Writing Portfolio

IC3D Suite: Product & Packaging Design in Half the Time, Easy to Use as Adobe Illustrator

Published By: Distributor X
Credit: Byline
Award-winning IC3D Suite is a pow­er­ful, high­ly cre­ative 3D ap­pli­ca­tion built for prod­uct de­vel­op­ment, pack­ag­ing de­sign, pre­sen­ta­tion, and pack­ag­ing man­u­fac­tur­ing to save time and mon­ey while be­ing as easy to use as any 2D draw­ing program.

IC3D Suite is ar­guably the most ben­e­fi­cial tool to come along for prod­uct de­vel­op­ment and pack­age de­sign pro­fes­sion­als since Adobe Illustrator. It ad­dress­es three dis­tinct but re­lat­ed needs bet­ter than any oth­er tool on the market:

  • Slashing the de­vel­op­ment time be­tween prod­uct idea and prod­uct man­u­fac­tur­ing, dra­mat­i­cal­ly speed­ing time to market.
  • Knocking the learn­ing curve for 3D pack­age de­sign and mock­up down to the es­sen­tial skills de­sign­ers al­ready use in 2D de­sign software.
  • Bridging the gaps be­tween ex­ist­ing best-of-breed pack­age de­sign, pre­sen­ta­tion, and pro­duc­tion soft­ware and sys­tems to en­able easy, hurdle-less col­lab­o­ra­tion and workflow.

What It Can Do For You

IC3D Suite is a sin­gle prod­uct with a sin­gle purpose—enabling easy, rapid de­vel­op­ment of prod­uct and pack­age de­signs from con­cept to pro­to­type with the high­est lev­el of cre­ative qual­i­ty, great­est ease of use, and most rapid de­vel­op­ment cy­cle pos­si­ble. It is a tool with sig­nif­i­cant ben­e­fits to any work­flow in­volved in prod­uct de­vel­op­ment, pack­ag­ing de­sign, and pack­age pro­duc­tion. Let’s look at some of the spe­cif­ic ben­e­fits for dif­fer­ent workflows.

Brand Owners

Success or fail­ure of a prod­uct is of­ten de­cid­ed by which brand gets it to mar­ket first. Once a prod­uct idea is de­vel­oped the clock be­gins tick­ing. Is your lab the first to come up with the idea? Do you com­peti­tors al­ready have the same idea? If so, how close is their ver­sion to mar­ket? Ideas are not as safe and unique as they once were, so you need every ad­van­tage pos­si­ble to short­en the time be­tween prod­uct idea and prod­uct launch.  IC3D Suite can cut de­vel­op­ment time down from weeks to days or even hours. Let your com­peti­tors vend out their 3D ren­ders and use in­ef­fi­cient col­lab­o­ra­tion method­olo­gies that re­ly on sev­er­al rounds of file import/export be­tween in­com­pat­i­ble ap­pli­ca­tions while you cre­ate in-house with IC3D Suite. Get your idea to mar­ket first and own the category.

Advertising Agencies

Your clients are the brand own­ers rac­ing com­peti­tors to mar­ket. Give them the great­est pos­si­ble re­tail advantage—and your­self the com­pet­i­tive edge against ri­val agencies—by halv­ing cre­ative de­vel­op­ment time. And, as de­vel­op­ment takes less time for each client, not on­ly do you win the day by help­ing a client to mar­ket faster, not on­ly do you be­come the hero with re­vi­sion turn­around times mea­sured in min­utes in­stead of days, but you al­so free your art de­part­ment to cre­ate just as quick­ly for a greater num­ber of clients—without art de­part­ment overtime.

Printers & Manufacturers

For you the speed of cre­ative de­vel­op­ment is of lit­tle con­se­quence un­less you al­so pro­vide de­sign ser­vices. What mat­ters most to you is re­duc­ing art er­rors and in­com­pat­i­bil­i­ties that will slow or halt pre­press. IC3D Suite can help with that in a num­ber of ways.

First, by en­cour­ag­ing your clients to de­sign in IC3D Suite, you gain a pre­dictable in­put format—actually, two. IC3D Suite can ex­port to the industry-standard Collada 3D for­mat. It al­so saves a press-ready Adobe Illustrator doc­u­ment au­to­mat­i­cal­ly every time the na­tive IC3D Suite project is saved. Thus, even you re­ceive the na­tive for­mat project from clients, you can run with the AI file or ex­port from your own copy of IC3D Suite to Collada. For stan­dard pack­ag­ing shapes you can main­tain and share with clients mod­els in IC3D Suite or oth­er industry-standard 3D ap­pli­ca­tion for­mats. In this way you know in ad­vance that the art you re­ceived match­es prod­uct size and shape or la­bel specs.

