John Deere Maximum Life Undercarriage Product Video

John Deere Maximum Life Undercarriage animation.

This is another great example of how 3D industrial animation explainer videos can help showcase features and benefits in a contemporary, comprehensive but succinct presentation across a wide array of media channels. Created for John Deere in collaboration with their local advertising agency, this piece was animated using a massive CAD data set that took a while to sort through. Every piece was painstakingly detailed and separated into layers for presentation.

CAD DATA

The CAD Data set for this project was enormous and complex. Sifting through various assemblies and sub-assemblies took extreme attention to detail. We were able to organize each sub-assembly into sensible animation groups based on the correct combinations required for presentation. It took every bit of our fastest machines to do this project, but the end results speak for themselves.

Titling

Once the raw animation sequence was complete, we handed it off to titling who put their unique spin on final presentation look & feel, as well as music.

Clean Power Graphics

Alternative clean power and energy require new ways of visualization. Let’s face it: new technologies require new thought; a new approach to help early market adaptors understand you’re value proposition. CraneDigital has been helping creative thinkers present their alternative energy strategies for more than 20 years.

Clean Power Graphics: DAC (Direct Air Capture) Hub
Direct air capture, or DAC, is a carbon dioxide removal process that separates carbon dioxide (CO2) directly from the atmosphere. The separated CO2 is then converted into components for other products, or stored safely deep underground. DAC, and other forms of carbon removal, is a critical tool for reaching net-zero emissions and cleaning up the legacy carbon pollution that is already in the atmosphere, causing significant climate change related damage.

In order for innovative clean power and clean energy technologies to gain momentum people need to understand how they work. Technical messaging can be complicated. That’s where we come in. With 30 years of experience in visual communications CraneDigital uses the universal language of visual intelligence to clarify your message. One of the biggest challenges in Marketing & Communications is striking the right balance between accuracy and the ability to easily explain something without confusing your audience. Clean power graphics from CraneDigital visually explains your message using simple visuals to clarify complex ideas.

3D cut-away illustration is used to showcase different aspects of the rain cycling process.
3D cut-away illustration is used to showcase different aspects of the rain cycling process.
Clean Power Graphics: 3D Modeling for Graphic Design: Munters VariMax® IFRG Process Graphic. Explaining the principles behind heat exchange technology.
Munters VariMax® IFRG Process Graphic. Explaining the principles behind heat exchange technology.

What we do

CraneDigital helps organizations visualize abstract concepts using 3D animation, video and other forms of visual story telling. We can convert complex CAD engineering data sets into marketing masterpieces. Or fictional – but plausible – environments to illustrate concepts. Or, anything in between. If you have thought of it, we can help others understand it.

Clean Power Graphics: Carbon capture and sequestration concept illustration for Future Gen Alliance/U.S. Department of Energy. This graphic helps non-technical audiences understand how it’s possible to ‘capture’ CO2 and through the miracle of engineering, safely inject that CO2 into a layer of rock thousands of feet below the surface. Above, using google maps data and to-scale imagery, an accurate representation of the project was constructed to help stake holders understand the technology.
Carbon Capture and Sequestration Conceptual Graphic created for U.S. Department of Energy/Future Gen Alliance.
Carbon Capture and Sequestration Conceptual Graphic created for U.S. Department of Energy/Future Gen Alliance.
Direct Air Capture animated 3D model.
Clean Power Graphics: 3D explainer video showing heliostat mirror array for Sundrop Fuels
Heliostat mirror array for Sundrop Fuels
Sundrop Fuels Lifecycle Illustration: explaining the value chain for Sundrop Fuels "green" gasoline, diesel and aviation fuels' biofuels. Syngas is made into “green” gasoline
and liquid petroleum gas (LPG) using the commercial methanol and MTG 
process, or into diesel and aviation fuel using the Fischer-Tropsch process.
Sundrop Fuels Lifecycle Illustration: explaining the value chain for Sundrop Fuels “green” gasoline, diesel and aviation fuels’ biofuels. This high-level graphic illustrates how Syngas is made into “green” gasoline and liquid petroleum gas (LPG) using the commercial methanol and MTG process, or into diesel and aviation fuel using the Fischer-Tropsch process.
Solar Hot Water Heater Thermosiphon diagrams created for Popular Mechanics magazine.
Solar Hot Water Heater Thermosiphon diagrams created for article in Popular Mechanics magazine on Solar Hot Water Heaters.
Solar Hot Water Heater illustrations created for Popular Mechanics Magazine.
Solar Hot Water Heater illustrations created for Popular Mechanics Magazine.

