Interactive Aerial is a Michigan-based manufacturing and service company with a focus on building robotic solutions to better address internal infrastructure inspections, specifically GPS-denied, confined space environments. Using KeyShot, they have given their customer manuals a new life with a clean, consistent look. Here, we talk with Justin Bentsen, Product Manager at Interactive Aerial, about the move to KeyShot and how it has helped.

Interactive Aerial

Modeling software used: Fusion 360
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What did you use for manual/tech pub graphics before KeyShot?
In the early days of our company, we experimented with a few different rendering software, ranging from Blender to SolidWorks Visualize. We understood the value that a rendering software could bring to our company and products. However, we couldn’t decide on either due to inefficient workflow, time consuming processes, high cost and limited functionality. We ultimately decided to just export screenshots from our CAD software, Fusion 360, to generate all of the early drawings for our manuals.

What helped you realize that KeyShot could be used for the graphics?
Back when we first started using KeyShot, I imported all of my models into a new project for some concept marketing pieces. These models had no applied textures and were just white with a white background, the only detail was shading. I started to think about how this style could be very beneficial for clean graphical depictions. A few weeks later, after doing some research, I realized that KeyShot had a material called Toon. This was, unbeknownst to me, the exact material I had been looking for. It combined both the “wire frame” aesthetic of CAD models and the shaded realism of rendering. This finding also lined up with the release of our new product, Zenith, which made it a perfect tool to help with the user manual creation.

I knew I could get the graphics I needed using KeyShot, and the Toon material allowed me to keep colors very neutral without sacrificing any detail.”

What influenced the style of the graphics created with KeyShot?
For the Zenith user manual, I wanted to make something that was easy to understand and follow. I figured the best way to achieve this was to keep the document clean and free of distraction. This led me to the idea of a user manual that was completely monochrome. I knew I could get the graphics I needed using KeyShot, and the Toon material allowed me to keep colors very neutral without sacrificing any detail.

How else is KeyShot used for Interactive Aerial product visuals?
We use KeyShot quite often. The biggest area has been the ability to create renderings that help customers to better understand our products. We released a blog post about Zenith Configurations where we digitally recreated the environment to help customers visualize how Zenith was used and why it was the right choice for the job.

How have the customers/staff reacted to the new manual graphics?
We have had quite a positive response to the Zenith user manual. There have been many compliments on the renderings and how it feels like a manual for a high-end product. The Zenith is a very complex system which needs to be shown in a very simple way. KeyShot has allowed us to do just that.

Overall, how did this save time, money, or improve quality?
More then just the user manual, KeyShot has given us the ability to help customers and employees better understand the product or the problem. We can take any idea and make it feel real with minimal effort.

“KeyShot has given us the ability to help customers and employees better understand the product or the problem.”

See more at interactiveaerial.com