As a business, what do you do when an unprecedented global event keeps you away from your product and its prototypes during the conceptualization of a critical marketing campaign? Well, if you’re anything like FOX, you find a product photography studio that speaks your language. More precisely, you find a studio that speaks and works in the same design program you do.
When the pandemic threatened to push back FOX’s 2021 product launch, they tapped photography studio Thomas Burke & Others (TB&O) to recreate their product line using photo-realistic visuals. With both companies using KeyShot, the process went faster and easier than it would have gone with traditional photography. Here, they tell us how their shared experience in the program helped fast-track the project in time for their launch.
FOX | TB&O | TB&O FOX Gallery
FOX has one of the best reputations when it comes to suspension components, not only bicycles but, for a variety of vehicles. When their bike division wanted to produce higher quality imagery for its 2021 product launch, without the product in hand, photography was out of the question.
The FOX marketing staff – namely Sean Estes, Josh Doolittle, and Ray Tracy – all use KeyShot, so it was natural to call TB&O for their ability to get the most out of KeyShot. The 2021 product launch project was tasked with producing all the marketing collateral from KeyShot. Working together with Marvin Plummer and Freddy Medina from TB&O, the team produced imagery for over 360 SKUs, 16 animations, and a number of family and hero shots – all in less than 30 days.
Side-by-Side, Saving Time
The team knew that to complete the project by the deadline everyone would be playing a key role. Ray Tracy worked with the FOX engineers to create clean, well-organized KeyShot files. His work saved FOX a lot of money and time. Josh Doolittle created and managed the shot list that he and the FOX marketing team would need for a new web site. Josh also worked side-by-side with the TB&O team to dial in the light that would become the standard FOX lighting environment.
“KeyShot was the workhorse of this project,” the team says. “With both organizations familiar with KeyShot, it was easy to share files back and forth and to get near-instant feedback. Everything was rendered from KeyShot and the animations were produced in KeyShot. The KeyShot 9 custom easing curves reduced the need to go to After Effects and saved the team time. With both organizations using KeyShot, working together from the first visualizations to the final imagery was much faster and more efficient.”
Josh and Ray from FOX collaborating with Marvin and Freddy from TB&O were able to quickly dial in the final look of the product. For final renders, TB&O used its internal render farm, supported by additional cores from 3D Off The Page to generate thousands of image frames to meet the product launch deadline.
From Digital Twin to Complete Product Line
With the FOX marketing team’s familiarity with KeyShot, they were able to communicate to senior management the cost efficiency of having their 2021 product line in KeyShot. FOX refers to this as their marketing collateral toolbox. Their 2021 product visuals were all created with KeyShot. The same file produced all catalog images, environmental images, family shots, hero images, video teasers, video for web, and video for training.
Sean Estes, Brand Manager for FOX’s bike division explains that by “Using KeyShot, we were able to produce photo-real renders of our 2021 product line months sooner than we would have with traditional photography and much easier. From the time we had the final CAD we were able to generate 4K renders within a matter of days vs. a matter of months from production quality physical samples. With renders, we could also much more easily go back and make updates to graphics, paint, etc. as needed without having to completely reshoot or spend a bunch of time in post.”
Product visuals for the FOX website (ridefox.com) created using KeyShot.
Looking back, each company had a key takeaway in the visual creation pipeline that speaks to the importance of a strong studio-client relationship. “Working with a studio that has the bandwidth to handle large SKU jobs, but also the ability to produce photo-real renders, was a difference-maker for us being able to launch our 2021 product with exceptional quality marketing collateral,” describes the FOX team.
“It’s a rare treat to form a team with the client where you are working truly as one unit, says Mike James, Principal at TB&O, “Josh Doolittle and Ray Tracy are exceptional artists and have great attention to detail and a keen sense of what they want. Working in KeyShot together allowed us to share a common language and get the best result possible.”
Of course, you never know what might happen and with a virus pandemic hitting mid-project, the team’s working relationship helped them adapt to meet the product launch deadline. “Shelter-in-place hit both FOX and TB&O at the same time and took away our opportunity to work next to each other, explains Mike James, “Fortunately, screen sharing and video conferencing became the next best thing. This probably slowed us down a bit, but the project had good momentum going into COVID-19, and most of the heavy design decisions had already been hammered out.”
Sean Estes again offered his insights. “COVID-19 hit right during peak asset creation time for our B2C launch campaign. In an instant, we essentially lost the ability to complete all of the traditional action photo and video assets we had planned. Having renders in the bank allowed us to pivot our content plan slightly but still keep our launch timeline intact and ultimately execute one of the most successful new product introductions our brand has ever had.” Others in the industry were forced to delay launches and scramble to find collateral to keep themselves in front of their social audiences. For FOX, having all their 2021 product in KeyShot allowed them to order up some additional collateral from TB&O. And, of course, that made TB&O very happy.