When it comes to knock-their-socks off CG work, Esben Oxholm is a force to be reckoned with. With a background in both industrial design engineering and lighting design, it’s safe to say that his product visualizations rank up there among the best of ’em.

And like other great industrial designers, Esben takes the time to understand form development as it occurs in nature—forms that oftentimes find their way into products for very functional reasons. More recently, Esben carved out some time to do a form study on a stag beetle with a particular focus on its brilliant and durable shell.

Using new materials introduced in KeyShot 7, he began by doing a brainstorm on anodized finishes and studied them across 30 different insect models. Using assets sourced from http://zerokobo.web.fc2.com/, https://www.textures.com/, and https://megascans.se/, he built out an impressive—if slightly scary—scene of TWO stag beetles in battle.

Says Esben:

“The free stag beetle model is super nice. However, I had to bring it into Modo, to be able to split the mesh apart, create a duplicate and pose them in their fighting position.”

Additional elements, including the stone and the trunk, were brought into Modo as well to apply and bake the displacement map into the geometry before bringing them into KeyShot. For the final touch of the composition, grass and fern were imported to add depth to the scene and frame the ‘battle scene’.

To create a ‘forest floor’ lighting effect, a pattern of sunlight and shadows were created using a sphere with an area light diffuse material—together with a disc containing an opacity map with the shape of a treetop. Finally, he used KeyShot’s new niobium metal with an anodized finish for the beetle bodies.

Be sure to check out the rest of Esben’s impressive portfolio over at esbenoxholm.dk.


Simon is a Brooklyn-based industrial designer and Managing Editor of EVD Media. When he finds the time to design, his focus is on helping startups develop branding and design solutions to realize their product design vision. In addition to his work at Nike and various other clients, he is the main reason anything gets done at EvD Media. He once wrestled an Alaskan alligator buzzard to the ground with his bare hands… to rescue Josh.