The sec­ond way in which the tool can ease your file prep bur­den is by mak­ing it eas­i­er for you to fix art er­rors. Models in­side IC3D Suite are as eas­i­ly edit­ed as any 2D vec­tor art in Illustrator, so they can be tweaked and fixed as nec­es­sary with­out hours of un­ex­pect­ed la­bor or kick­ing the file back to the client or agency. Presentation and mock­ups ef­fects such as back­grounds, re­flec­tions, and ro­ta­tion ac­ci­den­tal­ly left on in the copy sent to you can be eas­i­ly turned off with just a few clicks and drags, quick­ly turn­ing a mock­up in­to a press-ready de­sign with lit­tle fuss or expense.

How It Can Save Time and Money

IC3D Suite speeds not on­ly the de­vel­op­ment and pre­sen­ta­tion stages of the process, but all stages of pack­age de­sign from sketch to manufacturing.


The in­clu­sion of a large se­lec­tion of ful­ly cus­tomiz­able mod­els and tem­plates en­able de­sign to start in­stant­ly on the vast ma­jor­i­ty of pack­ag­ing types. Designing on unique con­tain­er de­signs is al­most as in­stan­ta­neous, re­quir­ing on­ly a sim­ple im­port of the mod­el in lead­ing 3D ren­der­ing ap­pli­ca­tion formats.


Initial de­signs can be ex­port­ed to nu­mer­ous stan­dard im­age for­mats, all stan­dard 3D for­mats, and movies. In fact, mere­ly sav­ing a de­sign in na­tive IC3D Suite for­mat au­to­mat­i­cal­ly gen­er­ates a match­ing Adobe Illustrator file. The always-up-to-date Illustrator ver­sion makes not on­ly briefs and mock­ups eas­i­er to cre­ate, but al­so aids in pre­sen­ta­tion and re­view due to the fact that Illustrator AI files may be eas­i­ly in­clud­ed as linked as­sets in­side oth­er Illustrator doc­u­ments, InDesign lay­outs, and, as linked Smart Objects, in Photoshop documents.

Creative Development

Initial de­signs and ba­sic mock­ups cre­at­ed in IC3D Suite can eas­i­ly be edit­ed, re­fined, and made client-ready with­out hav­ing to start over from scratch or re­build mod­els. Granular con­trol over every nu­ance of mod­el shape, col­or, tex­ture, light­ing, and en­vi­ron­ment means that each com­po­si­tion is al­ways com­plete­ly ed­itable. The patent­ed Smart Wrap tech­nol­o­gy in IC3D Suite quick­ly and eas­i­ly maps la­bels and art­work to even the most com­plex mod­els with­out the usu­al lengthy UVW tex­ture co­or­di­nate map­ping. Going from mock­up to fi­nal ren­der­ing is a sim­ple mat­ter of build­ing on the ex­ist­ing sketch with hot and cold foils, metal­lic inks, em­boss­ing and en­taglio, holo­graph­ic and lentic­u­lar art, real-time shad­ows, en­vi­ron­ments re­flect­ed on the prod­uct, the prod­uct re­flect­ing on the floor or oth­er en­vi­ron­men­tal sur­faces, fill­ing con­tain­ers with liq­uid, build­ing sep­a­rate ver­sions of pack­ets at var­i­ous states of full­ness and an­i­ma­tion tran­si­tions be­tween them, and many more cre­ative fea­tures man­aged through stan­dard tog­gle con­trols, slid­ers, and col­or pickers.

Even when ideation oc­curs out­side of IC3D Suite the pro­gram eas­es and speeds the tran­si­tion in­to full pro­duc­tion with its abil­i­ty to im­port from all oth­er ma­jor 3D ren­der­ing ap­pli­ca­tions as well as vec­tor AI files, which are not on­ly the file for­mat of desk­top ver­sions of Adobe Illustrator but al­so a grow­ing num­ber of mo­bile draw­ing apps such as Adobe Illustrator Draw, Adobe Illustrator Line, and Adobe Shape.

Creative col­lab­o­ra­tion among team mem­bers and with out­side agen­cies is made all the more eas­i­er by IC3D Suite’s ro­bust fo­cus on com­pat­i­bil­i­ty. First, of course, the na­tive for­mat project can be worked on by any­one with a copy of IC3D Suite. This en­ables team mem­bers to build re­suable and high­ly cus­tomiz­able mod­els and tem­plates use the Image Based Lighting (IBL) mod­el to cal­cu­late ac­cu­rate and re­al­is­tic mod­el light­ing from HDRI and EXR en­vi­ron­ments. Collaborators with­out IC3D Suite can al­so con­tribute by work­ing with the concurrently-created Adobe Illustrator AI file and by cre­at­ing mod­els, tex­tures, and ma­te­ri­als in all industry-standard for­mats. IC3D Suite sup­ports the im­port of mod­els in Collada (DAE), Modo (LXO), CDS Max (3DS and ASE), Wavefront Object (OBJ), Lightwave (LWO and LWS), Milkshape 3D (MS3D), and Stereo Lithography 3D Printer file (STL) for­mats. Materials con­tained in those files are al­so im­port­ed, but IC3D Suite in­cludes its own ma­te­ri­als ed­i­tor for so­phis­ti­cat­ed, real-time ma­te­ri­als cre­ation and modification.


