06/02/2020No Comments

The Importance of Not Standing Still

Sound on folks, and take a look at the latest showcase.

It's been fun to look back and stitch this 30s montage together. It makes me realise how multi talented Punch Digital can be, and the benefits of not being stuck rigidly to one area.

Many folk say "you need to be super niche", and whilst I do agree, and perhaps even see the business sense in that, it's just not for me.

I see huge advantages in working on a wide range of projects. What you learn on an architectural job will have a positive impact on a product animation.

Take for example the part of the showcase where the "2020" objects fall and bounce around. In my head, I'm thinking, could we use a system like this to drop leafs into an architectural project, to have a more realistic and interesting visual.

I totally understand that this approach isn't "mainstream", and we will end up going down routes that lead to nowhere. But that's half the fun!

Doing the same thing, day in, day out, also leaves you very exposed. People will copy, imitate and rip-off work. And if you're not quick, they could overtake you, and run you out of business. That scares me much more than wasting a few days on side project!

"If you don't move, your legs become stiff. And once your legs become stiff, it becomes harder to move."

Kind of makes sense, right?

So here's to diversity!

Dean

24/09/2019No Comments

4 Questions // A brief insight into Dean and Punch Digital

I got asked these 4 questions below, and they really made me think about different aspects of myself and how I got to where I am with Punch Digital. So delve into my background, what makes me tick, and why I decided to try and make an impact in the creative CGI industry....

 

What do you do?

I run Punch Digital, a small, but very capable CGI studio, which I’m very proud to be the front of.

Personally, I’m hands on with projects, clients and R&D, but as the business grows I want to hand some of these tasks to trusted employees and partners, under my direction of course!

My background is in creating marketing CGI illustrations, working for other firms, before setting up Punch Digital in 2012. 

Who do you help?

Past clients include the likes of o2, Belling and Ford, and we’re just as comfortable working with small, local firms too.

Punch Digital / myself will work with a wide range of people and business, and have no real “ideal client”. Some of the most exciting and interesting projects have come from the most unusual clients!

On a personal level, I want to help folk break into the CGI industry. I feel people can be unprepared when it comes to landing their first job. The way I’m kicking this off is through a LinkedIn group - Helping folk break into the creative CGI industries, where I aim to offer advice, help and support to anyone who needs it!

What pain do you solve?

CGI imagery, animations and interactive apps are a great way to help folk visualise products, architecture and anything else. 

The biggest pain we solve is to remove limitations. 

Room sets aren’t restricted to studio walls; kitchens can be visualised in any interior imaginable.

Products don’t have to be manufactured, they can be illustrated from sketches and ideas, perfect for gauging interest, or even marketing for sales, before the expense of manufacturing.

Individual product variation can be shown, without the need to build and photograph each combination, through an interactive configurator. No more swatches or sample pots!

Ultimately, I want to make CGI marketing imagery as easy and as accessible as possible for anyone who sells a product, property or anything else!

Why do you do what you do?

I’ve always been a keen artist, even as little boy doodling in make-shift art folders. I must admit my fine art skills won’t win any awards, but it’s something I’ve enjoyed and pursued right up to Art A-Level.

I’m also great with numbers, figures and problem solving. Again A-Levels in maths and business studies helped build this passion.

Luckily, CGI imagery is a combination of artist flare, and technical ability. Figuring a small technical issue can almost be just as rewarding as building a beautiful illustration. 

I believe what I and Punch Digital does is purposeful, helpful and adds value for our clients, helping them to market and sell their thing.

There’s no greater high than receiving an email or phone call from a client, thanking us for our hard work and success on their project. 

I also love the constant evolution of CGI imagery. The CGI industry doesn’t stand still, advances in tech often push expectations to produce higher quality, speed and frequency of work, which is fine and part of the exciting challenges.

There are also amazing opportunities to explore and expand into new areas, such as virtual reality or augmented reality, with the aim of making this tech available, accessible and useful to clients, which is often the biggest, but very rewarding!

