What Paul Daniels told me about halos by James Whitaker

Paul Daniels portrait by James Whitaker

Paul Daniels was a really lovely guy to photograph. He was warm and friendly, and incredibly generous with his time. I met him in his dressing room before a show and Debbie McGee was there, repairing his jacket. There was the obligatory magician's rabbit hoping around. It was everything I could have hoped for from a meeting with the celebrity TV magician of my childhood.

As we walked down the street to where I wanted to take the portrait Paul started to explain to me the origin of the halo. He explained that back in the day sculptors started to add disks above the heads of their famous subjects to prevent their face from becoming awash with bird poo. With time this purpose was forgotten and the discs were simply associated with important people, and then in turn saints.

Now, a lot of my knowledge comes from stories like this. Often the stories are told to me in the pub where alcohol may have been consumed. Despite the world wide web being on my phone, in my pocket, I don't fact check these things. Wikipedia is not consulted. Had I referred to Google I would have found countless articles about the origins of the halo, almost none of which refer to bird excrement. But then why let facts stand in the way of a good story?

Siclone Tutorial by James Whitaker

This is a little tutorial for SiClone, a neat 3DS Max plugin that I’ve been using recently by SiNi Software - https://www.sinisoftware.com/

If you have any questions or queries please ask away in the comments section below and I'll try my best to help, and if you enjoy the tutorial please sign up to our newsletter so we can keep in touch - http://eepurl.com/cf3NM5

When I Grow Up by James Whitaker

Racing Car Driver

I want to be...

Did you ever daydream when you were little? Over the last couple of months I've been whittling away on these images for Getty, exploring the day dreaming of a toddler (our Jack). Working on them between commissions has meant progress has been quite slow and there are more images to produce for the series, but I thought I'd share the progress so far.  

Steam Train Driver
Pilot

WVWG Summer Exhibition by James Whitaker

Toddler with bucket and spade

Around the corner from where we live there's a little shop that runs a gallery of local artists' work in their window - Walthamstow Village Window Gallery. On Friday their summer exhibition is opening and Toddler with bucket and spade is going to be part of it. It's running until 3 September so there's plenty of time to see it while picking up your sourdough loaf from the shop opposite.

I am selling limited edition prints of Toddler with bucket and spade here.

Space Baby at 3DS Max London User Group by James Whitaker

Toddler in space

On Wednesday evening I'm presenting my work and, in particular the making of Space Baby, at the 3DS Max London Users Group. I'll be showing some of my workflow and how I created Jack's space suit with Marvellous Designer.

For more information go to - https://www.meetup.com/3DSLondon/

Come along and say hello over a pint.

If you've not been before you should, there's always interesting stuff being shown (this week being a perfect example) and beer - a winning combination!

Manor Avenue by James Whitaker

I've been looking forward to sharing these photographs ever since I took them. David Eland, a good friend from university has just finished this magnificent job, renovating a 5 storey town house in south London. The largest element of the design was to lower the basement by 1m to create a cavernous lower ground floor that houses kitchen and dining.

I think this is possibly the first house that I've photographed with an original Damien Hirst in it. The Hirst piece hangs above an exquisite steel and oak staircase fabricated by R E Cooke. It turns out that their main business is making specialist buckets for diggers, but they make a pretty awesome staircase.

Photograph of Kitchen by James Whitaker

The kitchen was crafted by Sebastian Cox and you can find out more about David's work on his website Ozkurt & Eland.

Photograph of Living Room by James Whitaker
Photograph of Living Room by James Whitaker
Photograph of lower ground floor by Architectural Photographer James Whitaker
A cavernous living room photographed by architectural photographer James Whitaker

Light Fields by James Whitaker

Geeky, I know. Extremely!!

I was chatting to someone last night about light fields and it reminded me just how mind blowing they are. Essentially a light field camera captures 4D light information rather than 2D like a traditional camera - rather than recording a flat image it records the light levels in a volume allowing you to do all manor of clever things in post-production.

For anyone interested in exploring the frontier but is short for time check out this video,

For anyone hungry for more intel this podcast from the CG Garage Podcast delves in deep(ish).

Inner Working by James Whitaker

This visualisation is of a proposed 8 storey office building, with retail and coffee shop at ground floor. You can compare the final image with the computer model below to see what we did in 3D. I prefer to create as much of the image as possible in the 3D model and keep photoshop work to a minimum. Partly that's just how I like to work, but it has the giant benefit that it increases our ability to adopt client changes as late into the process as possible, and minimise the impact of that one final tweak to the design.

Folding House by James Whitaker

I recently photographed this rather nice extension by Thomas & Spiers Architects in south west London. I believe the budget for the construction was relatively modest, yet they've crafted a really lovely space with a calm quality of light in it. I would happily move in!

For more information about the architects visit their website here.

5054 by James Whitaker

5054 Magazine

I've recently discovered 5054 magazine and it's well worth a look. I recommend it. Patrick Myles is in charge of art direction (previously at Blueprint and RIBA Journal) and he's done an excellent job of it. This is not your average motoring magazine.

You can see more on 5054's website and read about it in an interview with Patrick on Creative Review's website.

Amongst the Fields by James Whitaker

Yesterday I finished a set of 4 new images exploring an air museum lying amongst fields of wheat. They were a fun set to work on, especially as they provided a good vehicle for experimenting with materials. It was quite satisfying dialling in the patinated steel for the column cladding and nice seeing it against the whitewashed brickwork. 

Such an expansive wheat field caused a few problems as the amount of geometry in the scene can quickly reach some pretty crazy levels. With geometry quantity under control though I invested a bit of time refining the wheat materials and I think the end result is really rich. 

You can see the images in our portfolio pages here

How does CGI work? by James Whitaker

People often ask me how does CGI work, or how do I create my images and I've always felt like I wasn't giving a particularly good answer so I've made this short video as an introduction for the uninitiated.

If you like the video be sure to follow us on Facebook - facebook.com/WhitakerStudio/
and Instagram - instagram.com/whitaker_studio/

And signup for our newsletter to receive a 3D model of the cup - whitakerstudio.co.uk/how-does-cgi-work-newsletter-signup

A free piece of 3D software for you to play with is Sketchup - sketchup.com/