Rendering Realistically in Keyshot with Sam Gwilt

Hey I’m Sam and I do design! I recently made a YouTube video demonstrating how to Render Realistically Really Rapidly! This process helps break down your 3D models and turn them into photorealistic renders. Below are a few tips that should help you get some eye-poppingly real Keyshot renders.

I recently attended a talk at Develop3D Live by Luxion Chief Scientist Henrik Wann Jensen and was amazed by how detailed the algorithms behind Keyshot are. He showed sample renders of the Ford Interceptor renderings used as adverts in car magazines, as well as various glasses of milk that, by inputting the chemical compounds of each into the Keyshot algorithm, could even distinguish between skimmed, semi-skimmed, and full-fat!

WANT GREAT RENDERS? THINK LIKE A PHOTOGRAPHER

If realism is what you’re looking for, it’s important to understand what you’re trying to replicate. Keyshot’s algorithms can do a lot behind the scenes, but making realistic renders means understanding photography theory, and knowing what to look for when it comes to image styles.

There are three golden rules that make up a good photograph:

• Subject matter: what is the thing you’re capturing?
• Composition: what is the right angle and the framing?
• Lighting: How is the scene lit?

The same principles apply to renders. In Keyshot, the first thing I do is import the data I want to render, and start laying things out to get the composition right. Camera settings also contribute to the composition: as a rule of thumb, I usually stick between 50mm and 80mm lenses. These are typically what photographers use for portrait and product photography, as it replicates what our eyes naturally see.

Here you can see the two image layouts I chose to render, before applying the materials.

The difference between a 30mm and 50mm lens can be seen here. The 30mm gives this coffee pot a strange perspective, whereas the 50mm is a lot more natural.

THE MORE ACCURATE THE MATERIALS AND LIGHTING, THE BETTER THE RENDER

With the scene set, it’s time to apply the materials. Keyshot’s material graph has become incredibly powerful recently. It’s possible to fine tune each material to have an exact base colour, reflection, translucency, opacity, and much more. Adding in these complex material nodes increases the render time so, while you’re still fine-tuning your scene, I would recommend keeping things simple with just the base materials (and possibly reflection maps to check the highlights aren’t blown out).

Once the base materials are set, it’s time to light the scene. Deciding on the lighting setup really depends on the style of image that you’re aiming for. A soft white light in a studio environment or a sharp warm 2700k temperature light simulating a sunrise with crisp shadows can really change how the scene looks, so remember to replicate real photography if you’re going for realism. I’d recommend learning the basics, like colour temperature and 3-point lighting as a starting point, and then you can really start to have fun!

IMPERFECTIONS MAKE IMAGES FEEL MORE NATURAL

The final push for realism comes from disrupting the perfect geometry that only computers can create; nothing in the real word has a mathematically perfect straight line. This is where rendering is different from product photography, even though the end goal is the same. Photographing products in the real world involves post-production editing in which all of the imperfections are airbrushed out to produce an “ideal reality”. Renderings come from the opposite direction; starting with perfect geometry and applying precise surface imperfections to make it look realistic. The end goal for both is to hit the ideal reality target, without falling into the uncanny valley, which would make the product look like an eerie airbrushed painting.

Adding displacement maps, refraction maps, specular maps etc. are great ways of adding these surface imperfections. Combining these textures, along with the three golden photography rules, will help create realistic images could one day be on the front of a magazine. Now the only thing left to decide is; would you like to advertise cars or milk?

For more tips and tricks, don’t forget to check out the @sam_does_design Instagram and Youtube pages, and www.samdoes.design


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sam Gwilt is an industrial designer with an eclectic mix of skills. He graduated Brunel University London and worked for Paul Cocksedge Studio, specializing in bespoke lighting installations and exhibitions internationally. He now works with clients globally at consultancy Precipice Design, and also runs an Instagram Page and YouTube channel – Sam_Does_Design – where he shares industry tips with the community.

How to win a design award: A handy guide

If you haven’t read our piece on What Awards Do For Your Design Career, I do recommend you check that out first. An award is instant validation. It puts a stamp of approval on your work, your process, and even you as a designer, helping you stand out from the rest. Awards, aside from validation, also have a number of additional benefits. Cash prizes, trophies, internship opportunities, interested funders/clients, collaborators, and just a fast-track to getting your work seen by thousands if not millions. Here, we try to break down the process of applying for a design award and deliver some insights on what you can do to maximize your chances of winning one. This is, by no means, some cheat-sheet or a hack, but just a very structured way of choosing your battles properly and having the correct strategy in place to win them. So let’s dive in, shall we?

WHAT ARE YOU GUNNING FOR?

You’ve got a project, you want an award. Pretty simple, right? Actually, it’s much more complicated than that! Awards, as many as they are, don’t operate on the same principle. Yes, they do reward great design, but a few things change from award to award… the most noteworthy ones being –

A. Different award programmes reward different aspects/types of design. Not all awards are the same.
B. Jury panels vary from award to award, and from location to location.
C. Prizes vary from award to award too.
D. Budget – Perhaps the most crucial part of a design award. Awards require money. Some more than others.

So ask yourself what you’re gunning for. You could be looking for a stamp of approval on your work/portfolio, or you could be looking for potential collaborators/investors, or even press coverage. You could perhaps do it for the prize money, or a dream job. Based on what you exactly want to achieve, your choice of which design award to apply for will change. Here are a few steps to help you get on the right path.