Ultimately I just love the mix of creativity, technical and innovative aspects of the creative CGI industry!

(Plus it’s less messier than being a plumber (sorry dad)!!)

 

Dean

10/09/2019No Comments

VR Hits The Arcades, and it’s an obvious hit!

Recently I blogged out the Alton Towers Galactica ride, which is a mix of a real roller coaster and virtual reality. I thought the initial concept was great, you could fly through virtual worlds, and experience the G forces from the roller coaster. However it seemed to me that the ride makers were really missing a trick by only having 1 virtual world, and ZERO interactivity.

I know how expensive creating virtual worlds can be, but I also know that with a digital format, such as virtual reality, the cost to make physical changes to hardware or equipment is zero.

Recently whilst on a break, I noticed Virtual Rabbids The Big Ride in an arcade. It’s essentially an arcade game, where you sit on a motion simulator, wear a HTC Vive, and experience virtual worlds, from pirate adventures to Christmas sleigh rides!

OK this game doesn’t give the same thrills as the Galactica ride, and you can’t expect that from an arcade machine. However it does deliver an accessible, engaging, immersive experience without the need for a massive roller coaster.

It’s an obvious hit too. Out of all the arcade machines, Rabbids The Big Ride was by far the most popular, even though it was 400% more expensive than the other arcade games. OK perhaps the price and popularity are down to the uniqueness of the game, but it does go to show the appetite and willingness to give VR a go.

I personally see VR being a big hit in arcades, and might even spark a return to the arcades of decades gone by. I am still very much skeptical about VR. Will we ever overcome the social acceptance of the technology? It’s hard to convince people to wear a VR headset, and also hard to see how virtual reality can be anything other than a solo experience. But with a virtual reality arcade, I can see how a group of friends could use it in a very similar way to a normal arcade game, and that really does give me hope for the future of VR entertainment.

VR Virtual Reality

So is VR saved?

Who knows!

But I am glad that virtual reality is slowly becoming more and more mainstream, and being adopted in ways that actually give value though enhanced experiences.

Do I still think there's a massive social hurdle to overcome? Of course! But little steps like are paving the way.

Would you try a VR arcade game? Could you lose yourself in a virtual environment? Is VR the future of entertainment?

Drop me your thoughts!

Dean

14/08/2019No Comments

What would I do if….

Great question right? A good excuse to take a step back and look at things from a different perspective.

So over the next few weeks / months, I'll be doing just that in the form of a mini series to read at your leisure!

But what's the point?

Well, when it comes to creating marketing and promotional material for your business and products, the options can seem endless, or maybe there may be options that you haven't considered.

So, I want to use 15+ years of knowledge of the CGI, 3D, digital marketing industry, combined with an understanding of businesses needs, requirements and problems, to explain what I might do in your position.

The first piece will be "What would I do if I were a property developer?".

In this, I will look at the different options, from basic CGI artwork, to fully interactive applications, and maybe a few other options that perhaps you're not even aware of. I'll look at the pros and cons of different mediums, what to expect, cost guides and so on.

Essentially I hope this mini series will give you a good understanding of your options and maybe even help you to approach CGI studios so you get the most out of any future projects.

Don't miss out!

So this blog post is a little heads up for something that will be landing over the next weeks / months.

To make sure you don't miss out, subscribe to the newsletter here -

Click to subscribe!

And we'll add you to our monthly newsletter so you get the info straight to your inbox!

 

Dean

16/07/2019No Comments

Virtual Reality // The Misunderstood Medium

Fantastic Tech

New tech is fantastic. It changes on a daily basis, and brings us new and exciting things.

But virtual reality can almost seem like it stumbles and trips way too often. Let's not forget that VR isn't anything new, Oculus Rift was funded on Kickstarter over 7 years ago!

