Substance inside the unit. For instance, an individual energy bar, not including the packaging.
Welcome back for Part 2 of our “Understanding GS1” series: File Naming. To revisit Part 1, click here.
File naming probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when you think of important aspects of product photography…and once it is on your mind, it probably doesn’t seem very interesting or integral. Luckily, we think we can change that mindset with a brief explanation.
The importance of file naming is often overlooked and, in turn, becomes a confusing jumble of meaningless terminology. For example, the manufacturer of a widget that comes in 3 sizes tends to name images as the following:
For now, it doesn’t seem too obscure–the names are actually pretty simple to follow. However, that manufacturer also has the same file in different resolutions. This is where it starts to get messy:
And when the manufacturer produces an image of each package side, in each size and resolution, the naming gets even more headache-inducing:
Pretty soon, no one, including the originator of the image, will be able to tell precisely what image each file holds. And when someone else needs to understand this file naming to use the images for their own eCommerce website? Forget about it.
Thankfully, GS1 realized how hectic naming and sharing product imagery was becoming without defined standards and created a solution: The Global Document Type Identifier (GDTI).
“It was here [Troy,Ohio], at just after 8 a.m. on June 26, 1974, that the first item marked with the Universal Product Code (UPC) [a pack of Wrigley’s Juicy Fruit] was scanned at the checkout of Troy’s Marsh Supermarket.”
-Gavin Weightman, Smithsonian Magazine
Below is a diagram that shows the anatomy of a file name as determined by GS1 for Primary Product Images:
The first 14 digits are reserved for the Global Trade Item Number (GTIN). This is a unique number, specific to only 1 product worldwide. If your GTIN only contains 12 digits, the most widely recognized GTIN, the first 2 digits become leading zeros.
The next part of the GS1 filename determines the nature of the image. The “nature” defines different aspects, including resolution, side, angle, and product state or packaging level. Further, each “section” or part of the code is separated by an underscore. We will discuss each of these nature designations below:
Product Image Type is the second part of the filename. This indicates whether a product image is considered high resolution (versus standard resolution), if it is an informational image, or if it is a product image with supporting elements (an example being loose vitamins sitting next to the bottle).
Facing Indicator or Facing Type specifies what side or portion of the product packaging is pictured (front, left, top, etc.).
The third position refers to the angle, or perspective, of the camera relative to the product. Examples of different perspectives include “straight on” or “15˚ angle”.
Finally, the fourth position represents the Product type or packaging level. For example, a single energy bar, a sellable box of 12 energy bars (inner), or a case of 12 boxes of energy bars
There are also additional letters that can be used to indicate raw, styled, family, and many other product types.
Below are examples of how a single box of cereal would be named for 3 different product images.
This is a condensed description of the GS1 file naming standard–we really only scratched the surface of how definitive and explanative it is. However, if you understand the basic “formula”, you should be able to name any image. In turn, anyone familiar with this standard will be able to determine what the picture is, simply by looking at the filename.
Click here to download and view the full GS1 Product Image Specification Guide.
As with Part 1 we focused on Primary Product Images and the most commonly used Secondary Product Images, but the file naming guidelines apply to all consumer goods images.
In Part 3 (coming soon!) we will discuss the importance of the Default Front of a product and its influence on how a product is measured.
Does your product photography provider understand and follow these guidelines? Click here to submit a request to speak with one of our experts to learn more about GS1 and the services PVS Studios offers.
All over our website is GS1 this and GS1 that. For those in the industry, GS1 is basic jargon, but for those with no prior experience or familiarity with the system, it can sound very complex and confusing.
To put it simply, GS1 is a set of rules for business communication. The name itself refers to one global system of standards and it includes unique identification codes and data for individual products, services, and locations.
In addition to identification and classification codes, the GS1 system also provides image guidelines called “GS1 Product Image Specification”. These specifications define everything from image type and resolution to file naming and final deliverable.
PVS uses GS1 image guidelines as a foundation to our default photography and file naming process. Below is the most common set of images of a consumer product that have been defined by the GS1 System:
The first row of images is called Planogram images. A planogram is a diagram or map that is used in a retail store to determine the placement of products on the shelves. These images are photographed straight on and include all six sides of the product. The Front image is the most often used, however, the other images are still important.
The second row in the illustration above shows two different categories of images as defined by the GS1 System. A Marketing image set is a set of three images photographed at a slight downward angle. As the name indicates, these images are often used for marketing purposes, including in an online store or a grocery store circular.
Secondary Product Images or Informational images can include a variable number of images. Specifically, for a food item as show in the example above, the typical image set will include the barcode, ingredients, and nutrition facts. Additional images that fall under this category include Supplement Facts, Drug Facts, and Guarantee Analysis panels.
Depending on the needs of the end user, a full GS1 image-set could include all levels of packaging. Packaging levels include the Case, Inner Pack, and the Retail or Consumer unit. Below is a set of images that might be included for your typical energy/protein bar.
