14/06/2016No Comments

Studio Pendant Lights Ready For 3D Printed Shades!

We love 3D printing, so why not use is to add a touch of design to the studio!

3D printing light shades has been something which has been an idea inside my head for far too long, the only thing really holding us back was some suitable light fittings to mount them to. Well today the electricians came round and installed the retro inspired pendant lights to the studio! Needless to say we're very excited!

3D print printing light shade CGI 3D

Pendants installed and looking good!

The pendants are very simple, just a retro cord light fitting and retro bulb. The beauty of these pendants is we can quickly change the pendants whenever we like, and that's just what we plan to do!

3D printed pendants have been done before, but we feel this is a great way to add our own touch to the studio, and by utilising 3D printing technology we can experiment and create almost any design.

3D print printing light shade CGI 3D

3D printed shades inspiration.

The design and creation shades will be a case of trial and error, but that's half the fun isn't it? Some designs will work well, and others may not, but as the cost of 3D printing is a fraction of the price of traditional manufacturing processes then we can quickly alter and iterate designs until we're 100% happy.

So, all we need to do now get designing, fire up the printer and get making! Watch out for future blog posts on the designs and printed shades!

Dean

14/06/2016No Comments

Virtual Reality is here!

Virtual reality is here, and there's no hiding from it!

As we all know, the tech world doesn't stand still, new devices and innovations are constantly being brought to the market place, and it's very easy to become overwhelmed by the constant stream of new tech. However one area of technology we're very keen to get our hands dirty with is Virtual Reality!

Virtual Reality Headset VR 3D

For those who are less acquainted with the concept, virtual reality is essentially a way to immerse yourself in digital environments and content, via a wearable headset. In the past, the term "virtual reality" has been used for numerous 3D based ideas, such as interactive walk-thoughs, but it is now being commonly used in context with the headsets.

Anyway, why are we excited by it? Well firstly we love new tech! And secondly I believe this is a step towards fully 3D content for everyone. 3D TVs came and have almost gone (fantastic!), and virtual reality should be the next big thing.

There are many headsets on the market now, such as the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift, but the one we have gone for is the Gear VR. Out of those 3 we have perhaps chosen the least powerful, weaker graphics, and not quite the cheapest even, but what it does have is the ability to go anywhere, it's fully mobile, literally.

The Gear VR is essentially a Samsung smart phone (ours is the Galaxy S7), coupled together with the gear VR headset. The viewer inserts their phone into the headset, and straps on the Gear VR, and they are immersed into Virtual Reality! The HTC Vive and Oculus Rift both need to be connected to a powerful PC, for which gaming is a must, but we feel this limitation will be a huge sticking point for a lot of casual users.

Virtual Reality Headset VR 3D Samsung Gear

The Gear VR Headset.

Most people now have smart phones, and just about any modern Android phone can be turned into a virtual reality headset with either the Gear VR or Google Cardboard, and I'm sure the likes of Apple and Microsoft won't be too long in releasing their own versions.

So what can you do with a virtual reality headset? The easiest, and perhaps one of the most interesting things to do is go and watch some amazing 360 videos. Youtube, Facebook and others now host 360. There are also 100s of apps and games to play and use, from simply watching Netflix in virtual reality, to engaging, playing and meeting people in virtual social worlds; even Facebook has plans to turn their social network into a VR experience!

But what about what we plan to do with VR and the Samsung Gear? Firstly we're going to have some fun! We're going to fire up some VR apps, watch some 360 videos, and research (yes researching can be fun!), and we'll see what grabs us, and what doesn't. There's no point in diving straight in and producing content that either doesn't work, doesn't engage, or isn't useful.

After that we'll know more about the direction we want to go in. At the moment we see two paths, 360 video, and interactive environments. 360 video is become quite well established, with YouTube and Facebook both supporting 360 videos natively inside a web browser (essentially all you do is load the page, and the video will play, so no need for any software downloads). 360 videos are relatively straight forward to create, similar in a way a CGI image or animation is created, however ensuring the user is engaged, entertained and even guided by the content will be just as important as the content itself.

