Why Iconasys for In-House Still & 360 Product Photography

Why Iconasys for still and 360 Product Photography
by Darian Muresan, Ph.D.

Iconasys develops and sells tools for improving visual communication of products, including generating background removed images, 360 product photography, interactive videos, and 3D models.   Our tools enable users, with little or no photography skills, to increase work efficiencies by up to eight hundred percent, while maintaining imaging consistencies across products.  In this article, we provide a high-level overview of Iconasys’ solutions and compare our solutions with those of our competitors.  We will emphasize why we feel Iconasys’ products are a smart investment for anyone working in the product photography field and in visual communication of products, in general.

The Iconasys Product Range includes:

Still Product Photography Software

Shutter Stream Product Photography Software – Software designed for still product photography. Includes camera control (image composition + capture + instant upload) , editing and processing tools that will allow users to output high quality still product images in just seconds. How it Works. I would also have you take a look at the product photography software features to get a full understanding of the value.

360 Product View Creator Software – Software designed for 360 image composition. Users simply import a set of JPG images into this software to create an interactive 360 product views in HTML5, 360 Animated GIF, Interactive MP4 and Standard MP4 video. 360 Product views are fully customizable and support interactivity (click and drag left/right), hot-spot image tagging & deep zoom. This software also supports multi-row 360 (360 Product View Software Features). There is no camera control or image editing tools included. This 360 View Creator Software is included with the Shutter Stream 360 Program & Shutter Stream 360 Captureless (How it Works).

Shutter Stream 360 Captureless Software: This option allows user to import a set of images into the Shutter Stream 360 software for image editing (batch crop, color adjustment, image enhancement, background removal etc..), image processing (batch image resizing, renaming, watermarking, resolution adjustments etc..) & image output tools (includes still image output + 360 product view output). This is the complete Shutter Stream 360 software with camera functionality disabled (How it Works).

Shutter Stream 360 Product Photography Software – Shutter Stream 360 integrates camera control and automated image capture and specific 360 shooting workflow modes to streamline the ENTIRE 360 product photography workflow. It includes Camera Control (compatible cameras), Image Composition, Automated 360 Image Capture (4 different turntable shooting modes), a vast Image Editing Suite (edits can be applied in a batch process to an entire set of images shot over a 360), Image Processing (batch resizing, renaming, watermarking etc..) and 360 Product View Output (multiple different output options/formats). It is the only completely integrated software application for 360 product photography and users can expect to create professional grade 360 photography in just minutes per product. Shutter Stream 360 also includes all the standard still imaging capabilities of the Shutter Stream Software so it will prove to be a valuable tool for Still Product Photography. If you are looking for a complete end to end 360 product photography software, have a compatible camera and are interested in increasing ease of use while also streamlining 360 photography processes, then this is the software you should be considering.  Shutter Stream 360 will not only control important variables, it will also make it easier to create better quality images and expedite the process by automating image capture, image upload and image editing processes.

Our line of USB photography turntables can be used with the stand alone Iconasys Turntable Controller Software (shutter release connection to camera) or controlled entirely through the Shutter Stream 360 Product Photography Software which automates 360 image composition, capture, editing, processing and 360 product view output – to provide users an end to end workflow solution that will create web-ready 360 product images in just minutes! Users simply connect the turntable and a compatible camera through USB to the computer and define the number of frames to be captured per 360 rotation and the software will integrate image capture with turntable movement in a turn, stop, snap workflow. As images are captured they are instantly uploaded to the program for viewing, editing, processing and 360 output. The end result, a user interactive (click-and-drag mouse control, deep zoom) 360 product view in HTML5 + JavaScript format that includes an iframe.html file that can easily be embedded into any website. In addition, there is no monthly or yearly hosting fees and the 360 views output are completely unbranded. How it Works Video

Our LED Product Photography Lighting Solutions have taken the guesswork out of high quality imaging by eliminates lighting variables. The lighting includes high CRI LED bulbs that will ensure color accurate results. Evenly lit LED’s are perfectly diffused in the panels to ensure for a soft and consistent light when shooting still or 360 product views. By shooting the correct result the first time, users can significantly minimize time spent in image editing and even which edits can be made and applied in a batch process directly inside the Shutter Stream Software.