KNOW YOUR AWARD

Every award is different. It’s important to do a little research on the awards, their requirements, etc. If you’ve got a conceptual product, maybe an award for design concepts is your best bet. If you’ve got a product/proof of concept and you’re looking to take it forward, an award that grants you that sounds like a perfect plan of action. Some awards are category-specific too. There are awards that are strictly for architecture, some specifically for designs aimed at enabling people with special needs, and some just for consumer electronics, or even earth-friendly. Sometimes an award could be country-specific as well. Knowing which award suits your requirements, and which award your project fits best into really goes far to help secure your spot on the winner’s stand.

Spend a healthy amount of time reading the award’s About Us page. See what their aim is, what their ethos is. Take things a step further and look at past winners to get a better idea of the qualitative standard the award demands. Ask yourself if your work compares to theirs. You wouldn’t design a product without putting in a healthy amount of research, so why would you send your product for an award without doing your due diligence too, right?


The MOTOROiD by Japanese Yamaha Motor Co Ltd won the Luminary Award at the 2018 Red Dot Concept Design Award. Red Dot is arguably one of the most well-known international award programs and is split into two legs, one specifically for product design, and one for concept design.


KNOW THE JURY

An award is perhaps the best way to get a panel of established designers and judges to look at your work. Look at the jury panels to see any noteworthy figures. Not only does the jury speak of the award’s qualitative standards, the jury is also a pretty great way to stick your foot in the door at a good design firm. Not sure what I meant? Imagine your favorite designer is on the jury panel for a design award. Sending your work to the award is a sure-fire way to get them to see your work. If they do like it, chances are they’ll remember you because of your project, making it easier to strike up a chat with them, or to even get an opportunity to work for/with them!


A camera for the visually impaired, the 2C3D Camera secured a win at the Asia Design Prize in 2018. The 2019 jury panel is presided over by none other than Karim Rashid, among some incredibly noteworthy talents.


KEEP YOUR EYES ON THE PRIZE

Here’s the most interesting bit… The reward! First and foremost, figure out what you’re really looking to achieve. Some awards give you media-coverage, some awards give you a cash prize, some awards give you job or internship opportunities, and most awards come with their fair share of recognition. If you’re looking to put your name on the map, choose a reputed national or international award… preferably one that has a strong marketing/publication component. If you’re looking for a cash prize to fund the growth of your product, some awards do give out hefty rewards to their winners, although winning them is definitely an uphill battle. If you’re looking to launch a product, look for an award that’s interested in prototyping your ideas. If you’re looking for a stellar work opportunity, some award programs reward internships or exchange programs too! (We’ve got a nifty design award guide coming up soon!) And here’s a critical bit. Always be prepared. Without sounding like a complete buzzkill, being handed an award is a great feeling, but it can often come with unintended consequences. Winning an award can often result in a lot of media coverage, and may open you up to a wide variety of counterfeiters, embroiling you in a copyright battle… and moreover, all awards require NDA clearance from your client, or your college, so make sure you’ve taken proper legal advice before applying for an award… Especially if you’re looking to file a patent later down the road.


The splendid, portable, lightweight, foldable EcoHelmet received the James Dyson Inventor Award in 2016. The James Dyson Award is always looking to find young innovators with life-changing ideas for products. The winning designs are reviewed by Sir James Dyson himself, and are entitled to a hefty cash prize to help kick-start their career or their product journey.


AWARDS ARE BUSINESSES TOO… YOU NEED TO PAY TO PLAY

It’s important to look at the award from the organizer’s perspective too. Medals, trophies, prizes, juries, exhibitions, galas, and a lot of moving parts in between them, they all require a budget… and more often than none, that budget comes from award application payments, which means you need to pay to enroll for the awards program. Depending on how grand the award is, its enrollment fee varies too, which can sometimes make awards an expensive ordeal. So, factor your budget into your choice of awards too. Some awards are cheaper for students, which is just great if you’re studying with no source of income and you’re looking to bootstrap your future career. In fact, some schools will even pay the entire or a portion of the fee just to help students out (after all, a school’s reputation does increase if its student wins an award). If you’re not a student, you may be required to pay full price, so make sure you allocate a sufficient amount. If you’ve worked with a client on the project, you can even ask them to pay for the award too… after all, they benefit the most from it because the award also goes to the product AND the company. Some companies use the award logo on their websites, products, or packaging, so it’s a win-win for everyone! Along with money, time plays a big role too. Make sure you’re ready with your project way in advance, so you can enroll during the early-bird stages of the award, and conveniently skip the hefty late-application fee if you cross the deadline. Conversely, if the award is free for all (because their business model relies on something else altogether), more power to you! Go for it, you rockstar!


The Humla Forest Recon Drone won the iF Design Talent Award in 2018. A separate award program dedicated to rewarding upcoming talent, the Design Talent Award is a branch of the widely known, international iF Design Award. It’s exclusively for design students and is completely free of any charge.


CHOSEN THE AWARD YOU WANT TO APPLY FOR? NOW PREPARE FOR IT.

Selecting the right award is just a mere first step. The application is the daunting bit. Make sure you do the following. First, carefully read through the guidelines to see if you and your design are applicable. Once that’s done, make sure you’re aware of the deadlines, and more importantly, the deliverables. Some awards require JPEGS in certain aspect ratios and sizes, some require PDFs, some actually require printed documents, and some make it a point to ask for videos of proof-of-concept, or even your actual product (to examine and/or to showcase at their exhibition). Go through your project with a fine-toothed comb making sure the renders aren’t pixelated, colors are accurate, and DEFINITELY avoid grammatical errors or typos. Ask a friend, colleague, or mentor for feedback on the layout, the aesthetics, and whether the information and design intent looks crisp and clear. You can even go one step further and ask past-winners of the award for some key pointers and tips. Never underestimate the power of a fresh perspective or a piece of critical advice.