Interactive environments and worlds are more complex to create, and are quite comparable to computer gaming and interactive walk-thoughts. An entire environment is created, and the user can play, explore or even learn through interacting with the virtual content. How the user interacts depends purely on how the game or app is created. With some apps you can look at an object, and press the button on the side of the headset to "click" the object, and other you may need a gaming controller to move easily though the world.

Both 360 videos and interactive environments have their pros and cons, and as I've already mentioned, once we've done our research and had chance to digest what we think works and what doesn't, we'll then start to take steps to produce demos and really get our hands dirty!

For now, all I can say is we're excited and really can't wait to get stuck in and start creating brilliant VR experiences!

Dean

18/04/2016No Comments

3D Printing is literally child’s play!

Does the future of kids toys lie with 3D Printing?

Anyone who knows me knows I love 3D printing! I also have a very curious 5 year old son, who always wants to see my 3D printer in action and always asks "what are you printing now Daddy?". So when I came across the ThingyMaker, a 3D printed designed to print toys, I was very excited in deed!

The concept behind ThingyMaker is quite simple, you (or your children if you really have to share), can customise and 3D print toys! Yes I've seen 3D printed toys, there are 100s of 3D models available for free to download and print from sites such as Thingiverse, but what ThingyMaker promises to do is make the process as simple and straight forward as possible, so in theory even a child, with little or no knowledge of 3D modelling, or 3D printing, can create their own 3D printed toys.

3d printing toys kids education applicationThe ThingMaker 3D Printer.

The actual hardware inside ThingyMaker doesn't look to offer anything new, it appears to be a single extruder (it prints 1 colour), inside an enclosure, and possibly a heated build plate (although finding exact spec has proven difficult). But to me it has all the essentials it needs as an introduction for kids to 3D printing, and it's even quite cute and toy-like in its design.

3d printing toys kids education application

The ThingMaker Design app.

Alongside the 3D printer is the ThingMaker Design app, which is where you can design and customise your toys. It's available for free on the Apple App Store and Google Play. I downloaded the app, and had a very quick play, and to be honest the app really did exceed my expectations. The way you build your toys is very straight forward and intuitive; you simply drag components into the view-port and the parts snap together, so you know instantly if what your designing will actually fit together. You can then pull, rotate, swap and even colour the different parts. There also appears to be 100's of components, giving you an almost infinite number of possible combinations to build.

I had a very quick play in ThingMaker Design, and came up with some kind of helicopter-space-creature, which had very little "design" and is merely a mash-up of components I stumbled across! However it did show how quickly anyone could manufacture a unique "toy", with no experience of 3D modelling or manufacturing.

3d printing toys kids education application

The Heli-Space-Beast toy, coming soon...

Once you've created your "masterpiece", you can then export it to be 3D printed, and this is the part of the app which really impressed me. The app will de-construct and align all the components so you can print them straight away, and it will even separate the different colours into different prints, so you could in theory print in the correct colours if you have the right coloured plastic filament.

Once the app has done this, you can follow a link on your PC, and you can download the components to then print them on a 3D printer, pretty neat right?

3d printing toys kids education application

Downloading the parts to be printed.

The last step does seem a bit "clunky", but I'm guessing that when the 3D printer is released on sale later this year you won't need to manually download you design and send them to your printer, instead I imagine the app will communicate directly with the ThingMaker printer and automatically print the parts. If it doesn't I'll be very surprised.

But for now we'll just have to do things manually, and I will be testing the printing side of things very soon. Perhaps I'll let my 5 year old have a go, and see what he creates, and of course print it! I'm sure it'll be a random mash-up of skulls, wings and flowers!

3d printing toys kids education application

3D printed toys and parts in various colours.

