Weekly design Inspiration: iPad finger painting, TARDIS christmas and Instagram

Weekly design Inspiration: iPad finger painting, TARDIS christmas and Instagram

This week we are all about illusions. A lifelike painting of Morgan Freeman, photos made to look like 2D paintings, everyday objects transformed into other everyday objects, and a few good examples of trompe l’oeil. First up, though, a good bit of Lego…

TARDIS: Coming to a christmas tree near you

There are two things that literally could not be more popular right now; Lego and Christmas. Well, Christmas is kind of a given, but Lego is going from strength to strength, and these tree ornaments aren’t going to do anything to damage that. Designed by Chris McVeigh, these are create-your-own kits that can be bought from his website. Everything from Death Star baubles to a hanging Doctor Who TARDIS are included. All that you need now is a Lego christmas tree to hang them on.

Lego Doctor Who TARDIS christmas decoration

Take a look at Chris’s full range of Lego decorations here.

It’s Morgan Freeman (or is it?)

No, this isn’t a case of mistaken identities, but we couldn’t resist a post about everyone’s favourite voiceover actor, Morgan Freeman. Especially when it also concerns iPad. Believe it or not, the picture below was created by artist Kyle Lambert using Apple’s tablet device, the app Procreate and a bit of tactical finger painting. Once you’ve finished admiring the portrait, take a look at the video below to see the creation process. 200 hours of painting in three minutes. Absolutely incredible!

Morgan Freeman drawn on an iPad

Take a look at more examples of Kyle’s work here.

From one 2D portrait to another (or is it?)

OK, we’re going to stop doing this to you. No it isn’t. This time photographer Alexander Khokhlov has teamed up with make-up artist Valeriya Kutsan to create what appear to be 2D portraits from photos of models faces and a bit of post-production work. Below is just one example of where this has worked incredibly well, but there are plenty of examples at the link below. To see the artists at work, take a look at the video below.

Photography to 2D painting

Take a look at more examples of Alexander Khokhlov and Valeriya Kutsan’s work here.

Not another Instagram selfie…

These Instagram experiments by graphic designer Javier Perez turn everyday objects entirely on their head to create new scenes. Using a simple line drawing, syringes become mosquitos, paper clips turn to trumpets and notebook rings are transformed into dinosaurs. That’s my afternoon sorted – I’m going to think of as many ways to transform a pen lid as I can. Let us know which is your favourite!

Javier Perez's line drawing transformations

Take a look at more examples of Javier’s work here.

Bending the laws of space (but not time)

We’ve all seen the forced perspective paintings that appear to turn a pavement into a gushing waterfall or an erupting volcano, but these examples of tromp l’oeil illustrations are a massive step up. With whole buildings, lorries and library walls covered in paint, in a lot of cases it’s actually pretty hard to tell the difference between reality and fiction.

Take a look at more example of tromp l’oeil illusions here.

Keep an eye out next Friday for more inspiration from our design team. In the meantime, head on over to the Jigsaw24 shop to take a look at great deals and prices on design and publishing essentials. Found something you think should have made it into the list? Pop it in the comments box below.

Trompe l'oeil painting

Take a look at Jigsaw24's new design & publishing shop


More tips from the Vectorworks KnowledgeBase

More tips from the Vectorworks KnowledgeBase

If you’re after tips on getting the most from Vectorworks, here’s the latest from the Vectorworks Knowledgebase. This week: backing up preferences, disabling the Mac OS X firewall, exporting files, and more…

Backing Up Vectorworks Preferences

Backing up your User Preferences is as easy as following these four steps:


1) Once you have your desired preferences and workspace changes, quit  Vectorworks.
2) Navigate to the Settings’ folder in ‘My Computer > C: > Documents and Settings > (YourUsername) > Application Data > Nemetschek > Vectorworks’
3) Copy the folder named after the version of Vectorworks you are using. For example in Vectorworks 2011, the folder is simply named 2011
4) Save this folder somewhere safe, for your future use.