Misunderstood

Like a stroppy high-school teenager, VR is misunderstood. It doesn't know what it wants to do in life, it's not sure where it belongs, and perhaps even a little confused about its upbringing!

Virtual Reality misunderstood

The issue

For me, virtual reality is often being shoe-horned into a situation that doesn't really fit, and it's really hurting it's reputation and potential. People think "VR, that's cool, how can we jump on this bang wagon" without really thinking about what they're trying to achieve.

VR is fantastic for occasions where the user needs to be isolated, such as training simulations. They can safely immerse the user in dangerous, expensive and complex situations.

However, I believe VR isn't great for social groups in many situations. That could be 1 person wearing a VR headset in a group of people, or several people each using a headset. There is a massive social issue for VR to overcome.

If you're the 1 in a group of many, and you're the only one in the virtual world, you are no longer connected to the group. You are alone. There's no two ways about it.

Again if you're in a group of VR users, you are alone.

Virtual Reality misunderstood

And this social and psychological issue is massive.

Trust.

Respect.

Relationships.

All of these things are tested every time you wear a headset in a social environment. How many times have you handed someone a VR headset, for them to wear it for 15 seconds, then hand it back? Or you wear a headset, and you become too isolated from the real world. These are the kinds of the big issues VR is facing.

 

The big VR fix

Well, is there a "fix"?

I think we need to really think about where virtual reality is used.

Maybe we just need to plough on, and try to make VR common place?

Or perhaps, as an entertainment platform, VR is already dead in the water, and we should look towards alternatives such as augmented reality?

Virtual Reality misunderstood

This blog post isn't a dig at virtual reality, or those trying to use the medium for brilliant things, but I think content creators really need to take a step back, and figure out if virtual reality is right for their end goal and end users, before irreversible damage is done.

 

Dean

15/07/2019No Comments

Punch Infinity Survey // We have a winner!

Earlier today, on Instagram Live, I drew a winner from the folk who completed the Punch Infinity survey.

For those that don't know, the survey was a way to get people's thoughts and opinions on Punch Infinity, our interactive configurator. We will work through the data, and we hope we'll know what's working well, no so well, and perhaps some future direction too.

Anyway, the winner was Graham, so the £50 Amazon voucher will be heading his way very soon. To see the draw, head to https://www.instagram.com/punchdigitaluk/ and check out the Live / Stories section of the profile.

Punch Infinity Interactive Configurator Survey Draw

Thank you to everyone who took part!

Dean

09/07/2019No Comments

Punch Infinity // The Future

Before you read this, you might be wondering "what is Punch Infinity?". If that's the case then check out the Punch Infinity - What is it? blog post.

The Future!

Punch Infinity is currently live. Clients are on board, and we're incredibly proud of what we've produced. But what are the next steps?

Survey

Over the past few months, we ran a survey to find out more about Punch Infinity (does it do what we want it to) and to find out its users (what they like, need and expect). The survey is over, and the results will be published soon.

We hope the results will help us shape any future developments.

Immediate plans?

In a nut shell, no. Maintenance, house keeping and responding to technical changes are our constant priority.

Punch Infinity Interactive Configurator CGI Tiles Kitchen

Two paths

One current leading idea is to split Punch Infinity into two products, a Lite version and a Pro version.

Roughly, the Lite version would be very similar to Punch Infinity as it is today, a streamlined, useful and refined configurator system.

The Pro version could have anything a client desires. Punch Infinity has always had the ability to "bolt on" any features, as it was built from the ground up, and maybe we take full advantage of that. Or perhaps we add more "pro" functions, such as 360 views, analytics or maybe even virtual reality. This part of the puzzle is a big unknown, and we'll know more from the survey, further user testing and discussions.

No time to stand still

Punch Infinity is going to evolve and change. It can't stand still, and neither can I! The speed at which tech changes is incredible, and we need to be just as fast, reactive and pro-active!

Summary

Punch Infinity will change, maybe a little, maybe a lot.

