Cambridge Audio and the Beautiful Sound of Product Imagery

by | Sep 1, 2011 | 0 comments

We were overjoyed to hear that one of our customers recently had a ‘behind the scenes’ article published about them. Cambridge Audio, a high fidelity audio brand of Audio Partnership, was featured on Electric Pig with a look into their London office and the 40 year history of producing amazing home entertainment and digital music devices. We caught up with Will Day and Simon Freeth who gave us an even deeper look into how they use KeyShot to, not only, create the amazing visuals you’ll see in their media, but to also simulate the LED lighting on their exceptional devices.

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Cambridge Audio

Cambridge Audio sits within the Audio Partnership company along with Mordaunt Short (speakers) and Opus (Custom Install). As you’ll see below, all use KeyShot to explore the look and feel of the Audio devices and they do it very, very well. If you’ve ever wondered about the process of using KeyShot in an organization or how others compare to your own, here’s a glimpse and some great tips from the crew at Cambridge Audio.

Our work flows goes something like this:

First we use KeyShot to aid concept generation. We will usually render up a number of concepts from Solidworks, using standard materials, in the time we have to aid the approval of a project. We have found the ‘Max Render time in Seconds’ very useful for this.

Once a concept is chosen we will then develop the concept in Solidworks and use Keyshot to render the detail design. This may include adding the 2D design such as silkscreen design from our artwork design or doing them ourselves in Adobe Illustrator. We then open the Illustrator files in Photoshop to convert them into either Tiffs or PNGs with the alpha channel on so we can get detail material behind the artwork such as Brushed metal which is very popular. Recently we have been doing lots of complicated Light guides and found that KeyShot does an incredibly accurate job of proving that the design will work or fail, this stops us having to make 100s of prototypes.

We also scan/photograph many materials so they are as accurate as possible. We modify these scans to make tiled textures and bump/normal maps. We have even created HDR environments of rooms in our office (autodesk stitcher) so we can prove that is what the object will look like to a known environment to the decision makers.

When the product design is finished, we will then do final renders for marketing and sales so they can show clients a product/packaging before we get actual samples. We may also do renders of exploded views etc for brochures and the web.

To learn new tricks and techniques we have all watched the webinars which have been incredibly useful. Our favourite trick to speed up rendering is to only put Depth of Field on the background, render and save as a background. Then use as a backplate.

One trick we have learnt ourselves is using KeyShot with Photoshop to paint the HDR environment ‘on the fly’. The problem with HDR lighting is you don’t have the same control as you would with the old fashioned point lighting. But we found you can get close to this by creating a Black 32bit image (hdr/exr) in photoshop and the using various brushes to create light like a studio. You can then load this into KeyShot and keep editing this file with more or less lights by using the ‘reload file’ button. I know there is specific software to do this but this works really well.

Cambridge Audio

This group of images is from the Cambridge Audio brand. Click on images to enlarge.

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Cambridge Audio - Minx table stand wall bracket in bliaster packaging

Cambridge Audio - Minx Group shot

Cambridge Audio - HDMI cable

Cambridge Audio - Bluetooth dongle in blister packaging


This group of images is from the Opus brand. Click on images to enlarge.

OPUS MCU610 exploded

OPUS - WCU657 exploded

OPUS - WCU635 exploded






This group of images is from the Mordaunt Short brand. Click on images to enlarge.
Mordaunt Short - Performance 6 and 2

Mordaunt Short - Performance 2 cutaway 02

Mordaunt Short - Performance 2 cutaway 01

Mordaunt Short - Mezzo Tweeter Assembly

Mordaunt Short - Aviano 6 cutaway

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Written By Josh Mings


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