Being able to design and create unique toys is going to be amazing for children (and us bigger kids), but I also see another massive advantage, you can re-print any broken, lost or even chewed parts in minutes. But will this also de-value the toys? Will there be an unlimited supply of components, or will Mattel be very clever in limiting the number times a certain component could be downloaded or printed? And will they expect users to pay for "special" components via in app purchases? Will we have to buy a licence to make these toys? The price for the ThingMaker (pre-order here) is a mere $300 / £210, which is very cheep for a 3D printer, so I can't honestly see Mattel selling the printer at this price, and giving away all it's content and apps for free, they just wouldn't make any money, would they?

But here's a thought, will Mattel expand on its current offerings? Will they allow users to 3D print other items, perhaps Barbie accessories, or Hotwheels cars? Will I be able to even print non-toy items, something like a broken oven knob, or remote control battery cover because mine has gone walk-abouts again?

The whole concept of printing toys at home certainly seems very novel and fun. I believe the "fun" will be in the designing, printing and constructing the toys, rather than actually playing with them, much in the same way as a child may play with playdoh; the fun is in the process rather than making something to keep. But to me the ThingMaker is more than just a toy, it's a way to make 3D printing accessible to everyone, and to become part of a normal household, much in the same way as PCs and mobile phones have become over the past 20 years.

Once people see the potential uses for 3D printing, people will want to learn, engage and to fully see how 3D printing can be more than just a novelty. 3D printing, I predict, will become part of our everyday lives, but as to whether it's just for fun, or for something more serious, only time will tell.

Until then, I'm going to have fun creating!

Dean

13/04/2016No Comments

3 great ways to make your CGI budget go further

3 great ways to make your CGI budget go further

Over the past few years we've noticed that there's been a culture shift; people and businesses are becoming more and more concious of their CGI budgets. I can understand and empathise with those folk, we're a business and we're certainly not ones for overspending! But what we do believe in is value for money, and making your budget work hard to give you the best possible work!

So how do you make your budget for further? We've put together 3 great tips for reducing project costs, and ways to give you even more without it costing the earth!

1. Release 3D models for your clients to download.

Designers, architects and even hobbyists are becoming more and more dependant on using 3D packages in their workflow, and as such need content for their projects.

When we at Ard Digital create CGI images of your products, we create 3D model files. These files are representations of your products, made to the correct real-world measurements.

sink_tap_cgi_3d_01

CGI sink & tap.

If we make these digital versions of your products available to download, designers could use the 3D files and show your products in their designs. This is incredibly useful, as designers will be able to see how your products will fit in their designs, giving them confidence in eventually buying your product.

2. Create alternative content from existing work.

As with point 1, when we create the CGI visualisations, we create digital assets. These digital assets can be used to create other content, at perhaps a fraction of the initial cost. Perhaps additional views within a digital room set could add great value to your marketing work, with only a small additional cost to produce?

Maybe we could look to create some alternative content? If we already have an interior set built for a CGI image, then why not create an immersive 360 degree virtual reality tour, allowing people to virtually stand in the room, and look around? Or maybe we could 3D print a house model by re-using the 3D models created for an architectural visualisation?

We successfully did just this for the guys at Made By Cooper for the Milkhouse toy. Initially they commissioned us to create the Milkhouse 3D model to manfacture the toy, but soon realised they could used the 3D model to create realistic renders of the toy, and also create a turn-table 360 animation!

milkhouse_angles

Milkhouse 360 renders.

Creating more content could be great for your marketing and product, and thinking out side of the box could mean that we create some exciting, new, fresh content, that perhaps your competitors haven't discovered yet!

 

3. Re-use digital assets.

Digital assets, such as 3D models, or virtual materials are great. We can re-use these assets to create something new. Items such as windows, doors, street furniture are all often re-used as a way to keep budgets under control.

But how could re-using digital assets make your budget go further? For kitchen manufactures, we have re-used digital room sets to create new images for different products, and without comparing the 2 images side by side, it's unlikely you would even know the two images came from 1 original set. We have re-used appliances, surface finishes and other items to save time and money on a 2nd digital room set.

