All posts tagged: illustration
Starbucks coffee cup engine
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Over the past few days I’ve been tinkering with some of the new texture mapping tools in FormZ, and I’ve got to say that having the ability to place textures “live” in a 3d viewport is a huge help when it comes to composing a scene. In FormZ 6, the texture mapping tool was completely separate from the modeling windows and testing placements meant running test renders over and over again until the image map was positioned correctly. It was a very time-consuming and clumsy process, so I ended up placing textures in Photoshop more often than not. Maya (my other favorite modeling software) is much better when it comes to texture mapping, but the process is a lot more complex and not as intuitive as doing the same thing in FormZ 8.

For testing purposes, I built a simple 3d model of a white coffee cup and played with different ways of placing the Starbucks logo on it live in the modeling windows. No, these aren’t the most exciting renderings I’ve ever done, but that wasn’t the point – I consider this set of Starbucks logo renderings to be more of a test than anything else. Perhaps I’ll create a full set of images with 3d Starbucks logos in the future if there seems to be enough demand, but for now, this is it.

starbucks coffee cup with pills spilling out

Starbucks Addiction

handcuffs and starbucks coffee cup

Protecting the Coffee

magnifying glass and starbucks coffee cup

Searching for Starbucks

starbucks coffee cup and lifesaver

Starbucks to the rescue!

screenshot of formZ modeling window placing textures

Having the ability to place textures “live” in the modeling window is one of my favorite things about the new version of FormZ. The map can be repositioned in any axis in real-time, eliminating the need for endless test renders.

Exactly why I chose to do this experiment with the Starbucks logo is interesting, as I’m not a coffee drinker at all. I do like the smell of it (quite a lot actually) but I just can’t stand the taste. My wife, on the other hand, can’t get enough and I’m convinced that she alone is keeping that company in business. Anyway, our refrigerator and kitchen is overflowing in white paper cups from Peet’s Coffee and Starbucks, so I thought it would be fun to create some illustrations that depict her crazy addiction to coffee.

free parts
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I haven’t had much time to work on 3d renderings lately, but I’m trying to tinker as much as I can so I don’t forget how to do this stuff. I’m not kidding – the intricacies of FormZ and Maya are so complex that I start forgetting things after only a few weeks of non-use. That need to keep tinkering is how this set of 3d renderings came to be. I wasn’t even trying to create a full set of images here…I just needed to do something to keep my 3d knowledge fresh.

Luckily I’ve got a pretty good system of pre-lit environments set up in FormZ that I can just dump objects into and render. Not having to set up environments from scratch saves a ton of time, which is really important to me these days. Time is something I don’t have much of anymore, so I’m taking advantage of anything that I can get! The downside to that is many of my renderings tend to look the same, so the balance of time and creativity (learning new things) is something I think about a lot. What’s more important? Spending 4 hours on one amazing illustration, or creating 10 in that same time period that are similar to what I’ve already been doing for years? I know that I’d learn a lot more by slowing my output and focusing on fewer (and better) images instead of trying to crank out as many as I can. But letting go of the feeling of needing to produce as much as humanly possible is hard to let go of, especially since that’s what the Norebbo brand was built on (in the beginning). But I’m getting off track here…

Free Time

Free Time

Free Help

Free Help

Anyway, these three renderings consist of various objects posing with bright red FREE tags. The one with the lifesaver is the one I like the most. It represents the concept of “free help”, which I think could be a useful image for anyone offering that kind of service. Please feel free to use the image to promote your own brand or product – and I’d love it if you send me a link showing how you used it!

Smartphone Sale
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The trouble with creating conceptual stock illustrations of anything related to the world of tech is that those images don’t have much of a useful lifespan. My 3d rendering collection consists largely of tech-related concepts, so it’s a major bummer that much of my early work (starting in 2006) has become horribly outdated and darn near useless for anything but laughs.

Because of that, I spend a lot of time recreating and modernizing some of my oldest and most outdated images. A perfect example of that is this series of smart phone illustrations, created to directly replace my old collection of conceptual flip-phone renderings. That flip-phone collection had a good run, but they are understandably not so relevant today and there is nothing more I can do with that set. They are gone for good, forever regulated to my personal archives never to be seen again. Maybe someday I can create a “Norebbo Classics” section of the blog where I can post old images and we can all sit around and laugh at technology long forgotten. 🙂

Anyway this collection of smart phone illustrations marks the beginning of what I hope will become a much larger set. There are a variety of concepts here featuring the same basic device, some with a blank display, and some with a generic home screen that I created. I realize that most people would want to map their own custom screens onto these illustrations, but I just wanted to include a few “complete” images just in case anyone needed them.

