Blair Buttke, Graphic Designer / Art Director
Blair Buttke is a senior graphic designer/art director from Arizona who has focused on package/product design for over 30 years. Blair has created retail packaging and brand identities for global, national and regional consumer products. He has designed and developed packaging and point of purchase for such companies as; Dial/Henkel, Dole, Conagra, Armour Star, H.E.B. and Inventure foods.
His career has largely been spent in that magical twenty-four inches between the shopping cart and the shelf.
How did you get started in the graphics industry?
After school at University of Arizona I landed a position at an Ad agency that was primarily involved with packaging. This proved to be a good fit, as it combined my love of drawing and design – as well as sculpture.
When did you start using Strata 3D?
My first exposure to Strata 3D was in 2001. A workmate had been using this software for some time and thought it would be a good fit for our business needs.
I had tried some 3-D software, but when I was shown how well Strata 3D worked with Adobe software, I was hooked.
What made you pick up Strata 3D? Was there a specific problem/need that caused you to seek out a 3D application?
I had been in package design for about 13 years and was looking for a way to produce visually believable and accurate comprehensives for our clients. In the past, physical mock-ups were the only way to achieve this level of credibility.
Our clients were asking us to do a lot of product concept work and Strata 3D proved to be a great tool to lend authenticity to these concepts for testing.
What’s a typical day for you?
Currently I am involved with creating a new product packaging system and developing product display items.
Which features do you use the most in Strata 3D?
After getting acquainted with some of the more basic modeling modes, I gravitated towards the subdivision modeling. It gives me the control I need.
Just as important as being able to accurately model surfaces, the ability to map graphics onto a model is critical. Strata 3D gives me wonderful surface and texture control.
In packaging, we are challenged to depict a verity of different materials and Strata 3D offers a depth of textures. I also like the variety of lighting approaches that Strata gives me.
What has been the biggest benefit from introducing 3D into your workflow?
Strata 3D gives us a number of rendering levels at the beginning of a project to allow us to quickly visualize and evaluate a project internally while in the developmental phase. It helps us address the physical concerns of packaging/products and allows us to virtually place a product among its competition at point of purchase.
Best of all, Strata 3D has the depth of assets to allow us to create an over-the-top design presentation.
Do you have any fun, interesting, or unusual stories related to your job and/or 3D work?
About five years ago, I was asked to do a simple flyer for a lecture series that ultimately blossomed into a love for antique microphones. The idea for the layout was to feature a microphone as the focus of the flyer.
I had been working quite a bit with Strata 3D and decided to model and render the microphone myself. I was fascinated by the variety of vintage microphones out there. As the project progressed, I tried to match the style of the microphones with the unique personalities of the various speakers. I found Strata 3D up to the challenge in both modeling, texturing and rendering. The result was a collection of illustrations that taught me a lot and turned out to be a pleasure to do.
Any advice for new users?
Design what you want to see take place, the world will catch up.