As you have probably noticed, I have not been posting as often as I normally do. Things have been very busy lately, in a good way. Unfortunately, this means that I have not been able to invest as much time as I would have liked to this website. Instead of not posting anything, I have been putting my workflows to the test generating images from start to finish in 3 to 5 hours. Last post was a collage and this week I went with an exploded axon. This is similar in style and workflow to this exploded axon that I did a few years back. Creating images in such a short time frame requires fast decision making that I think leads to interesting results. Sure there are some things I would change if I had more time but this is also an exercise in knowing when to stop which is also an important part of visualization that I don’t always get right. Things should be calming down in a few weeks in which I hope to get back into my normal routine of posting more often and consistently.

Below is a very quick breakdown of the exploded axon.


1. Clay Model Rendering


I started things off as I normally do with a quick clay model rendering out of V-Ray. Because there are no materials, rendering only takes about 20 minutes even at a high resolution.


2. Overlay Line Work


An easy way to add more interest to images is to introduce line work and guidelines from Sketchup. This helps to clarify the geometry and shows the relationships between the moving parts.


3. Background Color


I’m going through a green phase right now hence this color reappearing in many of my recent images. I am actually doing this to help visually separate the architecture from the background. I also added a surface behind the architecture in Sketchup so that shadows would be generated and also add some interest to the background.


4. Accent Color


There are some architectural elements that I wanted to highlight so I introduced a few accent colors. These colors move the eye around the image and also add layers of hierarchy to the graphics.


5. Texture


Some textures were overlaid in the background to give complexity to the graphics and better highlight the movements of the exploded elements.


6. Increased Contrast


At the end, I punched up the contrast to make the shadows darker. This image took me about 4 hours to create which includes the rendering time. Often, when an image is rendering, I can still begin Photoshop work using Sketchup line work and shadows. I use this time to explore coloring, texture, and composition.