Within the last few years, 360˚ Spins have been added to the GS1 image guidelines. Home Depot, Lowes, Amazon, and Walmart are all some of the big players who are actively using 360˚ spins across their eCommerce platforms.
A 360˚ spin is a set of (usually) 24 still images, taken in 15˚ increments around a product. Using special software, the images are “stitched” together, to become an interactive video. GS1 requires 24 frames, but sets as small as 12 and as large as 72 are possible. To learn more about how 360˚ spins work, check out our How Does a 360˚Spin Work blog post.
Although our examples have all been food-related, GS1 is applicable to any consumer-based trade item that is packaged or labeled with a scannable retail barcode. This includes anything from detergent, to toys, to sporting goods, and anything in between.
In short, because GS1 is global, any product photographed under GS1 will look identical, regardless of where in the world the photography was done or who photographed it. It regulates consistency across the globe and allows for a more efficient and clear business world.
But all that GS1 offers does not end with commonly referenced product images. In Part 2, we will take you down the path of GS1 file naming. Although “file naming” sounds fairly to-the-point and dry, we will prove to you how it is so much more. Stay tuned to learn more!
Does your product photography provider understand and follow these guidelines? Click here to submit a request to speak with one of our experts to learn more about GS1 and the services PVS Studios offers.
Interactive images. Have you ever seen one? If you’ve done any sort of online shopping recently, you likely have. These are the images that at first look like…well, images. But once you get closer, you realize you have the ability to move the product–to spin it 360° by simply holding and dragging. A large number of major retailers (including Home Depot, Walmart, Lowes, and Amazon) use this feature–and many others are jumping on board.
But how does this work? It’s a movie, right? Well, surprisingly, no. If it was a movie, it would play straight through and–while it would allow you to fast forward and rewind–you wouldn’t exactly be able to move it back and forth at your own discretion, venturing off of the actual movie track.
These spins are actually made up of a series of images that are digitally “stitched together”. Imagine an item sitting on a turntable that rotates at its center. At specific points, a photograph is taken, one after another, until the turntable has made a complete circle.
For the majority of the interactive 360° images you see, there are 24 individual images. However, some spins contain 36 images, while others are made up of 72 frames. The benefit of more images is the smoother spin, the cost is a larger file size.
Below is an example of a 24-image spin:
And here are the 24 sequential images used to make that spin.
Some 360° spins have multiple layers, or “rows”. Depending on the item, a second row–or even a third–could show the viewer more detail.
Each row typically represents the sequence of images taken at a slightly different elevation. Imagine you are looking at an item straight on and then you rotate it. You will get a pretty good idea of how the item looks from all sides. However, if you look at the item from a higher angle, you can see a different perspective with even more detail.
Below is an example of a 2-row spin:
And here are the 48 sequential images that make up this 2-row spin.
Most 360° spins that you may come across on the internet are single-row spins—About 75% of them. Whether or not you need multiple rows depends on your preference and the nature of the item. Does your item have drawers, doors, and panels that open and move? Does it look entirely different from above than it does straight on? Do these things effect a consumer’s inclination to purchase (and keep) the item? Then you might need a multi-row spin! Is your product fairly straightforward? Can you see most of what you need to see when looking at it from one angle? Then you will probably be okay with a single-row spin.
Either way, all 360° spins provide another dimension to your online images when compared to a single static image.
For more examples of 360° spins click here.
Read our “10 Ways 360° Photography Can Grow eCommerce Business” blog to learn more on the benefits of an interactive 360° spin.
To Our PVS Community
During this time of uncertainty in light of COVID-19, we are thinking of you all. We remain mindful of not only those in our lives and networks, but those in the lives and networks of our clients, customers, and employees.
With this in mind, we want to let you know that we are still performing our normal business functions . We are working continually to ensure that our clients receive the best service from PVS Studios— Our goal is to provide the images you need to make your business run, regardless of circumstance.
This being said, we are keeping the best interest of our employees and their health at the forefront of our daily operations. We are doing so in a number of ways. Firstly, all team members have the option to work from home if their functions allow it. Additionally, we have taken many precautions for those who cannot work remotely.
Some steps we have taken include:
– Training staff on sanitary processes and precautions
– Placing disinfectant wipes at all photography and measurement stations
– Installing hand-sanitizer stations throughout the studio and office space
– Continually following all government and health official mandated and suggested protocol
Such precautions will permanently remain in our daily workflow moving forward.
Although we will remain open functionally, all client meetings will be held by either phone or video call and any company travel will be restricted until further notice.
As a courtesy, we want to share a direct link to the CDC’s information and guidelines on COVID-19. Please familiarize yourself with all precautions here and ensure that you are protecting yourself and your loved ones as best you can.
If you have any questions about our continuing service, please contact us—we are here to help in any way we can.
We require that you include a spreadsheet of your products that includes your unique item code and a brief description (i.e., “12 oz bag of Columbian coffee”). For best results, feel free to download our upload sheet and fill in the necessary information.
