27th December 2023

Steps x Leaps

Signed up for the 10k in London next summer and thought it would be a good idea to trace the route on Christmas day with the family. Thankfully the rain just stopped as we arrived so that I could safely and finally make use of the Blackmagic Video Assist 12G that I bought to record BRAW on. It probably isn’t noticeably better compared to the internal recording codec when viewed on YouTube but I wanted to see for myself. I used SmallRig parts to make sure it was a setup that I could transport in a large bag and hold comfortably with one hand and it sure did look serious enough. 

I thought the city shots came out well and I then had the idea to place them side by side with shots of the trail route I run on closer to home. Not sure about the music but I wanted quick cuts in sync with the beat. I really like this camera but it will probably be my last video with it for the foreseeable future as I want to focus on my 3D work next year. Small steps lead to leaps 😄   

12th November 2023

Iceland 2023

I absolutely love planning trips and I actually think I get a kick out of a well scheduled itinerary. That’s not to say I don’t like spontaneity (I actually decided on Iceland based on a good deal for a car rental) but there’s something comforting about being able to follow a schedule and controlling what I can. Once I knew I would be going around the ring road, I mapped out the locations of all the Tesla superchargers and figured out the distances I would be able to cover each day. I was then able to book places to stay for the seven nights and picked out spots to see along the way, including three geothermal baths and a few epic waterfalls. The only thing left was to pack: warm winter clothes, all my photography gear and my drive filled with my favourite playlists. 

If there’s two things I’ve learnt driving in a new place it’s this:

1 - Keep your eyes on the road 99.9% of the time
2 - Slow down if you can’t see far ahead enough
15th October 2023

Nakagin Capsule Design Community Challenge

Came across this design competition by Gediminas Kirdeikis, who does some of the best architectural tutorials around. Felt like it would be a fun project to visualise my ideal set up if given an empty Nakagin Capsule (although I was sad to read that the physical building has now been demolished). 

Considering the capsules realtively compact size of about 3.7m x 2.2m of usable floor space, I wanted to maximise the efficiency of the room and divided it into three main zones: the bookshelf around the window, the two work desks and finally the sofa and TV unit. The next step was figuring out what items needed to be placed and took inspiration from workstations I had seen online and my own room. I downloaded the majority of 3D assets from various sources and changed the textures depending on what I thought worked well. All the modelling was done in Houdini and textured in Substance Painter before importing the whole scene as a USD file into Unreal Engine where I saved the images from.   

I was happy to see my entry come 4th (as a honourable mention 😊) but just missed out on the prizes. The winning projects were great to see and the creativity of turning a box with a window into something unique was inspiring. 
12th April 2022

Recreating Peter Zumthor projects in Unreal Engine 5
During the summer of last year, I wanted to improve my 3D modelling skills and began learning Rhino. The more I learnt, the more I began thinking about doing a series of buildings by one of my favourite architects: Peter Zumthor. Not only were they on a manageable scale but I was also able to find plans, elevations and sections for many of his iconic works. 

The early access version of Unreal Engine 5 also got released around this time and after seeing the possibilities with Lumen (realtime global illumination) and Nanite (high poly meshes), it became apparent that real time rendering was quickly catching up with offline renderers such as V-Ray and Corona, which were the gold standard when it came to architectural visualisation.

After some trial and error, tutorials and experiments, below are six short films that, hopefully, showcase both the architecture and the engine.      

I’ve put together a list of all the software and products that helped me create the final pieces:  

  • Reference imagery organisation with PureRef by Idyllic Pixel
  • Image editing with Photoshop by Adobe 
  • Modelling with Rhinoceros 3D by Robert McNeel & Associates
  • UVW unwrapping with 3dsMax by Autodesk 
  • Offline rendering with V-Ray by Chaos Group 
  • Texturing assets with Quixel Mixer by Epic Games
  • Instancing with RailClone by iToo Software 
  • Heightmap design with Gaea by QuadSpinner
  • Rendering and animation with Unreal Engine 5 by Epic Games 
  • Lighting with HDRI skies by Peter Guthrie 
  • Landscape editing with Brushify by Joe Garth 
  • Various textures and assets with Quixel Megascans by Epic Games
  • Animal models and animation by Protofactor Inc
  • Audio editing with Ableton Live by Ableton
  • Video editing with Davinci Resolve by Blackmagic Design 
  • Video encoding with Handbrake by HandBrake Team