USING 3D SOFTWARE FOR PACKAGE MOCK-UPS

When designing a product – like in the case of package design, it is important or even necessary to include a mock-up when showing to your client.

Not only when the project is  complete, but right from the initial concept design up to the final version, because to be honest, how many people can know how a package will look like just by viewing the dieline flat design (this is what is used for creating the actual package)

concept tetra pak 4blog_Grape

This is how designers create their package layout designs, we really aren’t concerned about the 3D final but what is important is obeying the rules when it comes to designing for packaging

The most common way is to use mock-ups created with Adobe Photoshop and take advantage of the smart objects feature where you can just keep changing the design of your mock-up without affecting the actual set up of your mock-up scene, the downside however is, what if the client wants multiple views of the mock-up? You would have to look for or create another scene with another angle, which can be difficult or easy depending on the product and how you presented it.

This is where using 3D software comes in handy. But seeing 3D software isn’t for everybody – the learning curve is steep and learning it just for the sake of making mock-ups may sound kind of silly but if you already know how to use one or have been wanting to venture into motion graphics, animation, digital sculpture or game design this is another added bonus you’ll find 3D software can do.

But what about price? The software is notorious for its cost! Well no need to worry because there is an open source (free) software called Blender which is my weapon of choice for anything 3D and VFX.

blndr3D

Blender has been in development for many years and is now a very powerful 3D creation suite.   I would recommend learning a 3D software to any graphic designer especially if you are involved in video editing too.

Benefits of using 3D software for mock-up

  • The instant availability of multiple angles,
  • The ability to create ultra-realistic renders (by using physically based render options),
  • The option of turning the mock-up into a video animation using the very same scene.

Another advantage the less 3D savvy may not be aware of is; once you have a project file for your mock-up you can transport the resources to other 3D software, even Photoshop and After Effects (by exporting the item in .obj format).

And just like with the smart objects of Photoshop, you can change the design without worrying about spoiling your mock-up scene.

The option of using 3D software for mock-ups isn’t for everybody or every project but I find the advantages very beneficial and I use it whenever the situation calls for it.

pkg_multi-angle

Article by: George ( TheGiwi ) Mutambuka – Multi-disciplinary freelance designer and creative based on the African continent.

HIGHTAIL – The Creative Collaboration Platform

I first encountered Hightail late last year, but it wasn’t until the beginning of this year that I decided to test out the creative collaboration online platform.

So I headed to their website to check out what’s on offer. They have three services that they offer Business (contact them for custom price) Pro at $12 per month and Lite which is free and the one I decided to go with for the Zephaniah Branding Consultants brand identity project I recently completed, you can find it on Behance here.

I have to say this indeed is the future of how creatives should be communicating and deploying their projects, whether they are in the same studio or distributed remotely, because you could be in the same office but you certainly won’t be passing flash drives around for design reviews and keeping track of e-mail threads is a nightmare and has no easy workaround.

Greatly helpful features I used that are in the free version are; commenting, annotations, the ability to ask approval from any given member which sends them an e-mail notification instantly and also the ability to download an asset from hightail.com or the e-mail notification. The fact that you receive e-mail notifications and don’t have to be logged into the site all the time to know what is going on is a benefit. There is also a mobile app which would have even made things way easier and remove the need for e-mail, but I didn’t need it for this project.

Screenshot (UNO)

MY PROJECT SCREENSHOT : This is the first time I have used such a platform for my design work, and it’s definitely better than using e-mails and instant messaging apps. In my opinion I even find it better than Skype!

I believe that platforms like Hightail (including Trello, Slack and others) are the future and we as creatives should be moving to them. Let’s keep e-mails for the usual boring formal stuff, (what it was designed for).

To find out more you can head to the Hightail homepage and see other cool stuff like the ability of annotating video according to the timecode (very cool and handy for video editors by the way) their beautiful dark themed interface and other features.

Article by: George ( TheGiwi ) Mutambuka – Multi-disciplinary freelance designer and creative based on the African continent.

How Inkscape can be an essential tool in your arsenal

Inkscape is a professional vector graphics editor for Windows, Mac and Linux. It is open source software so that means that it is free, the only thing it will cost you is around 40MB of data which will be used to download the application here and beginner’s manual here..

I have found that when using software as a tool for productivity you can’t rely on only one tool for the job, there are times when your most trusted software tool just disappoints you, so it is important to have a backup plan.

And that is how Inkscape saved my bacon. There have been a number of times when I have been required to import an SVG element into my  Adobe Illustrator project and it imports distorted or just fails to import at all, (I have personally found Illustrator to not be so good at handling SVGs whether importing or exporting them) so what I do when that happens; I just import the problem file into Inkscape and “save as” an SVG again, with no editing to fix it in most cases, and voila, Illustrator excepts it.

Another thing I find Inkscape fast at is tracing images to vector. The tracing is done faster than when I use Illustrator and the settings aren’t as complicated, also it traces a new vector image above the original raster image which is a good and non-destructive way of editing in the case I want to keep both images on the project, or if I want to make multiple versions of the same raster without importing again.

elsa_frozen_2

By Tim Jones (Creative Commons attribution share-alike)

By Rizky Djati Munggaran (Creative Commons attribution share-alike)

Check out the  Inkscape gallery for  lots more stunning artwork.

Inkscape does not only work onSVG only, but it can import PDF vectors and .ai files too.  There have been projects that I have begun on Illustrator and finished off on Inkscape and vice versa.

It is important worth noting that Inkscape exports SVG and PNG only, but the good thing is most vector editors out there open SVG.

So this is a vector software worth picking up, whether as your main tool or as a secondary tool, the learning curve is easy, because I learnt that once you understand how vector graphics are handled, the software you use is not an issue.

This article isn’t a review or comparison of Inkscape but just my personal experiences with the software. For more information about this great open source software you can check out the Inkscape homepage.