The shapes and colors that catch your eye in the isle. The visuals that spill across billboard and television screen–they all come together to build the recognizable brands of the products we use every day. Joshua Sternthal is Senior Industrial Designer at Unilever HPC where they use KeyShot for their full range of packaging design concepts and models. Joshua has the unique perspective of being an integral part around the brand building and development of product from concept to completion and tells us more about how KeyShot is a part of that.

Joshua Sternthal / Unilever

Modeling software used:
Siemens NX / SolidWorks
UnileverGrowing up, Josh was always drawing and interested in how things worked, “I was constantly taking things apart (to the delight of my parents, I’m sure) to see how they worked and have always been able to fix things. Industrial design was a natural blend of design and the tinkering I loved. After finding out about Industrial Design and what it meant to be an Industrial Designer, it was a perfect match.”

Joshua has worked in many design firms in and around the New York area working on everything from housewares, toys and cosmetic displays to consumer electronics and medical equipment. That someone can do what they love for so many different companies, in so many different industries, is what he loves about Industrial Design.

Unilever is the largest company he has have ever worked for with its own set of challenges compared to being freelance, but has also come with some of the greatest opportunities he has experienced in his career. “Our design group started out small but has steadily grown from being a CAD group, to Unilever’s global internal design resource that can assist in all aspects of a project, from briefing agencies and creating 3D CAD and renderings to finite element analysis and coordinating with supply chain. The resources that Unilever has made available to our global group shows the company’s dedication to design and a growing global design culture. We now have an internal group with the skills and talent that, in my opinion, rivals many of the groups I have had a chance to work with in the past.”

At Unilever, Josh uses Siemens NX with prior experience in SolidWorks. In choosing their 3D rendering software, they did thorough research and testing. “We evaluated MANY different rendering platforms before choosing KeyShot. Our main difficulty was the two sides of 3D modeling–the CAD side (NX, SolidWorks, ProE, Catia, etc) and the freeform side (3D Studio Max, Maya, etc). The CAD side was capable of parametric modeling which was absolutely critical to the way we worked and the freeform side was capable of creating beautiful renderings.

There was no tool that bridged the gap easily or reliably until KeyShot came along… we chose KeyShot for the support of the Mac platform and no requirement for any particular graphic card.”

There was no tool that bridged the gap easily or reliably until KeyShot came along. When faced with a decision on rendering packages, we chose KeyShot for the support of the Mac platform and no requirement for any particular graphic card. Now, with the addition of KeyShotVR and Network Rendering, we are planning on more ways to use KeyShot in our workflow process.”

At Unilever, renderings are created of nearly every concept and model that comes through the design department. “Anything from foods and laundry products to hair and skincare products–and any brand within those categories. We use the renderings to evaluate the overall impression of a package as well as what proposed graphic solutions will look like when applied. This has dramatically decreased the amount of time needed to make critical decisions when we are passing information along to the brand and marketing teams.”

“My favorite project so far has been working on a packaging project for Q-tips®. The idea was to create a smaller deco-pack of Q-tips where the artwork could be updated throughout the year to reflect different holidays, seasons and décor trends. The creative aspect of this project was completed internally and, with the help of an outside supplier, mockups were created. The original design intent was kept intact along with industry-specific patents. It was also one of the quicker-to-market projects I have had the opportunity to work on.”


When asked if he has any tips or advice for others, Josh replied, “Getting to know KeyShot and how to use it is simple, that’s why we chose it. Anyone can use it, but not everyone is capable of creating a good rendering. I compare it to photography: Just because you have a high end camera doesn’t mean you are going to get great pictures. This goes for rendering even more so. It is critical for the person setting up a render to know what makes a good composition & what qualifies as good lighting. A good understanding of the basic rules of photography, lighting and composition are absolutely critical to being able to create good renderings.”