Follow the same instructions but with a different navigational path:

‘My Computer > C: > Users > (YourUsername) > AppData > Roaming > Nemetschek > Vectorworks’

MAC OSX 10.5 & OSX 10.6

Follow the same instructions but with a different navigational path:

‘Mac OSX > Users > (YourUsername) > Library >Application Support > Vectorworks’

Content taken from Vectorworks KnowledgeBase.
Disabling the Mac OS X Firewall in OS X 10.5 and 10.6:

Another quick but handy tip:

“To disable the built-in firewall on OS X, go to Apple > System Preferences:
Vectorworks 2011 - Disabling Mac OS X Firewall 1

Click Security on the System Preferences dialogue box and under Firewall, click Stop to disable the firewall. Normally this will only need to be disabled during the installation or updating of Vectorworks, not for using it on a regular basis after installation.”

Vectorworks 2011 - Disabling Mac OS X Firewall 2
Content taken from Vectorworks KnowledgeBase.
Exporting Files

The ‘File > Export’ command exports Vectorworks files into several different file formats (including previous versions of Vectorworks) making it possible to import them into other software programs.

nb. Vectorworks exports to a new file, leaving the original file intact.

Vectorworks KnowledgeBase offer this guide to the different file formats:

DWG and DXF files can be read by other CAD programs (such as AutoCAD). In addition, they can be printed by service bureaus and opened in rendering programs. The Vectorworks translator exports DWG/DXF files for AutoCAD versions 2010,2007/2008/2009, 2004/2005/2006, 2000/2000i/2002, 14/LT98/LT97, 13/ LT95, and 12. Use the latest version possible for best results.

Saves all records of a particular format as a file that can be used in a database program, such as FileMaker Pro and Microsoft Access. The Vectorworks program provides a variety of formats to select from when exporting records as a database, including comma-delimited, tab-delimited, merge, DIF, and SYLK.

EPSF (Encapsulated PostScript Format) files can be read by many graphics and desktop-publishing programs. The Vectorworks translator exports EPSF files in Illustrator 88 format. EPSFs contain all drawing elements except colour bitmaps. The Vectorworks program exports these files with high resolution and full accuracy. ‘Image>Files>Exports’ the file as an image file in formats like JPEG, Photoshop, BMP, and others. The image can then be imported into other applications or used in web pages.

Export PDF – (Requires Design Series)
This command is only available on the Macintosh when Quartz Imaging is enabled. It exports the current file to a PDF document in the specified location. There are additional PDF options available for users of the Vectorworks Design Series products on both Macintosh and Windows.

Export PICT
This command is available on the Macintosh when Quartz Imaging is disabled. It exports a vector image of the current file in the specified location .Metafile. Export graphics files in Metafile format for inclusion in virtually any Windows program, including AutoCAD and word processing programs. There are two versions of Metafiles: standard (pre-Windows 95) and enhanced. The Vectorworks program supports the enhanced version.

QuickTime VR Object – (Requires Renderworks)
Creates a QuickTime Virtual Reality object file.

QuickTime VR Panorama – (Requires Renderworks)
Creates a QuickTime Virtual Reality panorama file.

Writes out the current file as a series of VectorScript commands. These commands can then be used as part of a VectorScript script or as a guide for learning .Worksheet. Worksheet files can be read by spreadsheet programs, such as Microsoft Excel, as well as by some word processing programs. Export all rows or only selected rows of a worksheet. Because many of these programs have different format requirements, there are a variety of formats to select from when exporting files as a worksheet, including comma-delimited, tab-delimited, merge, DIF, and SYLK.

Cinema 4D – 3D Only (Requires Renderworks)
Exports 3D objects in the unified view (Vectorworks Design Series required) or active layer to the .c4d format, for use in CINEMA 4D. Vectorworks layers are exported as container objects in the CINEMA 4D scene hierarchy. Vectorworks classes become CINEMA 4D layers, allowing visibility to be controlled across the scene. Layer names, object names, and object types are preserved. An additional command, Send to CINEMA 4D (3D only) is available from the File menu. When CINEMA 4D is already installed, exports the file (3D objects only) to .c4d format, launches the CINEMA 4D application, and opens the file. During export, the Send to CINEMA 4D dialog box opens. Select whether to create a new scene or merge into the current scene.

Parasolid X_T
Exports 3D objects to the Parasolid X_T format.

Exports 3D curves, surfaces, and solids to IGES format.