Lastly, check to make sure your client, university, design-teammates, or even your boss are all okay with you sending the project for an award. Getting that approval is crucial because the last thing you want is to violate confidentiality agreements, or not credit an individual or organization if they played a part in your project! Once you get a green signal, and you’re happy with the quality of your output, and you’ve checked everything off your to-do list, send the application in! The earlier you send your application, the better. Not only do you save money on regular or late fees, but some competitions offer preliminary judging to give you pointers and feedback that can help make your application better. It’s always great to know that you’ve put in every bit of effort to deliver your best work!

What next? Well, you know what’s better than one award? Multiple awards! Securing accolades from multiple award programs and competitions is a sure-fire way to brand yourself as a great designer. Whether you’re a student, a professional, a team, or even a studio, winning awards is a great way to gain a reputation. It helps put you, your product, your client, your university, and even your own company/brand on the map! Applying for awards can be a daunting task, but the benefits definitely outweigh the demerits – besides, if you don’t apply, you can never win, right!? So I hope this guide should prove incredibly handy when you’re looking to send your work in for a design award! And hey, all the best!


Also Check Out: You’ve Won A Design Award, What Next?

Creating realistic textures with displacement maps in Keyshot 8

The guys at Luxion just released their latest version of Keyshot, and I’m absolutely thrilled because displacement maps are one feature I was rather impatiently waiting for! Displacement (or depth) maps are an absolutely great way to create REAL textures that can absolutely make your renders POP! Let’s take a look at what this newfangled feature is and how to master it!

DIFFERENCE BETWEEN BUMP AND DISPLACEMENT MAPS

Up until now, perhaps the biggest thing missing from Keyshot’s arsenal was its support for depth or displacement maps. You could only use bump maps in Keyshot to simulate textures, but that’s all. Now the difference between bump and displacement maps is visible in this image below.

The one on the left uses a bump map, and the other on the right has a displacement map. Bump maps only simulate texture, they don’t create it. They manipulate light and shadow to make it look like a surface has a texture, but in reality, that texture is an illusion. Displacement maps, on the other hand, actually create that texture. They physically manipulate 3D geometry to make the texture, and if you look at the silhouettes of the two below, you’ll get the gist. The one on the left is still a perfect circle. Even with the texture. The texture is an illusion. The one on the right, however, literally has those bumps that you see in the image above.

This ability to actually manipulate 3D surfaces is great for a couple of reasons. Firstly, it makes materials incredibly realistic. Concrete LOOKS like concrete. Tiled surfaces literally have 3D tiles in them. Gravel looks great too, because it’s actual gravel, not a flat surface with gravel texture. Secondly, it takes the pain out of actually modeling minor details. You can make folds in cloth by just dropping a displacement map. Crinkles on paper, grass on a lawn. You don’t need to physically model these minor details anymore. You can rely on a good displacement map you downloaded (or created!) to give you instant results.

HOW DISPLACEMENT MAPS WORK

It’s quite literally black and white. Displacement maps use grayscale to determine height, just like bump maps do (you can actually use those bump maps as displacement maps). In short, if you look at a bump map, notice that the parts that usually stick out (like the bumps on the ball in the image way up top) are the white bits, while the parts that are black recess downwards. The whiter the pixel gets, the more elevated/extruded it is, the blacker the pixel is, the further inward or downward it moves. In theory anything that’s exactly 50% gray stays untouched. Here’s a snippet of the map along with the result alongside.

Most bump maps can be used as displacement maps. Make sure you have maps that are of a high resolution because a pixelated image will result in a pixelated surface, and that isn’t good. Conversely, if you’ve got details that are way too sharp, just carry the map image to photoshop and gently blur the parts you want softened. Blurring a sharp edge that’s black on one side and white on another will cause the colors to intermingle and form the grays in between. As a result, you’ll get softer edges with bevels/fillets without having even done anything!

You can find displacement maps online (the good ones come at a price) or you can even MAKE your own bump maps. Using the black-to-white principle, you can create maps of common textures like woven carpet in a software like Photoshop or Illustrator and just export the maps to hi-resolution images. Go ahead and experiment with the portrait-mode on your smartphone camera too. It has the ability to capture a decent amount of depth, and you can use websites like www.depthy.me to extract the displacement map from your image (depthy.me will give you an inverted version of the displacement map, so make sure you take it to PhotoShop and invert the colors to get the real map). You can see two images below of a ‘portrait-mode’ photo and the displacement map placed alongside. You won’t get incredibly crisp displacement maps with your phone, but using your phone’s portrait mode is a pretty nifty and handy way of learning about new textures, patterns, and shapes, and how they’re recreated in grayscale to allow computers to see depth.

ADDING DISPLACEMENT MAPS IN KEYSHOT 8

Just to fuel my curiosity, I carried that avocado displacement map and image file to keyshot to see what I got and boy! You notice a few things off the bat. The map is far from accurate, but here’s why. A. You’re using a pretty basic piece of 3D imaging which mainly uses algorithms to calculate depth. And B. This ‘displacement’ map is actually a blur map. It doesn’t calculate depth. It calculates what’s in the foreground and what’s in the background, and uses that data to create DoF, or depth of field. (That’s why the displacement map is inverted, because the algorithm blurs the white and doesn’t touch the black. It’s essentially the same principle but a different operation.)

