Upcycling Assets – The Product Swap

What happens when you are unable to gather together for photo or video shoots due to the problems the coronavirus has presented? You get creative! The product swap technique has been around for some time and whilst the majority of us are in lockdown, it offers a cost-effective and quick way to upcycle campaign assets that already exist. Here’s how it works. 

Product Swapping – the ins and outs

Used extensively by apparel brands, such as Nike, product swapping is a digital technique used to ‘re-dress’ talent in an existing photograph or section of video footage. Simply put, say the product is a pair of running shoes, you digitally remove the old running shoes and replace them with a new pair of running shoes. In addition, it is also possible to change other aspects of the image – tone and lighting for example. The result is campaign assets that are new, fresh and engaging.

Running shoes product swap - before

Original image

Running shoes product swap - after

Digitally altered image

Preparing a Product Swap

One of the most important factors to consider when preparing to use product swapping techniques is the quality of the original assets – the photographs or video. Elements such as the resolution will determine the degree to which the assets can be manipulated. The new product also needs to be considered carefully; it’s important to establish whether the product is, for example, the same as the old product but in a different colour or is it a totally new product. Other considerations include texture and whether or not there are folds that need to be replicated.  

How to Get the Best Results

Maintaining the integrity of the original asset is one of the key considerations when looking to get the best from the product swap technique. When it comes to actually swapping the products, there are two main ways to achieve the desired results:

  1. A body double can be photographed wearing the new product, this is then composited into the original image
  2. Alternatively the new product can be produced using digital techniques alone working from line art or using samples of the new product as a reference

Where to Use Product Swapping Techniques

There are a wide range of scenarios where product swapping techniques can be used. Here we have used the apparel industry as an example, but the techniques are used throughout various industries and sectors. Plus there are variations on the technique itself – the brand colour swap for instance:

The Brand Colour Swap

Here instead of swapping a product, digital artists will work on branding such as logos. Changing the colour scheme of a brand identity is not something to be entered into lightly, however, given thought it can be a really effective way to refresh and bring new energy to campaign assets.

Recent events have made life and business more of a challenge than ever before. But with a little creativity and a lot of hard work, creating content that will help keep your brand afloat is still possible – River Film can help and so please get in touch.