13/02/2014No Comments

Ard Digital is 2 today!

Well that crept up on me! Anyway I'm very proud to say that today Ard Digital turned 2 today!

This past year has been challenging as always, but I like to think I'm perhaps getting to grips with freelancing / running a business. I know I've made mistakes, and made good decisions, so hopefully everything has balanced out just right!

This 2nd year has seen some changes, I moved to an office in Huddersfield, gained a few interesting clients, produced work I am very proud of. Also the Punchard family extended

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once again, with the addition of baby Madison in December!! Needless to say things are just a little busier around the home!

I want to say a big thank you to all those who have supported me over the past 2 years, you know who you are, and your support is always very very welcome!

Over the next year, I want to keep the momentum going, continue to meet new and interesting people, and push into new areas....


Thank you!


16/01/2014No Comments

Sorry (again) for the lack of website updates and blog posts!


I haven't intended to neglect the website or blog posts, but life has been a little hectic recently, mostly with the latest addition to the Punchard family, baby Madison! She arrived on the 16th December, and she really was the most perfect early Christmas present I could have asked for! I apologise for not sending Christmas cards this year, I haven't forgotten you! Next year I'll make Christmas cards, I promise!!

As well as little Madison coming along, I also moved office. No longer am I a lonely freelancer working in the spare room, but rather I now work in Huddersfield in a shared office in the Bates Mill. I felt it was time to move out of the house, and actually commute for the first time in nearly 2 years! The space is perfect for me, and the guys I share with are brilliant, with their skills ranging from video production, to marketing, to illustration, and plus the office has a table tennis table, so if you fancy a game, be sure to let me know!!

Anyway, I do intend on up dating the portfolio ASAP, and also to continue to blog and write. I don't really know what to blog about a lot of the time, so if there's anything anyone wants to know, just ask away!



09/04/2013No Comments

Website updates!

Just a quick post to say that some changes have been happening with the website, most of them "behind the scenes", so if anything looks amiss please perform a hard refresh (try holding ctrl and clicking the refresh button), and hopefully everything should look as it should!



19/12/2012No Comments

Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year!

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Here is a little image I knocked up which is printed onto the Christmas cards. I wanted to produce something a little geeky, but also something that represents Christmas, so I ended up with a 3D pixelated Rudolph! I'm not too sure if he's a cute or just a little creepy, I'll let you decide!


Here's to a fantastic Christmas and a brilliant New Year!


21/11/2012No Comments

Ard Digital has moved!

So after weeks of solicitors, estate agents and of course DIY, I have finally now moved office / home!! No longer am I in a pokey attic room, struggling for headroom, but instead I'm now in a "cosy" box room! It's all very nice, and I even have a kind of view, even if all I'm seeing is clouds and rain at the moment!

Please drop me an email or give me a call if you need the updated address!



18/07/20123 Comments

Effect ID Changer Script for Vray

Hello again!

I have been working on a new script for some time now, and it's finally ready to be shared!

The script is called Effect ID Changer, and like my other scripts, it does exactly what it says on the tin!

First, you'll need to download the script from here.

Before installing the script, open the script in notepad or similar, and read the notes / disclaimer / credits at the top of the script. If you are unsure about using this script, or unsure as to it's effect, please do not use it. Also, always test this script on none important and none production work before including it into your workflow. Sorry to be pessimistic, I just have to cover my own arse sometimes!!

Anyway, to install the script in 3Ds Max by going to MAXScript, Run Script. Once you have done that, assign it to your UI. I personally prefer to add it to my tool bar for quick access.


If you then open the script, you will see the interface -


You will see there are 30 mask buttons, well 31 if you include the reset button, and two buttons at the bottom, which I will explain in a bit.

Firstly, let me explain what this script does. In Vray 2.2 (possibly earlier versions too), in the vray

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materials, options, there is a tick box called "Override material effect ID" and the Effect ID value is greyed out. By ticking this box, and changing the ID number, you can generate masks at render time by adding the MultiMatteElement to your render elements passes.


This script automates this process, and makes the task very quick and very efficient. It might sound a little complex, but bare with me! This script removes the need to have a wire colour pass, or the need to generate mask after the rendering is complete, thus saving quite a chunk of time, and we all know how unreliable the wire colour pass can be. Also the wire colour pass will only give you a selection of an object, not the material. For example a car has many materials, and if the car is one collapsed mesh, the wire colour pass will only allow you to select the car as a whole, where as with this script you can give the glass, paint work, tyres, etc all different masks, even for collapsed meshes!

The key thing to remember when using this script is is that it works on a material level, not a object level. If you have two different objects with the same material, they will appear on the same mask. This is my preferred way of working, as it makes sense to adjust the materials rather than the objects. You can have more than 1 material on a mask, for example you might have the grass and roof tiles on the same mask, as you know the grass and roof tiles will never overlap (OK maybe on aerial shots!), but you get the idea, right?

