We have previously touched upon the importance of modern CAD services in the mechanical design process, and mentioned that one of the advantages of good CAD services is that your mechanical designs can not only be visualized and prototyped but that the design (or even a number of different variations of the design) can be given computer added surface textures, colours and backgrounds and printed out as though the CAD design is an actual real photograph. This technique is called photorealistic rendering.
Photorealistic rendering is an exceptionally useful process for various reasons. Take an example where a company is looking for support or funding for the final build of a product. The tooling and actual build of prototypes may well be far too expensive for the company at this stage and also a waste of money, especially if a number of different options are going to be required. Producing a number of virtual photographs of the design straight from the CAD system allows the company to give a good presentation without having to show any actual physical product but still to be able to give a clear idea and overview of what the end-result is. Using these photorealistic renderings; options can be discussed, changes can be suggested and with luck the designers can get the go ahead for a final prototype or build from the people who matter. If required of course, the same photos can also be shown to customers or a market research panel for their opinion on which final design should be built and marketed.
And all of this without ever having to actually manufacture a thing.