New Semester at OTIS

logo_otis Its a new semester at OTIS College of Art and Design where I teach a class in 3D Visualization. This semester has a brand new teaching structure, thank to inspiration from the Khan Academy educatonal website. They pioneered the ‘flipping the classroom’ two-part teaching strategy.

Part one includes viewing all lectures at home via pre-recorded videos. That way, students can watch at their own pace or even view multiple times if needed. The problem being solved is that live classroom lectures are often the wrong pace for a majority of the class; so students can learn at their own pace wherever they watch (or catch up if they missed a class!) Part two is the classroom, where we will now be doing ‘homework.’ This will function as a lab, where all students will get individualized help on their projects.

The challenge to getting this system in place is that you have to design, write, record, and then edit — many hours of video instruction. Since I have been creating courses at for a few years, I now have four courses online and ready to go! Those four courses total 998 minutes or 16 hours and 38 minutes. I had no idea my mouth was so damn big I was so knowledgeable.


Product Design Rendering Course at Lynda

The newest course by Professor ’3D’ Dave was just published this month at Titled ‘Rendering with Rhino and V-Ray: Product Design with Dave Schultze,‘ the course runs 3 hours and covers all of Dave’s best tips, tricks, strategies, and 3D hacks for making spectacular product design renderings. In its first two weeks of release, it has been watched by over 200 people in 33 countries.


New Rendering Course at

The first rendering course by Professor Dave is now online at Titled ‘Rendering Fundamentals with Rhino and V-Ray,‘ the 3-hour course is a thorough and fun introduction to the art and science of 3D rendering. In its first month of release, it had already been watched by over 500 people in 90 countries.


Webinar for T-Splines

JimGirard_circleGood friend and fellow 3D geek, Jim Girard will be hosting his first webinar on T-Splines on Jun 25, 2014. This webinar will explain the benefits and nuances of T-Splines/subd “sub-division” surface modeling, and how tag team strategies between Rhino 5 and T-Splines can be used for exquisite form development and easily initiated changes.
The webinar is free and will last about one hour, including the Q & A session. For more information, check out the novedge blog post. Special guest will be Matt Sederberg, founder of T-Splines before the acquisition, and current Product Manager at Autodesk, Inc.

  • WHO: Jim Girard
  • WHAT: T-Splines for Rhino Free Webinar
  • WHEN: LIVE! Wednesday, June 25, 2014 — 11:00am PDT, recorded for later viewing
  • WHERE: On the internet at Novedge
  • WHY: T-Splines is amazing. You need it.


Compositing with Rhino, V-Ray, and Photoshop

Using the alpha channels option with V-Ray materials, you can replace backgrounds easily in Photoshop and make your renderings POP! This video uses Rhino 5, V-Ray 2, and Photoshop. Run time = 7:42.


First Ever 3D Animation

This historical video was recently re-discovered after being lost for many years. It was produced in 1972 and is believed to be the world’s first computer-generated 3D animation. It was created by Ed Catmull, a true pioneer of 3D technology, who was a computer scientist at the University of Utah (birthplace of the famous Utah teapot.) If the name sounds familiar, it’s because a few years later he was one of the founders of Pixar.

40 Year Old 3D Computer Graphics (Pixar, 1972) from Robby Ingebretsen on Vimeo.


Cool New 3D Technology

With a claim of “unlimited geometry,” an Australian start-up called Euclideon is getting serious industry and media attention, even though their product is not yet released. Their technology uses point-cloud data rather than polygons and, as a result, they promise digital environments that are 100,000 times more detailed than the current state of the art.

The new video demo looks impressive, but you still have dubious geeks who claim that it will never work. It’s being developed specifically for games, but there is potential for 3D design work as well.


Why Enter a Competition?

I am a big fan of competitions. Yes, I know that some of them can be exploitative, but I always get some high quality design work out of them, assuming I have the time to do it right.

The key is to pick a subject you feel would benefit / expand your portfolio AND is something you love. Its just too damn hard to get motivated otherwise. I also find that innovative ideas are the easiest part; its the time investment before the deadline that is your biggest enemy. Everything in your life will suddenly look more far more interesting, so it’s very tempting to ignore the deadline when no one is ‘watching.’

The advantage of the design work you produce will be that you have tremendous freedom – no client, no budget, and typically, a multi-month deadline. It really boils down to “how good are you?” and, of course, the always unpredictable judges.

Philco PCThe worst case scenario is that you have a gorgeous design (and/or research) in a new category and you can show every phase of the work. You can also publicize it via a press release; many gadget and design blogs are hungry for original content. Do this part right, and you can easily get more publicity and marketing juice than the winners!

The best case scenario is you win! Now you get everything listed in the worst case scenario — plus a cash prize and/or the sponsor’s publicity. Maybe even a new client or two.

I have project examples that both won and lost — and will share them in future posts.


Feature Sneak Peek for the Next V-Ray for Rhino

As one of the V-Ray beta testers, I was not allowed to discuss some of these features until the were recently publicized by Chaos Group. Of all the new features, the RT (Real Time) feature is my favorite. It leverages the GPU as an additional rendering processors, which not only give you faster renders, but REAL TIME previews of all of the stuff you usually have to wait for: materials, reflections, shadows, highlights. Now you can see your rendered scene almost instantly, and move things around until it is perfect.

Why is this cool? You are probably aware that the fastest CPUs have 4 or 6 cores, which is how render engines like V-Ray do their calculations. What you might not know is that some video cards have HUNDREDS of processors, called GPUs (Graphic Processing Units) which can now be used for render calculations. It’s a game changer … and super cool to boot.

NOTE: The video was removed by Chaos Group and I was informed that the RT feature is definitely planned, but not yet working with the GPU.


Professor 3D is Alive!

The most recent update to the site features a new, large-teapot-headed illustrated mascot. The artwork was created by the talented independent illustrator Keith Noordzy. If you like the work, check out his website. He’s got a lot more!

For a historical background on why the character has a teapot for a head, you should check out the Wikipedia page for the Utah Teapot. Basically, you have a combination of geometry, history, and an in-joke for 3D geeks.