Creates a SAT file for exporting ACIS 3D solids. The Export Solids as Trimmed Surfaces option exports a solid as several different ACIS ‘bodies’ (for example, a cube exports as six ACIS bodies). If this option is deselected, a solid is exported as a single body.

Simple Vectorscript
Creates an exported Vectorscript designed to be easy to import into programs like Strata Software products.

Export Stereo Lithography
Exports all visible 3D surfaces and solids in the current layer into an STL-formatted file. Export 2008, 2009, 2010 saves a copy of the file in a format that can be opened and manipulated in an older version of the Vectorworks program.”

Content taken from Vectorworks KnowledgeBase.
Render Bitmap

Scroll to the bottom for a short video by Vectorworks that demonstrates how to use the Render Bitmap tool so that you can enjoy render previews (that are printable and exportable) without leaving the Viewport.

Content taken from Vectorworks KnowledgeBase.

If you have any more queries about Vectorworks, give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email CAD@Jigsaw24.com or, if you want to share any of your own tips with other Vectorworks users, feel free to post them as comments below.

Fixing transparent columns in Revit

Fixing transparent columns in Revit

Those clever boffins at the Revit Clinic have another quick fix for your Revit Architecture workflow. This time, they solve the problem of having transparent columns in your detail callouts.

From the Revit Clinic:

“Let’s say you have the following scenario of a wall and column:


You add a Floor Plan Callout, which results in what you expected:


And then a Detail Callout, where the results are not what you were expecting:


So why does the column appear to be transparent in the Detail callout?

The reason for this is that, when unjoined, the wall and column occupy the same physical space. You do not see this display in your Floor Plan and Floor Plan Callout because of the “show family pre-cut in plan views” parameter of the column family.

This parameter determines whether the column displays based on the cut plane specified in the project’s view or within the family. Keeping this parameter checked results in columns that always display the same regardless of the project view’s settings. More information on this can be found in the Specifying How a Structural Column Displays in Plan View document in the Help menu.

So when this parameter is checked, you are not seeing the ‘real’ relationship between the elements in your Floor Plan and Plan callout – you are seeing a representation of the column based on the cut plane in the family.

To further clarify, if you edit the column family, go to Family Category and Parameters and clear this checkbox, you’ll see the that column displays with the same sort of transparent appearance in all views, not just the detail.


The way Detail Callouts are generated internally is different from true ‘plan’ views and they do not use this parameter, so they show consistently based on the cut plane of the project regardless of whether it is checked or not.

The ways to approach this would be to join the wall and column where applicable (so their geometry no longer overlaps) or to use a Floor Plan callout when needed instead.”

Read the full article at the Revit Clinic.

For more expert Autodesk Revit advice, call our CAD team on 03332 409 306 or email CAD@Jigsaw24.com.

Creating machines using section viewports in Vectorworks

Creating machines using section viewports in Vectorworks

Here’s another one from the Vectorworks KnowledgeBase. This time, the topic in hand is creating a front section of machine parts using Section Viewports.

“Section Viewports are often used by architects to see an elevation of a building, but they can also be useful for machine part designers. They are especially useful for machine part designers when a section is needed of the part, representing something other than the surface. Let’s use this as our example:

Section VP1

To do this, first set the view in VectorWorks so that you see the Design Layer(s) with the machine part to be sectioned. Go to View>Create Viewport. In the Viewport Preferences, set the View to Front. Set the other Viewport preferences and click OK when done.

Section VP2
With the Viewport selected, go to View>Create Section Viewport. VectorWorks is now waiting for you to draw the section line.r

Section VP3

Draw the section line along the machine part by clicking to start the section line, and double clicking at the end of the section line.

You now have a section viewport of the machine part based on the section line.”

Keep an eye out for more Vectorworks tips courtest of the Vectorworks KnowledgeBase. Or to find out more, get in touch with us on 03332 409 306 or email CAD@Jigsaw24.com.

How to tweak 3D graphics faster with After Effects and CINEMA 4D

How to tweak 3D graphics faster with After Effects and CINEMA 4D

Let’s say you have a teaser for a TV show in which clips from the next episode play on animated 3D screens. Each week, you have to replace the clips with ones from the next show to air. Traditionally, this would take hours of tweaking and multiple, lengthy renders – not much good if you’re working to tight deadlines.

