Guest Book
Tutorials
Gallery

          Home 2017

This website is a log of my hobbies, passions and projects. It will hopefully over time fill up with helpful advice to
encourage, inspire and guide others with similar interests. rab by the way are my initials Robert Andrew Burke

June:


There has been hardly any time this month to progress my work on the Spitfire project. In fact Blender and computer graphics have had to take a back seat to my growing passion to revisit my traditional drawing skills.

Time has also been limited as I took a couple of weeks touring a few of the tourist destinations in the west USA, with a visit to Sedona, Grand Canyon, Monument Valley, Zion Park, Las Vegas and San Fransisco. It was a great adventure and holiday of a lifetime for my wife and I.

As my detailed pencil sketching has generated far more attention than the computer graphics work, with a number of people wanting to commission portraits, I have decided to concentrate on drawing for the moment. I have done a few more portraits and also been working on a website that will hopefully be a focal point for people to see my work and hopefully commission a few drawings. The structure of the website has been completed but I still need to add detail to a number of pages before going live with the content.

608 Bearing Tutorial



608 Bearing Tutorial
Updated to Blender 2.63+

Robert Burke - Portraits and Art Website
The website will hopefully go live next week (first week of July).

These are a few of the portraits I have done in July that will feature on the website

Pencil Portraits
My Illustration website has also undergone a few changes which bring it closer to going live next month. At the moment I am searching for a web host that does multiple website packages at a reasonable cost.

Robert Burke - Art & Illustration Website

Once the websites are live I will hopefully be able to find some time to continue with the Spitfire cutaway project and also put the finishing touches to my camper van.




May:

Error: Embedded data could not be displayed.


608 Bearing Tutorial



608 Bearing Tutorial
Updated to Blender 2.63+
Work has continued to progress on the 3D model of a Mk 9 Spitfire with all efforts concentrating on detailing the merlin engine.

A V12 engine is a complicate beast to model at the best of time, but combined with the addition of a supercharger, the curving surface profiles have been a real challenge. Given that I haven't got plans of the engine to work from and am having to find different photographs
online to cover all views of the engine, I think this is progressing reasonably well. There is still a lot of components and detail to add before the engine is finished. The finished detail will be relative to the size of image I intend to create from the model, rather than the minute detail of a full sized spitfire.

To help visualise the work put into the Merlin engine model I have rendered a series of views using the 3DNP plugin with Blender. The animation above can be rotated and viewed from any angle by simply left clicking and dragging the view of the engine with the mouse. The 3DNP plugin and script by Thorsten Schluter can be downloaded from Here

Once the Merlin engine and all components of the engine bay are finished I will move on to detailing the outer skin adding all the rivets and panel joints.
Spitfire Cutaway Model
I have kept myself busy over the past month and one area that seems to be gaining momentum is my traditional artwork of sketching pencil portraits of pets, and people. Word of mouth has generated quite a bit of interest, so for now I have created a small flier which was received very well when distributed at a recent fair.
Pet Portrait Flyer
The work on traditional art has put me back a little on the timescale I had set to complete the Technical Illustration website, as my thoughts are now more focused on a separate art website which I hope  to build alongside the Technical website.

Robert Burke - Art & Illustration Website

I have also been busy with the camper van focusing on the internals. The front driver and bench seat have been changed for Recaro seats on swivel bases, an insulated floor has been fitted together with a rock and roll bed. With just the kitchen and internal electrics to complete the camper should be back on the road for our holidays in August. I will post a few more pictures of the camper once the internals are finished.



April:

As part of my Spitfire cutaway model project which is progressing well, there was a need to model a propeller.
Propeller
It may look a simple shape at first glance, but there is some very complex geometry with the propellers aerofoil profile changing in both shape and angle, giving the propeller blade a twist along its length.

Propeller Tutorial


To help others who are modelling aircraft I have written a new Tutorial that describes the process of positioning cross sections of the propeller blade and then skinning them to form the propeller profile.

To help with the tutorial I have produced a simplified propeller plan containing only the cross sections and the centre points where they need to be positioned. This is used as a background image reference within the tutorial.


Propeller Plan

The Tutorial can accessed via the Top Menu using >> Graphics >> Blender Tutorials
Or by clicking << here >>

As mentioned above, the Spitfire model is progressing well. Obtaining a copy of "The Supermarine Spitfire A Comprehensive Guide for The Modeller" which is packed full of reference images and photographs. Most of the internal detailing is done and I am now working on the Rolls Royce Merlin engine which presents a whole load of new modelling challenges.
Spitfire Mk 9 Cutaway Work in Progress
In between other work I am also improving on my traditional sketching skills, especially the pet portraits which have generated quite a bit of interest from people wanting pictures of their pets. I am now open to take commissions and will be creating a website specifically for this work. The following are a couple more practice pieces, being pet portraits of a Boxer dog and kitten.

Boxer Dog - Pet Portrait

Kitten - Pet Portrait

If you have a need for an illustration either technical or other, or would like to commission a portrait of your pet please feel free to contact me to discuss if I can be as help.

I am now available to take on Art and illustration work and can be contacted << Here >>



March:

This month I have made a little bit of progress with the Spitfire model


Spitfire Cockpit details



I am still struggling to source detailed reference photographs and plans, but fortunately I have manage to find enough references to get this far.

There is still a tremendous amount of work to do on this model, and a lot of what I have already done will need further refinement

This has been a great project to get me back up to speed with 3D modelling, though there is a lot more I need to learn to be able to bring the model up to the standard I want. I need put some time into creating decent texture maps for the skin and any other component that will be viewed close up.