CraneDigital has extensive experience and a solid track record helping clients large and small move ideas from notional into actual. We’re experts at joining your creative team as trusted partners in the sometimes complex process of technical marketing.

Clean Power Graphics: 3D Site Maps, Process Diagrams
Clean Water Process Diagram created for Milton Roy
Pollution-Free Power: a diagram of how the micro fuel cell operates. Created in the mid 90’s for Los Alamos Start-Up, Hockaday Micro Fuel Cell.
High-Temp Particle Reactor: on left is sketch provided by client. On right the graphic created for presentation.
High-Temp Particle Reactor: on left is sketch provided by client. On right the graphic created for presentation.
Air Genesis Wind Turbine
Air Genesis Wind Turbine

2024 sees many alternatives to conventional energy sources being explored. When it comes time to present those ideas, we can help. With 30 years experience in marketing, technical illustration, animation and video production, CraneDigital helps get your message in front of a global audience.

Air Genesis Wind Turbine
Air Genesis Wind Turbine

Let clean power graphics from CraneDigital help you clean things up in 2024. Give us a call at (970) 213-1828. We can help.

3D Modeling for Graphic Design

3D Modeling for graphic design has evolved tremendously over the years. CraneDigital has been there since the early days, today putting to work 30 years of experience, creativity and wisdom on every project landing on our desk.

3D Modeling for Graphic Design: Munters VariMax® IFRG Process Graphic. Explaining the principles behind heat exchange technology.

3D Modeling for Graphic Design: Munters VariMax® IFRG Process Graphic. Explaining the principles behind heat exchange technology. 3D Illustration is used to graphically represent concepts without committing to a specific model of equipment. This allows the graphic a longer shelf life due to not being tied to specific piece of equipment’s life span

3D Modeling for Graphic Design is a cornerstone technique used to visualize anything by creating believable, plausible content. CraneDigital began (as Sandhill Studios) doing this right around the time the (current version of the) internet was born, using airbrushing techniques learned in art school.

Data Center 3D Model: two-story, 48MW ITE data center is a complex image to digest. Using visualization techniques like before and after we're able to provide a better look at what's going on under the roof.Data Center 3D Model: two-story, 48MW ITE data center is a complex image to digest. Using visualization techniques like before and after we're able to provide a better look at what's going on under the roof.
Data Center 3D Model: two-story, 48MW ITE data center is a complex image to digest. Using visualization techniques like before and after we’re able to provide a better look at what’s going on under the roof.
A brief assortment of graphical logo treatments for clients over the years.

Then one day walking through an Albuquerque, NM bookstore, I stumbled upon something that would alter the course of my career – and life. Deep in the computer software section there was a software box with catchy illustrations that looked similar to what I was creating with an airbrush – only better. I showed it to my wife and we both winced at the price: $300 – which was a lot of money to a couple of artists trying to make it in Santa Fe, New Mexico in the mid 90’s. After a brief discussion we decided it was worth the risk, and my first 3D Illustration program, Ray Dream Designer was purchased.

3D explainer video
CAD Translation opens up an entirely new realm for the 3D modeler/illustrator. If an object already exists as a result of R&D/Engineering, it makes no sense to waste time re-modeling it. The 3D illustrator is able to then use truly accurate digital twins and do things otherwise impossible in real life. Slicing through exterior housings to see interior features, for example. Created for long-time client Informa-Engage these industrial-strength power products are from CAD files.
3D Modeling for Graphic Design.
Ant Acid, where it began almost 30 years ago. Dusting off a project from art school and using it to teach myself 3D modeling, Ant Acid went on to win notoriety in the New York Society of Illustrators. The makers of Ray Dream Design initially couldn’t believe their software was used to create such a complex, detailed model.
3D Model of Well Head.
Using photographs as reference, virtually anything can be built by a skilled 3D modeler. Extreme attention to detail is essential to creating believable objects that appear as they would in the physical world. A firm grasp of photographic techniques translates well to working with the sophisticated virtual cameras of 3D.

