Studying snow

It recently snowed in my local area and I decided to go about recreating realistic snow in 3D. Snow doesn’t sound like the hardest thing to recreate. Its solid white, and covers an area from above. However snow is not perfect. Especially when its been stepped on and turned to slush! I found an amazing tutorial on Blender Guru (youtube). This tutorial explained a way of using displacement maps to manipulate a surface. I was particularly interested in the tyre treads and footprints. This is a very clever method to producing realistic snow, on top of this the material added smaller details. I wanted to try this for myself.
I followed the tutorial and used the provided resources from Blender Guru. Here I have sown my results.

one edit

looking closer at my results I picked out areas that could be improved.

I took some reference photos to further study, using reference photos is as important as looking at your subject whilst painting. The general snow structure is pretty much done, however the material could be improved. In different scenarios where snow may have fallen on cobbles, the cobbles would be visible underneath the snow. Using the displacement map is the best way to define thickness of snow. Using this information I modified the material to show another material underneath. An alternative to this, is to create a plane underneath with a different material, then using the displacement map to change its opacity.

My reference photos provided up close shots of snow, the finer details. I added an extra noise node, so the edges of the snowy area aren’t as sharp. The smaller details became a focus to selling the effect. I noticed in the PC game The Division that this effect was heavily used in their gaming engine Snow drop, thus creating rather immersive environments. Clearly this game was concentrated on graphics and new game engine features. So far this is my favourite engine alongside Unreal and Cry-engine in terms of visuals.

This technique to producing snow can be transferred across different platforms.

Experimental territory

My uni work is reflecting in my own. These personal graphics are largely inspired by my subject in modern design. Incorporation of text and simple ways to portray idea and feelings.

We fade to grey. Happy holidays! #3ddesign #3dartist #graphicdesigns #artistmafia

A post shared by MZWK 👁 (@nmzwk) on


Cinema 4D

Cinema 4D! the motion graphics tool of choice, well I’d better get my head around it. This software is growing in popularity at a strong rate. I also noticed it was in practise at my previous internship. Through university I have been learning the software, these are my first results.

Car-Design WIP

  • Previously I have built cars from blueprints and reference images. Well for this project (perhaps series of projects) I’m designing from scratch! To start there is always research required. Looking at the big brands: Audi, BMW, Mercedes, Porsche and McLaren as main design inspirations. Paying particular attention to body flow. This is an on going project!
  • Using Blender3D I created a scene of lines, that would represent the main features. I will only be using Blender3D for the design part of the project, this will provide high quality blueprints I can work with using other software.
Overall Progress
Line Design (Current Stage)
  • Connector.

    Current Stage

    Many iterations of line design have been made and there are still modifications to make. This stage is vital to the rest of the project.

Studying Puddles

Rain is part of the environmental cycle. So rain is seen every now and again, whether we like it or not! So it makes sense to produce 3D scenes that include wet surfaces and puddles. In this article I will be studying how rain affects materials and how to re-produce them in the virtual environment. To start I set out after a rainy day to take some photo’s in my local area. Paying particular attention to how rain affects tarmac. The way light bounces back from the wet tarmac really equalises the scene.

puddles edit

This is the result of the tutorial video. This gave me a node setup I understood by following the tutorial. So adding modifications is easy and understandable. From the result I highlighted areas for improvement. I wanted to take full advantage of the displacement map; so that the water slips into the lower spaces in detail. To do this I multiplied the bump map in the material nodes to get this result.

Realflow Demo

I learnt from my time at The-Neighbourhood that Realflow (particle simulation engine) can be used to create complicated and realistic water effects. This software is largely used in the VFX industry to create such effects for films and simulations.

I’ve spent some time learning this software and I’m happy to post my first results!

Using 3DS Max allowed me to use 3rd party render engines, giving me fantastic results! Although importing Realflow simulations does not support motion blur, I found rendering a short sequence then bluing them together afterwards created a similar result.

Excited to use Realflow in future projects!

Ben Louth 2013 Trailer

A friend of mine (Ben Louth) was enthusiastic about BMX and asked me to collaborate with him in creating a video. There were many attempts of each trick. In-between each failed trick I had time to change position and explore new angles that would look more dynamic. Ben had also directed me as to where he would perform tricks so I knew where to follow him and focus correctly. This video was not the final product but the trailer for the longer version, I am more pleased with this version because of its more artistic approach. In the creating of the video I met other bikers who also wanted a video for themselves, this project was proven popular.

Saatchi Gallery Trip

Stockport college took our art group to London to explore galleries and sights. Some galleries didn’t allow photography however the Saatchi gallery did which to my luck was my favorite gallery of the trip. I prefer modern art over more traditional art. The majority of modern art is based on similar techniques used in traditional art but applied in a different way or media. I found the London trip overall really inspiring. I would have sat down and made some sketches for myself if I had more time. I took my camera and tried to take as many photos as I could to record my findings.