When Jacob Dawson trapped himself in his room for 14 hours, his YouTube subscribers held their breath, but they needn’t have worried; Jacob wasn’t alone, he had KeyShot to keep him company. Jacob set himself the challenge of sitting down, learning KeyShot from scratch, and producing his very first KeyShot render… without leaving the room until it was done. It’s safe to say that Jacob emerged from confinement safely, and triumphantly, with a new found love for KeyShot. We discussed the experience, his use of KeyShot, and what other challenges are on the horizon for this upcoming render artist.

Jacob Dawson

Jacob Dawson

Modeling software used: Fusion 360
YouTube Channel / Instagram

Tell me a bit about yourself and your prior experience in rendering?
I studied industrial design at University and while I was there I started a YouTube channel making videos about industrial design. My videos did quite well and it all grew from there. As for how I ended up with the idea of locking myself in a room to learn a skill format for a video – I had been trialing a new method of learning that states you can become good at any skill if you just put 20 hours of practice in. I had done this a few times previously with other skills, but thought “what if I made the process even more intense?” I’d been wanting to try KeyShot for quite a long time so I felt the time was right. I downloaded the program, locked myself in my room, and the rest is history.

Jacob Dawson

What was your prior knowledge of KeyShot rendering before starting this video?
Rendering was never a core part of my University curriculum, so the first time I came across it was through one of my fellow students who showed me these beautiful renders he had made and told me he had used KeyShot. At that stage I was just getting used to CAD, so I wasn’t really thinking about renders, but after seeing his work I was inspired to learn. After that, I began following Render Weekly who are avid fans of KeyShot and it all kind of spiraled from there. I was determined to try it out eventually and creating a video like this presented the perfect opportunity.

Jacob Dawson design KeyShot

Now that you’ve gone through this experience what would you recommend to anyone who is just getting started with using KeyShot?
I would stay start with the basics. Be sure to try and get an understanding of the workflow. A nice and easy way to get started is by going through the Getting Started tutorials on the Luxion website; they were a lifesaver (especially if you’re going to be playing around for a dedicated 14 hours)!

During this 14-hour process did you discover anything new about your own learning process?
I’m learning that I always try to overdo things, haha. I’ve recently shot another “lock myself in my room”, which I’m currently editing, where I’ve done the same thing – set my sights way too high. However, that doesn’t always work out so I’m trying to get better at keeping my expectation a bit more realistic. But one thing I have learned from doing these videos is how to tell good stories through video and I think that is a nice take away from all this.

A really great way of coming up with unique ideas is by combing two very different ideas that already exist and see what fresh thing they produce.”

What is the source of your creative ideas?
I’m quite a big fan of taking two very different ideas and combining them. A really great way of coming up with unique ideas is by combing two very different ideas that already exist and see what fresh thing they produce. That’s probably my go-to method. For this video, I was a bit desperate! I needed to find something that looks good visually but could be rendered quite easily by someone at my current skill level. By the end, I was really happy with my end result in the video.

What have you got coming up next?
My next video coming out is where I learned Figma completely different field, UX design, so I gave that a go and it went pretty well. Surprisingly it was a lot easier to learn – I thought I was gonna be trapped in there for much longer, but it only ended being around 8 hours.

Any final thoughts on this whole project?
I’m quite enjoying making these videos and learning how to use new software. I also think it’s cool that all these big companies like Luxion have these really great tutorials available to the public for free. But what I really want to get out of these videos is a sense of motivation for people. I think a lot of people feel when they see renders, like those done in KeyShot, that it takes months of dedicated training to learn how to it – but it doesn’t have to. I’m by no means a KeyShot master at all, but I want people to see that if you put in the effort you can definitely get to grips with it.