When it comes to toys and entertainment, Spin Master knows how it’s done. Since 1994, they’ve designed and developed the most memorable toy lines, from Etch A Sketch and Meccano to Airhogs and Luvabelle. In the design of the product and the design of the packaging, the toy’s appeal is packed into every detail. Using KeyShot, they’ve built a digital pipeline that takes their product lines from early concept to the retail shelf. George Olarte, Visual Brand Design Manager at Spin Master, leads the Spin Master team and tells us more about how they use KeyShot.
What’s unique about the design process or approach to a project at Spin Master?
Specifically for Spin Master, the design process is collaborative, within product design, but also with our fearless COO, Ben Varadi. Not in a micro-managing way but in an inspirational, “lead from the front” kind of way. How often do you get to work with one of the company founders on your projects, especially at a place like Spin Master, worth nearly 6 billion dollars? I’m very fortunate to both present and receive feedback directly from Benny. He’s an inspiration and is one of the reasons I love working at Spin Master.
How is KeyShot and Esko Studio used in your projects?
I use KeyShot early in the process to determine shot lists and create concepts for product imagery. As soon as I receive the preliminary CAD data for projects, I import it into KeyShot to test ideas. There are two ways I utilize KeyShot and Esko. First, I generate packaging product renders I can quickly display on my packaging created in Esko Studio. It becomes a ping-pong process of testing ideas in KeyShot, seeing it on packaging in Esko Studio, then going back to KeyShot to rough out new ideas, then back to Esko, with both programs enhancing the concept development.
Second, I use KeyShot and Esko Studio together when I want a highly polished packaging render. I’ll export from Esko Studio directly into KeyShot; No fussing around with other programs to get my Esko Studio file to work in KeyShot. It couldn’t be easier. Once my Esko Studio file is in KeyShot, I have total control over materials, lighting, and camera views. The realism–the drama I can create once I get into KeyShot–is kicked up several notches.
What are some projects KeyShot has been used on?
There’s not a lot of product in which we don’t use KeyShot. Some of the brands we use KeyShot for include: Boxer Bot, Bakugan, Meccano/Erector, Monster Jam, Dragons, and Twisty Pets. Almost everything I work on utilizes KeyShot.
Overall, how has KeyShot helped save time, money and/or improve quality?
Honestly (and this is my opinion, not Spin Masters), it’s priceless. It’s one thing to talk about the end results, the beautiful renders KeyShot generates, eliminating the need to clip photos, or quickly re-render an image that was initially incorrect, but it’s really about the creative process and how you are able to develop concepts in a manner that was unavailable to you just a couple of years ago. Now you are hurdling through entire stages of development because you don’t need to step into a photo studio to test out ideas. How do you put a price on your artistic development? Programs like KeyShot and Esko Studio aren’t just windows on your computer, they’re doorways to possibilities.
What advice would you give to others interested in doing what you do?
What I do, what my teammates do, is steeped in craft. We treat graphic design as a discipline. KeyShot and Esko Studio are our brushes and paint, the retail shelf is our canvas. Do not rely on these programs to create the ideas for you. Learn about the craft of graphic design, study the masters, the Saul Bass and Paul Rands. Learn about what makes simple ideas into great concepts. Keep up to speed on the new blood entering our discipline, understand why new styles of art resonate and determine how to incorporate that kind of thinking into your designs. Take the entirety of your thinking, the discipline, and then render it with KeyShot and Esko Studio.