Looking for tools and techniques for ecommerce photo variations

Discussion in 'Photo Assignments & Technical Challenges' started by vigilante, Sep 14, 2017.

  1. vigilante

    vigilante TPF Noob!

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    The thread title isn't long enough to ask this question.

    The idea is simple enough, I have a base product, but as people choose options, I'd like to change a photo to reflect their options.

    For a product I have in mind, there are potentially 5 or 6 options with various choices within each, so I could end up with dozens or hundreds of possible combinations.

    The technical challenge is first seeing if our store can handle updating the photo for specific sets of options, but if not, is there some other tool like an embedded image viewing thing where I can put it on the product page and use that?

    In any case, the main question is about tools and techniques. You see this sort of thing often in the auto industry. Choose a color for the car, different rims, a spoiler, tinted windows, etc. And the photos update themselves. I get the impression that changing something like a color is purely just a photoshop color manipulation. And I get the feeling that adding/removing any other feature is just a photoshop manipulation rather than an alternate photo that was taken.

    In my case it's not that simple, or I'm not that advanced. I don't know how to take a part of my graphic and use PS alone to change the color to be accurate. But at the same time I don't want to have to take 300 photos with every kind of variation of every kind of option and addon.

    I'm not sure how to tackle the problem. Do I take a whole bunch of reference photos with and without each particular option at every angle? Even this is difficult because if I take a photo in a slightly different angle or something is off between shots. I'm not the best at making micro adjustments with colors and white balance and perspective/distortion etc.

    Some of the options interact with other options, so each option is not just an isolated part that I can take a reference photo of. Sometimes one addon stacks or connects with another addon.

    Part of me feels like this just isn't a worthwhile adventure. A ton of work that may or may not even make a dent in sales.
    The boss simply wants to take a picture of the most pimped out version with all the bells and whistles because it is the most visually pleasing.

    Oh and one last thing, I don't only take a single picture, I take 360 degree pictures. So each product gets about 11 shots. So now it's 11 shots times 300 variations? Obviously there is a technique here, so any advice on what this type of photography is called, any tools and techniques for doing these progressive photos, or even trainings how to do things like change the color of part of a photo in a realistic way without having to take another photo.

    Any and all advice is welcome, I'm just digging in to this idea.


     
  2. cherylynne1

    cherylynne1 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I'm fairly certain that that's done digitally. You would take the 360 shot of the product by itself, and then with each add on, and then have the website somehow combine the photos based on the various choices made. I have absolutely no idea how to do that, though. I've been on many websites where they have that option, and there always seems to be a few bugs somewhere in the choices. If I were you, I would hire someone to do that for you. I think you'll end up wasting a lot of time and energy otherwise, and the end result might still be so buggy that you'll actually drive customers away rather than pull them in.
     
  3. vigilante

    vigilante TPF Noob!

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    Ya, it does seem like it would be very complicated.

    Just to simply the idea, I'd probably skip doing anything but just one angle. I could mark out exactly where the product needs to sit in the lightbox so that I could take it out and put on the accessories and put it back again.

    I figure if I have a bare reference shot, and then a reference shot with each individual addon. I can then photoshop/merge them for each kind of variation. And then if I can learn how to do a quality color adjustment, I can figure out how to change the colors on the reference shot.

    Even if the whole thing is a bust, it would be an interesting challenge to figure out.
     
  4. Dave442

    Dave442 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    One company I worked with just did the color variations in post and the assembly variations shown on the web were just a sampling and not all the variations available. The web page would give the full description and part number. I think they ran into the same issue you have, there are just too many photos to manage.

    I think this would be easier to do in SolidWorks using the product drawings.
     
  5. gk fotografie

    gk fotografie èn...dat zoeken we op! Supporting Member

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    If you do not have a professional knowledge of MySQL, databases, PHP scripting etc., I would definitely not start this project because it will fail and it will be a waste of time and money.
    Photoshop, editing pictures etc. absolutely is the least of your problems in this case.

    The general idea is that you need separate pictures of every variation of the product, all these images must be placed in a database on the website (make sure it's possible to create at least 2 databases on the website), further more: with (PHP) scripting you create the possibility for viewers to choose all variations of the product you sell via a menu on the website-page.

    Editing pictures can be done with several payed/free photo-editing software, you don't need Photoshop in specific.

    So lets say you want to sell a Bentley in 10 different colors and you only have a white showroom model. First you create a photo of the white Bentley, with an editingprogram (by using layers) you can then create a Bentley in 9 other colors. If you want 360-degrees view, edit ALL 360-degrees the pictures, ofcourse.
    Next you have to create the database with all the pictures you took and edited.
    After that you make a neat menu by using PHP scripting, so you give viewers the possibility to choose "the red colored Bentley" by clicking in a menu on the website.

    Besides the PHP scripting you also need a script to get the 360-degrees rotation of the product on your website page, those scripts can be donwloaded for free (search the internet) and therfore not that difficult to install on a website.

    I hope you realize this entire project will cost a lot of time and a lot of money, you really need to know what you are doing otherwise it will absolutely fail.
    My advise is to consider whether this project is worth all this time and money, will you really sell more items?
    When you deside it's worth it, then hire professional website builder.
    Success.


    Gerard
     
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  6. fmw

    fmw No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    If your site software doesn't provide this capability you are out of luck without some serious spending. If it is critical then shop for different ecommerce software. The software I use is called Open Cart. It does not do what you want. But it can provide the ability to put images for all the variations for the customer to view and it provides for putting products with selectable models into the shopping cart. Open Cart is a do it yourself open source system for computer saavy people like me.

    Why not find a site that does what you want and ask them how they do it?
     

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