Unlike many companies, Group360 Worldwide says it does not use a heat process to determine shrink sleeve distortions. The communications firm says it wanted to predict shrinkage while creating 3D renderings, show them to the client, and demonstrate how certain objects in the artwork could react to counter distortion. “For the most part, we wanted to eliminate the guesswork of printing and reprinting design scenarios,” says Mark Meyer, workflow/R&D director - application development.
Group360 Worldwide had used ArtPro PowerWarp, which helped to counter distortions created by physical shrink sleeves. After Artwork Systems merged with Esko, Group360 Worldwide transitioned from PowerWarp to Studio Toolkit for Shrink Sleeves kit about two years ago. It allowed them to easily work with regular shapes created in Studio Toolkit and irregular shapes created in other 3D applications, rather than just simple cups or bottles.
Group360 Worldwide needed the ability to work with irregular shapes. “We work with many unusual containers, such as flavored water bottles, for example. We will design the shape with a 3D modeling program and import it into Studio Toolkit for Shrink Sleeves. From there creating the label is pretty easy,” explains Meyer. “Virtually any packaging structure can be used to create a shrink label, and artwork wrapped around that. The interface is very simple, and there is not much to adjust. Studio Toolkit for Shrink Sleeves is also very helpful when creating basic assembly models—for example, when we want to show what it will look like to wrap a shrink sleeve around a case of soft drink cans or bottles. Or, there are times when we will show a customer a scene of what it will look like to use a shipping box as a display. We can show the tear-out of the box, exposing the product inside. In that case, we use Studio Toolkit for Boxes and Studio Toolkit for Flexibles.”
By using Studio with Automation Engine, Group360 Worldwide is able to create a model and distribute the files to operators to place graphics on the structure in Adobe Illustrator. From there they use the Automation Engine workflow to create the final rendering. “Studio Toolkit for Shrink Sleeves is great for design work. We will use it to create a rendering for artwork, making adjustments based upon production needs—mostly for brand integrity,” adds Meyer. “Most clients are given a flat template, but rarely a digital prototype. Many do not have a good idea of what it will look like in the final form. For example, there could be a square logo near the neck of a bottle, which will get pinched in. In the end, it could look like a rectangle or another unacceptable shape. Or, a round logo could look like an egg. On a regular basis, we will pre-distort the artwork and show the brand owner what it will look like. Ultimately, the client will decide to alter the artwork or move the logo away from a high-distortion area to somewhere that is safer, giving them a more consistent, branded product. We can use Studio as a quality control tool offering a prediction of distortion. From my point of view, that is much easier than going to press and heat tunnels.”
“We were creating shrink sleeves for 300+ variations of packaging for a recent project. Basically, by predicting the distortions, it gave us the confidence to go through all of them and make a quick decision as to what was going to distort—and by how much—and what was not going to distort,” says Meyer. “It allowed us to experiment with many styles and sizes, and quickly render the packaging for each container. In combination with our workflow server, Esko Automation Engine, 3D work can be passed from our operators’ desks to a final rendering in a very efficient manner."
“Studio Toolkit for Shrink Sleeves is a valuable product for very specific needs,” he adds. "If you have a specific purpose for shrink sleeves, Studio Toolkit for Shrink Sleeves is simple to use and is up and running quickly. As far as I know, it's the only product that accurately mimics the prediction of shrinking.”