With computer skills young and undeveloped, but a firm understanding of the essentials, I loaded the software on my Mac – which barely met the basic system requirements. Immediately it became clear I needed a new computer. The journey had begun.

BioCycle-D from Enviromix: Optimized Aerobic Digestion for waste water technology explained
BioCycle D Optimized Aerobic Digestion. Part CAD file translation, part re-modeling/optimizing for animation, this image is a good example of using client-provided information as a base, then altering various components for optimum presentation.
Land diagrams and plot maps.
Created for Shell Oil’s S.U.R.E (Shell Unconventional Resource Exploration) team, 3D illustration was used with GIS data to accurately represent a real plot of land in western Colorado.

Fast forward 30+ years and many, many hours later, learning many, many 3D modeling software packages – here we are, the end of 2023. The potential of 3D graphics packages far exceeds the wildest imagination of yesteryear. Today, virtually anything can be created, visualized, invented – and animated – on the computer, bringing an entire new level of potential to visual communications.

With 30 years of examples 3D Modeling for Graphic Design to show, it’s tough to decide which images should be on this page. As well, styles change over time. Initially my color palette leaned towards brighter, more vibrant colors. Over time I’ve become more understated, focusing instead on the nuance produced by subtle shifts in lighting, allowing an object’s natural character to emerge. This is also attributable in part to more advanced lighting techniques.

Cut-away illustration of blow out preventer.
After the Deep Water Horizon’s catastrophic failure, Royal Dutch Shell executives were in damage control explaining to share holders why this could not happen to their equipment. 3D illustration from CraneDigital helped convey that message in high-stakes meetings with the CEO.

While CraneDigital has worked with large, multi-national corporations over the last 30 years, we’ve also had the privilege of working with those just starting out, trying to help get ideas out of their head for the rest of the world to see. The work below was created for start-up company Cahill Services, providing heat to construction sites around the world through use of portable, jet-engine powered heaters they somehow figured out how to mount in trailers and ship to some of the coldest, most remote sites on earth. We worked closely with Cahill Heating to understand their value proposition, then advise visuals that best supported core messaging. The result was a explainer video concisely summarizing Cahill’s value proposition.

3D Modeling for Graphic Design: Conveying complex value propositions is a key benefit of using 3D graphics for marketing. Being able to visually illustrate concepts relationships between elements eliminates confusion and clarifies messaging.
3D Modeling for Graphic Design: Conveying complex value propositions is a key benefit of using 3D graphics for marketing. Being able to visually illustrate concepts relationships between elements eliminates confusion and clarifies messaging.

One trailer model (below) was represented by CAD engineering. The other needed to be constructed as a 3D model by CraneDigital. Can you tell which is which in the image below?

3D Modeling for Graphic Design: We illustrate and animate using 3D models either provided by client as CAD files, or by building the model from scratch using visual reference.
We animate and illustrate using 3D models either provided by client as CAD files, or by building the model from scratch using visual reference.

This last image is an example created recently for a project that has not yet been fully realized. The initial ask was for a series of images relating to Clean Energy. Though the project didn’t materialize due to deadline constraints, it seemed a good enough idea to explore anyway. As a result we’ve embarked on modeling various components for future projects. Below is a DAC Hub, created as a 3D model allowing 360° views for future projects. After 30 years of doing this, our model library is extensive.

DAC (Direct Air Capture) Hub
Direct air capture, or DAC, is a carbon dioxide removal process that separates carbon dioxide (CO2) directly from the atmosphere. The separated CO2 can then be converted into components of products like concrete or stored safely and permanently deep underground. DAC, and other forms of carbon removal, is a critical tool for reaching net-zero emissions and cleaning up the legacy carbon pollution that is already in the atmosphere, causing significant climate change related damage.

