I often find I dislike the colors used in heat maps. The designer (often not an information designer) assumes that red is the most attention-getting color, and that throwing a lot of different rainbow hues of equal brightness is the way to go.

I think yellow attracts more attention than red does in these diagrams, and brighter values call the eye more than darks do.


I see Edward Tufte agrees with me, so you know he's gotta be right. ;)

Design based on Pulsar PSR B1919+21


Some motion graphics I made based on a graph of radio emissions from pulsar  PSR B1919+21. You might be reminded of the the cover of Joy Division's debut album, Unknown Pleasures. Designer Peter Saville and the band got their inspiration from the same source.


Alien Skin Exposure 5 (Exposure 6 is coming soon) makes a nice way to enhance the look of drawings and paintings. I like the color grading choices, as well as the paper and border textures. These are virtual liths and cyanotypes applied to some quick anatomical sketches I did.


Maxwell Render v3 subsurface scattering (SSS) presets as defined by the default material wizard settings. A reference.

Follow the link to see the example renderings...

Maxwell Render Neon Tube Test


A Maxwell Render test trying to hone in on a look for neon.

This test consists of a thin emitter tube within a thicker tube of some roughness, a colored transmittance (in this case red), and short attenuation. I'm trying to make it seem like a hot gas inside a glass tube. This may not be the optimal solution but it's not far off for my liking.

The Photoshop Blend-if sliders are a great way to interactively blend two images based on luminosity ranges.

I sometimes use it to wear away an image of a painted graphic against an underlying wood grain or brick texture, to make it seem as if the paint is very old. When I do this I often wish I had a layer mask to use to control the blend, so I could take it into, say, Maxwell, and make a layered material with the wood rough and the paint smooth.

Here's one way to preview the composite using the Blend-if sliders and extract the underlying luminosity mask into a layer mask.

Snow Warrior


A computer generated vehicle commissioned by Chicago photographer Robert Randall as part of a larger Snow Warrior composition of his. Maya, ZBrush, Photoshop, Maxwell.


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