So, we are now in 2014.
I like 2014. It’s an even number that seems…strong. Well rounded. Advanced. Optimistic. Maybe that is because it’s all shiny and new. In any case 2014 will hopefully be, and I am trying my best to make it so, a year where StylePixelStudios grows even bigger and better and produce heaps of great designs and content to share with everyone!
But first, the obligatory goals.
From the business side of things, I have already ticked off some of my goals, so I’m off to a pretty good start! First up is the acquisition of a huge monitor to port to my laptop (poor thing having to put up with resource-heavy programs). There are many types out there, ranging from $2,000 down to $150, but I wasn’t looking for anything too specific. I wanted something that was big, as I was tired of staring at my laptop screen, but I also wanted something that would display colours more true to life than my laptop screen. You see, I have since discovered that my laptop screen displays slightly washed-out colours with what seems to be a bluish tinge. Nonetheless, I picked up a Samsung S27C350. It’s 27″ of monitor goodness, and fits snug in my work desk station thing.
I have also started to organise StylePixelStudios a bit more, with a cleaned up work area, physical folders for physical work, invoice templates (and issued!) and thoughts of ways to obtain business growth.
One of my main goals for 2014, especially for the first half of 2014, is to establish a StylePixelStudios website portfolio. In such a case this blog would migrate over there (wherever that is). To do this I plant to learn enough HTML and CSS using the delightfully designed and by all accounts very informative book Learn HTML & CSS by Jon Duckett. Using the book, plus online resources, I plan to develop a website born from the ideas in my own head and plan to manage it. It will include all significant works and will act as a portfolio for the work StlePixelStudios does. This will mean my own domain name, custom email addresses and BUSINESS CARDS!
Enough of the wall of text, on to the work updates!
The robotic arm being developed by the lovely folks at 2Mar Robotics is progressing very well. Before the Christmas break (and my month long holiday) we developed some 3D printing friendly case designs to print for founder Marita Cheng to take with her to CES (only the largest consumer electronics expo in the world!) to show the arm off. Apparently the show was a huge success for the arm with a lot of publicity and interest in the arm. Unfortunately no pictures just yet, but it folds up nicely and looks shapely with inspiration taken from the human arm.
It has been a fantastic learning experience for me, combining my engineering experience in aerospace engineering with industrial and aesthetic design. Sometimes, they do clash!
SpeedScenes is a company I am revelling at the idea of working with. Started by one man in the UK, the company aims to release floor play mat sized mats containing detailed yet child friendly layouts of real-world racing circuits.
The idea came about after the product was found to be non-existant. Similar products existed, but were either not detailed enough or were not of actual racing circuits. A quick google image search later brought up my Pit Lane View, and we got in contact. A sample later, and meetings with racing circuit personnel and we are currently slated to start selling the first mats later in the year at major international racing events.
This is arguably the biggest, most significant project I have ever worked on. The idea that the work that I have done has inspired this to come about,and my work will be put on display for everyone to see is phenomenal. To top it off, I love doing it! It’s fantastic!
PATHWAYS INTO ENGINEERING
Pathways into Engineering (PiE) is an organisation born out of Robogals. However, unlike Robogals who aim to teach primary school kids about engineering to expose them to engineering and get kids interested, PiE aims to attract older girls and women who may already have careers make the transition to engineering careers (should they choose to do so).
I was contacted to do up a logo for them that would be attractive to women, while also demonstratign strength and promoting the idea of a ‘pathway’ into engineering. After a months worth fo going back and forth, the end result was well recieved and looked like this:
The design was born out of a pathway taking on many directions, and sometimes the path towards a goal may lead you in different directions. The use of the symbol ‘pi’ was suggested at the start of the project, and is a great idea as it reflects the name (PiE) as well as reinforces the engineering side of it. The ribbon idea was born out of a flat idea generated in the conceptual design stage, and was offered as a way for the logo to appear more feminine and softer. The use of deep pinks, reds and purples also provided warmth, softness but also excitement and dynamics to the logo.
The result is a logo that reinforces the organisations aims and processes, while providing an exciting and feminine look to attract the target audience.
AUSTRALIAN MOTORSPORT CIRCUIT
Mid last year I started on an ambitious project to design a racing circuit in Melbourne, Australia to replace the temporary Albert Park circuit. The project involved picking a location in Melbourne against a number of criteria, assessing the land and designing a circuit that would comply to all modern circuit design rules for hosting a Formula 1 event.
The project has involved a number of different software items, including GoogleEarth, Excel, Illustrator, Solidworks, and a lap simulator program called OptimumLap.
Since late last year, not much has been done (to be quite honest). I am currently at the stage of the design process where I am weaning out my favourite designs. The current leader is the circuit below, which is the 15th design developed:
I will need to alter it and develop it more to be ultimately satisfied with it, including ensuring the circuit can be considered safe for Formula 1 cars. This includes assessing run-off areas in corners. After this I will need to assess access to pit buildings (as well as pit building size), access roads, barrier placement, which may then lead into even MORE circuit layout revisions. Sheesh!
After ALL this, and once the circuit design is set, I will then attempt to overlay it on the actual location totpgraphy to see how the elevation changes effect the circuit. The location I have chosen (outside Sunbury near Calder Park Raceway) has very little elevation changes, but unfortunately there were not many other options that allowed for great elevation changes.
Now once THAT is done, I will go onto the circuit logo, building designs, and promotional and informational material. For the promo and informational material, I currently think I will do a fluffy overview sort of document showing the circuit layout(s), nice pictures etc. Something like a media release. The other document, likely the last piece of work I will do on the project, will be an in depth look at the circuit, including location scouting, circuit design, location details etc.
CLOSED COCKPIT FORMULA CAR DESIGN
A low priority project, this project is to design a potential fantasy closed cockpit, open wheel formula car. This is a response to the undulating idea of a closed-cockpit design appearing in formula 1 cars in the near future. I did a quick sketch of my initial thoughts earlier, but here it is again!
I think this project will be a second-half-2014 project, but we shall see.
PIXEL ART PROJECTS
I have other non design projects too!
The first is an idea I got while in Austria last year. There is a shop called Libro which sells art stuff, but also stationary, dvds, games and toys. It is a bit of a mixed bag I grant you, but within they had little canvases (we’re talking maybe 6cm x 15cm). While looking at them I had the idea of getting 4of them and painting the same scene, but in each different season. The image would be of the same location, but would show the location in summer, autumn, winter and spring. This was spurred by my close watch on the weather in Austria, and the fact that the Austrian landscape changes so much over the seasons (snow in winter with non-snow covered areas dark and gloomy, summer filled with sunshine and greenery etc.). It will likely have all the stereotyical seaosnal things (autumn will have brown leaves, summer full of sun etc.).
My first thought was to get the canvases and paint them, but didn’t want to bring such fragile wooden cnavases back home to Australia. But then I realised I could do the images in pixel art and put them in a four-series picture frame thingy.
My other other project is similar to the above in that I will want to use pixel art, but this idea came half way through watching f Back to the Future Part III as part of a marathon. My idea was to depict the same location…through time. Starting from the natural landscape, firsts settlement, build up, modern times and then future times. I would love to see that!
That’s it from me for this month. I hope 2014 goes well for everyone, and brings many fantastic times!