Category Archives: 3D Work

3D work I have done, usually in Cinema 4D.

3D Modelling Task – Nokia Phone – Reflection and analysis

Having completed the model to a standard representative of the final iteration, I’ve gained experience heavily in terms of texturing in particular, as well as setting up an environment for photorealistic renders and marginally more advanced methods for making accurate models – particularly with editing and welding individual points and using the symmetry object.

In addition to the improvement of my technical knowledge of CINEMA 4D achieved through working on this project I have gained experience in workflows in the digital environment, and ways to minimise time spent on the logistics of rendering many versions of the same model with minor differences – as well as dealing with keeping track of which minor changes have been made in order to avoid repeating myself or making unnecessary or incorrect modifications. I did this mostly through keeping an accurate worklog throughout the production process which I edited as I worked, often while waiting for images to render. I feel I could integrate this process into other projects that I work on individually, as well as in collaboration with others in order to keep my workflow efficient and easy to understand, as well as helping myself to understand what changes need to be made, why they need to be made, which processes didn’t work and why – which helps me to learn more efficiently and make quick progress.

Future considerations for this specific project, should I continue with it, would be to add minor details to bring it up to a finished standard, as well as add in animations, of the mesh itself and of textures, as well as compositing with the help of After Effects – perhaps integrating the model into a real-world scene or adding a voiceover.

I’ve included a gallery at the bottom of this post containing images of the model in various stages of the production process, Thanks for reading!

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3D Modelling Task – Nokia Phone – Interpretation of the production process

I planned out in advance how I was going to complete the model briefly, before getting started as I said before – to ensure I didn’t encounter any game-breaking issues. 

I decided the best way to model the main body of the model would be to use the Loft NURBS generator – the essential reason for this being the degree of control it gives me over smoothly tapering each end of the main body of the phone. I created a spline from the reference materials I had set up in the scene (using the symmetry object to ensure accuracy) and repeated them alongside the reference changing size in order to match the design. I changed the cap types to fillet with appropriate steps and radius values in order to give a bevelled, smooth look (as this was a visualisation model). 

One issue i encountered through doing this was seams appearing once the Loft generator was applied to the splines – i later found this was due to mismatched points and subsequent overlapping splines. I researched the issue and in combination with experimentation by myself I solved the issue by moving the points apart, connecting and deleting the remnants of the two objects, and welding the points together into one. I made another extrusion with Loft NURBS for the indentation where the screen and digitizer would be placed, favouring it over the Extrude generator again due to how I was able to easy manipulate the bottom spline, giving a tapered effect to the indentation.


I produced the glass digitizer using an Extrude generator as I didnt require the same level of control as I did previously. I spent a long time perfecting the glass texture after I added the textured screen underneath in order to give the right effect on top; In addition to bevelling the sides of the screen to mimic its real-life counterpart, I used the refraction index of glass (commonly accepted as about 1.52) to meet my aims of realism for the product, as well as slight reflection to give a glare from the overhead lighting rig, and appropriate specular highlights. I added capacitive buttons in the same way, by making a small plane with the texture applied to it. Measures I took in preparation for this including tracing paths to a reference image for the symbols, since it was a high-definition 3D model I needed to use a vector texture for potential close-up shots, leaving options for different applications open.


The final step for this stage of the production (a model highly representative of the final product) was to look at environment, lighting, and rendering strategies. I turned on channels for Global Illumination, Ambient Occlusion, and Caustics as well as building a rainbow-coloured overhead lighting rig to light the scene. Global Illumination is a key asset to photorealistic rendering as it renders the scene using light emitted from reflections and other objects, rather than just rendering the scene with light from the light source (Christensen, 2010). Caustics was necessary due to my usage of glass texturing for the digitiser; the glass now not only casted shadows where appropriate, but the caustics (light rays caused by light refracting through the glass) were now included, adding to the realism (Lynch, 2001). Ambient Occlusion works in tangent with Global Illumination to make the scene more realistic; each point of illumination is the function of geometry elsewhere in the scene, and it provides darker shadows and areas progressively into un-lit areas (Whitehurst, 2004). I produced a set of renders with these effects in mind, as well as my lighting rig, and gradually adjusted specular highlights, reflections, and the smoothness of the body material with a higher contrast specular highlight in order to represent hard plastic with a clear, sharp highlight.