However, the link between CINEMA 4D and After Effects lets you do the same thing in minutes. Here’s our guide to speeding up your 3D editing with After Effects.

Step 1

In your C4D project, open the Render Settings dialogue box. Go to the Multipass tab and select the passes you want to export, then go to the Save tab, select ‘Save as multipass image’ and set the target application to After Effects – this will ensure the passes are stored as individual layers in an After Effects-friendly compositing file.

Step 2

C4D exporting to after effects

Still in C4D, use the internal and external compositing tags to isolate any objects within the image you will want to work on later (to save them as object solids rather than positions, select ‘solid’ in the Tag Properties menu). Then go to the Buffer menu at the bottom of the screen and enable a buffer for each object. Each buffer will appear as a separate layer in After Effects, making it easier to manipulate your image.

Step 3

C4D scene imported and ambient occlusion layer

Once you’ve saved and rendered the project in C4D, open it up in After Effects. Each pass is stored as a separate layer, with the blending modes already set. C4D layers all normal passes for you automatically, but the odd special pass (in this case, ambient occlusion) has to be added manually. You can do this simply by dragging and dropping the file from the C4D Special Passes folder into your timeline.  Set the blending mode and then you’re good to go – just tweak the layers as you would in any flat After Effects project, and they’re applied to your entire 3D sequence in seconds.

Another advantage of the C4D/After Effects partnership is that all of your cameras and lights are imported too, so you can move footage between the two programs without losing any of the lighting effects or camera moves that you set up in C4D, no matter how much you edit the image.

Step 4

ae replacing video imported solids

Using the object solids you imported from C4D, you can isolate the elements you want to work with – in our case the footage on the screens. The good thing about being able to export object positions and solids is that the footage you place on the screens will be “glued” in place and behave as if it was part of the original C4D project. When the laptop moves, your footage will move with it. It also makes replacing content really simple – just select the solid you want to replace, then drag and drop the new content into its place.

Step 4 (and a half)

ae replacing video original video

If the new image isn’t the right size, you can edit it by going to the Edit menu, changing the measurement value to pixels and then entering the values for the original image. The new one will be resized to match.

Step 5

ae object mask for video monitor

Another useful thing about exporting object settings is that you can use them to create object masks which will automatically cut footage for you – in this example, one is used to make sure the footage on the monitor looks like it’s behind the laptop, giving the impression of a single, seamless piece of 3D work.

Once the new footage is in place, you can tweak it the way you would any After Effects project, meaning you can tell immediately if something doesn’t look quite right. Once you’ve got the animation looking its best, simply re-open the project in C4D and enjoy your seamless, renderless 3D animation!

ae adjusting specular highlights multipass layer

Although this tutorial focuses on After Effects, similar workflows are implemented in Cinema 4D for Motion, Shake, Combustion and Digital Fusion.

To find out more, call our 3D team on 03332 409 306 or email sales@Jigsaw24.com. To receive the latest 3D news, follow @Jigsaw24Video on Twitter or Like’ our Facebook page.


AutoCAD tips: Wall studs

AutoCAD tips: Wall studs

Through this short tutorial, you will learn how to create a partition stud wall by attaching separate studs to a wall. There are two main principles to this technique:

1.   Create a Layout Curve – this is alignment geometry that has nodes that are equally spaced, repeated over a length, or manually spaced.

2.   Anchor studs to the Layout Curve – the anchor is used to attach studs (defined as structural members) to the Layout Curve.

First off, if you can’t see it, you may need to enable the Design pull-down menu as this is not enabled by default. To do this, from the Windows pull-down, select Pulldowns, then choose Design Menu:


Let’s start by applying some studs to a basic 100mm wall. Draw a wall using the Standard wall style and set the width to 100. Use baseline justification:

Next up, we shall create a layout curve which will assign nodes to the wall that will  be used to position the studs. From the Design menu, choose “Layout Tools and Anchors”, then select “Add Layout Curve”, or simply type “layoutcurveadd” at the Command line and you will see the following prompts:

Select a curve: Pick the wall

Select node layout mode [Manual/Repeat/Space evenly] : R for Repeat
Start offset <0.0>: 25
End offset <0.0>:
Spacing <304.8>: 400


A number of magenta circles have been added to the wall – each circle represents a node of the layout curve and they are spaced at 400mm intervals. Note: by default, these circles will not plot and we can also adjust the radius they are drawn with (more on that later).
To define the studs, we shall create a new structural member style. From the Format menu, choose “Structural Members”, then select “Wizard”:


Select “Cut Lumber” in the “Wood” folder, then press “Next”.

