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“This section of the site contains some of the research work I completed whilst studying at University surrounding 3D visuals, programming and audio visual output.”

3D Software Interactively used to create artwork

This page contains content created whilst working on my MA exploring the GUI (General User Interface) & HUD (Heads Up Display) within 3D software. The idea behind this was to look at animating content in realtime and then from this animation, outputting a range of abstract artwork. (At the time of working on my thesis, the technology was very limited compared with the content that can be created today using software such as Houdini and Unreal Engine for realtime manipulation.)

Breakdown videos

Editor View

Example screengrab of Cinema 4D with a range of onscreen icons set up to adjust this particular object.


Cinema 4D Icons that can be used for onscreen manipulation – The GUI within the software was created for workflow enhancements and speed improvements to a user when working. However these icons can also be looked at for use within an interactive space to create content with. Any Cinema 4d command can be dragged into the editor view to be used as a HUD element to manipulate a shape live. This is fantastic for VJ work, animated manipulation and abstract artwork.


With everything working as a realtime animation, in terms of display and the viewport running smoothly on my computer, the amount of geometry and how they are being manipulated will also change the speed and the way the interaction appears. Gouraud shading for instance will allow me to add lights into the scene which will be visible on the objects, however constant shading wont. The frame rate can alter the speed of the interaction too, generally most interactions, depending on the geometry in the scence is running at 25fps. (The polygon count of the model/object and subdivision levels will be low yet smooth so as to keep the interaction running smoothly.)

The viewport can be maximised to full screen as a means of output and with the Enhanced OpenGL in the editor viewport, this graphically enhances the content for the user.

When the editor view is setup, it is then a case of adjusting values to change the content on the screen. When the user presses a button/slider this will alter the shape and with more deformations and alterations added, this changes the original shape into something totally different and interesting.
The animation toolbar in Cinema 4D is set to ‘play’ and this then allows the 3D models to run in realtime within the editor view of the software which can then be manipulated using onscreen icons.
Another interesting feature is that you can record your mouse movement on the screen and playback the resulting animation.
This animation can then be adjusted using the same icons onscreen to create even more complex imagery. After creating abstract shapes onscreen, the animation can be paused and this frame can be rendered and saved out as artwork.

“Software must become truly soft, capable of being molded and recast into new tools by the will of the artist.”

John Maeda, “Maeda @ Maeda”

The renders I created above from this interaction with line and shape seems somewhat influenced by the genius of John Maeda. His book “Maeda @ Maeda”is fantastic, a real inspriational source and wealth of information. The above words out of the book are very inspirational to the ideas explored with my work and my interpretation of the quote with the use of software as a tool of interaction.