Christensen, H. 2010. Point-Based Global Illumination for Movie Production. [e-book] Pixar Animation Studios. Available through: [Accessed: 27 Mar 2014].

Lynch, D. K. and Livingston, W. C. 2001. Color and light in nature. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Whitehurst, A. 2004. Andrew Whitehurst . Net. [online] Available at: [Accessed: 27 Mar 2014].

3D Modelling Task – Nokia Phone – Description of the task

I planned this task in order to provide myself with an original model in which I can practice various object visualization strategies, animation projects, and for general marketing/showcase practice.

The product that I modelled needed to facilitate different avenues down which I might be able to explore different strategies for marketing a product, represented through a 3D model, such as the possibility of adding a voiceover, showing various aspects of the product in a succinct manner, animated functions, screen transitions, changes in colour, and so forth. The model also needs to be reasonably adaptable – the screen texture and body colour on this one will be able to easily be changed. The model must be of high detail in order to be visually appealing in various applications for its use – since it’s being marketed after all. 


I acquired some reference materials in much format as I did for my Audi A3 model, and set them up in a scene ready to begin modelling. I considered before beginning the process how I might model each area based on my current knowledge of the software in order to prevent hitting a plateau, since I was under time pressure to complete a presentable final result. 

3D Modelling Task – Audi A3

I set myself the task of modelling a car over time for the main purpose of familiarising myself with the polygon modelling method often used for these applications, and particularly almost the exclusive method for modelling characters to be animated. I anticipated the task would take longer than any other project I have attempted before due to the complexity and relative irregularity of the mesh compared to projects I have undertaken before – which were built mostly from splines, subdivided primitive objects or generators. An advantage of polygon modelling in comparison to these is the ability to make completely freeform choices in where points, and subsequently, polygons are placed – meaning its a useful tool for organic objects such as car panels in this case, or perhaps characters, and additionally for creating an object from reference – such as the blueprints I used to begin this task:

ImageI set up the blueprints in a way that allowed me to plot points against each plane in different views, then switch to the next view to adjust the points against the blueprint, and the next, and repeated this process for all points plotted along the contours on the image until they have lined up for each part of the car. After having done this I bridged the points in order to create polygons which are linked together in order to create a mesh. I used a symmetry object to ensure both sides were identical, and subdivided the mesh in order to interpolate and thus increase the amount of polygons to create a smoother surface. 


Useful applications for modelling in this way might include advertising and marketing, design, usage in games/animations and movies, as well as technical or scientific applications such as crash testing or automotive engineering due to the possibility of real world physics being involved as well as mechanical rigging of the structure allowing the model to respond in a realistic way to other forces that might be introduced, in order to test scenarios.


I have not yet finished this project, in favour of completing a different, quicker project for presentation on this blog however I plan to continue it as a long term project, allowing me to make revisions as my knowledge of the software (again, CINEMA 4D) increases


Physical conception to digital reality: Update #4

Finishing the geometry and environment for the bottle scene left me with a final task in my role; producing 6 short clips showcasing the bottle, intended to represent the idea of medicine and treatment that resounded in our project. I labelled and rendered various shots of the bottles for use on our group’s website:

render_nycto render_augmented render_bacterial

For the animation, due to time pressure I had to lower the overall final quality of the scene. However, having said that, the clips were produced to be included alongside other footage in the final 6 videos we produced overall, and so would be compressed down as well as being shown at a lower resolution for suitability on a website, so the loss in quality overall would not be so bad.

I started by removing the lightbox scene I had set up and replacing it with a simple floor environment with some fog to blend the floor into the horizon. I made the environment colour cyan with a low intensity to give a clinical atmosphere in the animated scenes – as this was the style we were following with the website and branding scheme.

