Astera3D: bringing phones to life
20th March 2009
It's all very well to look at a picture
of a phone on a web page, but there's nothing quite
like holding the real thing in your hands. Sometimes
phones that look great on the screen don't look quite
as good when you see them for real, and sometimes the
overall design of a handset doesn't make sense until
you get a grasp of the whole thing.
Of course, it's not always possible
to get a real handset in your hands. Online retailers
know this very well, and tend to struggle with product
photos to give an impression of a device. Equally as
well, customer support lines can struggle to demonstrate
features such as battery removal and memory card slots
over the phone.
is a British company that can help address this problem.
By creating interactive computer models, it is possible
to give customers a much better idea of what a handset
looks like and how it works than just by using plain
It is possible to rotate devices in
any direction, open and close them and you can even
take the battery out. All without leaving the comfort
of your computer.
How exactly do you create a model like
this? Astera3D start by using a real object which they
take several reference photographs of from different
angles. Edges and details are checked carefully, and
then when everything looks OK the whole device is converted
into a wireframe image that a computer can use.
Once the form of the phone has been
stripped down to the basics, it is built back up again.
First of all, the wireframe is converted into a solid
shape, then textures and graphics are added on. Finally,
the model is lit and animated, then it can be exported
into either a 3D interactive gadget or some other format.
This can be done for almost any consumer
device, but it seems more compelling with mobile phones
because of the rapid turnover of models. And at a time
when manufacturers and retailers are struggling to engage
customers, this type of 3D modelling could make a real
Astera have some other sample
phone models, to have a look at, plus a variety
consumer items that demonstrate that it is possible
to model pretty much anything.
Is this type of thing the next leap
forward for retailers and manufacturers? It's hard to
say, but we think that this approach is pretty cool..
and hopefully we will be able to show some more 3D models
from Astera in the future.