Next Step - Printed Prototype

General / 19 March 2018

So with the deign pretty much finalised, I'm running a 3D print to see it all assembled as a physical piece to fully grasp the wrist presence, as well as make sure the movement fits as expected. It will also allow me to properly pattern the templates for the leather strap.

Watch Project Update

General / 08 March 2018

I'm endeavoring to make my own watch, which actually means making all the components that encapsulate the actual mechanics of a watch. The mechanics of the watch are already sorted, in the form of an Eterna Calibre 39 manual wind.

The component design for the case has been reworked and refined, and the main case size reduced to 45mm. While still large bu purist standards, it's a comfortable size that most people could wear.

For the sake of visualising the design, I modelled up a decent representation of the movement. Previously I just used a photo of the movement mapped on poly which looked terrible!

 

I also realised the size of the leather strap & bund looked cool but were actually impossibly long, so that has been resized and rescaled a bit.


I'm now pretty close to a final 3D print run to make sure at all goes together and feels right before pressing ahead with getting the prototype CNC'd in 316L

Portfolio Updated : Black Mirror Season 4 USS Callister

General / 06 January 2018

Black Mirror Season 4

Episode 1 : USS Callister

I was asked to model three assets for this episode of Black mirror. This consisted of:

The abandoned shuttle

Jet feeder tunnel

Base geometry of the USS Callister (to be detailed by other artists… and very well I might add!)

Abandoned Shuttle

For the abandoned shuttle model, I was provided with a fairly decent art department model for reference (on the left). While it lacked much detail it did layout the form and proportions pretty nicely.

USS Callister

Next up was the base geometry for the USS Callister. Again I had a base reference model, and this was used as a start point to refine and layout the main shape and features. Aside from engines and the main bridge window, there was no detailing required for this one as it was to be detailed by other modellers. I do wish I could have done this one fully too

Jet Feeder

This was a pretty quick one due to the obviously repetitive nature of the components. I was provided with a scan of the onset tunnel, which this had to match without being insanely detailed. Unlike the other two assets I had to UV this one.

You can see some additional renders in the portfolio section HERE

Lightwave 2018

General / 12 December 2017

For what has seemed an absolute eternity Newtek have sat in silence, seemingly leaving Lightwave to die. Today finally there is news that Lightwave isn’t dead. Not only that, but it seems quite a lot has changed.

Although the renderer in Lightwave was actually always a strong point, it’s been re-written. A physically based rendering engine with improved realism, lighting, and ease of use. The full major pints rundown is:

  • Physically Based Rendering System: Completely rewritten rendering, shading and lighting architecture for greater realism, accuracy and ease-of-use
  • Render and Light Buffers: Expanded workflow for render and light buffers that simplifies compositing and offers more flexibility, including real-time preview of new buffers in any viewport using VPR, as well as custom buffers using the node editor
  • Volumetric Engine and Open VDB Support: Using the new volumetric render primitives, artists can specify physically based properties, Scattering, Absorption and Emission parameters, along with powerful node networks
  • Light Capabilities: New lighting architecture brings physical lights that can be optionally visible to the camera, and improved loading of IES web files to better match the intensity of real manufactured lights
  • Surface Editor, Material Nodes and Surface Preview: The Surface Editor has been overhauled for the new shading system with powerful node-based materials that are presented with a familiar interface
  • Virtual Reality Camera: Includes both cylindrical and spherical modes for creating stereo 360-degree renders and animations for VR applications
  • Modifier Stack with New Deformation Nodes: Unlocks and simplifies the previously fixed order of operations for Bones, Morphs, Subdivision and Displacements with the ability to drag and drop to re-order mesh deformations interactively
  • Cel Shader and Enhanced Edge Rendering: Offers flexible non photoreal render control over material shading and allows gradient-based cel shading, while Edge Rendering uses any material available in the Surface Editor to shade any line
  • More Integrated FiberFX:  Expanded to integrated closely with the new lighting and shading system and can use any material on the fibers. Fibers are now generated using the new primitive object architecture
  • Layout-based Parametric Shapes: Parametric shapes allow for creation of virtual primitive shapes in Layout that can be displaced, surfaced and rendered without needing any geometry
  • Noise Reduction Filter: Speeds up render times by using less Global Illumination rays and samples, while allowing for clean up of the resulting noise using filters instead of increased render settings
  • New Modeler Features: Layout View viewport shows the current camera view from Layout. Also new are fully interactive tools including Lattice, Smoothing, Array and Spline Bridge

Additionally, LightWave 2018 includes new enhancements to the Viewport Preview Renderer (VPR) and introduces many additional new features and improvements such UDIM texture support, more supported presets, FiberFX, Unity 5 support, and more.

I really do hope this give some resurgence to Lightwave, as it sure sounds promising.

