How can AR and 3D help your miniature sales?
Merge creativity with modern technology at your next crafting event
Creating figurines is an art form which requires a high level of attention to detail, especially when the craft is to be sold. Clients look for those intricate details such as eyelashes or the engraving marks on a belt buckle. As a creator of the miniatures, you have a bond with your creations. And while this is a good thing to have in terms of being able to create highly detailed pieces of art, it may not be enough to drive the sales. But you need not abandon your craft or even change the way in which you create your figures. Instead think about how you are marketing your characters in the modern world. Using technology, specifically augmented reality and 3D interactions alongside your creative physical products may help to boost sales. Here is how.
Have your figure modeled or customize an existing model
In order to have your character present itself in a 3D world, it must first be created in 3D. There are a few ways in which you can do this. The first is to have the character completely modeled from scratch by a 3D artist. While this method does ensure that the model is an exact replication of your figure, it can get a bit expensive, especially if you are planning on using the character for AR or animated sequences. Instead of starting at ground zero, think about using a pre-made 3D model and then having a 3D artist tweak the model to the specifications of your miniature.
An additional option may be available to those of you which understand 3D modeling. Instead of creating the miniature ahead of time, have a 3D printer and print the models right there for your customers. Granted, you will want to have your 3D models already made and ready to go, but you can leave enough room for customization on the models to make them personal to the buyer (for example you can have the person’s name located at the base of the miniature’s stand). The only drawback to the on the spot printing is that you will not have the painting on the model. The benefit, however, is that you will have a feature which draws a crowd. People have a tendency to like to watch things being created. Either way, having your figure created and then having a 3D version of the model is needed.
Decide on whether you want AR or animation
If you have the funding and the time, AR is a great way in which you can couple your craft with modern technology. For example, if you have miniature dragon figures, you can have an augmented reality program written which shows the figure flying about the actual world. It creates an interaction between the piece being sold, the real world, and technology.
On the other hand, if you do not have the funding for AR but would like to present your character for mobile media, consider having some animations created or even a game app created. These are relatively cheap to have constructed and can greatly increase your marketability. Additionally, by having your characters available as part of mobile media, your target audience is expanded. Buyers of the younger generation are far more apt to purchase a miniature/figurine if there is a technological aspect to the purchase, meaning that although they get the physical character, they also get the digital creation as well.
Does this strategy actually work?
When looking at technology which has done rather well in the markets, one cannot help but notice Disney’s Infinity console. If you really take a look at what is being offered, it is the exact strategy just on a mega huge marketing scale. The buyer purchases the figure of say Woody from Toy Story and then uses the figuring to access data on a playable software device. Additionally, the Nintendo DS has used similar technology to create AR with their 3D version of the system. And while both of these companies are multi-million dollar companies which can allot considerable funding into technology, there is no reason why the sole proprietary business cannot take advantage of the same strategy. While your figures will not be on such a grandiose scale, you can still use the methodology. When a person purchases your figurine then they will be given the html, app, or software which can be accessed on his or her device.
The point is this. While creating miniatures may be your passion, craft fairs, online sales, and marketing strategies must have an integration with new technologies if they are to see an increase in sales. Presenting yourself as a business that not only carries on the traditions of the past but also one which embraces the future give you an edge.