So let’s look at Keyshot’s Displacement Map feature in depth (hehehe, get it?) The displacement, or the geometry, forms just one part of the entire material… which is why we’re looking at Keyshot’s material graph (right-click, edit material graph), which deconstructs everything for us to better understand and build materials. Keyshot separates materials into Surface and Geometry. Surface allows you to create materials, finishes, textures, and Geometry allows you to edit or tinker with the third dimension of the model itself. In the Surface section, you get to decide whether your material is plastic, or metal, or concrete, etc. You can add other aspects like color, roughness, graphical patterns to this. The Geometry section is where things get interesting. There are basically only two components to using a displacement map. One is your map… an image file. And the second is a displacement block, which tells Keyshot you want to use the map as a displacement map.

Connect the map to the block, and the block to the geometry tab, and you’re good to go. The geometry doesn’t change right away (because it’s processor-intensive), which is why you need to “execute” the map. First off, double click on the image map block and make sure you’ve got the size, scale, placement right. You can press the ‘C’ key to preview your map on your model and press it again to hide the map. Once you’re satisfied with how the map is laid out, double click on the displacement block and hit execute. Certain things happen. The map gets executed, and you get a first impression of how your geometry changes. In order to tweak the end-result, try changing the displacement parameters.

Displacement Height: Changes how high or low the highest and lowest points of your displacement map are. For something like large pebbles, you’d have a larger height. For something like gravel, the height would be negligible.

Offset: Determines whether your displacement map pushes stuff outward or inward. Grass sprouts out of a surface, but holes in Swiss cheese go inside a surface. You’ll need to tell the software which direction to process the map in.

Resolution: The lower the resolution amount, the clearer the pixels on the map are. The resolution value basically tells Keyshot how small you want the smallest detail to be. A large value creates lesser detail, a smaller value makes details more intricate.

Max Triangles: This tells the software how many pixels (or triangles) to allow your map to have. So for maps with lots of details (individual grains of gravel), you’ll need more triangles. For something fairly simple like a tiled surface, a low triangle count works just fine!

MAKING TEXTURES MORE REALISTIC USING DISPLACEMENT MAPS

Okay, at just over a thousand words, I’ll stop talking! Displacement maps are a great way to create geometry without creating it. If you’ve got bump maps lying around, try using them with the displacement block to get some stunning results! You can even go further to create wrinkles on skin, crumpled patterns on paper, or actual threads in a loosely woven material. I recommend checking out Poliigon for their incredible database of materials and textures. Just remember one thing. Keyshot is already rendering all your scenes in real-time. Telling it to start building 3D surfaces basically is going to require more resources. Very detailed or large depth maps may take more time to load as well as render, so depending on your needs, and how powerful your machine is, go ahead and give displacement maps a shot! They’ll “grow” on you!

Image Credits: Poliigon

KEYSHOT 8: POWERFUL RENDERING MADE EASY

Keyshot isn’t an unheard of name in the industry. Most design companies like Motorola, Microsoft, Oakley, Skullcandy, Nissan, Chrysler and DeWalt regularly use Keyshot, and nearly half of the designers we asked used Keyshot for their renderings. Its biggest achievement is making renders as simple as dragging and dropping materials, textures, environments. For a beginner, Keyshot is a great way to get the job done, and for a power user, Keyshot retains all the tools to make absolutely stunning visualizations. The rendering software released its 8th version at the beginning of this year, including a massive variety of easy-to-use features, from intersecting/cutaway materials, to the introduction of fog/smoke and volumetric lighting, to being able to add bubbles/flakes in solid materials, and perhaps the biggest update yet, support for displacement/depth maps!

Let us know what Keyshot feature you want us to talk about next!
Drop us a line here.

YD Talks: With ‘Sam Does Design’ about designing The Weight lamp for Gantri

Sam Gwilt started his fledgling YouTube channel to capture his journey as a designer. Over time, that YouTube channel helped build a community that, along with Sam, ‘does design’. Sam’s channel ‘Sam Does Design’ hosts a variety of videos, from sketching and rendering tutorials, to Q&A’s to even portfolio reviews, and has helped Sam build a strong audience/community of designers and design students. Sam recently designed a lamp, titled The Weight, for Gantri, an online studio that partners with designers to create modern-day lighting designs exclusively using 3D printing. The Weight plays on the word ‘light’ and creates a visual contrast by being the opposite… heavy. Designed to look like an orb that weighs down on a platform, causing it to visually deform, The Weight is entirely 3D printed (and is actually quite lightweight). Its soft design (and soft lighting) instantly adds a touch of playfulness to a room while also lighting the space up with a soft glow.

We got a chance to sit down with Sam and talk to him about The Weight, the design process behind it, his YouTube channel, and got him to share some portfolio tips with us. We even asked him about the can of San Pellegrino that went viral on his Instagram page!

Yanko Design: Hi Sam! Tell us about yourself and how you came to ‘do design’
Sam Gwilt: “Hey I’m Sam and I do design!” I’ve been interested in design for as long as I can remember. One side of my family are engineers, the other side artists, so I’ve always had a deep appreciation for both disciplines. Luckily for me, there was a technology college close to my childhood home. That was where my first lessons in design were taught, which laid the foundations for my career without me even knowing.
I studied industrial design at Brunel University London where, alongside my studies, I gained two years of industry experience. That was how I managed to get my foot in the door and secured my current job at Precipice Design. I also worked with Made in Brunel as a Social Media Manager. I was part of the student-led programme that connects students with industry and organises the design events throughout the year. I used the skills I learned there to help run Sam Does Design, which in turn helps to teach others.