So no matter the project, CraneDigital has 30 years of experience creating custom imagery for an enormous variety of applications and clients. Give us a call at (970) 213-1828. We’d love to help on your next project. Thanks for reading.

3D Explainer Videos

The benefits of combining 3D animation and graphics with the web/internet to distribute compelling marketing material world-wide, are well established. If you’re not doing so, you’re missing opportunity.

3D Explainer Animated Video:showcase your products and services in the universal language of visual intelligence.
3D Explainer Animated Video: Created for Munters as part of a larger animation project explaining their unique approach to cooling data centers.

3D explainer video is the latest term for something we’ve been doing for a long time. CraneDigital has nearly 30 years of experience combining advertising, marketing and publishing with 3D animation, graphics and video production to visualize and explain our client’s products and services in unique, compelling and entertaining ways. Yeh, that’s a pretty long sentence, but the search engines will love it.

Munters SyCool animated explainer video
3D explainer animated video
3D explainer animated video: Created for client to showcase unique industrial design benefits.
Radiate from Nutrien Ag Solutions. This video uses 3D animation to explain the benefits of Radiate from Nutrien Ag Solutions.

Explainer videos explain and showcase your products and services in a concise, unique presentation ready to deploy via the web to a world-wide audience. You’ve heard it a million times and it’s even more true today: a picture is worth a thousand words. How many more words is a short, precisely targeted animated explanation of your value proposition worth?

3D Animated Explainer Videos
Working closely with in-house video production team, CraneDigital provides high-quality 3D animation to showcase products in larger, corporate video projects.

The web-surfing public no longer wishes to be bothered by reading to understand information, especially complex, technical information. Instead we’d like to have it explained to us in easy to understand words, with moving pictures and a friendly voice and catchy music to set the tone. Strategically include your corporate-approved logos, fonts, colors, etc. to uphold the all important branding guidelines and you have something AI could never do.

Needlepoint Bipolar Ionization: Cleaning the air in a pandemic.
Created for Lohmiller & Associates during the height of Covid. This project explains how the air is cleaned with Needlepoint Bipolar Ionization.

Explainer videos can be as simple or elaborate as required. The goal is always concise, brief messaging that reaches the right ears and creates a response.

3D explainer video for Shell Oil
Created for Shell Oil, this project explains the complexities of an enormous underground engineering feat; a freeze wall acting as a barrier containing subsurface contaminates. Otherwise impossible to grasp by the general public, this project was designed to showcase the depths with which Shell is willing to go to in order to protect the environment. Everything was modeled by CraneDigital using on-site photographic reference.

Let CraneDigital put our nearly 30 years of design, communication, marketing and animation experience to work for you. A long list of happy clients is proof we’re exceptionally good at it. Give us a call. We can help.

Cleaning the Air in a Pandemic With GPS

Successful animated product videos use easily understood imaging to explain sometimes complex ideas.
Still from animated video explaining how needlepoint bipolar ionization is used to clean the air in the covid pandemic.

One of the greatest things about what CraneDigital does – industrial and technical animation – is learning about new technologies. When a new technology offers a substantial benefit to others, and contributes to the greater good in the world we live in, well, projects don’t get any more rewarding than that.

In order to effectively communicate something we first need to understand what we’re communicating. This past month we had the privilege of working with local Colorado company, Lohmiller & Company, to explain their Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) technology, GPS that cleans the air of Coronavirus in homes and business.

GPS technology removes the source for airborne viral infection transmission, removing molds, pollens, bacteria and viruses from the air. GPS inactivates and removes 99.4% of viruses such as Coronavirus, Norovirus, Staph, E.coli and Legionella in 30 minutes time, with no harmful by-products as a result – like ozone.

Lohmiller and Company GPS Technology
Needlepoint Bipolar Ionization

GPS, or Global Plasma Solutions’ Needlepoint Bipolar Ionization has been used in hospitals for a while, and now it’s available to anyone – residential and commercial – from a single-room apartment to large-scale business campuses.

