Welcome to my blog. I document my adventures in travel, style, and food. Hope you have a nice stay!

Image Creation 01 - the 3d model and how little you need

Image Creation 01 - the 3d model and how little you need

A few weeks ago I showed you a recent illustration produced for Lyft (see below) and talked about how it was the first commission I’d gotten from social media. The email generated a lot of feedback asking how I make an image so I will break it down over a few posts.


First a huge amount depends upon the quality of information provided by the client. I’ve worked up images from napkin sketches to tracing over a finished rendering. In both cases the finished work was of similar quality, the difference being the time taken to produce an image. 

When I started out I charged the same price for every image but these days I charge more to clients who don’t have a 3d model, napkin sketch, or even an idea what they want (yup, I’ve had clients send me one of my drawings and say, “I want something like this, not this, but something like this.” Helpful.) 

When Lyft approached me they had found my work and liked the aesthetic but didn’t have a design ready. One reason they approached me was due to my architectural background; they hoped I could develop the space with them. They had a clear idea of the functions of the space (an oasis of calm for the drivers while their cars were being serviced. Space to provide food, coffee, communal areas, teaching and sleep zones) which was a great help.

When I work with clients that don’t have a design I produce a simple rhino model to show them the design and view (I can’t stress this enough, you want to minimize shocks to a client!) In other words even if your model is very basic, a screen shot combined with some examples will go along way to stopping you having to redraw everything. 

Lyft had liked this image a lot and asked for a similar feel:


The combination of warm wood colors with good daylight and double height spaces gave me something to work with.

(I will detail the view / camera set up after we've covered the whole model build)

I built the ceiling first as I wanted to get the Glulam beams right (I guessed at their size and scale based upon previous experience.):


After that I built the two mezzanines either side:


As you can see there is nothing more than the beams, two slabs, a floor plane and grid lines in the model so far. I photoshopped a few people from the initial image into this and had a conversation with the client about how to move the forward. This simple model was able to unlock what they wanted and was a huge help. 

Their program asked for  places to train people, repair cars, sleep and buy food. After a great discussion we clarified that the car repair zone was to sit behind a glass wall (visible but clean and quiet) while the cafe areas were to be at the front (coffee bar and tables / chairs).

To that end I cut the left slab in half and dropped in some glass (well blue surfaces anyway) to define a rear and front space:


Following that was the wood floor lines (I could have adjusted Rhino’s grid and used that, however I built this floor grid before and now just reference it into my models - the more you can build up a library of these pieces the better). I find getting closely packed perspective lines correct (such as a wood floor) the most time consuming thing to do so I model those where I can in 3d. For this model there would be a floor grid, wall grids and lighting grids.

I will go into more detail about those next time along with how I do furniture, colors, people and lighting. In the meantime stay safe, have fun and go see 2001!


“The Streets” Cover Illustration

“The Streets” Cover Illustration