Free Smartphone

Free Smartphone

Smartphone Security

Smartphone Security

Smartphone Data

Smartphone Data

Smart Phone Audio

Smart Phone Audio

Smartphone Batteries

Smartphone Batteries

Chained to Your Smart phone

Chained to Your Smart Phone

Black Smartphone with Blank Screen

Black Smartphone with Blank Screen

Black Smartphone with Home Screen

Black Smartphone with Home Screen

White Smartphone with Blank Screen

White Smartphone with Blank Screen

White Smartphone with Home Screen

White Smartphone with Home Screen

Smartphone Help

Smartphone Help

Smart Phone Chips

Smart Phone Chips

UX Design for Mobile Devices

UX Design for Mobile Devices

Smartphone Tools

Smartphone Tools

Smart Phone Research

Smart Phone Research

Smart Phone with Connected Cord

Smart Phone with Connected Cord

Smart Phone Sale

Smart Phone Sale

Locked Smart Phone

Locked Smart Phone

Smart Phone and Checkmark

Smart Phone and Checkmark

Global Smart Phone

Global Smart Phone

Broken Smart Phone

Broken Smart Phone

Hopefully you’ll find some of these smart phone renderings useful. You can always leave a comment if there’s something in particular you’d like to see, and I’ll do my best to try and get it into my rendering schedule. I also want to create some different devices (tablets, for example) just for the sake of variety. But I’m probably going to be forced into doing it anyway once the next big thing is on the market and I’m forced to retire this set…

USAIr 767 side profile
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As I mentioned in my recent post about the Piedmont 767-200 illustration, I couldn’t help but to do this polished aluminum USAir version at the same time. It’s certainly not a very exciting airline and aircraft combination, but I was feeling somewhat of a nostalgic vibe at the time and I jumped at the opportunity to create another classic livery for my archives. And it just so happens to be that it was USAir that bought out Piedmont in 1989 (and American Airlines bought out USAir/USAirways last year), so now I’ve got the complete set of 767-200 illustrations from this series of related mergers.

As far as airline liveries go, there isn’t much to this classic scheme. Created by SBG Partners and unveiled in 1989 (right after the Piedmont merger), it’s got all the lines, colors, and simplicity of something dreamed up in the heart of the 1980s. I was able to apply it to my polished aluminum 767-200 template fairly quickly, and as matter of fact, this may have been the easiest livery recreation that I’ve ever done! This kind of simplicity is very much appreciated after spending so much time on some of the others in my collection. It all balances out in the end, I guess.

Unfortunately, I don’t have very fond memories of USAir. They suffered a series of unfortunate (and careless) mishaps back in the 1990s that were pretty scary to read about, and to make matters worse, this was the preferred airline for the company that I worked for starting in 1996. I didn’t mind the business travel associated with that job, but having to fly USAir really deflated my sense of adventure and excitement for each trip. Thankfully I survived!

United Airlines 747-400 illustration
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A few days ago it dawned on me that I’ve only made one Boeing 747-400 illustration since completing my blank template of it last September. Considering that the 747 has always been my favorite aircraft, I thought that it would probably be a good (and fun) idea to start building up that collection.

Deciding which livery I would render was quite simple this time – which is rare for me. In my post about the Air China A330, I told you about how much I struggle trying to decide what exactly I want to work on before starting one of these illustrations – and I revealed that I’m now trying to focus on the aircraft that I’ve flown in the past (or will be flying soon). My trip to South Korea in a couple weeks from now is going to kick off with a SFO-PEK segment on a United Airlines 747-400, so the choice of what to illustrate was obvious.

As far as the livery goes, I’ve got to say that I’m bummed about how United chose to use the old Continental color scheme when they merged with them several years ago. While I’m sure they saved a ton of money doing it that way, the company was essentially reborn at that time and it would have been the perfect opportunity to press the reset button on their brand image and come up with something new and unrelated to these old and tired companies. Both of which, by the way, desperately needed to shed years of bad publicity (bankruptcy, poor service, etc) and emerge as a fresh new brand. Why they chose to save a few dollars and stick with the old look is beyond me.

