Take-Out Breakout: Restaurant Branding in Dimension and Illustrator
Create a take-out packaging design in Dimension and Illustrator for a chance to win an iPad Pro!
Adobe Dimension makes it easy for graphic designers to create high-quality, photorealistic product mockups, brand visualizations, packaging designs, and more with the power of 3D.
In this post, we’re featuring designers Christine Gonda and Aaron Atchison from Farm Design. They’ll walk you through their creative process and workflow step by step as they take a restaurant branding system developed on last month’s AdobeLive session and bring it into Dimension to create photorealistic mockups of their packaging designs.
Want to win an iPad Pro?
Check out the details of the Adobe Dimension Design Challenge at the end of this page.
You can follow along with Christine and Aaron’s steps to create your own restaurant branding system and bring it to life in Dimension. Share your designs with Adobe Illustrator on Twitter and Facebook to participate.
The takeout box 3D model is available for free on Adobe Stock, and the paper bag model is available in Adobe Dimension as a standard asset. The winner of the design challenge gets an iPad Pro – we can’t wait to see what you create.
We’re excited to take you on a walk through our process today. As a branding agency, it has been fun discovering how to use Adobe Dimension in our work and testing its capabilities. Whatever your personal creative process, we hope you’ll be able to learn something from what we’ve experienced and have a good time while you do.
Why use Adobe Dimension
If you haven’t taken a dive into the world of Dimension, you might be wondering if it is really worth the time and effort to incorporate another tool into your existing workflow. As we’ve brought Dimension into our design process, we’ve found that it really has made our job easier without sacrificing the quality of our work.
With Dimension, we can create a polished presentation or portfolio quickly and simply. Designers don’t have to be professional photographers, and they can create an elevated packaging experience before final production, saving us more time and accelerating our entire process. Because it is part of the Adobe Creative Cloud, it seamlessly integrates with the Adobe products and libraries we use every day, improving our team’s efficiency and productivity.
And the best part? Dimension is extremely user-friendly. You don’t need to have previous 3D design experience to succeed.
Project brief and research
Before we jump into the design, it is key for our team to understand the project brief, as well as do our own due diligence in conducting the proper research. Understanding the brief allows us to be cognizant of the scope of work, parameters, and deadlines. Doing the research allows us to immerse ourselves in the brand marketspace and allows to empathize with the target audience.
During our early research phase, we like to ask our clients four essential questions. Here are the questions and responses for this project:
1. Who are you?
Walki Talki was established by two Los Angeles native chefs who are passionate about creating simple food with great flavor. Growing up in a traditional household, the two chefs were inspired by the food their parents cooked. Today, they brought Walki Talki to LA with their own culinary/foodie twist — customizing your yakitori with ingredients and seasonings from different cuisines.
2. Who needs to know?
Ages 23 to 40 — The Foodies — people who are always in search of something new to try. Often knowledgeable of the chef, cooking styles, or methods of a particular restaurant, and the quality and origin of the food.
3. How will they find you?
Social media, food hall store location, catered events.
4. Why should they care?
Walki Taki is a unique foodie experience with unique flavor combinations. The concept of this restaurant is taking classic Japanese food and making it contemporary. It’s easily prepped and always served fresh off the grill.
Brand identity system, brand voice, packaging design.
Honest, approachable, fun, playful
Discovery and design
Once we are acquainted with the project brief and research, we start “high-level” conceptualizing by creating what we like to call “brandscapes.” Brandscapes are taking your ideas and creating an emotional essence using color, shape, type, textures, images, illustrations, and words. You’ll notice below that our brandscapes take more of an organic layout compared to the classic moodboards most are familiar with. We like to overlap, experiment, and uncover visual opportunities and styles that could be unique and brand ownable to the client.
The brandscape’s intention is to give you a sense of what the brand might look and feel like from 10,000 feet in the air. It also then becomes your brand tool-box and visual roadmap during the design stage. Adobe Illustrator is the perfect program to craft your brandscapes and get your creative juices flowing.
Here are few brandscape thumbnails we explored:
Once we’ve honed in on a brandscape, we then begin to design graphics and start applying them to touchpoints.
Watch our AdobeLive to see how we explored different concepts to arrive at our final brandscape.
Integrating Adobe Dimension
Step 1: Finding your 3D models
Find 3D models you’d like to apply your designs to. In Adobe Dimension, there are 3D models included in the app that you can use to get started quickly, or you can use stock assets as well as third party OBJs. Adobe Stock is a great place to start.
You can search Adobe Stock for 3D models directly within the Dimension application, or if you prefer to use the Adobe Stock site, you can filter your search to just 3D models by selecting the “3D” option at the top of the window (by the search bar). You’ll find a wide selection of free content as well as content available for purchase.
For this particular project we partnered up with an artist to create a custom take-out box render. Most modeling software will have an option to export a 3D model in the OBJ file type. You can download our take-out box for free from Adobe Stock to use in your own design.