I’m too well set in Modo now to go back, but for those who have stuck by Lightwave and waited it’s fun times in 2018!

Blade Runner 2049

General / 12 October 2017

We’ve updated the work portfolio to include the work for Blade Runner 2049 in 2016 while working at Propshop.

See the full entry HERE

Watch Project

General / 09 February 2017
UTC Aviator GMT
Introduction

Over a year ago now I started out with the idea of designing a watch. On the face of it the basic premise is easy enough, but the further you go along, the more you realise how many factors you have to account for, not least the specifics of which movement will be used. Quartz or mechanical, Chinese, Japanese, or Swiss.

What became apparent pretty quickly was how insanely expensive it is to make a watch. The costs are either astronomical for mass production, or insanely high for low quantity production. The latter does have the benefit of needing less capital from the outset at least.

 

The Design

I knew roughly what I wanted when I did the initial design concept. This rough drawing features the design cues that will remain throughout the development process.

As I worked on the design, I gradually came to realise an easy pitfall of digital design, in as much as when working on virtual components, it’s easy to loose focus on scale. The side retainers which hold the strap bars in place are impossibly small. Ultimately this will lead to the design changing from the sleek slimline design to a much more rugged and masculine item.

 

Evolution

This was the first shaded render, and really did hit home the scale issue. As the design evolved, the main case shape would prevail, and the strap bars too, but everything else would have to change to be viable for manufacture. It’s fair to say that when I drew up my initial design, I was overly confident that I had cracked it on the first try. Oh dear!

 

The first and biggest change was the strap bar retainers. To be machinable they needed to be much much bigger, and the also had to be secured with top and bottom fasteners, not screwed in from the side as I had originally envisaged.

 

The “Final” Design

After a great deal of tweaking, adjusting, and noodling, this is the design as it stands, and in all likelihood it is not going to change much more. As can be seen, the design now features a prominent crown guard, along with totally redesigned hands, replacing the IWC type hands. The cheesehead screws have given way to slightly more pleasing Torx fasteners.

I will soon detail more the construction of the watch, in respect of the movement which will be used, and the manufacture costs for a limited run product.

A year on with Modo Pt1

General / 05 December 2016

Way back in the 1990’s I first started my first forays in to the world of 3D. It all started with Pov-Ray and then Impulse Imagine on the Commodore Amiga. As time went on along came Lightwave 5.5

I stuck with Lightwave all the way through to Lightwave 2015, but increasingly I was becoming more and more aware of the lack of development on the modelling side. While Layout had progressed, Modeller was left behind.

So the choice was made, next up would be Modo. I jumped in on v8. During the modelling phase of the Aston Martin DB5 at Propshop, the perfect opportunity was there to start the transition. Though the modelling had begun in Lightwave, about a quarter of the way in I started to attack it with Modo, and pretty quickly the workflow benefits became apparent.

My primary realm is modelling, and right from the get go, Modo felt to me like the place where Lightwave’s Modeller should have been. The action centres and working planes alone made modelling a much more streamlines affair. Sure Lightwave has incorporated these ideas, but they feel very much like bolt on after thoughts, not an idea that was at the very core of the program.

One especially useful ability is to render in the perspective viewport  while modelling and texturing, it’s a small thing in the grand scheme, but it soon becomes apparent just how often you end up using it.

A central part of Modo that many users don’t seem to like is the Shader Tree. This is a system of applying shaders and textures in a very simple and logical top down hierarchy. There are a couple of very major reasons why this is amazingly powerful.

As this shows, the shader tree allows whole blocks of surfaces to be defined. These can be turned on and off allowing entire models to have multiple texture and shader setups in one scene.

I’ll have more soon……

Relocation & Expansion

General / 28 November 2016

ScorpioCGI until now has been my freelance business. Aside from a two year period doing it full time, it has consisted primarily of work done out of hours on top of full time work.

This worked better than others at various times. For the almost three years at Propshop (now in administration) the working hours were too long to really dedicate time to it. This situation has now changed. With the demise of Propshop, I have returned to the company I worked for previously; Quarry Fold Studio, based in Lancashire on the outskirts of Blackburn, a move that has changed everything.

Part of the deal in returning is that ScorpioCGI operate under the umbrella of QFS. I work full time for QFS, but operate ScoprioCGI within that. What this means is that ScorpioCGI is essentially also full time in working day hours, not confined to extra hours. Additionally, the studio team at QFS is also available to work on ScorpioCGI projects.

This has many benefits in terms of working capacity, but it also bring the benefits of a beautiful working environment.

Aston Martin DB5

General / 05 November 2016

Not too long ago a 1:3 scale replica DB5 was sold at auction by Christies for £55,000 to raise money for the NSPCC and to celebrate 50 years of James Bond.