Digital kitchen room set.

Re-positioning the camera, re-styling a set and changing colours the walls can make an existing set appear new. This technique works incredibly well in keeping costs down, and works brilliantly if planned in advance, as we want to make sure all your images don't look the same! If used right we can re-use a digital room sets and other assets to create many sets and shots.

 

So that's our 3 great ways to make your CGI budget go further! If you'd like to know more about the work we do, and how we could work with your budget to give you the best content, then please get in touch!

01/04/2016No Comments

360° Video Gives us a View into Pre-historic Life!

360° video gives us a view into pre-historic life!

360° video is on the rise, and it's becoming a fascinating way to engage with viewers. The technology is very new, and as such people don't quite know the best way to use it, or even produce it, but this 360° video is one of the best examples I have seen so far. David Attenborough stars in the video where a giant dinosaur appears to walk past him, but the beauty of using a 360° video is that it allows the viewer to look around and really feel like you're there.

The video is hosted on Youtube, which is brilliant as it's accessible on PCs, laptops, tablets and smart phones, so go ahead and watch the video.

If you're on a PC use the mouse to click and drag on the video to look around, and if you're on a phone or tablet, hold the device up and turn around (and ignore the odd look from others!).

If you're using a smart phone and the YouTube app you may have noticed this symbol in the bottom right corner...

google cardboard vr headset 360 interactive

When watching the video on your phone, clicking this button will make the video will split in 2, which allows the user to strap on their VR headset, such as the Google Cardboard or Gear VR and fully immerse themselves in the 360° video, brilliant right? OK it might take some time to get use to viewing content this way, but it is fun, trust me!

Anyway, back to the video. In my opinion what this video does, which other 360° videos perhaps haven't quite mastered yet, is the ability to direct the views whilst telling a story. Other  360° videos they can be visually great, but not really engaging or have any purpose. Take for example the Star Wars 360° video; it looks great, and ties in well with the movie release, but it really doesn't tell a story, and as such it doesn't engage with the viewer. You don't know where you should be looking, and as CGI nerd I find myself picking apart the 3D and finding errors, which if I was engaged I may not initially notice. Others might simply just stop the video after 10 seconds, either way it hasn't fully reached its potential.

When we create 360° videos we will have to be very mindful to engage the viewers. With 360° videos the user can look anywhere, so directing the viewers without being forceful will be the key to a successful video. Creating beautiful videos and CGI won't be enough, and although the technical challenge to create visually great videos is the first hurdle, it wont be long before 360° videos are mainstream, and we'll see where content and story telling really set the good and bad videos apart.

360° videos, I hope, are here to stay, and only time will tell just how successful and useful they can be. We're working on plans and ideas to bring 360° videos to our services, we're already experts in creating virtual environments, so the next step is to take our expertise from 2D images and animations to 360° videos and other virtual reality content. We've already tested the Google Cardboard and YouTube 360° video with this little interior apartment test, and we have plans to create something quite exciting, so watch this space!

Dean

 

03/03/2016No Comments

3D Printing Trophies For Umbro Event

3D printing is great...

...and this little project proves just how the medium of of 3D printing can really bring out the best in design and speed to create something truly unique!

We were asked by sports giant Umbro to help create several trophy designs, and to them manufacture them via 3D printing.

The deadline was short, but very interesting to work on, so how could we not rise to the challenge! We created 3 designs, and 3D printed a total of 12 trophies.

3d_printed_umbro_trophy_01

The 3D printed trophies.

The guys at Umbro already had rough ideas and sketches of how the trophies would look, and we worked along side them to turn their concept into 3D models. As the deadline was very short, we decided to work on the trophies along side the Umbro designers at their Manchester studio. This meant we could preview, change and revised the trophy designs very quickly.

SONY DSC

Final 3D designs for the trophies.

