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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


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

Spitfire Cockpit details

608 Bearing Tutorial

608 Bearing Tutorial
Updated to Blender 2.63+

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.
Technical Illustration of a Spitfire - in progress
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.

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


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


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

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