For “Section Width” enter 50, and for “Section Depth”, enter 100. Then press “Next”.


Finally, enter the name of the style (e.g. “Wall Stud”) and then press “Finish”.

Once the structural member style has been created, use the “ColumnAdd” command to insert one in an arbitrary position near the wall. This command can simply be typed at the command line or you can select it from either the “Design” tool palette, or from the “Design” menu (Structural Members -> Add Column). Which ever way you choose, insert as illustrated below:

To add the stud to each of the nodes along the wall, we shall use the “Node Anchor”. From the Design menu, choose “Layout Tools and Anchor”, then choose “Node Anchor” (or simply type “NodeAnchor” at the command line).


Command: nodeanchor

Node anchor [Attach object/Set node/Copy to each node]: C (for copy)

Select object to be copied and anchored: select the stud

Select layout tool: select one of the circles of the layout curve

5 object(s) copied.

Your wall will now look like this:


These studs will now stick to the wall, so if the wall moves, the studs will remain attached. If the wall is stretched longer, additional nodes will be created, but you will need to use the AutoCAD.

Copy command to add new studs. To do this, copy one of the other anchored studs to one of the new nodes.

I mentioned earlier that we could reduce the size of the circles of the layout curve and doing so will help us see their centre positions. To do this, select one of the circles, right-click and choose “Edit Object Display” from the cursor menu. In the “Object Display” dialog, click on the “Edit Display Properties” button.


Switch to the “Other” tab in the dialog and enter a radius of 25, then OK both dialogs.


Your wall should now look like this:

Of course, studs will not always be so conveniently placed, but we do have control over individual stud positions. There are three types of layout curve and the one we used let us set an initial offset of 25mm which is why the first stud edge aligns with the start of the walls (e.g. half of 50mm, the width of the stud).

Now let’s say we want to add an extra stud at the end of the wall which isn’t going to be placed 400mm from the current last one. To do this, edit the properties of the layout curve and change its type from “Repeat” to “Manual”.


Select the layout curve now and you will see different grip points:


Select the “+” grip on the right and an additional node will be added:


Select the node, and then select the triangular grip to adjust its position.

The distance is set from the start of the wall. In this example, the wall is 1844mm long, therefore to align the stud 25mm in from the wall end, I’ll enter a dimension of 1819, and the wall will now look like this:

As mentioned above, to add the additional stud to the wall, simply copy one of the other studs in the wall to the new node, and your wall will now look like this:


Now we’ve just got one more concept to learn. The layout curve is based upon the baseline of the wall and in this example, the baseline is along the wall centre and hence our studs align conveniently within the wall. Let’s try the same with a wall style where the baseline is along the outside edge of the studs, as in the example below:


In order to position the studs in the middle of the wall, you can set an offset to their anchor properties. To do this, select all the studs, right-click and choose “Properties”, then pick the “Anchor” button in the Properties palette:

Then in the Anchor dialog, enter a “Y Offset” of -50mm (if they go the wrong way try 50mm next!).


To re-cap:

• Use a Repeat Layout Curve to create nodes.

• Use Node Anchor to attach studs defined as structural members to each node.

• Convert layout curve to Manual to position individual studs.

• Use standard AutoCAD copy to add new studs.

• Adjust Y offset of the stud anchor property to adjust the position of the stud across the wall. Note: you can use the X offset to adjust the stud position along the wall too.

• Using the default UK template, the layout curve nodes are placed on the layer “G-Anno- Nplt” that can be turned off, but as the name implies, this layer is set not to plot.

For additional AutoCAD Architecture information refer to the product webpages

If you have any CAD-related queries, don’t hesitate to call the CAD team on 03332 409 204 or email CAD@jigsaw24.com!