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Interactive 3D images

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Interactive 3D images show a 3D model of an object and its components. The model can be manipulated in all 3 dimensions.

Users can zoom and rotate the shown object, and they can apply various functions, such as isolate individual assemblies and components or run an animation.

Unlike with static images, users are not limited to the perspective provided by the author but can explore the object in various ways. This even works for animations. Other than with a video, when users interrupt a 3D animation, they can change the position of the camera, zoom in or out, and then continue or rerun the animation from the new perspective.

If you have existing CAD data from development, you can typically create interactive 3D images at very reasonable costs.

If you use 3D PDF as the file format, you can embed your 3D images into normal text documents. Users can then use a free PDF viewer to view the document along with the interactive 3D images.

The key strength of an interactive image is also its main weakness: For users, viewing an interactive image means having to take action. So it’s crucial that an interactive 3D image provides and communicates some obvious benefit.

Important: From looking at the image, it’s not necessarily obvious that the image is interactive. Thus, provide some visual or text-based clue that tells users that they can click and manipulate the image.

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