FROM PIXELS TO PERCEPTION
Way back in a world of greyness, and when we could play football and reached for the stars! I appeared on planet earth. At the of age of 3, my love of colour and textures began to make its mark, my parents recall that they were told by my nursery school teacher that, ‘You can tell which paintings are Tim’s!’ My journey starts there… My younger years were a battle with letters and numbers, I was finally diagnosed with dyslexia at 16! It seems to be a well trodden path for those of a ‘artistic bent’ or perhaps that is how we cope with it, who knows… I would spend every hour I could painting, drawing, making stuff from stuff, and generally making a mess! Later on I started taking photos, and would spend many weekend nights in our blacked out kitchen developing black and white photos. This was my first involvement with technology to create images. I love the anticipation of seeing an image appearing in front of you! That spooky red atmosphere of a darkroom, I loved it! Thanks Dad, great memories…
These series of pages are a time-line of 36 years of development, in computer graphics as a technology, and my own journey starting in 1983 at ‘Brunel Technical College’ in Bristol. It ran a small, but very respected, graphic design course, just 30 students for 4 years. One of the inspiring lecturers was Rhod Lewis, a lecturer in computing and maths, with an interest in patterns and digital images. He had the foresight to see how computers were going to change the world of graphics and design. In 1983 he started a fledgling department in one small room, within the Graphic Design building, which consisted of a couple of old temporary prefabs on the side of the main college, a former Orphanage. He told us sceptical ‘art students’ of how we could, and probably would, create images in the future using a computer!
I remember seeing a program he ran which created animated fractals (The Mandelbrot set). It blew my mind! I was a convert! Rhod and I sort of hit it off, and over the next 4 years we travelled along this new road, both learning as we went… Thank you Rhod.
A series of images created as part of a video sequence submitted for the annual student awards by the ‘Design and Art Direction’ (D&AD) in 1987. I was awarded a highly recommended! Created on an ‘Apple IIGS’, the final images were printed on a thermal wax printer and bound as a book/story board.
In September 1987, I started my first job producing slides for presentations. Yes, we started with film and light much like Victorian lantern shows! The company was also developing its own software, a paint program called SilverTree. This was a really cutting edge program for the time, running on ‘Sun Microsystems’ hardware. I was lucky to be a small part in that development, given free reign to create images to promote the product. Highlight was an image created for the 89 SIGGRAPH Exhibition. As Far as we were aware, it was the worlds first 8K image. ‘SilverTree’ really was a great package and lovely to use. Developed by Bob Shillito, and created by Dr Adrian Bowyer and others at Bath University, it was a huge leap in graphics terms. I owe Bob a big thanks, he was a major player on my journey. Thank you Bob. The timing for ‘SilverTree’ was its problem, a small company called ‘Adobe’, released their own paint package, you may have heard of it ‘Photoshop’. The rest is, as they say, History! I have fond memories of ‘SilverTree’ and it helped develop the way I create images, she will not be forgotten! ‘SilverTree’ is part of my computer graphics DNA..
Created with Silver-Tree for a magazine article in 1989 and ‘Skier’ created for promotional material…
SIGGRAPH 89 – ‘THE BOSTON TEA POT’ believed to be the worlds first 8K image, created 30 years ago!
PROMOTIONAL IMAGE – THE LOVERS! (1989)
From 1990 to 1991 I worked for a design company in Bristol then, in 1991, I was asked by Rhod Lewis at Brunel Technical College if I would like to help him with the running of the ever growing Computer Graphic Department. I became the technician/in house designer/student assistant. We had about 15 Apple Mac computers which were becoming more and more relevant in the real world of graphic design. I had been away from Apple for 4 years and I needed to re-kindle my relationship with Apple again. At this time I began thinking about what I could do with the technology and how I could develop my own artistic ideas. In 1992, I was offered a job to transform traditional ways of producing artwork by introducing computers and software for creating digital artwork, to a large successful design company outside Bristol. At this time, I started to use 3D modelling to create digital environments for presenting graphics, producing prototypes, creating animations and using modelling data for Stereolithography. In 1995 I started DUKEDESIGN. By the mid 2,000’s 3D modelling software was at a level which would enable you to create photo-realistic images, ideal for prototypes and illustration work. By this time I knew what I wanted to create and how I was going to do it. Life was about to throw me a curve ball!
Various projects, visuals and prototypes 1994-2008. 2006 Lightwave 3D for prototype visualisation. More at: www.dukedesign-uk.com
In 2005 events in my life pushed me to think what I really wanted to do with my work, and the direction it should take… Something was telling me to get on and create my pictures! From 2005 I started to do just that. I had 16 pictures complete and hundreds in the planning. One of the first I created was THE WALL, a townscape of Burnham-on-Sea, featuring the protective flood wall completed in 1988, after the town was flooded in 1981… The picture was a ‘dry run’, excuse the pun! To gauge what response and interest there is in my work, the prints are for sale at ‘SEA BREEZE’ in Burnham. In 2008 the world fell to bits! That was the catalyst that accelerated this journey. Since 2008 I have been creating this collection of images. To date 150 pictures have been completed and are available online, with many more in the pipeline. This site will allow me to release new prints when they are ready, which can take a few years from original idea to the final print. I am interested in new ways to use technology and what can be created with it. Soon as well as ‘Digital Originals’ I hope to create ‘Digital Sculptures’…
‘Fergus the Tractor’, 12 book series from 2001-2017 Illustrator and Photoshop – More examples of illustrations for packaging, books and websites again, Illustrator and Photoshop.
I hope to create pictures that reflect the world around me. Images that explore shape,colour, and texture that I see and experience. Natural and man-made places are planned and in my ‘system’. From local buildings to natural forms which I can use to create dynamic, interesting, thought provoking images… These will start to appear in time. The next natural step may be, hi-definition animation and 3D printing, both these areas are in my view finder and I hope I can start to produce the first ‘Digital Sculptures’ in the next few years. I am already prototyping what I have in mind… I would like to create canvases for your walls, animations for your smart device and real objects for your shelves! This is a real milestone for graphics and digital art. Over the last 30 years computers have transformed the worlds of film and gaming, with more power, more realism. We are getting very near to the point of not knowing what is ‘real’ and what is not! Canvases will become screens with high resolution images displayed on real canvas, framed and hanging on your wall… Imagine a virtual gallery, a space you could ‘visit’, and interact with the ‘Art’.
A space of endless rooms and environments. If you wanted a ‘real’ print or object, you just select it. Maybe it is as far as traditional ‘canvas’ will go, I hope not. I love the simplicity of hanging an object that can complement and enhance it’s environment… Transforming a space into a place…
Illustration for childrens books about ‘THE PAST’ created using Lightwave 3D, Illustrator and Photoshop. Prototype ‘digital Sculpture’ half size 3D printed from Lightwave 3D… ‘THE FUTURE’! Below the original print ‘FOLDED FORM, IN ORANGE’ image created using the same 3D model!