For any company selling a product, marketing is essential. And in the digital age we live in, marketing is more visual now than ever. So how can businesses make their products and advertisements more appealing and memorable to their consumers? Bringing products to life is the expertise of Ian Zeigler, the founder of Cleveland-based company Photonic Studio.
“Photonic Studio is a 3D visualization studio,” said Founder Ian Zeigler. “We do things like animation, rendering and real-time 3D models. We help architecture, manufacturing and other clients visualize and present their products. For example, I’m working on something for Kohler right now with their faucets, sinks and tubs. We help make their product look good and show how it works through a real-time model on their website or animation and special effects.”
It took some time for Zeigler to find his niche in the world of design. He interned at FITCH while attending the Columbus College of Art & Design for industrial design, but the projects he encountered at the internship inspired him to transfer to the Cleveland Institute of Art to pursue media arts.
“I built a robot in 3D with a guy at FITCH and I thought, ‘this is what I want to do,’” Zeigler said. “I found out they recruited a lot of talent from the Cleveland Institute of Art and that was enough of a push that I switched to media arts. So I was in interior design classes using 3D models to visualize interiors. I was in car design classes using 3D models. I was this student that was jumping around different departments and for me it’s really been an evolving process.”
After graduating college, Zeigler cut his teeth doing onair graphics for show packages on SportsTime Ohio, now Bally Sports Great Lakes. Photonic Studio was born soon after and Zeigler expanded his portfolio to include graphics work for Microsoft and Xbox and architecture work for PricewaterhouseCoopers.
“My first big job was working on ribbon graphics for NFL stadiums that wrap around the whole stadium,” he said. “I did graphics for all the stadiums around the U.S. so that involved making different templates for Cleveland and California and Texas. A lot of what I’ve worked on has been through word of mouth, so I try to follow what I love. And I love learning through visualizing. I always say that I want to be the Lebron James of the 3D world, always practicing, always getting better.”
The variety of work Zeigler has experienced with Photonic only broadened his jack of all trades mentality. As an artist and an entrepreneur, the abundance of opportunities empowered his creative process and as the company looks to its next phase, he is eager to continue growing his business in the state that started it all.
“I started Photonic here and with the cheaper cost of living, I can cut out competitors,” Zeigler said. “With times changing, I can do all my work remotely and the network in Cleveland has made it an awesome place to do that. For me, I’ve learned a lot about being an artist just running a business. I felt like here I was able to turn into a restaurant that has everything on the menu. With 3D, we can work in virtual reality, augmented reality and our services started getting bigger and bigger. Ohio has been great and I think made everything easier.”