Taking color to another dimension

3D technology being used in new digital color tools

The magic of 3D imaging isn’t reserved for cinemas and video games. Because we’re stepping up the development of 3D digital color tools, which is taking the technology we can offer our customers to a whole new dimension.

A frontrunner in supplying digital solutions to the paints and coatings industry, we have a strong and long track record in developing 2D applications. Now we’re working on more advanced tools that highlight our color capabilities in an even more attractive, accurate and exciting way.

“As an innovator in color and digital technologies, we work tirelessly to develop new solutions that will benefit our customers,” explains Pim Koeckhoven, AkzoNobel’s Director of Color Technology. “Moving from static, two-dimensional images to interactive 3D color visualizations means we can show them metallic and pearl sparkle effects that look almost as striking as the actual coatings products themselves.” 

Customers can access these visualizations via dedicated apps. They’re already available through three of our businesses: Powder Coatings (AkzoNobel Design app), Coil Coatings (Coil Canopy app) and Automotive and Specialty Coatings (iColorDesign). They utilize a single AkzoNobel technology platform, which enables them to build their own fit-for-purpose digital tools.

“Having access to interactive visualizations means customers can now zoom into our coatings and see what they look like in the context of the surrounding environment, be it an office or an urban setting,” adds Eric Kirchner, Senior Color Scientist at AkzoNobel. “The digital samples can also be rotated, which gives a more realistic sense of the smoothness, glossiness or graininess of the coating.” 

The most recent tool to be developed is iColorDesign from Automotive and Specialty Coatings. It provides creative freedom to make the perfect finish by enabling customers to develop unique color and effect combinations. 

“We take great pride in helping customers to improve the accuracy and efficiency of the work they do,” continues Kirchner, who has been with AkzoNobel for more than 20 years and is recognized around the world for his expertise in color science. He was also named the company’s Scientist of the Year in 2019.

“We’re increasingly going beyond just focusing on the physical coatings themselves in order to provide next generation digital innovations. These are clearly exciting times and we’ll continue to develop and apply new display and visualization technologies that will benefit our customers.”