YD: You recently designed a lamp in partnership with Gantri. Do tell us more about the ‘Weight Lamp’.
SG: Weight is an ambient light with a 360-degree glow. It was designed specifically for 3D printing and is made from a corn-based polymer. I wanted to play with the concept of weight and mass; how heavy could I make light seem? The 3D printing process means that plastic becomes molten as the product is made, and I wanted to capture that aspect of the process. The intention was to make the final form seem soft and malleable. The sphere appears to have fallen onto the base and has deformed the shape, where it now seems suspended in time.

YD: How did this collaboration with Gantri come about?
SG: I posted a separate concept design to my Instagram page, and I saw a comment that said: “this looks like a design for Gantri”. That was the first time I’d heard about them, so I checked out their website and was really impressed by their process and existing designs, and eager to find out if there was a way I could work with them. I reached out to see if they were looking for new designers and the stars must have aligned because the timing was perfect. After chatting with the team at Gantri, I began working on the concept about a month later.

YD: So, what was the design brief? And how long did it take to go from idea to final product?
SG: The brief was refreshingly open to interpretation. Gantri has an amazing in-house design and engineering team but the big-picture concept and specific scenario were up to me to define. I presented three completely different concept routes that I thought could be interesting, and we decided to develop the strongest one based on how easy it was for potential customers to understand the concept at first glance. It was important for the product to be understood without needing to be explained with any sales copy. I had ideas that explored aspects other than weight but still kept surface and material exploration as a theme, and I hope to revisit those designs in the future. I’d love to work with Gantri again: their streamlined design process and fast prototype turnaround meant that from concept to sale took around three months.

YD: The Weight lamp is designed specifically for 3D printing. How different is that from designing for injection or blow molding?
SG: No draft angles! The geometric design lends itself to 3D printing as nothing needs to be de-moulded. That meant that all sides could be geometrically perfect. The flip side is not being able to print past 45 degrees due to printer constraints, but some clever engineering and internal structures meant that the cylinder base prints perfectly every time. Another benefit was working on the whole product without the need for split lines or multiple parts. It’s a sad moment when a split line needs to interrupt a nice clean surface due to pesky manufacturing constraints. Creating the part for 3D printing meant that wasn’t an issue.

YD: If you had to list a couple of design references for the Weight, what would they be?
SG: I loved the idea of mixing genres of design using technology as an enabler. I wanted Weight to be minimal and contemporary but fun and whimsical. The base and sphere reflect many different styles and also pay homage to past designs: the Memphis Bay lamp and Wilhelm Wagenfeld’s Bauhaus Lamp to name a couple.

YD: Any designers you particularly look up to?
SG: I got my first taste of lighting design at Paul Cocksedge Studio during my time at university. I helped develop the designs and travelled the world building the installations. The hours were long and intensive, but I’m grateful for the inspiration and experience. Coming from a particularly engineering-based university, it was freeing to be immersed in an environment where nothing had been tried and tested before. We were the first and only team ever to produce the manufacturing methods for Paul’s pieces.
There are other designers that I’ve had the pleasure of working with both in the industry and at university that inspire me greatly. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever met a creative that doesn’t inspire me in one way or another.

YD: Tell us a little bit about Sam Does Design. Do you ever think about pursuing it full time?
SG: I love that Sam Does Design as a channel is giving back to the community that I’ve learned so much from. I originally started the page to post daily sketches and asked for constructive feedback from the wider design circle. Eventually, I began to notice that people were asking me how I achieved certain things within the world of design, and I began to make the switch to share the knowledge I’d gained. It’s still funny to me that the tiny decision to make an Instagram when I was bored three years ago is having such an effect on my life now. If I thought that it would go anywhere as a career, I would have chosen a better name!
In terms of going full time, I’m so happy at my current day job as a consultant at Precipice. I’ve worked on a variety of amazing projects alongside a multidisciplinary team. Being surrounded by such talented people has helped me grow as a person and designer.

YD: You recently began doing portfolio reviews. Could you give our readers a few quick pointers?
SG: Quick tips: Tell a story. Your portfolio isn’t a siloed list of your skills, it’s an advert for your thought process. Only show your best work. Only show the work relevant to the job you’re applying for. Each portfolio should be tailored to the company. Show work you love doing along with work you want to do more of. Sell your project to me with in-context hero images; I won’t read anything you put in a paragraph.

YD: Any upcoming projects you’d like to talk about? What’s cooking!?
SG: I’m working on some amazing projects at Precipice that I’m unfortunately not allowed to talk about. The Sam Does Design projects coming up include multidisciplinary collaborations across the design world, branching out from industrial and product design. I’m hoping to share a more in-depth process through various collaborations and formats. I’m very excited about how one, in particular, is panning out. Watch this space! “Don’t forget to like, comment, subscribe, hit the bell button and everything else that YouTube asks you to do!”

YD: Lastly, what ever happened to that can of San Pellegrino?! (Sam managed to capture a stray can of San Pellegrino Limon and turn it viral on his Instagram page. I’m surprised the can doesn’t have its own Instagram profile yet.)
SG: The San Pel can that was stuck above the glass elevator for 6 months lives on in our thoughts! A lucky maintenance worker drank it and I caught them on my Instagram Stories. I honestly still think about it every time I have a can, which is more often than I’d like to admit.

Visit Sam Gwilt’s Website or his YouTube Channel for his work/vlogs. Click Here to visit Gantri’s Webstore to buy The Weight.

Is my gadget waterproof? Demystifying the water+dust resistant IP standards

The IP rating is pretty much a standard part of every modern-day gadget’s feature list. It’s also the detail that one usually skims through to get to more important details like battery life, internal memory, warranty period, etc. We’ve thrown around IP ratings too, without really delving into the details much, so this article will help clear any doubts you may have regarding your gadget, how waterproof it is (or if it is even waterproof), and will give you the low-down on how the IP rating is just a standard, and you maybe shouldn’t throw your phone into the swimming pool just because your manufacturer said it’s water-resistant.