I used an infinite light combined with an omnidirectional light object to light this scene as it required vastly less calculation to use the stock CINEMA 4D lighting engine than creating a lightbox rig. I removed the global illumination used for the previous renders too for the same reason – due to issues with video production the project was now under a lot of time pressure and the rendering time needed to be made quicker. The result was a slightly less realistic but still accurate render:

respirationfront nyctofront antibacfrontFinally I mocked up some camera paths for the animation by keyframing the movement of a camera object controlled directly through the viewport, then smoothing its path by editing the curves in CINEMA 4D’s f-curve editor. I rendered each frame seperately at 1280×1024 in TIFF format then encoded them using the freeware utility “virtualdub” (, 2014) at 25 FPS – the EU PAL format.

Sources: 2014. Virtualdub. [online] Available at: [Accessed: 25 Mar 2014].

Physical conception to digital reality: Update #3

It’s been a while, but in my last submission to this series I had just finished the basic geometry and most of the texturing for the bottle I had been tasked with producing, however having now finished the project completely (which can be viewed at I have been left with the perfect opportunity for a quick update on the end of production for my given role in the project.


I needed to create an environment which would provide some photorealism to the final render of the bottle, by incorporating some softer lighting, less reflections and surroundings that add to this atmosphere in themselves.

To begin with, I added a lightbox to the scene for the bottle to go inside of, as well as some overhead boxes that would serve to soften some of the light and create that soft approach I was looking for In the final renders. I played with the intensity and size of the various lights and shadows until satisfied, making low resolution test renders along the way to check my progress.


Making the lid was a relatively simple task that involved using poly-modelling on a primitive shape available from the CINEMA 4D library installed with the software, and extruding parts of the lid to create the shape seen on the final model. As a side note, this technique probably would not have been used in other applications such as games, and rather bump mapping or normal mapping would have been used instead, to simply represent the shape via texture rather than create the mesh itself – due to the necessity of real-time rendering required in a game. As it happens though, methods like this are acceptable for high quality renders or motion graphics designed only to be viewed, not interacted with in real time.


I used global illumination to light the scene and adjusted render settings accordingly until suitable. I set up a camera object to ensure the same angle was kept between renders and then repeated the process by changing the texture on the label between renders.


Physical conception to digital reality: Update #2

My second update on the process is mostly centered on modelling the bottle in CINEMA 4D as well as creating a suitable texture for the glass, and mapping my label.


The last sketch I produced before the modelling stage was only a quick one, and it served to provide a reference for which I could draw a path from in CINEMA 4D to obtain the shape of the bottle, however I later had to revise the sketch in order to get the thickness of the glass correct as well as avoid geometry errors when I extruded the spline in CINEMA 4D



After this I loaded the sketch into CINEMA 4D as a new texture and applied It to a vertical plane I could use as a reference. I drew a path around my sketch fixing any lines that weren’t quite vertical/horizontal (and should’ve been) as well as ensuring all curves were uniform. I doubled the spline back around in order to create thickness as I would be using Lathe NURBS to get the shape – I had tried making a Boolean subtraction from the inside of a block model but this did not work out as I had hoped.


Next, after modifying the angle of the spline with NURBS applied to correct the shape, I adjusted the subdivisions to 46 to create a smoother shape as well as allow the label to fit on correctly (as the plane I used for this was also with 46 subdivisions). I loaded and applied my label texture to the plane and adjusted necessary scales and rules in order to ensure a clean fit. I created the glass texture by activating a transparency channel in the material and changing the refraction to 1.52 (as that is the refraction index of glass) and mixing in a pale green in the transparency channel with a dull white in the main colour channel (but with the brightness set to 20%). For the specular highlight I reduced the falloff and increased the inner width to create a hard highlight since glass is hard, polished and shiny.


At this point in time I currently have a 3D model of a glass pill bottle, which now just requires fixing the shadows, lighting and environment in the scene as well as completing a plastic lid for the bottle, and potentially filling the bottle with pills. When finished I plan to make some simple animations for use as product images and filler clips in the videos we later produce. I hope to look at finishing the environment and model including fixing the shadows which are the current main issue, and then perhaps producing the renders fit for purpose.