In ad­di­tion to speed­ing all the oth­er steps of cre­ative de­vel­op­ment, IC3D Suite can even make the pre­sen­ta­tion and re­view process faster and more in­for­ma­tive. Its built-in abil­i­ty to ren­der re­al­is­tic 3D prod­ucts and to place those ob­jects in­to pho­to­graph­ic or 3D en­vi­ron­ments, com­plete with environment-appropriate light­ing and re­flec­tions means that clients, sales peo­ple, and any­one view­ing dig­i­tal or print proofs from IC3D Suite see the com­plete pic­ture, with no imag­i­na­tion nec­es­sary. Products can be pre­sent­ed alone in full de­tail as well as in be­liev­able, re­al­is­tic place­ments on store shelves or POS displays.

Creatives can ex­port from IC3D Suite as stan­dard screen-, print-, and PowerPoint-ready 2D graph­ics, and 3D PDF. High-resolution PSD ex­ports can even in­clude al­pha chan­nels for easy sep­a­ra­tion of mod­els from their back­grounds. For tru­ly im­pact­ful pre­sen­ta­tions, prod­ucts and en­vi­ron­ments can be ro­tat­ed and an­i­mat­ed in­to a movie that can be ex­port­ed as QuickTime Movie (MOV) for­mat for di­rect pre­sen­ta­tion on a lap­top, iPad, iPhone, and oth­er mo­bile de­vices, or for in­cor­po­ra­tion in­to larg­er pre­sen­ta­tions in After Effects, Final Cut Pro, and oth­er video editors.


Following pre­sen­ta­tion and re­view, when re­vi­sion re­quests come through, is when IC3D Suite re­al­ly ac­cu­mu­lates the time and mon­ey sav­ings. Just as go­ing from ideation to brief, brief to pre­sen­ta­tion was sped along by IC3D Suite’s easy-to-use gran­u­lar de­sign re­fine­ment abil­i­ties, the fact that all as­pects of the mock­up, from the shape, col­or, tex­ture, con­tents, la­bel­ing, and ro­ta­tion of the mod­el to the light­ing, re­flec­tions, and back­ground of the model’s en­vi­ron­ment, are com­plete­ly ed­itable make in-house re­vi­sion a breeze. Because the ap­pli­ca­tion is so easy and fast to use, and be­cause ren­der­ings to screen take so lit­tle time, many re­vi­sions can be done live, while the client or prod­uct man­ag­er watches.

Prototyping and Manufacturing

Upon ap­proval of the fi­nal prod­uct de­sign, send­ing to phys­i­cal pro­to­type and man­u­fac­tur­ing are a sim­ple mat­ter of ex­port­ing con­tain­er or la­bel to stan­dard 3D ap­pli­ca­tion or Adobe Illustrator for­mat straight from IC3D Suite.

Employing an out­side agency to ren­der 3D mock­ups caus­es de­lays dur­ing ideation, brief, de­vel­op­ment, and re­vi­sion that are sim­ply un­nec­es­sary in a world that now has IC3D Suite. IC3D Suite is as easy to use as any 2D il­lus­tra­tion ap­pli­ca­tion cre­ative teams are al­ready us­ing. Such a shal­low learn­ing curve means rapid in­cor­po­ra­tion of the tool in­to ex­ist­ing work­flows with min­i­mal down­time. More im­por­tant­ly, adding IC3D Suite to the work­flow means an im­me­di­ate time and cost sav­ings on the very next project and every project thereafter.

Creative Edge IC3D Suite is avail­able from for $12,500. IC3D Carton Edition, a ver­sion specif­i­cal­ly tai­lored to the needs of car­ton de­sign­ers and pack­ag­ing pro­fes­sion­als, is now avail­able for $2,950

Pariah Burke has more than 25 years ex­pe­ri­ence in de­sign, print pro­duc­tion, pre­press, and both print pub­lish­ing and epub­lish­ing. He ap­pren­ticed at press­es and de­sign shops be­fore PostScript, PageMaker, and Photoshop, and then rode the Desktop Publishing wave in­to own­er­ship of de­sign agen­cies and pre­press bu­reaus. He has de­signed pack­ag­ing, con­tain­ers, and point-of-sale dis­plays for a num­ber of brands in­clud­ing Playboy Sun. Pariah is the au­thor of 8 books (and more than 450 ar­ti­cles) on InDesign, Illustrator, and oth­er cre­ative pro­fes­sion­al tools and work­flows. He is al­so a world-recognized pub­lic speak­er and con­sul­tant to cre­ative, pro­duc­tion, and pub­lish­ing work­flows. Reach Pariah on Twitter @iampariah and on the Web at http://​iampar​i​ah​.com .

Full Disclosure:  Creative Edge Software paid me a nom­i­nal fee to write this ar­ti­cle. I ac­cept­ed the as­sign­ment be­cause, af­ter deeply ex­am­in­ing IC3D hands-on, I be­lieve strong­ly in the prod­uct and the ben­e­fits it can bring to the work­flows above. I stand be­hind my as­sess­ment re­gard­less of compensation.