If you look at the top apps on the Android and Apple market, you will note that they all have something in common, 3D. Whether the background or the main component of the app has 3d integration, most apps these days has a 3d element. Why is this? According to Forbes “most of us need real-life (or close to real life) experiences to judge if we like something or now…Today, brands are using high-end visualization to provide a true immersive reality to power a customer experience.” In other words, we can easier bond to a 3D experience than we can to a 2D experience. And since the app industry is based upon addiction and UX, 3D models and components just make sense.
3D models add reality
When you look at some of the 2D applications on the market such as in Marvel Puzzle Quest or 3D based applications such as Real Racing 3, you will note that there are 3d components. Granted, the level of 3D varies from the applications. In puzzle games, the 3d is typically limited to the main focal area. Gyms, tokens, power ups, and such are 3d models which have had a 2d texture added to them. By adding these 3D elements within the game, the application obtains a bit of depth. Even in non-gaming applications such as Learn Chinese in 3D understand that by adding a 3d model to the application, they increase the reality and the user experience. 3D adds three main components which contribute to our reality, even though technically the information we are seeing is 2D (as you cannot pick the object off of the pixelated screen). These three main components are:
- Recognizable depth and form – The images on the app transform from being recognized as an illustration to being registered in our mind as a physical form.
- Shadow – Objects which have shadows and highlights are more stimulating to us because we can then perceive them as having weight. We then give them more creditability as they are not seen as being fake but real things.
- Perspective – 2D can mimic perspectives and our sense of relationships between objects to a degree. However, the 3d object gives a far larger scope to the user. In fact, you could say that 2D is the baseline for 3D compositions for what are you trying to achieve with 2 point or 3 point perspective but the illusion of a 3d environment.
How you can use 3D to cheat the system?
3D modeling, rigging, and texturing takes quite a considerable amount of time, especially if you are making a gaming application which is dependent upon the coding and the relationship between the objects and that code. And while you could make all of the models yourself, it does not make sense to do so. Financially, the time that is spent to make a 3d model is more expensive than buying a model from a 3D model platform such as CGTrader. Timewise, production of your app is slowed down a great bit. Consider. Your programmer needs to have the model in most cases in order to perform the linkage between that component and the programing (php, Java, C++, or unity in most cases). Until the model is completed, your production team may be sitting on their hands.
Purchased 3D models do not mean “stock” 3d images
There is a perception that 3d models purchased from the internet are similar to packing your visuals with clip art. This is not the case. In many instances you will customize the 3D model to meet your requirements. For example: If you purchase a 3d Desk in .Obj format you may want to change out the chair, the textures of the top, the computer, add supporting 3d elements (such as a cup of pens), or re-sculpt or add to the model. The point is that the model that you purchase can be manipulated to make it your own. In instances where you are using the 3d object for background and support imaging on the application, the focus is not based upon that object, and so there is not a need to worry about it looking “stock” as the focus will be on your primary object.
Getting prepared to cheat the system
Before you jump into your app production, ensure that you have the application planned out. Storyboard your app to see what elements are needed. Which elements are 3D, what is interactive, what is supportive, and most of all what is the purpose of the app? By addressing these questions first, you will know where to put your focus, finances, and what the driving force for creating the user reality is.