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"Tasteless graphics...Literally" -- by Anthony

Nov 13, 2020

We recently received a request to comment on the abundance of 'fake images' (computer generated imagery) of 3D printed food that is spreading thoughout the internet.

This is something we have noticed increasing over the past few years, and our stance on this matter has been made known at events and tradeshows where the public has come to inspect our technology in person, with many being wary of our claims about our technology, largely due to misleading information created by the suppositions of tech-journalistics and the poor quality results of copycat competitors.

Put simply, we feel only 'real life' 3D food (chocolate) prints should be used in promotional artwork, to truthfully represent the outcomes a user can expect to achieve.

When 3D food printing reached the mainstream consumer, we knew it would only be a matter of time before we would see new companies appearing every week, all hoping to grab a piece of the "3D Printed Pie". While the dissemination and adoption of 3D food (chocolate) printing has alway been our goal, and we are immensely proud of all the work we have done to start this revolution and single-handedly introduce the world to ALM food (chocolate) manufacturng, we are also very concerned as to how newcomers to this industry are protraying this technology, and how inaccurate some of the descriptions of the current capabilities are, leading to confusion as to what kind of results a user should expect now that we are a decade into this revolution, and what they can realistically hope to achieve with this technology.

Perhaps what concerns us most is the use of 'fake imagery' in lieu of actual printed results, as this completely underminds all the work we have done to keep the world updated as to exactly what the current status of 3D food (chocolate) printing is - What can we acheive now in 2021? In what kind of time per print? In what quality and/or resolution? etc.

In the modern world of online selling and pop-up companies, it's nothing new to see 'fake imagery' used as a way to encourage sales, often when the actual product is of such poor quality that it becomes impossible to disguise or present it using images from 'real life'.

Of course, there is a level of tolerance for this, such as T-shirt companies displaying their designs by compositing graphics over images of plain white T-shirts, which is not a 'real life' product but nevetheless presents a close enough approximation of the final screen-printed garment that it is acceptable and causes no issues in terms of what the consumer is expecting to receive.

It is, however, the 'fake images' that are claiming to be the results of 3D food (chocolate) printing equipment that we feel to be incredibly detrimental to the work of our community and, even more worrying, such
false claims damage the credibility of the process, causing potential users to avoid what they feel is 'too good to be true', and refusing to adopt the technology due to lack of faith and trust.

From the very beginning, everything ChocEdge has presented to the public has been real, with everything photographed from 'real life' 2D/3D chocolate prints that have been designed and printed personally by Anthony, and photographed by either Anthony himself or Mark. In fact, a lot of our 'behind the scenes' images are designed to show how we arrive at our final prints, and we are completely open about what is and isn't possible with all forms of 2D/3D food (chocolate) printing, even going so far as to show our rejected works and failures.

Nothing is hidden or disguised - Aside from the legalities in terms of the rights the consumer has to see the actual results of a technology they are contemplating on adopting, we understand our role in helping to track the progress of the technology in this field that we have largely contributed to the creation of.

We have always believed this approach accurately informs the public (consumers) of how far down the line we are to a completely mature product that performs as intended by our design team, and provides the outcomes expected by the user. This is one reason reason why a decade ago we advertised and sold the Choc Creator V1.0 as a 'prototype', which caused no issues at all, as the results we presented to users in both image and video form were true representations of what could be achieved at that time. Likewise, for the V2.0 Standard, we presented a fully matured 2D/2.5D/2.75D gallery, with 3D being conveyed as a still-maturing extension of our 2.75D work. The V2.0 Plus is accurately presented to the best of our ability, with promotional images of the results from 'direct printing' (no assembled parts) with 'passive curing' (no forced cooling).

What can be considered a saving grace is how smart the public actually is, which they certainly don't receive enough credit for, and we often receive requests for our opinions on companies that make claims of achieving things that we have yet been able to, or hiding factors that the consumer should know, such as 3D printing in chocolate-flavoured grease paste and calling it 'chocolate', or indeed Photoshopping complex plastic prints to make them appear as if they are made from chocolate.

In summary,'fake imagery' in the world of marketing is very sneaky but also a very grey area in some people's eyes, and if cunningly exploited can encourage huge sales, often with no harm to the business or customer base. Our eyes, however, see only in black and white, and we are always careful to market the results of the Choc Creator V2.0 Plus as honestly and accurately as possible.

On a final amusing note, we once received an email containing an image of an barn owl claiming to be printed in chocolate, with the sender concerned that she has been tricked into purchasing a cheap food printer. The image looked too good to be true with impossible levels of detail and a gravity-defying structure, and when she followed our advice to request another image from a different angle, she received the original National Geographic image of the owl before it was photoshopped, as the company in question had panicked, hit the wrong button, and sent this version of image to her in error. When she questioned them about this, they informed her that the image of the 'chocolate owl' was moulded (when it clearly wasn't). Finally, when she asked as to why she received an image of a 'moulded' item when she had clearly purchased an ALM printer from them, she received a reply saying, "We struggled to print this, and then struggled to mould it, so we just coloured a photo for this one".

Well, as you can probably guess, we know a little about start-ups, and anything less than an honest approach is a recipe for disaster for any start-up.


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