When a design company has its hand on the pulse of the culture, the outcome is unmatched innovation in subtle solutions that provide experiences bigger than we may ever realize. Sprout Studio is one such company and its new Sprout Labs venture, Varna Tech, is bringing storage and security to home and business with a creatively classic, yet, high-tech, solution. Varna Tech’s HALO+ redefines the glass jar, in a solution that introduces the standard Mason Jar storage to smart, connected security. From product launch to production, they used KeyShot to visualize and communicate the details and possibilities. Here, they share why that is so important for a successful product launch.
How has the use of KeyShot at Sprout changed over the years?
Initially, our team used KeyShot in a very basic capacity: import a file, then render it. Over the years, our capabilities have increased substantially with the evolution of KeyShot features, allowing us to visualize what our materials are doing in the program. This has cut our time to market in half by saving time on photography and other excess resources and bridged the gap between organization, scenes, multi-materials, and illustration.
From a company perspective, KeyShot inspired an entirely new business model for us. What we once only used in the late phases of our ID process has “Sprouted” into a new business arm for us. In the last few years, we have done so much visualization work for our clients that this year we will launch a production company focused on creating go-to-market, computer-generated imagery. From 3D modeling to product rendering and product illustration to animation, we plan to use KeyShot as our default software along with a few others. Our new site will be launching this spring — if you’re interested, please sign up for updates HERE.
Has KeyShot affected how you approach or structure a project?
Absolutely! KeyShot has changed our process from the top down. In the early phases of a project, KeyShot is able to accelerate our process and visualize early phase concepts quicker and easier than ever before. We always start with a sketch but often clients cannot read a sketch as well as a rendering. We often build loose CAD in SOLIDWORKS, render quickly in KeyShot, then overlay details with a hand or computer sketch to help get alignment with our clients.
In the final phases of a project we use KeyShot to produce what we feel are often better than photorealistic renderings for our clients. This allows our clients to get the needed assets for marketing and sales collateral months before the product is tooled or in production. Photoshoots have been eliminated saving our clients time and money.
Additionally, we often have clients whose products have been slightly altered in the manufacturing process — Maybe the texture or color is not to spec — KeyShot makes it easy for us to go back and update the renderings so the client can overhaul the marketing and sales assets efficiently.
What brought about Sprout Labs and Varna Tech?
Sprout Labs was created as a way for the Sprout team to stay close to our entrepreneurial roots and create an in-house incubator for our product, brand, and user interaction/experience ideas. Varna Tech is Sprout Labs’ first company, with the inspiration starting in early 2019, as states and local communities across the nation adopted cannabis legalization. Our team noticed a surge of stories about children accessing cannabis products published in their favorite outlets and podcasts. As parents and advocates of safe legalization, we created Varna Tech and set out to develop child-resistant storage solutions.
After months of research and design sprints, the Sprout Labs team discovered multiple products that could keep kids safe at an affordable cost and elevate the usefulness of an everyday object found in most American homes: Mason jars. Our first two products, the Halo+ and Halo, provide digital and analog solutions for giving existing Mason jars a vast array of new functionalities. The research also found many additional use cases for these products from medications to cash and jewelry to sweets. We found the Halo+ and Halo products can provide peace of mind for your valuable possessions.
How has KeyShot helped in these new initiatives?
KeyShot has allowed us to visualize and realize CMF options for products, improve marketing assets, and refine external-facing content for both everyday viewers, buyers, and investors. The rendering and animation capabilities within KeyShot often produce better-than-photorealistic results and allow us to compose final imagery exactly how we see fit.
How does KeyShot aid in creating visuals of SOLIDWORKS models?
KeyShot gives us the ability to import colors correctly and generate smooth fillets to the geometry without having to perform extra work in SOLIDWORKS. One important benefit of KeyShot is the ability to manipulate materials that are normally difficult to work with (e.g. glass, mesh) and then seamlessly bring them into scenes as necessary. KeyShot also provides better results than other visualization software available within SOLIDWORKS and beyond.
What has been the most unexpected outcome of using KeyShot?
KeyShot has given our team a few laughs when successfully convincing folks (some of whom we now call clients!) that the imagery is actual photographs. Talk about high-fidelity renderings! Often times, we have to hold ourselves back in the early phases of a project, keeping the concepts from appearing too realistic before all of the design and development has been finished. In short, KeyShot is an extremely powerful tool and has been a pivotal part of Sprout’s growth and success over the years. They are constantly pushing the envelope, introducing new tools and creating what we feel, (simply put), is the best visualization software in the industry.