This replica was created at Propshop UK by scanning a real DB5, a process carried out on Propshop’s site at Pinewood Studios. Once scanned, the data was processed and cleaned up, which then leaves you with a very dense but accurate representation of the DB5 exterior. Although accurate, the scan data is not precise enough and clean enough to form the basis of the 3D printing process. Instead it acts as a template for a good and clean model to be produced. Below are examples of the model during the building process.

This 3D model goes on to become the basis of the 3D printing, and save for tweaks to parts and components, is where my direct involvement winds down.

There are still many components that are required to be machined and manufactured, and these parts are created in CAD rather than 3D software. Beyond the digital work, there is a LOT of physical model making and finishing required. Most of the interior elements are physically modelled in the workshop, and although I had modelled the entire dashboard the results are more effective for the workshop crew to make and finish them. The major printed components are also work intensive, with epoxying, sanding, finishing, and spraying. All chrome elements for the gold car were sent away to be gold plated once they had been sanded and finished.

With the one of a kind gold car completed, work is continuing on the run of silver cars. You can check it out HERE.

The renders below show the car as it will look in silver.

 

Future of Bunkspeed

General / 22 September 2015

Today this email came from the folks at Bunkspeed, and as someone who has used in the past but doesn’t really use it any more, it doesn’t affect me much.

Dear Bunkspeed Client:
 

We want to make you aware of an important and very positive change for Bunkspeed. This notification is intended to provide you sufficient notice to understand your options, evaluate your needs and take any required action during this change.

 
As a valued client, we first and foremost want to thank you for your continued support. We also want to ensure that you have the best experience possible with our brand at all times.
 
We are proud to announce that following the acquisition by Dassault Systèmes, Bunkspeed is now part of Dassault Systèmes SOLIDWORKS and will be renamed SOLIDWORKS Visualize. We are excited about this change which includes the merge into the renowned infrastructure of SOLIDWORKS and team growth. We are using this opportunity to streamline our product offering, rebrand and focus efforts on more concise and valuable solutions based on your feedback and interests. SOLIDWORKS Visualize products will still support other CAD packages alongside other exciting things in the works.
 
Please Note:
  • If you are on an active maintenance subscription for Bunkspeed SHOT, you will be eligible for SOLIDWORKS Visualize Standard upon availability.
  • If you are on an active maintenance subscription for Bunkspeed MOVE, PRO, ZOOM or DRIVE you will be eligible for SOLIDWORKS Visualize Professional upon availability. (Yes, this means you get some exciting new functionality historically only available in our premium products for free!)
  • If you are not on an active maintenance subscription, we will honor the usual upgrade process to the new SOLIDWORKS Visualize products as well.
  • After December 31st, 2015, no Bunkspeed products prior to 2014 versions will be supported. License transfers, provision of installers and individualized support for legacy versions will come to an end. This change applies to both standalone and network (floating) licenses.
  • Products impacted by this change include: Bunkspeed HyperShot®, HyperMove® and HyperDrive®, Bunkspeed SHOT® 2012 and older, Bunkspeed SHOT PRO®, Bunkspeed MOVE® 2012 and older, Bunkspeed PRO® 2012 and older, Bunkspeed DRIVE® 2012 and older and Bunkspeed POWERBOOST® 2012 and older.
  • If you are on an active maintenance subscription plan, you will retain access to your benefits (which will be better than ever now) and you can stay up-to-date including access to SOLIDWORKS Visualize by renewing your maintenance plan now.
To learn more about SOLIDWORKS Visualize (formerly Bunkspeed) please visit:
 
To learn more about these changes or if you need further help understanding your options, please contact your Bunkspeed representative/reseller or email: Bunkspeed.NAM.info@3ds.com
 
Thank you for your continued loyalty and we look forward to serving you with renewed vitality.
 
Best Regards,
 
The Bunkspeed Team

For others who use it on a daily basis, this struck me as a far from great piece of news.
It explains how Dassault Systèmes have acquired Bunkspeed, and how as of the end of this year essentially all connection with existing seats of Bunkspeed will end. So you are forced in to paying out for an upgrade or be cut off. Now it’s not all bad news as the news release states. If you are paying an ongoing maintenance subscription you’ll shuffle up to the nearest appropriate version of the new SolidWorks Visualise. Cool. If however you were running a stand alone seat you’re on your own. May not be a problem, but it could be.

I had initially thought that Bunkspeed was become part of the Solid Works CAD system, but clearly it’s really the name that has changed primarily, and so only the upgrade deadline is the potential kicker. Will we see a migration of users to Keyshot? I think it is quite likely, but not in numbers that will be a problem to Solid Works Visualise, so largely, everyone will be a winner, including Luxion!