There is no current "roadmap" and we need to carefully plan and execute our next steps.

We are always open to new ideas, thoughts and suggestions. So even though the survey is over, drop us a message, call or DM with your thoughts!

Thank you!

Thank you for reading the Punch Infinity Blog Series! If you missed any of the previous posts, check them out below -

Punch Infinity - What is it?

Punch Infinity - Why?

Punch Infinity - How?

 

And if you know to know more all you need to do is shout (or call, email or DM).

Dean

02/07/2019No Comments

AR is dead, long live AR!

Augmented Reality is Dead?!

 

OK let me explain. AR definitely isn't dead, but a shift is occurring, and this is my prediction -

"AR over the next 12 months, augmented reality will become more commonplace, useful and integrated into our everyday lives than ever before."

 

Augmented Reality (AR) is a medium / platform allow people to superimpose digital content into the real world. You might be familiar with the concept. Snapchat Lenses are a fun way to add bunny ears, face swap or create interesting selfies.

Or maybe you've delved a little deeper and seen how you can view a piece of virtual furniture into your room. Check out the Ikea Place app for a great example of this.

Image Credit Facebook

Essentially anything that let's you see digital content overlaid or integrated into the real world can be defined as augmented reality.

The Shift in AR

AR has been around to years, we tested and played with this back in 2012, and then the hype died down. At that time it felt like a gimmick, and I don't do gimmicks!

In recent years, AR started to emerge once again, mainly down to the advances in tech (smart phones, Android ARCore, Apple AR Kit), which lead to fun apps, such as SnapChat.

Most of the apps have been for entertainment, and really served little other purpose.

But that will change. And it could be driven by Facebook of all people. Facebook launched Spark AR Studio, a way for developers to create augmented reality apps to feature in Facebook and Instagram.

Spark AR Studio Augmented Reality Facebook Instagram

Currently, most of the AR content on Spark AR Studio is "entertainment" based. People are experimenting, testing and having fun.

But what will be interesting is when we see Facebook start to monetise its platform and users. I predict that Facebook will create a centralised AR platform, not only for "funky selfies", but also for business, brands and products.

I mentioned earlier that Ikea have the Place app, where you can preview furniture within a real world. Well others are at it too, such as Wayfair and Amazon

And it's my prediction that Facebook will create something like Wayfair and Amazon , but 1000x greater!

Wayfair and Ikea are all very much self centred, they serve themselves, you can't "shop around". And I can't blame them, why should they.

Amazon and Facebook are potentially very different. These both aren't self centred, they can offer the users anything. So imagine an AR marketplace where you can browse 1000s of items, no matter who produces it.

And don't think AR is just for furniture either. Fashion, art, accessories, paint, hair styles and almost anything else could take advantage of AR.

And then there's the opportunity for augmented reality to do a full circle, and use AR for entertainment, promotion, brand awareness and just good old fun.

Facebook / Instagram is going to be the place to be. If they get it right, they'll be to go-to app for AR, and everyone will want to be on it. Think of it like a business not wanting to be on Google, it just wouldn't happen!

 

"I believe augmented reality is a huge opportunity for forward thinking retailers to promote their products and brands. The attention will be undervalued to begin with, but trust me, that won't last too long."

 

So what does this have to do with Punch Digital? Well moving forward, we will be developing augmented reality content on the Spark AR platform. It'll be business like ourselves that will give businesses, brands and products a way to get their content easily onto these platforms, so we're keen to show how this is possible!

Keep your eyes peeled for augmented reality updates!

And if you have an idea, concept or would simply like to know more about augmented reality, then get in touch!

Thanks,
Dean

27/06/2019No Comments

The June Newsletter

The Latest Newsletter is out!

 

June Newsletter 3D CGI Illustration Visualisation

Head to...

https://mailchi.mp/676371886350/istgx2uajf-2080581

and take a look for yourself.