A BRIEF LOOK AT THE IP (INTERNATIONAL PROTECTION) RATING

The IP is one of many standards adopted to indicate how physically secure a product is. Not to be confused with the IP which stands for intellectual property, the International Protection (or even sometimes referred to as Ingress Protection) Rating refers to how protected a device is against solids and liquids. It’s found usually everywhere, from sockets to street-lamps, and helps designers, engineers, technicians, and others understand whether A. a product is immune to tampering, B. immune to dirt and dust, C. resistant to small amounts of water, or D. resistant to large amounts of water, or water under extremely high pressure/temperature. The IP ratings are broken up into two units. One unit is reserved for solid-matter-ingress, while the other is indicative of resistance to water ingress. Let’s ‘dive’ in!

SOLID INGRESS RATING


If you’ve ever taken a look at a phone’s IP rating, especially in the recent future, you’ll notice that it often reads as IP67, or IP68. There’s a general tendency to say “IP sixty-eight”, but it’s worth noting that those two numbers are two completely different ratings (and the right way of saying it is “IP six-eight”, in case you’d like to correct your geek friend the next time). The first number, i.e. six, forms the first rating, indicating a product’s resistance to solid matter. The chart for measuring IP ratings for solid ingress starts at 0, or basically no protection (something you could possibly shove a wrench or your hand into), and ends at 6, which is the international standard for dust-proof, or completely protected against dust. It’s safe to say that the latest phones have a rating of 6 on the solid-ingress scale, which means their insides are impervious to sand, dust, or any particulate matter (even the charging port or the earpiece is secured)… but if you’ve just bought yourself an Oppo Find X, or a phone with a sliding selfie camera (like the rumored OnePlus 7, there’s a heavy chance of it not being dust-proof, given the introduction of moving parts and complex mechanisms.

However, I’d take advice from YouTuber JerryRigEverything who said that even though phones are tested to be dust-proof, they aren’t entirely dust-proof. Earpieces or speakers are usually made of moderately powerful magnets which may attract tiny metal particles that can, over time, damage your phone. All in all, a casual drop at the beach won’t harm your phone, but do think twice before docking your phone in a hole made in the sand.

WATER INGRESS RATING


The second digit in the IP rating stands for resistance to water. The chart’s slightly longer in this one, going from 0 (which basically means it has absolutely no protection against water) to a stunning 9K, which allows products with the rating to withstand high-temperature water-jets. Needless to say, the phone in your pocket isn’t designed to ever witness a scenario where it would be bombarded by high-temperature water jets, so the 9K rating is usually reserved for products that need that level of protection. Phones usually fall within the 7-8 rating, which basically states that it’s been tested for immersion up to or beyond 1 meter of water.

Probably the biggest takeaway from this rating is the fact that it’s always referred to as a water rating. Tests for the liquid ingress rating are always done with freshwater, and the rating applies to tests with water that isn’t contaminated or contains solvents in it. The liquid ingress rating isn’t limited to items like beverages, chlorinated water, or even salty seawater. These liquids have the ability to corrode any sort of metal over time, and your smartphone isn’t any different. Salt and electronics are an exceptionally bad combination, so regardless of your IP rating, it’s best if you didn’t carry your phone into the ocean… or at least used a water-proof casing.

The liquid IP rating isn’t infallible in that regard. Note that even though gadgets may come with IP ratings, manufacturers may specifically mention that water damage isn’t covered under a warranty, because the liquid IP rating is, for the lack of a better term, ‘murky’. For starters, phones (or other gadgets) aren’t completely water-resistant. With prolonged use, accidental drops, or usage in fluctuating temperatures, a phone’s ability to withstand liquid ingress often gets compromised. In fact, most smartphones also make it a point to mention that their phones can stay underwater for a specific time frame (10 minutes or so). This isn’t a feature as much as it’s a precautionary measure, for if you accidentally drop your phone into the pool (or let’s face it, the toilet), and it takes you time to retrieve your gadget. Smartphones are often equipped with water-sensitive stickers on the inside too, which will let technicians or manufacturers know if your phone’s been exposed to water, so even though your phone does come with an IP68 rating, it’s best if you didn’t jump into the pool with it (as most YouTube reviewers will agree).

WHAT’S THE ‘X’ ABOUT?

If you happen to own a gadget with a rating that reads IPX7 or IPX8, don’t panic! The X basically means the manufacturers haven’t performed the solid-ingress rating because they didn’t deem it necessary. Besides, for a lot of products, if the device is protected against liquids, there’s a fair chance it’s protected against solids too. Take the Apple Watch with its IPX7 rating. It essentially means the watch was rigorously tested for water-resistance, given that it’s going to come in contact with tap-water, shower-water, sweat, or pool-water a bunch of times every day. The Watch’s rating makers perfect sense because its enclosed, waterproof design means it doesn’t need to worry about dust as much… or maybe the fact that dust-ingress, if any, is covered under warranty, if it does happen to damage the Watch. A closer look at the warranty information would probably help.

WAIT, MY PRODUCT DOESN’T HAVE AN IP RATING

The IP Rating is an internationally accepted standard, but it isn’t a mandatory one. Most countries have their own standards that they adhere to for testing purposes, and the only reason they haven’t provided an IP rating is because they haven’t performed the tests according to the IP Standard. Take the GoPro’s waterproof case for instance, a product that was literally designed to hermetically protect the GoPro from contact with water. The case doesn’t particularly come with an IP rating, but needless to say, it does a pretty remarkable job of protecting the camera from water.