Synergies through a Software Controlled Product Photography Solution

Many customers are looking for complete end to end still and 360 product photography solutions that include everything required (outside of camera and computer) to create high quality images in house. While others, such as the majority of professional photographers who already have invested in lighting, simply need a Photography Turntable and Software. Integrated hardware and software is where Iconasys excels and differentiates against competitors.

Iconasys’ Competitors

In terms of competitors, the field can be segmented into two categories.  The first category consists of software solutions for capturing and editing images but do not provide additional hardware support (i.e. no support for stop-motion turntables or lighting studios).   This category includes Adobe’s Light Room and Phase One’s Capture One.  The second category consists of hardware companies that provide hardware and software solutions similar to Iconasys.  The second category consists of still and 360 product photography hardware companies.

Iconasys’ Solutions Versus Lightroom and Capture One

Lightroom and Capture One are two software suites that provide enhanced image editing tools.  Both software suites provide camera integration.  Lightroom provides a somewhat limited camera support, while Capture One has an impressive list of several hundred of supported cameras.

First, when comparing against Iconasys’ Shutter Stream, both software suites seem overly complex.  Because they do not provide native support for 360 capture or light studios, the capture workflow is not focused on multi-frame automated capture or background removal.  On the other hand, Shutter Stream’s entire design is focused on batch capture and editing of multi-frames, such as those obtained from 360 automated captures, and on batch Product Photography Background Removal workflows.

Second, Lightroom and Capture One are focused on capturing and editing input images and they provide no support for generating interactive outputs, such as Iconasys’ 360 View Creator does.

Finally, Iconasys provides integrated hardware.  This allows consumers to come to one place for all of their visual communication needs.  There is no blame to go around, about not having the right lighting or the correct equipment.  With an Iconasys hardware and software solution, if there are any challenges with the equipment or the software, there’s only one company to contact, Iconasys.  In photography, lighting is eighty percent of the solution and there are many challenging situations that are significantly more difficult to resolve with a software only solution.  Our earlier article, Product Photography Background Removal: Magic Wand Tool, is a perfect example, where we communicate how the use of Iconasys risers together with well tested light studios make a simple tool, magic wand, extremely efficient at removing backgrounds.

5-28-20 UPDATE: For those looking to shoot 360 product photography using an Iconasys 360 Photography Turntable with Adobe Lightroom or Capture One software, consider the Iconasys 360 Turntable Controller Software

Iconasys’ Solutions Versus Other Hardware Solutions Providers

When it comes to hardware solutions, most of our competitors are focused on building hardware and less so on building software.  Our competitors’ software solutions are based on 3rd party image processing libraries, they provide limited or cumbersome support of their hardware (via SDKs) and their software on Mac and Windows have different sets of features or supported cameras, which may be a sign that the Mac and Windows versions are based on separate sets of codes. This can cause many issues and often result in buggy software applications driving their hardware systems.

Compare this with Iconasys’ software solution.  We lead with a software development first approach – as the solution is only as good as the software driving the hardware. Our code is based on our own image processing library, with limited use of 3rd party image processing libraries, we provide a fully portable C++ SDK for all of our hardware (which runs on Mac, Windows and Linux) and one base C++ code is compiled on different OSes (with the user interface being abstracted via Qt and when needed via native UI).

Thus, when we add a new feature to our software, that feature is automatically available across all platforms at once.  With the exception of the camera SDKs, which are not available in Linux, our code is compiled on all major OS platforms: Mac, Windows and Linux.  (We are in the process of adding support for cameras, via an open source camera controller and once the integration is complete, we will have support for all three OSes, including Linux.)

Product Photography Knowledge and Training:

Why Iconasys for still and 360 Product Photography 2

Finally, when you compare our solutions, we are proud to say that in the age of automation and auto-responders Iconasys has decided to go the old-fashioned way.  We have started to provide free photography classes to users of our software and to anyone interested in our solutions.  These classes are in addition to all the other ways we support our customers, such as a fully searchable set of knowledge base articles (with weekly updates), email, telephone and screen sharing technical support.

In conclusion, this article compared Iconasys Still & 360 Product Photography Solutions with those provided by our competition and highlighted why our team is confident that our solutions are a worthy investment for anyone in the imaging and visual communication field.

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