Archive for June, 2010


June 24, 2010

24 hour time-lapse of Piccadilly Circus reflected by the HDRI sphere.



June 21, 2010

For the texturing I used 4k and even 8k UV maps knowing full well I would be positioning the camera very close to the meter. This level of detail has succeeded in creating a believable physical object made plausible by the simulations of a real film camera within Maxwell.

Instead of animating a digital lux meter in the film, I was keen to remain true to the dialogue between photography and CGI. The light meter is loosely based on an old General Electric model, connecting analogue functions to the digital present. I changed the logo to EV (exposure value) to keep in fitting with the photographic disposition of the film. When illuminating the scene I had to manually adjust the f-stop, ISO settings, shutter speed and exposure values of the Maxwell camera to simulate the photographic action. From these settings I animated the light meter’s needle for each sequential HDRI. It seemed quite strange that I was using a virtual camera to calculate the response of a light meter, an action that would normally be in reverse.




June 19, 2010

I’ve completed a final edit of the film which can be seen as a playblast below. The film is 1:14mins with each HDRI lasting 4 seconds, sequentially lighting both the dynamic wave and light meter. In the end I decided to overlap each HDRI by a second, allowing me to blend the renders together in post for a seemless change in environmental illumination.

I’ve archived the whole project within Maya, uploading it shortly to Rendernet who are fortunately rendering it for me. With all the high res textures and dynamics caches needed in my scenes this file is exceeding a massive 2.5Gb. If all goes to plan I should have the raw renders back mid next week to edit, comp and sound-lay.

I’m collaborating with Zai Tang who is very kindly creating the sound design ( He was on the MADA course last year where he investigated the relationship between soundscapes and our perception of the urban environment. Although based in Singapore, he has some sound recordings of Piccadilly Circus that will help drive the experiential and immersive quality of the film.


June 9, 2010

Here are some early developments of the wavelength simulation for Photoperiod Piccadilly. The main objective is to simulate a natural, organic motion while at the same time maintaining control of the peaks and frequencies of each wave. From the red neon lit night to the bright midday environment, this crescendo of illumination is being visualized through the dynamically changing wavelengths.

In Maya dynamic curves are created with linear and smooth stiffness values, allowing for a fluid rippling movement when turbulence and gravity is applied. As I mentioned before, the simulation cannot be controlled directly by the varying luminance values in the scene due to the limited integration of Maxwell into the programming of Maya. While this removes a direct connection between physical light and virtual space I am still happy with the conceptual process of simulating such a response.


June 4, 2010


The film uses real world lighting data over a single day to show the fluctuating intensity of environmental light in Piccadilly Circus. Twenty-four High Dynamic Range Images are sequentially used to illuminate a perceptually real synthetic environment, simulating the length of day and night; The Photoperiod Effect. Through synthetic manipulation a dynamic wave responds to the changes in Lux (illuminance) values throughout the day as both artificial and natural light fills the space. Photographic exposure values are calculated by a virtual light meter, connecting physical actions with simulated experiences. With photography’s ontological claim to truth, HDRI creates a physically accurate lighting probe that in turn renders a simulacrum of hyper-real imagery. The indexical nature of photographic realism becomes inherently problematic as the analogue and digital become perceptually unified. Site specific environmental illumination is captured and recorded with the intention of simulating a physical response within a virtual space. It is this methodological approach to lighting as a creative process that drives my work.