ULTIMATELY, IT’S JUST ANOTHER RATING

It’s important to know that the IP rating isn’t a guarantee. It’s just a test, like any other durability test, that indicates whether a gadget can withstand dust or liquid immersion. Phones with IP68 waterproof ratings have still been known to have problems after being dunked into a pool, and smartphone manufacturers will often make it a point to mention if their gadgets are covered under the warranty in case of liquid damage. Just like even though there’s no guarantee that your phone won’t shatter if you put a screen-protector on it, there’s no particular guarantee that it won’t get ruined if it comes in contact with water. Your phone, watch, tablet, earpiece’s ability to withstand water or dust depends on a lot of things. Usage, temperature, pressure, and ultimately even build quality (which could just be shoddy if you’re unlucky). Knowing the IP rating of your device is great, probably because you’ll know whether you need to be extra cautious or not… but knowing that electronics and dust, dirt, oil, or water are not friends is probably the greatest piece of wisdom to have!

Good Designer, Bad Human Being: Should a designer’s morals matter?

Disclaimer: Explicit language used ahead.

Karl Lagerfeld, renowned fashion designer and art director of Chanel for 30 long years died at the age of 85 last month after facing health complications at the beginning of the year. His death was received in two rather intriguing ways. Some people celebrated Lagerfeld’s 70-year legacy as a fashion visionary and trend-setter… while others made sure Karl’s legacy included the fact that he was a racist, sexist, fat-shaming misogynist and a vocal Islamophobe.

These extremely polar opinions began to unearth a question I previously asked myself and a lot of people around me, especially during the Times Up #MeToo movement. What do you do when you love the work of a designer but hate the designer for the person they are? Do you support the work because it’s truly good, even though its creator may be a morally questionable human? Do you shun the work because it’s important to make a stand against a bad human? It’s necessary that we define the term bad human first.

SO, WHO EXACTLY IS A BAD HUMAN?

Unlocking some sort of answer to the previous question means properly defining the term ‘bad human’. Karl was evidently a bad human. The #MeToo movement helped bring a lot of bad humans to light. These people were mostly sexual assaulters or were accused of being complicit, so there’s really no argument there. The word ‘bad person’ would also extend people with traits that the society or the law terms as ‘bad’ i.e., violent people, corrupt people, racists, xenophobes, the like. It’s pretty easy to spot these sort of ‘bad humans’, or as a now-redacted article in 99U called them, ‘assholes’. However, sometimes it’s more complicated/subjective than you’d think. In fact, here’s an excerpt from the article that I managed to save before the article disappeared.

“Sometimes the asshole is not shy about their asshole-ness, and wears it like a merit badge. Sometimes the asshole is so clever we don’t even realize we’re in the company of one until after we’ve laughed at their jokes or accepted a meeting or a job. Sometimes this person is a secret asshole, privately cruel to those closest to them, who help the asshole keep their truth hidden while the rest of the world spins around them unaware, basking in the asshole’s glow.”

Things get a little blurry as you move away from socially acceptable traits of being morally objectionable. You may disagree fundamentally with people over issues that are much more debatable. Political preferences, religious preferences, opinions regarding abortion, the LGBTQ+ community, or vaccines, this is where the term ‘morally objectionable’ becomes slightly subjective (more so because views may be divisive, but there’s no legally correct or incorrect preference/opinion yet).

So, now that we’ve identified this morally objectionable person (they may be a universally objectionable serial rapist, or a selectively objectionable person who believes the earth is flat), let’s get to the burning question. What do you do when you love the work, but hate the creator? Should you separate great work from a morally objectionable designer?

THE THOUGHTS OF AN EDITOR

Here’s a comparison I often make when covering design work on YD. It isn’t perfect, and it’s borderline cheesy, but it gets the point across more often than not. A child shouldn’t be held accountable for the crimes their parents may have committed.

It’s important for Yanko Design (a design showcase platform) to draw a line between the work of the creator and the creator themself. The Yanko Design platform was created to showcase and highlight exemplary work irrespective of the designer’s personal ideologies. The critiquing, to a large extent, is limited only to the work, which can be good or bad, and the character of a designer shouldn’t influence the judging of the quality of a design. As editor, I wouldn’t specifically praise a design because the designer is a gem of a human being, so why would I criticize someone’s work because I find the creator morally objectionable? Although, nobody could have put it more brilliantly than Paula Scher, graphic designer and partner at Pentagram, who said “Sometimes terrible people make great art, and sometimes wonderful people make mediocre crap. Don’t confuse protest with value judgment.” The YD platform is one of value judgment, which is why it’s necessary to objectively judge the work… and not the person.

That being said, as a human, I’m forced to accept certain hard facts. Karl Lagerfeld, as talented as he was, was also a racist, sexist, and a misogynist… Louis CK, Bill Cosby, and Kevin Spacey are sexual assaulters, and Michael Jackson and Pablo Picasso were pretty renowned pedophiles. My consumption of their art/talent, as a human being and as a creative comes from being very conscious about the fact that they’ve done some horrible things in the past.

THE THOUGHTS OF A FELLOW DESIGNER/HUMAN

Picasso is credited with being a pioneer of the cubist and surrealist movement. He helped truly shatter the myth that art had to follow conventional rules of limited perspective, depth, and had to be about realistic three-dimensional interpretation. The cubist movement helped change the way we perceive art today, and assisted in forming our very notions of surrealism and abstractism. Picasso’s work influenced generations of artists after him. In most ways, even a part of Hannah Gadsby’s iconic stand-up show, Nanette. Picasso also was openly and famously a misogynistic creep and a pedophile.