Here’s how Needlepoint Bipolar Ionization works: A simple device is mounted in your existing HVAC equipment and emits a charge of negative and positive ions. The ion-charged air is then circulated around your your entire building and attracts microscopic pathogens floating around. This effectively causes the microscopic debris floating in the air to collect around a larger single point that then becomes easier for your HVAC filters to remove. Here’s an animation explaining the process from a commercial point of view.

For obvious reasons, timing was important. Businesses, for example – need this technology today if they’re going to return to normal operations, and customers are to feel safe visiting their establishments. Working closely with Lohmiller’s excellent internal marketing team to effectively communicate the benefits of NPBI, we had less than a month to bring 6 different renditions to life.

Local Voiceover Talent Pro Donna Cuddemi’s voice brought just the right balance of compassion and credible intelligence to the videos, and everything came together beautifully.

Visit Lohmiller & Company’s web site at www.lohmillercompany.com/cleanindoorair for a complete overview.

Industrial Animation Case Study: Schneider Electric

Over the years we’ve had the privilege of working on some fun projects. One of them was a series of industrial animation created for industry giant Schneider Electric. The goal for these projects was to provide a high-level view of each industrial process where their products and solutions were applicable.

Three primary industries were spotlighted: Steel, Mining and Cement. We began with Steel, following a corporate approved style. Over the next several years the other two projects were created to match. As style evolved, each animation was updated to reflect consistency.

  • Industrial Animation: Schneider Electric, Solutions for Cement.
  • Industrial Animation: Schneider Electric, Solutions for Mining.
  • Industrial Animation: Schneider Electric, Solutions for Steel, Solutions for Mining.
A brief collection of out-takes from 3 different industrial animations created for Schneider Electric: Solutions for Cement, Solutions for Mining and Solutions for Steel.

These were challenging projects. Some of the challenges included identifying the correct pieces of machinery to include in the right locations. Each process was specific and required a good bit of research to accurately represent. It’s a delicate balance: the incorrect piece of equipment and too little detail conveys incomplete knowledge. Too much detail suggests undesirable specifics.

3d model of cement crusher for solutions for cement industrial animation
3d model of cement crusher for solutions for cement industrial animation

A significant challenge was modeling. Each piece of equipment was built from scratch to represent accurate, real world machines recognizable by industry insiders – but not directly promoting brands. Creating individual parts and pieces with real world motion in mind was important. Because the scenes were so large it was vital to create clean, efficient models requiring the least amount of overhead.

Industrial Animation modeling: simplifying complex objects into visually accurate, animatable 3D models is a specialty at CraneDigital.

One core strength at CraneDigital is using 3D CAD models when available. There are times however, this is not the right approach. Sometimes CAD models are not available. But more importantly, 3D CAD models require extensive optimization, given their size and complexity. Essentially, they’re not the most efficient models to work with – but they are the most technically accurate.

Industrial Animation modeling: simplifying complex objects into visually accurate, animatable 3D models is a specialty at CraneDigital.

Fortunately another core strength is building 3D models of anything – from scratch. Accurate 3D models may be created from nothing but reference material to represent any object with sufficient detail. These models are easier to manage and animate in large scenes. Often times for large projects this is a better approach.

Solutions for Steel Industrial AnimationSchneider Electric

Another challenge was camera movement. Not too fast or too slow; not too high or too low. Positioning the camera to dive and dip through complex scenes while not making the viewer nauseous, as if on a roller coaster.

Solutions for Cement Industrial Animation-Schneider Electric

One of the greatest challenges was particle systems. As the camera passed each conveyor belt moving material to the next station, the size and composition of the material needed to appear visibly different. Each process along the way altered the material essentially making it smaller and changing color until finally resulting in the end product. Because the camera moved close to each conveyor, detail needed to be accurate.

But perhaps the greatest challenge of these projects was the sheer file size and complexity of each scene. The Mining animation alone contained over 154 Models, nearly 5,000 separate objects, more than 1,200 different animated objects, and over 5 million polygons. Keeping track of this all required some attention to detail and good strategy.

One of the goals for these animations was a long shelf life because the processes don’t often change. For industries such as this, the ROI is very appealing.