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The Ultimate KeyShot Startup Studio?!

by Will Gibbons | Last Updated: January 17, 2022 •  5 min read

Nobody likes wasting time! Recently, I developed a new workflow in KeyShot that has saved me countless minutes every time I launch the program. The idea was to take 80% of the work out of setting up a new scene every time I go to create a new rendering. This revolves around using a special file as a starting point. I call this the WG Startup Studio 1.0

Flexibility

As a demonstration of the flexibility built into the Startup Studio, I chose 3 very different products to render using the Startup Studio. The lamp, chair and car all have different materials are different scales and look better under different lighting conditions.

After creating an empty model set for each of these objects, I dagged each model from the models library into a model set. With minimal tweaking and just a few minutes of finessing each studio, I was able to render out 3 very different models with acceptable results.

The total time to produce these three images was less than 15 minutes, far faster than I could have done had I not used the Startup Studio. I designed these studios to be generic enough to work with a broad range of models, but be complete enough to use with minimal tweaking.

Video Tutorial

If you prefer to follow along with a tutorial, watch the video below. Otherwise, I’ll outline the steps below and offer a few more thoughts on this approach to speeding up your workflow.

How to use startup studios in KeyShot to save time

Download the Startup Studio File

The first thing you’ll need to do is download the free WG Startup Studio file. You can get this from the File Vault, which is an archive of all past project files for any tutorial I’ve ever created. Click the big blue button below the video in the previous paragraph, or click here to enter the File Vault. One you get the file, go ahead and extract the .bip file to your desktop.

Install the Startup Studio File

I found this file to save me more time when I make it the default startup scene in KeyShot. This means every time I launch KeyShot, the WG Startup Studio is loaded. To do this, navigate to the KeyShot directory. For Windows users, the path will look something like this: C:\Users\YOURUSERFOLDR\Documents\KeyShot 10\Scenes and drag the .bip file into this location.

Next, launch KeyShot and navigate to the preferences. Under the General tab, you’ll find a section labeled ‘Default Startup Scene’ and browse to the WG Startup Studios .bip that you just placed in the Scenes folder within the KeyShot directory. Save changes and re-launch KeyShot. 

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Using the Startup Studio File

To make use of the WG Startup Studio 1.0, create a new empty model set and import your CAD file into the new model set. Alternatively, you can drag a model from your models library into the empty model set as well.

After applying materials to your model, navigate to the studios panel. Depending on the size of your model, you’ll want to choose the small, medium or large studio as a starting point. For models under 2 feet, use the small studio. For models under 4 feet, use the medium model set. And models over 4 feet large, use the large studio.

After enabling the corresponding studio, activate the new model set that contains your recently-imported model. Reposition your model so it’s aligned with the cube in the middle of the studio backdrop. Hide and lock the cube.

At this point, you’ll need to customize your studio by tweaking the camera settings, light brightness and color and positioning. Every product is different and will look best under different lighting conditions.

The purpose of this Startup Studio is to cut out the time you’d normally spend creating each of these studios and lighting scenarios.

You’ll also find presets and multi-materials assigned to the lights and backdrops to give you warm and cool lighting options as well as white, gray and black backdrops.

Save Even More Time

If you really want to boost your KeyShot workflow, then I recommend making use of the KeyShot Models Library. This is a fairly recent addition to KeyShot. With it, you can save completed models so they can be dragged into a KeyShot scene in the future. This saves boat loads of time when dressing scenes like interiors and the like. 

Here’s a video I created walking you through the process of using KeyShot’s Models Library.

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Additional Benefits of Startup Studios

If you weren’t already convinced, the WG Startup Studios includes render presets and image styles. The render presets take the guesswork out of knowing what to use as real-time render settings. The image styles apply some tone mapping which helps prevent blown out specular highlights. These are common on polished metals and glass materials. I also employ some denoising and bloom to soften the image and kill any unwanted fireflies.

The other nice thing about using a consistent starting point with Startup Studios is having a cohesive appearance to your renderings. When sharing a collection of images, it’s nice to have a similar look and feel to them. Using Startup Studios as a beginning point makes it easier to achieve a similar vibe to your images.

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Will Gibbons
Will Gibbons is an industrial designer-turned rendering specialist. He's trained and worked with some of today's most recognizable brands and now is focused on creating the best product visualization content on the internet.
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