into a 3D box in real time using the power of a PCís graphics hardware, allowing users to rapidly prototype box designs. The solution offers rotate, pan, and zoom features, which help users visualize the finished design. 3D Box Shot exports high quality bitmap images and videos of box designs, which can be edited for inclusion on a Web site or in promotional literature.
Arden Softwareís Impact CAD offers a variety of functions for the creation of packaging and packaging prototypes. For example, the 3D Creator feature offers the ability to produce custom 3D shares and include them as an aid to structural design or as part of a 3D model. 3D Shape Creator forms shapes to represent nearly any product, from a glass bottle to a bag of potato chips.
Additionally, Impactís Layout Creator feature calculates the optimum sheet fit and most efficient on-press nesting pattern for any production environment. Pre-programmed nesting patterns facilitate the automatic production of one or several layouts.
COMNET FoldUp! 3D is an Adobe Illustrator plug-in that lets users preview dimensional designed in 3D within Illustrator. Users can draw using Illustratorís two dimensions and FoldUp! previews work in 3D. The plug-in allows users to import templates for popular computer aided design programs, design in Illustrator, experiment with new folded designs, and dynamically update designs by changing placed graphics or die lines.
Corastar Inc. features Strata Enfold 3D CX, which allows for 3D design in Adobe Illustrator. Strata Enfold 3D CX allows users to create professional folded 3D designs directly in Illustrator, incorporating by defining die-cut lines, folding scores, applying art, and then viewing the project in 3D. Enfold 3D enhances Illustrator by adding two new tools, palettes for 3D and fold control, sophisticated distribution technology to deal with graphics crossing folded edges, and adds several commands to streamline the 3D design process. When a design is complete, users export the 3D model for presentations. The solution is powered by patent-pending technology developed by packaging powerhouse EskoArtwork, Enfold 3D is print design at a higher power.
Corel Corporationís CorelDRAW Graphics Suite X4 is a proven graphics solution for packaging design. The software delivers precision illustration tools, integrated vector and photo design layout capabilities, barcode support, and Unicode support for the creation of multilingual documents. Easily share files with colleagues around the world and seamlessly incorporate multiple languages into a single design.
HumanEyes Producer 3D is designed for printer providers and includes three application modules, HumanEyes Capture3D, HumanEyes Creative3D, and HumanEyes Producer3D. HumanEyes products offer printers and marketers the opportunity to create aesthetically pleasing items, including packaging. The solution covers the workflow of lenticular image production from content creation to interlace and prepress.
HumanEyes solutions give industry professionals the ability to expand their portfolio of capabilities and services with new and unique solutions for all advertising media, from 3D-capable electronic display to conventional print, packaging, backlit signs, extra wide-format signs, business cards, greeting cards, notebooks, and coasters.
EskoArtwork offers a variety of packaging design software under its Studio line. Studio is a plug-in for Adobe Illustrator that puts interactive 3D packaging creation in the hands of the designer. Studio offers a 3D viewing environment where designers see artwork applied instantly on packaging. Studio also features packaging-savvy navigation and alignment tools. By writing a 3D PDF file from Studio, designers are able to share their ideas with clients for review and approval. The solution reduces time-consuming mock-ups, spot design errors faster, and takes away the guesswork from 2D flats.
Studio is the continuation of the 3-dX plug-in. For folding carton or corrugated packaging, shapes can be supplied by the companyís other solutions, ArtiosCAD or Score.
Studio Toolkit for Flexibles is a new and unique application for the structural design of flexible packaging. With Studio Toolkit for Flexibles, Studio and Visualizer work with flexible packaging designs.
With Studio Toolkit for Boxes, designers create box shapes that can be imported, sketched, and folded right inside Adobe Illustrator. Designers can take an existing technical drawing and fold it into a 3D representation of a box.
Eskoís DeskPack is a modular suite of professional packaging design, layout, and pre-production tools that run as plug-ins for Illustrator CS, CS2, and CS3. With DeskPack, Illustrator users have simple, affordable, and controllable access to dedicated packaging design and visualization tools, sophisticated printability verification, and professional prepress tools. DeskPack contains everything needed to transform concept designs in Illustrator into print-ready production files.
Siemens Product Lifecycle Management Software Inc. NX is the ideal tool to help overcome package design challenges in the consumer packaged goods and food and beverage industries. NXís shape design and refinement capabilities allow users to refine package design concepts quickly, by using sophisticated freeform shape modeling, surface continuity and analysis, simulation, and visualization tools. NX provides all the features needed to explore package design shape and style while ensuring a seamless transition into engineering, simulation, and manufacturing. This transition provides significant costs savings to you because data rework and massaging is held to a minimum.
In addition to software solutions, innovative solutions such as Packsize on demand packaging allows for the production of packaging mock-ups. With the Packsize right-sized packaging on demand system, virtually any style of packaging is produced so there is no need to change a packaging design. However, there are thousands of design options available without the need for hard tooling. Select the desired style, enter the size, and out comes the package.
Packaging prototype and mock-up creation is easier as software, printers, and finishing equipment progress. With the latest enhancements to each part of the workflow, packaging prototype creation is faster and more affordable than ever before. For more on packaging prototypes, look to our full-featured article in our January/February 2010 issue on the topic. dps