Step 2: Save out your designs
Adobe Dimension works well with Adobe Illustrator and Adobe Photoshop through CC Libraries and a newly added “Edit In” feature for Photoshop, making it easy to edit your design and update graphics on your 3D models in Adobe Dimension. We’ve created our artwork in Adobe Illustrator, and then saved it in CC Libraries to access our brand assets directly in Adobe Dimension.
To save your assets to CC Libraries in Illustrator: Select your artboard, right-click, and select “Add to your Library.”
Step 3: Place your 3D models
We’ll start by bringing in our 3D models. Select File > Import to bring in our 3D take-out box model. We’ll also bring in a 3D model of a paper bag that ships with Dimension by selecting it from the Assets panel.
Don’t worry about positioning just yet. Get all your foundational playing pieces in first.
Step 4A: Tools and adjustments
Get to know your tools panel on the far left. These will help you maneuver your scene and adjust the size, positioning, and placement of your models, as well as adjust the framing and perspective of your overall composition. We’ve included a short primer below because these are important.
Step 4B: Select and scale tool
Adjust your proportions and size of objects by pulling on the levers highlighted in green, blue, and red.
Tip: To scale the entire object at once (vs. just one dimension), click on the model and drag upward to scale up and downward to scale down
Step 4C: Select and rotate tool
Reposition and angle your objects. Rotate along the sphere with directional arrows highlighted in green, blue, and red.
Step 4D: Hand tool
Click and drag your camera up and down, left, and right.
Shortcut: Hold spacebar and drag.
Applying the details
Step 5: Materials
After we found the perfect positioning and camera angle for our scene, it is now time to choose finishes for our models (i.e., matte, glossy, cardboard, etc.). The Materials tab under in the Assets panel has a selection of presets to choose from. Drag and drop your desired material to your object. You can also download more materials from Adobe Stock.
Step 6: Apply your graphics (decals)
We will now apply our designs to our scene. Simply drag and drop your artwork from your libraries panel or desktop onto your model. As soon as your artwork is dropped in, a circular looking scaling tool will appear. As you can see, we started placing our designs as decals onto the front of the bag and a pattern on the box. Here’s how to do it.
Tip: Click the center of the graphic to shift and reposition. Pull the lever at the top to rotate your graphic.
Note: When artwork is dropped in, they will be identified as a decal in the Scene panel at the top right. You can revisit any of your objects and decals at anytime through this panel.
Step 7: Background / Environment
Choose a background for your composition from your Images panel on the left – or, you can bring in your own photos or stock images as backgrounds, too. Sometimes having a solid-colored background can work as well, which is what we’ve chosen to do here. You can choose your color at the right of your window in the properties drop-down panel.
Step 8: Lighting
The key to a good render is lighting and capturing all the nuances of highlights and shadows. Adding light to your environment can make the overall composition more realistic. With light, you are able to create depth and see how shadows of one model casts onto another. We experimented with a couple lighting presets from the Lights panel, and finally selected a soft overhead light and increased the intensity. You can adjust your selected lighting preset in the properties panel using the intensity scale.
Step 9: Render preview
At the top right, just to the left of your Scene panel, there is a render preview option. The render preview gives you a representation of what your composition will look like with lights, shadow, and materials in your final render. Preview might take some time, but what’s great about this is being able to toggle back into your design and editable window so you can quickly get a sense of what your edits will look like in the final render.
Step 10A: Final render
When you have finished creating your scene, you are ready to export a final render. At the top-left, just to the right of your Design tab, there’s a Render tab. Once you click, you’ll have options to your right to set your final export. Choose a quality, key in a file name, choose an export location, and finally an export format. You can export to a PNG, or a layered photoshop file for further adjustments. Click the render button and watch your project come to life.
Rendering will look pixelated at first, but will clear up.
Thanks for reading, and let us know if you have any questions. We enjoyed learning about Dimension and sharing our process with you, and we hope you will too. Connect with us on Facebook, check out our Behance page, or follow us on Instagram.
Feeling bold? Try out Adobe Dimension as part of your creative workflow today, and take part in our design challenge for a chance to win an iPad Pro.
For more tutorials on Dimension, check out our Getting Started guides for more information on materials, lighting, and rendering, Lynda.com courses, or watch our Dimension Quick Tips series on YouTube.
We can’t wait to see what you create. Good luck!
Adobe Dimension Design Challenge instructions
Here’s how to enter:
- Use the 3D Large takeout box asset in Adobe Stock and a paper bag model in Adobe Dimension to create your own original restaurant branding packaging design. The design must be created in Adobe Illustrator and Adobe Dimension.*
- If entering on Twitter: Share your design with @Illustrator and use the hashtags #madewithDimension #contest or
- If entering on Facebook: Share your design with Adobe Illustrator in the comments thread of the Dimension Design Challenge announcement post.
*The paper bag models are labeled as “Bag with cutout handles” and “Bag with wire handles” in Adobe Dimension as a standard, free asset. Adobe Illustrator and Adobe Dimension must be in your creative process. You’re welcome to use any document size as long as Twitter or Facebook accepts the image.
Share your submissions by Tuesday, June 5, 11:59 p.m. PT for a chance to win a 12.9-inch iPad Pro or a 1-year subscription to Creative Cloud. Read the full terms and conditions.