That said, I actually don’t mind this livery all that much. The straight horizontal cheat line through the center of the fuselage is somewhat dated, but the light colors compliment the vivid blue and gold in the logo nicely. And heck – nearly anything looks good on the 747!

hello kitty electronic circuit board
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I’ve been making stock illustrations featuring the logos of popular companies for several years now, and up until this point, I’ve always focused on brands that are either interesting to me or very newsworthy in some form or another. On top of that, it’s pretty obvious that I’m pretty much entrenched into my own style of 3d illustration – l use lots of metal and glass textures with very limited color, and I’ve never been a big fan of trying to create overly-detailed artwork. Simplicity rocks! I realize that my stye is definitely not everyone’s cup of tea, but to be perfectly honest, I’m not trying to make everyone happy. You either like my stuff or you don’t. 🙂

So what happens when I decide to break out of my comfort zone a bit and create a series of illustrations for a brand that I’d not normally consider? Let me explain…

A certain family member of mine is a huge fan of anything related to Hello Kitty, and I’m not going to lie when I say that her interest in that little cat has affected me in ways I never thought imaginable. It’s to the point now where I know the history of the brand, all the names of the characters, and of course…I’ve seen my fair share of trinkets and gadgets adorned with bright pink and white Hello Kitty markings. This crazy cartoon character has been etched into such a large portion of my brain that the choice to create a set of Hello Kitty stock illustrations was all mine – she had absolutely nothing to do with this. I realize that could be considered grounds for turning in my man card, but hey…I thought it might be fun considering that I don’t normally focus on these sorts of brands.

I knew right from the start that I wasn’t going to recreate Hello Kitty into a round, plush-like 3d character. That’s just not what I do. Instead, I wanted to see what would happen when I modeled the iconic shape of Hello Kitty in my usual ways, which means simple geometry built with industrial materials like metal and glass. It’s a very masculine style, I know, and I didn’t know what was going to happen when I applied that style to something so feminine.

Long story short, I don’t consider this image set to be one of my best. I guess that my expectations (and excitement) were too high, and there were a few frustrating moments along the way. Trying to create conceptual 3d illustrations which mix high-tech and industrial textures and objects with girly cartoon themes was not easy, and it was challenging to end up with illustrations that I felt were truly useful as stock imagery. In that sense, I don’t think I succeeded.

But to say that I’m happy that I got this out of my system is an understatement. It was a fun experiment, but I think I’ll stick with the “manly” brands going forward.

Addicted to Hello Kitty

3d rendering of a Hello Kitty character surrounded by four large red and white drug capsules

hello kitty electronic circuit over white

3d rendering of an extruded circuit board with a Hello Kitty charcter integrated into it over a white isolated background

hello kitty with NEW tag

3d rendering of a bright red glossy NEW tag attached to a simple metal-framed Hello Kitty character over a dark gray reflective surface

hello kitty paint

3d rendering of two large buckets of paint behind a transparent glass Hello Kitty character over a dark gray reflective surface

Glowing Hello Kitty

3d rendering of a glowing pink transparent Hello Kitty over a bright pink textured background

hello kitty precision

3d rendering of a pair of precision calipers measuring the thickness of a chrome Hello Kitty character

Flat Hello Kitty Circuit Board

2d illustration of a white Hello Kitty head integrated into a pink electronic circuit board pattern

Transparent Pink Hello Kitty Character

3d rendering of a bright pink transparent Hello Kitty over a black and pink textured background

Here are a handful of others that I did, which I’ll upload at a later time:

more hello kitty illustrations

Additional Hello Kitty 3d renderings are available on my online store

HA A330 side view drawing
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I don’t consider myself to be a lazy person, but I’m starting to notice a disturbing trend. In my last post, I said that the Malaysia Airlines 777 illustration I uploaded had been in my archives for over a year in an unfinished state. And right now, I’m posting a Hawaiian Airlines A330-200 illustration that’s been sitting half-done since last September. I’m starting to have doubts about my vigor as an illustrator…

All kidding aside, billable projects are largely responsible for my lack of personal illustration projects over the past year or so. It’s been a busy year, and the truth is that I often don’t have the energy to sit down and work on 3d renderings or aircraft illustrations in the evenings after a long day of banging out stuff for my clients. So as you can see, it’s not really about laziness – but it is kind of frustrating being so busy and not having the energy to work on the side projects that I love doing so much.

I had a bit of extra time over the past few days (woo-hoo!), so I thought it would be a great opportunity to dig my half-complete Hawaiian A330 illustration out of the archives. The aircraft was still in unshaded line-art format in Illustrator, and the tail art was still very crude and loose from where I left off last September. It was a ton of work to get it where it was three days ago to the illustration you see above. And I’m not going to lie – the tail art was so frustratingly complex that I gave up on it about two hours in. I came very close to throwing it back into my archives (still unfinished), but several hours later I rolled up my sleeves and declared that this one had to be finished.

Why the urgency? Well, the Hawaiian Airlines livery is my favorite airline color scheme of them all and I thought it was odd that I didn’t have it in my archives. I’m usually not a fan of predominately white aircraft (booooring), but the design of the tail section – along with the bright / tropical colors – makes this one very appealing.