OK so that's the principles behind the script, but how does it work? Simple, select the object that has a material that you wish to mask, and click on the mask slot / button that you would like to use. The script will find the vray material, even if it's inside multi sub, blend, two sided, etc and change it's ID.

The only slight downside to this is that if you have a multi sub material, such as a car, when you click for example on mask 10, all the vray materials inside the multi sub material will change to ID 10. Sadly the only way to control this is to manually edit the vray materials inside the multi sub material to a different ID.

And now for the really good part. I bet some of you are wondering how on earth you keep track of the masks you have just assigned. Well this script has a little trick up it's sleeve. If you right click on a mask button, you can edit the text!


This script also saves the button text when you close the script window, and saves the data to a .ini file inside your 3Ds Max temp folder. On my PC it's saved to c:\Users\Dean\AppData\Local\Autodesk\3dsMaxDesign\2012 - 64bit\enu\temp\ so as long as you installed 3Ds Max to the default location, the file should be stored here.

Knowing where this file is saved could be very important, if you change PCs just copy and paste this file and the script will read it. Also, if you are in a studio, and you want everyone to be using the same ID numbers for the same masks, you can drop this .ini file onto each users PC.

So now to the bottom two buttons. The Select Unassigned button simply selects objects that have materials applied to them that haven't had any mask ID assigned to them. It's just a pretty quick way to see what has and hasn't been assigned a mask.

The + Render Elements button is the last part of this script, and this adds the correct render elements to your Render Elements tab in you render settings dialogue. Click this button once (clicking more than once will only add duplicates and is very pointless), and the script automatically creates 10 new render passes, and configures them to that when you render you image (or animation) the correct passes are rendered.


Each MultiMatteElement will contain 3 mask. MME1 contains mask 1,2,3, and when rendered mask 1 will appear as red, mask 2 as green, and mask 3 as blue. This is repeated through the other MultiMatteElements, thus having 30 masks in total.

So all that's left to do now is to render your scene and open it up the RGB and MultiMatteElements in Photoshop. The easier way to extract each map from the MultiMatteElement is to hide the channels you don't need, and simple select all , and copy.



Then paste the mask into your RGB file. You can then use this pass as a mask for any post-processing adjustments or masking.


As you can see here I used the mask as a Layer Mask to badly adjust the grass! You would then repeat the process for any mask.

I think that's just about covered everything, and if there's anything I've missed, or if you experience any bugs please let me know. Also it would be great if you do use it, and it works OK, please let me know which version of Max and Vray you are using.



16/02/2012No Comments

New Business Cards

My new business cards arrived today courtesy of Moo.com!

I love seeing my work in print, no matter how small the medium! There's something fantastic about having digital art printed out, so you can hold and touch it in your own hands, instead of staring at it on screen.

I guess I'm old fashioned like that, not only with art, but also with things such as music. I'd rather go to the shops and buy an album than download one. I don't really know why, but there's something great about being able to touch and feel these things, especially in an age where digital content is taking over more of our lives, and where physical items are becoming less.


07/02/20121 Comment

What do to for a first blog post? Give stuff away perhaps?

OK, so I have done the introduction post, but that doesn't really count as a blog post does it?

So that leaves me with a challenge, what should the first blog post be? I've always thought that I want the blog to be a mix of 3D, photography, videos, tutorials, news, interesting things, funny things, and anything in-between, as long as it's kind of related to the 3D and CGI industry!

So where should I start?!

Well, after some thinking, I thought it would probably most fitting to start by giving something back to the community. I have always found the generosity and willingness to help others from within the 3D communities quite heart-warming, and they have certainly helped me out when I have become unstuck! So I thought it was about time I gave something back!

Below you can download a few models I have created (I created these for use in my kitchen images in my portfolio). These include storage jars, storage tins and a spaghetti measurer.

I hope they are of some use to you, and please let me know if you actually use them! The models are, in my opinion, good enough for anything from close-ups to distant shots. Feedback is also welcome!


The models be used in any personal or commercial use, I only ask that you do not resell them, or claim credit for creating them! Also instead of passing on the zip file to others, please direct them to this page.

The models are in 3Ds Max format with Vray materials.

In the future, I plan to add more free downloads, so keep your eyes peeled!


06/02/20121 Comment

An exciting new start!

After several months of hard work, late nights, and exhausting the patience of my wife, I'm very pleased to announce Ard Digital Ltd is up and running!

Running my own business and becoming a 3D visualisation freelancer has been a dream and ambition of mine for many years, and thanks to the loan from my Grandad, I have finally all the parts in place to become a freelancer!

I'm sure it's going to a tough, but an exciting time too, and I will give it everything to make it a success!

I hope my passion for art, 3D and design shines through into my professional


I look forward to meeting new people, pushing myself and embracing any challenges that I'm sure will be thrown in my direction!


Dean Punchard




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