If you'd like to subscrive, you can do too.

SUBSCRIBE ME!

 

Thanks,
Dean

28/05/2019No Comments

Punch Infinity – Why?

 

Punch Infinity - Why?

Before you read this, you might be wondering "what is Punch Infinity?". If that's the case then check out the Punch Infinity - What is it? blog post.

Why?

The standards of product configurators can be poor at times. I felt that big improvements and innovations could be made to make the experience better for both businesses and customers. A better, easier and more useful configurator app would ultimately help businesses sell their products easier.

So I identified 3 areas that needed to be improved, reinvented or designed to make Punch Infinity a great tool to use...

Usability

I’ve experienced and tested numerous configurators, and often became frustrated by poor usability. Some configurators require lengthy sign up processes, a big turn off for users. Others are too complex, and dive into the finest detail too quickly, thus removing any fun or excitement. And some simple leave you thinking "OK great, love the product, but how do I buy?!".

Vehicle configurators for example can be incredibly unfriendly. Instead of exciting the user with fantastic paint colours, styling, wheels, etc, the configurators will start with the boring stuff first. Engine size, emissions, tax, warranty....zzzzz. I don’t get it. A configurator should excite, and make people say “take my money, I’ll worry about the tax later!”.

I’m my opinion, configurators need to excite first, and then deal with the finer details later. Maybe even leave that to the sales folk in the showroom.

Visuals

Maybe I’m a little arrogant here, but I cringe a little when I see businesses using below par CGI imagery in their marketing material. I know budgets can be tight, but could poor visuals be costing businesses more in the long term? The work we produce at Punch Digital rivals photography in quality, however I know how tricky this can be with configurators. Often they can look “photoshopped” and not very realistic.

For a great experience, the user needs brilliant visuals. Many configurators fall short here, but we’ve developed processes and clever systems to make the visuals as real and convincing as possible. I’ll expand on this in the How? post (coming soon).

Accessibility

Over the decade we have been spoilt with how accessible technology has become. I’m writing this on an iPad in my living room, but I also have a laptop on my desk and a smart phone in my pocket.

Many apps are cross platform, and it’s becoming expected that the device you use shouldn’t limit you in anyway. Many configurators are limited to a handful of devices. Some even require bulky software to download. I wanted to make a configurator app that could be used on any modern device, without bulky downloads, or long loading times, without compromising quality or user experience.

That's why built Punch Infinity to work in an internet browser. People are familiar browsers, and generally know how to access a website. To access a Punch Infinity configurator you type in website such as https://rhk.punch.digital and instead of loading a website, the browser loads the configurator. Simple but very effective. We’ll dig into the “how” it works later, but the important thing for us was to make it accessible for as many people as possible.

Summary

Punch Infinity has been built with the end user in it's focus. The experience needed to be easy to use and straight forward. We have made it easy for customers to continue on their buying journey by either learning more about the product, making an enquiry, or being directed to the online sales store.

We also made sure that the visual quality is as high as our non-interactive work.

And we made sure that as many people could access a Punch Infinity interactive configurator through their PC, laptop, iPad, tablet or smartphone.

If you have any questions, queries or think Punch Infinity could be suitable for your marketing, then get in touch.

Other pages from the Punch Infinity Blog Post Series

Punch Infinity - What is it?

Punch Infinity - How? (Coming soon, 11th June).

Punch Infinity - The Future (Coming soon, 25th June).

 

Dean

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?

WANT TO KNOW MORE?

USEFUL LINKS

Site Map
Privacy Policy

Punch Infinity
Switch
Archive
Contact
Subscribe

INSTAGRAM FEED

instagram-image
instagram-image
instagram-image
instagram-image

PUNCH DIGITAL

Punch Digital Services Ltd

Registered Office :
Peel Walker
11 Victoria Road
Elland
HX5 0AE

Company No:
07938732

VAT No:
GB 282 4398 77