We require a 50% deposit in order for us to begin any project unless we have established credit terms. We accept all the major credit cards, checks or wire transfers. Due to the high risk of cyber-criminal activity, we do not store any credit card information.
Once we have discussed and finalized your order, we will send you specific shipping information. We have the capabilities and facilities for any LTL or full semi-trailers to back up directly to our warehouse. For those who do not need such volume, we also receive items through major shipping companies (UPS, FedEx, USPS, etc.).
Yes! Once we receive your products, they will be placed into our workflow. But however you ship your items, please be sure to package them safely to avoid any damages in transit.
Yes! Drop-offs can be made during all business hours (8AM to 5PM, Monday through Friday). You are always welcome to call ahead of time to make sure someone will be available to hande your product immediately. Our address is PVS Studios, 8475 Western Way, Jacksonville, Florida 32256.
If you include a return shipping label with your original delivery, we will return the product(s) when our work is finished. If this interests you, please feel free to call to discuss further. We can explain, more specifically, how to ensure that your return shipping preference is included in your account from set-up.
This is the case for most of our clients…you are far from alone! With your permission, we donate all products. In 2019, we donated over 52 tons, or 104,000 pounds of food, health, and beauty items to local charities and food banks. None of that would be possible without the generosity of our clients.
As long as you are able to list and determine the value of your items, we will make sure to secure a donation receipt for you! Please let us know ahead of time if this is something you would like us to do.
The first step in our process is determining what images you want and need. We work directly with you to ensure what images, angles, and setups will serve you best. If GS1 is not for you, we won’t bother you with a full image set.
If your product comes in a commercially traded container (such as, a shampoo bottle, cereal box or a remote control), we automatically weigh and measure the item. However, if there is no defined shape (for example, a bundle of wires or a product that incorporates multiple items), it is hard to determine a precise and repeatable measurement. In this case, no measurement will be taken.
When we deliver your images, we would also provide a .csv or excel file with the measurements tied to your product ID number.
As a default, we provide all 360 spins in .jpeg format and all still images in either .jpeg or .tiff. If you require another format, please let us know prior to starting your project.
All images are captured at a resolution, or pixel density, of 5760px x 3840px. We generally deliver images with a height of 3000 px, or 10 inches tall. Please let us know ahead of time if you would like to discuss other image sizes and resolutions.
Unlike many other image providers, we grant you 100% unlimited royalty free rights to use and distribute as you may need. We do reserve the right (although we would always ask your permission) to use the images we took for our own training purposes or marketing needs, such as, showing them on our webpage as examples.
GS1 is a set of image guidelines that all manufacturers must follow. GS1 includes specifications in image angles and file naming convention to ensure consistency from product to product. For a more detailed explanation, please see our GS1 white paper.
Large companies, such as, Amazon, Walmart, and Home Depot, have their own unique set of image guidelines. PVS is knowledgeable and proficient in all these requirements and can accommodate per your request. Our default standard is GS1, which is the most comprehensive and will satisfy most, if not all, of the specific image requests.
Viewing 360 spins on a computer or mobile device requires special code or a plugin embedded into your website. There are several companies that will provide this service for you. One example, and who we currently use, is Sirv.com. Most major eCommerce services (Big Commerce, Shopify, Woo Commerce, etc.) have this ability built into their solutions. For more detail please reference our blog on How do I display a Spin.
A 360 spin is actually a series of 24 individual images, photographed at specific angles as the product is rotated. With the use of special software, the images are stitched together to create one continuous image. The code used enables the viewer to interactively rotate the spin. For multi-row/level spins, another 24 images are produced for each row or level.
Yes, each image is simply a standard .jpeg file.
Last updated: March 06, 2020
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Substance inside the unit. For instance, an individual energy bar, not including the packaging.
And individual, one-item packaging level. For instance, one energy bar inside of a pack.
Inners are boxes, bags or heat-sealed packaging that come inside a case, holding together like items (i.e. Units). For instance, a box of energy bars is an inner. The individual energy bar is a unit.
Boxes that hold together like items (i.e. Inners and Units).
Different levels of the products packaging that we need to photograph
3 Images at 15 degrees: Front, Right & Left.
All 6 sides of the Case and the Product, Marketing Shots, Information Panels & Ancillary Images if needed.
Content Delivery Network. A third-party provider that will display and serve your images
Product Verification Solutions
GS1 is a neutral, not-for-profit organization. GS1 standards are rules that “improve the efficiency, safety and visibility of supply chains across physical and digital channels in 25 sectors.” In short, they keep business transactions clear and uniform. Many online vendors require GS1 standards be met. We always photograph and format to GS1 standards so you don’t have to worry about it.
6 sides of a product: Front, Right, Back, Left, Top, Bottom
“Map” of the grocery shelf. Used by retail store personnel to place product in the correct location
Automated table used to spin products 360 degrees
A spin of 24 images stitched together. The product is turned and shot every 15 degrees. The 24 Spin can generally be used for all product types.
A spin of 36 images stitched together. The product is turned and shot every 10 degrees.
Use only custom fields below.