I found construction of the model was best done building the sectional rib profiles by tracing available plans with bezier curves, however it is not possible to loft a bezier curve in blender so I had to find a way to add a subsurfed mesh over the top of each of the curve profiles. I might post a mini tutorial of how this was done in the coming weeks.
Technical Illustration of a Spitfire - in progress


As a lot of the components will be hidden, I might even create an exploded view animation so the full amount of work can be appreciated.

Other than progressing with my blender projects and learning new blender tools, I have also put some time in to relearning the sketching and drawing skills I used to enjoy when I was a teenager. I have put a  little bit of practice into improving my line and shading skills and completed a few pet portraits, as fur is said to be a challenging subject. The images below are of our Blue Merle border collie Saffy and a German Shepard dog. Hope you agree the line and shading quality has improved a lot over the portrates I posted last month.

Pet Portrate  - My Border Collie Saffy
Pet Portrait
Now the weather has warmed up I have also spent some time on the camper conversion, which had been mothballed throughout the cold winter weather. The back textured ABS plastic bumpers have been rubbed flat and are being colour coded to match the rest of the van. The back bumper is finished and back on the van, the front bumper is goint through the same treatment and ready for the top coat to be applied.

ABS textured bumpers being colour coded to match the camper.
Over the next month I will be concentrating on my Art and Illustration website as I intend to go freelance in the next few weeks.
Robert Burke - Art & Illustration Website




February:

This month I have spent quite a bit of time improving my mesh modelling skills. As I will most likely be setting up as a freelance illustrator from April this year, with an emphasis on the more technical illustration, I thought it would benefit my portfolio if I could show a fairly large technical project.

With this in mind I decided to create a 3d model of a Mark IX spitfire, but rather than just showing the outer skin, the model would be a cutaway of all the internal details, possibly in the style of Mike Badrock. It is worth looking up some of the cutaway vector drawings he has created, especially the spitfire. As a 3D model mine will be able to benefit from realistic texturing and global illumination to give a more photo realistic appearance.

The amount of detail needed means I will have to model hundreds of components to add to the inside of the spitfire. To start, I have decided to build the super structure of the aeroplane first as this will give me the framework to add all the components.
Mk IX Spitfire Structural Framework
Its been quite a challenge to find suitable reference images and plans, but things are now progressing well, though there is a lot more detail to add before the framework will be finished.

Besides working on the spitfire project, I have broke out my sketching pencils and had a go at a few portraits. Its been almost 40 years since I last sketched a face, and I was really pleased that I could still get a reasonable likeness. I have done quite a few technical drawings over the years with pencil and ink, but left the more artistic drawing alone. As a start I have sketched a couple of characters from Game of Thrones and also a good friend of mine.

Daenerys Tygarian and Tyrion Lanister

Bill Kaye




January:

This month marks the 10 year anniversary of keeping this web log of some of my hobbies, and posting articles and tutorials that have hopefully helped or inspire others to get started with graphics, or just having a go to make or repair something themselves.

For me 2017 marks a major change of direction as I embark on a new career path. If you come to this site occasionally you have probably noticed that nothing was added from mid 2015. This was because I was exhausted and being made ill from the stress of my last job. In September 2016 I parted company with my employer to take a well deserved career break and recover my health. The release from the past few years of stress has been great and I am back on track to get back to working on projects I enjoy rather than being forced to travel Europe from meeting to meeting.

My intention is to start up as a freelance Technical Artist in a few months time, and hopefully over time be able to make a living from work I enjoy and will certainly take pride in.

A project aimed at helping me promote my artistic skills is the creation of a dedicated web site highlighting the work I will be able to do for people. It is early days yet, but it is beginning to take shape and I have enjoyed updating myself with some of the recent changes to Blender producing material for the site, and a few other projects.

Robert Burke - Illustration, website
I have set myself a deadline for April to have the site populated and fully functional, at the moment it is hosted on a sub domain of this site, the content can be seen by clicking the image above.

Though I haven't posted anything over the past 18 months it doesn't mean I have been completely inactive. A new project I have been working on since leaving work is to convert a Volkswagen T5 builders van into a
T5 Builders Van

Camper. The van had reasonable bodywork, but fairly high mileage and a number of mechanical problems.

The biggest problem turned out to be a defective glow plug, which was sheared in the cylinder head and necessitated dismantling the front of the van to make room to drill it out. A full service, new cam belt and rebuilt front suspension has knocked the van into what I hope will be a fairly reliable condition.

Once I was satisfied with the mechanics, it was on to the camper conversion with the first job being fitting the Pop-Top roof which was supplied as a kit of parts.
The roof had to be cut out, and a structural frame riveted in place to add support back to the roof.

Once the roof was on, the side and rear panels were cut out and windows bonded into position. Still to do on the outside is to paint the bumpers to match the white bodywork and refurbish the alloy wheels.

The plan is to also make and install the interior myself, hopefully by the spring it will be back on the road and providing us some great holidays around the UK.

PopTop and Windows fitted
Unfortunately the piano project detailed in the 2014 / 2015 posts turned into one of my few failures. After spending many attempts at freeing off much of the movement only for many of the hammers to seize up a day or two later. Then finding it wouldn't hold its tune for more than a few hours, meant it wasn't possible to bring it back into working condition. The 30 plus years it stood unplayed and dried out was just too much and after taking advice from a couple of piano technicians who agreed the only option was to scrap it, so unfortunately it had to go.


The pdf version of the Precision Modelling Guide has also had to go, as I now don't have an income and can't justify paying for the extra bandwidth created by the download of the guide. The guide is very out of date being written for Blender 2.49.

However for legacy purposes I will leave the online content of the guide on my tutorials page.

Precision Modelling Guide






Terms of Use Site Map Top

All Content © 2007 - 2017 Robert Burke, unless otherwise stated.
Please contact me if you would like to use any of this content.