I had this idea in the Fall of 2007.
I had worked for Strata for a total of 15 years (on and off) and has some major changes in my personal life which required me to move to another company. Strata is still my family and I continue working closely with them.
Adobe CS3 Extended was released earlier that year. It contained the first version of Photoshop which had real 3D features. Strata was the first to release 3D Photoshop plug-ins; and up until very recently, the only plug-in that allowed 3D models to move back-and-forth.
The technology was in it's early stages and many people either didn't see the value nor understand the possibilities of using 3D in Photoshop.
I was working on DVD product shots for the online store of SigningTime.com. They had several new releases to their library but the packaging was being printed. This is a typical situation that keeps most designers in business: create an image of the product before it exsists.
It was easy for me to create a 3D model to use as a template for rendering packaging. Strata 3D CX made it very easy to load in a layered Photoshop file with each package design on a separate layer. I would 'show' the layer for volume 10, save the file, and it would automatically update in my 3D model. Render the model, repeat process. Not difficult but a lot of grunt work.
Photoshop CS3 Extended and the Strata 3D plug-ins changed that process to a fraction of the time. Going forward, it's as easy as a 'copy and paste' into a Photoshop file.
Fast forward to today. Everyone that has Adobe CS4 has the ability to do 3D. But the same question remains, "What is useful about 3D in Photoshop?"
My answer is, "It can save you time and make you more money. You get the benefit of using 3D without having to learn 3D."