Once the 3D designs were approved, the trophies were 3D printed. The process of printing a trophy takes between 1 and 6 hours, but this is nothing compared to traditional manufacturing. With 3D printing, there's no need for specialist tooling or mould making and there is no minimum order.

SONY DSC

All 12 3D printed trophies ready to go!

The 3D printed trophies were used by Umbro in an awards ceremony for internal projects, and for a small football tournament which took place at the event.

The project was great to work on, and something very different from our usual visualisation work! 3D printing is a great medium for creating unique, and one off items, and everyday it seems that 3D printing is becoming more and more mainstream.

To read more about our 3D scanning and printing services head to the 3D Scanning & Printing page, and if it takes your fancy, we can now also 3D scan and 3D print a miniature you! Check it out at our Design Scan Print 3D site for more info!

Dean

17/02/2016No Comments

3D Milkhouse – Creating a 3D model for toy creation!

Milkhouse 3D Model

Earlier this month we were approached by Made By Cooper to turn one of their clients designs into a 3D model, which will eventually be used in the manufacturing of the "Milkhouse" toy.

As I've said before, sometimes the most unusual projects are the most interesting, and this one certainly was unusual and very interesting! Having been a fan of The Simpsons since I was a kid, I jumped at the chance to create the 3D model. Millhouse is an usual character at the best of times, so envisaging him in a milk carton form is certainly different!product cgiMilkhouse CGI.

As with any project there we're tweaks and revisions, but the guys at Made By Cooper supplied excellent sketches and drawings which made our job easier and we were then able to hand over the 3D files quicker too. For this job we also uploaded the development 3D models to an on-line viewer so every possible angle could be seen, checked and commented on of needed.

product_milkhouse_milk_1600

Milkhouse 3D model wireframe.

There were two parts to this project, firstly to create a 3D model which will be used in manufacturing Milkhouse, and secondly to use the 3D model in a visualisation to show people exactly how the toy will look. The client supplied reference images for the material finishes, which we were able to accurately re-create in CGI.

product_milkhouse_pink_1600

Milkhouse 3D model in various colours.

The client also has plans for Milkhouse to be produced in chocolate, milk and strawberry variations. Illustrating the finishes quickly was also a great use of CGI.

product_milkhouse_choc_1600

Finally the Milkhouse 3D model was rendered 36 times, at 10 degree intervals, so that Milkhouse could be viewed in a 360 degree way. Eventually all the angles will be loaded into an interactive viewer. Again, this is another advantage of using CGI, we could quickly render the 36 images, and supply them ready to use.

To read more about the artist, Tattoo Dave, and to see the original pin badge, for which the Milkhouse toy is inspired by, head over to The Toy Chronicle article.

And of course if you require any 3D modelling, or pre-production CGIs get in touch!

Dean

13/02/2016No Comments

We’re 4!

So we've made it to 4! 4 years of giving it our all, and taking the highs in our stride, and learning very quickly from the lows! We love creating CGIs, and seeing where the journey will take us! We've completed so many architectural visualisations, product CGIs and digital room sets, and we're always incredibly grateful for our clients to have faith in us to create our work!

kitchen interior digital room set shaker design CGI 3D rendering oven hob extractor appliance sinkOne of our many amazing projects completed!

This year, along with our usual work, we also took two steps in two very different directions. We completed the first phase of our Construct and Configure Interactive App, check it out if you haven't already! We also launched Design Scan Print 3D, a service dedicated to 3D scanning people to create miniature figures, again, take a look, and perhaps get booked in for a scan!

3D Scanning & Printing Railway Modellers 16mmMiniature 3D printed figures!

It's in our mentality to try new things, push boundaries, and to start walking down different paths. In the next year we plan to continue to developing our ideas, and seeing where we end up. One avenue we defiantly want to explore is virtual reality; the explosion of hardware such as the HTC Vive and Samsung Gear VR opens us so many potentials to be creating, innovative and hopefully create some useful and brilliant projects!

