Sunday, 8 April 2012

Enviro's are a go, floating ships need cranes.

So, a little later than planned due to other commitments ( secured awesome new job!!! hells ye ), I've been putting together the first feeler for the general interior spaces, lighting and materials that hopefully are starting to work well together, and the inevitable problem of craft transport within these spaces, I toyed with a few different concepts, everything from mechanical arms, small tracked bots under the hull and so on, but felt it was all going a little crazy and toned it straight back to a conventional crane rig ( more believable and pushed the paddock/garage feel I wanted for this area ), a front jack like rig is on the cards too, anyways, I should be back on top of this now, tie up all the loose ends for this scene, time line the lighting boot up sequence and get a sweet spot quality vs speed for animation purposes ( the scene with basically be something similar to this, then onto a new craft and wind tunnel test area for these ( whilst getting to grip's with fluid dynamics more so for smoke effects flowing over hull ). Cheers.

Blockout, charge point seen at  top of the shot.

Crane test with charge points at the rear.


Sunday, 12 February 2012

Small update, shaders work in progress.

I've spent the week playing around with parts of the first ship again, as I generally do when starting shading and textures etc, its never a straight forward model then next phase thing to me, more of a collaborative approach in adding or taking away details as I work on shaders, and generally deforming surfaces so certain shaders react better to both light and reflections.
Still playing about with gamma correction in post too and trying to find the sweet spot, Gamma 2.2 is always a little to washed out but gives you a good 'flat' bench to start working with in getting contrast and polished blacks back, whilst still maintaining crisp white highlights. I'm also considering all cockpits are illuminated in a Tron'esk style, to make sure details and silhouettes are always visible. So she is almost there which gives me a good solid asset to start throwing into various environments and testing motion shots with.

See you next week with finished interior and hopefully some environment block outs.

Monday, 6 February 2012

First Racer complete ( almost )...

So the first craft is basically modelled now, rear thrusters / bottom diffuser, cockpit, seat etc are all in place, stripped of shaders ready for a fresh start ( rendered out out orthographic views in passes for mock ups of liveries in PS ) , also started UVing in some subtle split lines along the main 'run' of the ship, I've been thinking quite a bit about the animation and adding little things to the craft all suggested in this image. I generally like things to actually function and make sense as well as look OK. Also in my spare time I've been playing with some fluid and smoke dynamics for reasons I'll update on later ( once I'm happy with the result ). ( Right click - view image for text to be readable, sorry ).

Cockpit in place:

Each team will also naturally have fans / followers, mocked up a racing season handbook cover, little natural touches as books and everyday things I'll try and cram in, without it all going too 'out there' so to speak, grounding things you may say.

Thanks for stopping by.

Saturday, 21 January 2012

The beginnings of something new.

I am planning on working on something that will span probably up to 18-24 months, I'm not going to go into what it is right now and will involve me learning a shed load of new stuff (WIN!!) to get what I want done, I've always got ideas, and this time want to carry it off into a large personal project, It will involve vehicles, of all sorts, large and small environments, simple, clever animations ( I'm no good at animating ) and generally will make the most of what I feel I can do well ( play to your strengths! ), oh and lots of After Effects work, here's a craft I am working up at present, I wanted to some some rough renders and post to see how much detail I should go into in the fast moving shots. Also couldn't resist playing around with some various materials for a little teaser to the final ship. All placeholder materials for tests, during the coming months I'll hopefully have designed various grades for differing moods for the final idea. I'll keep you posted. Inspired by a side sketch in Scott Robertson's 'Lift Off' book.

The name Aquila Audax comes from a black feathered bird of prey by the way, a little insight into where this may go.


I generally haven't modelled a car for a few years now and felt it was about time, I wanted a classic and decided that this would throw some new challenges my way in wanting to add some modern day twists to the car whilst trying not to mess with the originals great lines. Mid way into making this I had already decided on  various shots that involved low down snaps being taken, resulting in a lot of stuff being put together under the car for these to hold up, always working from reference of the actual model, subtle styling changes here and there.

Viewport / Wires

Tadao Ando Church of Light

Again attacking a quick turn around project here, and wanted to get to grips with solid interior lighting and GI. Tadao's architectural wok although not every ones cup of tea I believe will stand the test of time for years to come. Simple, Bold and Powerful! Learnt a lot doing this, making better use of using render elements out of VRAY and comping these passes together tweaking light and reflection where needed, using VRAY comp text for walls and playing with the VRAY dirt shader or different effects on AO passes.

Here is a little image I put together to display the various passes, Giving an look into my ( by no means the 100 percent correct  ) way of working.

M451 Firestorm E

I like guns, who wouldn't right? I also am a big Mass Effect fan, I stumbled across a concept for a flamethrower type piece online via Brian Sum . I wanted to put my own take on it as an electrical gun of sorts and to focus on small pieces of work that I could turn around quicker rather than getting sucked into things that take alot of time to get to standards required.

This was an early shot of what I had in mind.

I wasn't happy with the yukky background and after some solid feedback from colleagues regarding the pelican case a few things changed. Firstly very rough background geometry bashed together to add further depth and exit to image, at this stage I also am playing with different grades and image effects in Photoshop. Modular piece bashed together after work.

I wanted to have some macro shots in the final presentation so commenced playing around with the camera in max to highlight various parts of the gun that I felt could work, also positioning lights to compliment the few curved surfaces on the gun.

Then onto renders, post and presentation of the gun taking some inspiration from my 'Art of District 9' book flown all the way over from New Zealand as Amazon had run out . High Res Here


2011 was a tough year for me, a large unfortunate event happened in my personal life suffering the loss of someone no one will ever replace. My work is my escape, and wanted to try something challenging, something to take my mind away from real life, I generally don't do characters or organic stuff, but wanted something that would push me in all areas, I'm naturally a huge terminator fan, the design of the endoskeleton is so iconic and would throw a lot of challenges my way, throwing me out of my comfort zone.

After these renders I generally needed a break and wanted to do something different, I have an idea of what I'd like to do ( something completely out of context with him ). I received a lot of comments regarding 'where is the rest of him Nath? ). Well he is here, every piston and part rigged mainly for posing purposes, having made him, there are some serious design flaws for general everyday movement :S, but hey, who cares,
FORM OVER FUNCTION RIGHT? Max view port lovelies..

Getting back to VRAY.

I'm a bit of a VRAY whore to be honest, and have a tendency to kick of some renders mid way into a personal project, I'd put together a sl1200 that was suppose to be used in another piece and at the time the main focus of these renders was to get to grips with the camera, DOF, exposure and motion blur settings to see trade of between doing in the app or post.

At the time, the dude (T-800) using this equipment was to be playing with the turntables and naturally being the DJ wearing some cans, I knocked these together with open elements to them, similar the parts of the endoskeleton generally having lots of windows / cavities of detail.

ED 209

Robocop has to be one of my favourite movies of all time, I remember being what, like 10-11 when my friend sneaked this out of his dads room and we secretly watched it in the early hours due to the gore / age restrictions at the time. Not only did this movie educate me into the world of a corrupt future where police and men of power generally live on cocaine and prostitutes, it introduced me to what has to be one of the greatest Mechs cinema had seen up until that time.

Modelled at a time where our company was moving over from Maya to Max, I decided to get my teeth into this to get to grips with Max again having used Maya for four years.

Couldn't resist playing around in photoshop and generally having a stab at getting an old photo look out of one of the photos as so much of the reference I had were black and white photos of the model being made in real life.