Time to be honest. Who has ever been attracted to a product by a TV advert or an image you see online?
Whether it’s on television commercials or internet shopping sites, product imagery plays a massive role in helping a business boost sales.
From alcohol and ice cream to the best-known household cleaning products, the role of visual advertising is more important today than ever.
But how many people sat at home on their sofas would realise that many of the products they see on their screens are not real?
They are in many cases, completely computer generated.
In Hull, a team of 50 people – and growing all the time – at global graphics firm Trident is tasked with producing the best-looking products using CGI.
The growth of CGI at Trident, headquartered in Kingswood, is in fact one of the company’s best success stories of this millennium.
Matt Barrass, senior business development manager at Trident, said: “Our CGI team started with two people in 2005, and today has grown to more than 50.
“We have seen growth with some of our biggest customers, like P&G and Unilever. They are still probably our biggest CGI customers.
“Others have come along too, like RB and SC Johnson. It really is a success story for Trident.”
Trident twins Paul and Mark Taylor are both part of the Hull company’s CGI team.
“When I joined Trident in 1998, there was a guy who was doing a little bit of CGI work at the company,” Paul said.
“I got into it in my own spare time. We started out sending bits and pieces of work to customers to show that we could do CGI, but really it was a bit of gimmick.
“Today, as software gets better and better, it is not just images we are doing. We also do some work for adverts. We are moving more into that, not just product shots but moving images as well.”
Trident has grown from a single office in Hull into a global graphics and branding specialist.
With a presence in almost every continent in the world, Trident today employs over 650 people.
Working with some of the globe’s biggest and best-known companies – Unilever, P&G, Boots, RB, GlaxoSmithKline to name but a few – Trident also recently celebrated 25 years of business.
It was 2014 – around a decade after Trident first entered the CGI market – when the industry exploded.
Mr Barrass said: “It really took off (in 2014). If you looked at it in terms of finances, we were probably taking four or five times the value of the year before.
“Since then we have grown year on year. In terms of customers, we have this year won a big new deal with Michelin tyres.
“That work will start next year and there are also lots of other things which we just cannot talk about at the moment. It’s very much a watch-this-space.”
Trident’s CGI team has produced imagery for some of the best-known products on the shelves.
In the alcohol market, names include Johnnie Walker, Smirnoff, Guinness, Grants, Hendricks, Glenfiddich and Talisker.
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In the home products sector, there is Airwick, Head & Shoulders, Strepsil, Gaviscon and Surf.
And in the food industry, Trident has worked on products including Carte D’Or, Magnum and Calippo.
The level of detail which goes into Trident’s CGI work is incredible.
From getting the perfect shine on a bottle of whiskey, to making stunning backdrops and settings for leading brands, no stone is left unturned.
But what does the future hold for Trident’s CGI team?
Mr Barrass said: “I see us expanding as a team in other regions.
“We have got one person doing CGI in some of our other regions, but the company will probably take the same approach as what we have done here.”
Dan Edwards, who was part of the Trident team which helped launch the company’s Singapore office, returned to Hull in 2010 and joined the CGI set-up, added: “As technology gets better we can do things we could not do before.
“We can render stuff faster and better quality as well.”
So the next time a TV advert flashes up for your favourite whiskey or gin, remember – there is a good chance Trident’s CGI team in Hull had something to do with it.
How to contact Phil Winter and Business Live
Business Live’s Hull & East Yorkshire journalist is Phil Winter, also the business editor at the Hull Daily Mail and Hull Live.
You can follow Phil on Twitter @PhilWinterBiz, or on Linkedin by clicking here.
Alternatively, email him on email@example.com, or call 01482 315360.
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