So here's to the next year, let's see what we can do!

02/02/2016No Comments

The Chemical Brothers new 3D printed exoskeleton music video is AMAZING!

Combining 3D printing, VFX / CGI animation and of course a great tune, The new Chemical Brothers new music video is here, and is certainly one to watch!

The video features a dancer, who gradually transforms into a 3D printed exoskeleton. It's a superb video, beautifully choreographed, animated and produced!

As a CGI and 3D printing enthusiast, the video really grabs my attention. I'm not exactly sure how the video and CGI were produced. My thinking and logic would be that the dancer is shot either in front of a green screen, or in the warehouse, and then the warehouse is in fact either entirely CGI, or a mix of real and CGI. Markers on the dancers body may also have be used to track the dancer, and allow the animators to sync the footage of the girl with the computer generated exoskeleton. No matter how it's done, it's no easy job!!

chemical brothers cgi vfx video animation 3d printing

The visual appearance of the exoskeleton reminds me of Cortex Exoskeleton, which was designed to replace the traditional cast for broken bones. This style of 3D form has also been used in films, architecture and product design, and is a fascinating mix of organic and rigid shapes.

chemical brothers cgi vfx video animation 3d printing

Towards the end of the video, the girl is transformed entirely into the mesh form. At this point (and this is my only tiny criticism), the girl / character is entirely CGI, and perhaps the fabric on her t-shirt isn't quite as natural flowing as it looked previously in the video. I'm being really nit-picky here, but when you work all day with CGI, it's hard to not be critical, and see the small tiny flaws. I'm still massively impressed with the video though, and I can't wait to see a VFX breakdown, which according to comments on the Vimeo page, will be with us shortly!

chemical brothers cgi vfx video animation 3d printing

One part of the video I love, and had to re-wind several times was the moment the dancer performs in front of the mirror, and behind the dancer we see the reflection of the girl. Are we supposed to be seeing the dancer from the point of view of her self, perhaps as a ghost, or something more spiritual? The video is already amazing, and  throwing in these little things is never a bad thing!!

And here is the full video! Turn up the volume, go full screen, and enjoy!

Dean

20/01/2016No Comments

3D printed miniatures aren’t just miniature!

 

3D printed miniatures come in all scales. Over the past few months we have been 3D scanning and printing 3D model railway folks in what's know as 16mm (16mm = 1 foot), but the print size can be almost anything.

Over the past 2 days we've printed miniatured from 2cm to 20cm high, all to suit different model scales. The 3D scan can be scaled to to any size, which is one of the advantages of working with digital files!

SONY DSC
From tiny to large, we print in a range of sizes!

The largest "miniature" here is the driver, standing at 20cm high! The smallest is only 2cm tall. The size difference is large, but the process of 3D scanning and 3D printing is largely the same.

SONY DSC
A 16mm figure looking very smart!

16mm is the most common scale we print, meaning the miniature stand at around 10cm high, with the smaller two models being 2cm and 4cm high. 16mm is a great size to work with, you can see a lot of detail in the miniature, and it's a great size to paint and hold.

miniatures_03_1600-1024x682

Printing at smaller scales can be very tricky, the printer only has a certain resolution, and also the strength of the prints is decreased as we reduce in size. You would struggle to break the largest model even by jumping on it, however a child could snap the smallest print quite easily! A miniature at 2cm high is really the smallest we could print at.

If you're interested in having your very own miniature model, please get in touch!!

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?

WANT TO KNOW MORE?

USEFUL LINKS

Site Map
Privacy Policy

Punch Infinity
Switch
Archive
Contact
Subscribe

INSTAGRAM FEED

instagram-image
instagram-image
instagram-image
instagram-image

PUNCH DIGITAL

Punch Digital Services Ltd

Registered Office :
Peel Walker
11 Victoria Road
Elland
HX5 0AE

Company No:
07938732

VAT No:
GB 282 4398 77