Two (sometimes complicated) statements sort of form the core of my belief system when it comes to deciding how to treat good work created by a bad person. A. It’s important to judge the work for what it is, and the creator separately. B. It’s equally important to start holding creators to a much higher standard. Lagerfeld got away with a lot of toxic crap, and so did Picasso. Now that we’re finally standing up to these injustices of character, creators shouldn’t get away with being assholes because sometimes, it can reflect in and corrupt their art. There are, however, also times when the art isn’t a reflection of the creator’s objectionable behavior. Hitler’s Nazism and anti-semitic attitude didn’t reflect in his paintings, but hip-hop artists often litter their musical works with their brand of misogyny. Don’t confuse protest (towards the creator) with value judgment (towards the work)… but, at the same time while being a consumer or an audience, don’t confuse inspiration with patronage either.

“You’ve got to separate the man from the art… How about you take Picasso’s name off his little paintings and see how much his doodles are worth at an auction?” – Hannah Gadsby, Nanette (2018).

Somewhere between inspiration and support/patronage lies an incredibly fine line. Both are forms of consumption, but one’s with the intent to do better, while the other isn’t. Your sense of protest should help define this line between the two. I recently learned that the late Eric Gill, a prolific designer and the creator of Gill Sans, molested his two young daughters for years. This doesn’t necessarily make Gill Sans a lesser font, but given the option, I’d rather pay money and buy a font from a creator with a better reputation. Gill doesn’t deserve my patronage… but his creations do possess the ability to speak to me, inspire me, and manifest themselves in my own work… that’s a good thing. In fact, that’s what good art or design is supposed to do. Art begets art, and design begets design.

There’s a lesson you can learn from their work, but there’s also a lesson you must learn from their evils. Appreciating and being inspired by work created by a flawed human isn’t wrong, as long as you take cognizance of the fact that their character and behavior should not be tolerated, and definitely not celebrated. Definitely exercise your right to protest bad behavior, to make sure you don’t support or patronize the creator… but don’t deny yourself the nourishment and growth good work can bring to you as a creator and human too, to do better.

WINDING UP

Oh boy, this was exhausting! It involved a lot of soul-searching, reading articles like these, and talking to a whole bunch of people, both online and offline, about what they think. This opinion piece reflects my own thoughts, as an editor and a human, and has been perhaps one of the most difficult articles to write, given the eternal nature of this internal conflict.

By no means do I claim to have an answer or a framework for judging the work created by an objectionable person, but everyone’s conscience operates differently, and this is the closest I’ve gotten to being able to document and make sense of the mechanisms of mine. It’s an incredibly difficult pill to digest, the one that your favorite creatives could be incredibly bad human beings. I struggle with listening to Michael Jackson’s songs, or with watching Kevin Spacey act, or Louis CK create comedy. That internal struggle is an absolute headache, but it’s important because it helps strengthen or weaken your conscience… and that’s truly what really matters!

It’s necessary for the design industry to hold these morally objectionable humans within it accountable too. The #MeToo movement barely skimmed the surface of the design community, with only architect Richard Meier and animator John Lasseter being among the noteworthy names publicly called out for their heinous actions and behavior. The fact that a Karl Lagerfeld existed among us and got away with his behavior and speech is shameful, but I hope that the design industry can evolve to become one that creates good designers that are ALSO good humans.

So what’s the answer to the question at the very beginning of the article, you probably wonder. “What do you do when you love the work of a designer but hate the designer for the person they are?”

Like I said, I honestly don’t have an answer that’s universally acceptable… but if there’s one thing worth taking from this article, it is to strive to do better… and to be better. That’s the best way to consume good work created by objectionable people.

Cover Image Credits: ICSD

YD Talks: Discussing the Award-winning ‘Modu Ecosystem’ with Pedro Gomes Design

The MODU’s official description reads “the future of the television experience”. Designed by Pedro Gomes Design, a non-traditional strategic design consultancy, the MODU Ecosystem was created for Tech4home, a leading global telecom OEM. The MODU combines elements of entertainment and necessity into a single, unified solution. Designed with a shapeshifting remote and a gloriously minimal set-top-box/dock that charges the remote as well as mobile phones, the MODU becomes indispensable in homes… and like all indispensable home products, showcases an aesthetic that blends plastic with fabric, resulting in a product that’s truly fitting in its interior space, blending well with the other items of decor around it. The MODU was a recipient of a Red Dot Design Concept Award for its incredible combination/fusion of features/products as well as its iconic, minimal ‘soft electronics’ aesthetic. We’re here talking with Pedro Gomes and the design team behind the MODU.

Yanko Design: Hey Pedro! Tell us a little about yourself and your background.
Pedro Gomes: As a full time dreamer I founded PGD – a Non-Traditional Global Strategic Design Consultancy – where I have the pleasure to lead an international team of 10-20 amazing talented strategists, designers, branding and marketeers.
Driven by great challenges our passion sits in the intersection of design, business, and education. In the last 5 years, Pedro Gomes Design has worked with different clients from all 6 continents and developed a unique holistic development approach that crosses the best of research, strategy, branding​, ​industrial design​, ​communication,​ and ​360 marketing​.
We believe that scalable impact starts with education so we are honored for the ongoing exciting opportunity to teach and learn from a multitude of different startups and universities in India, Colombia, USA, Estonia, France, Portugal, Germany, and Singapore.

YD: In your own words, what is MODU?
PGD: MODU​ is a ​customizable TV ecosystem​ that envisions the future for telecoms entertainment systems by merging the latest technology (voice control, air mouse, smart textiles, integrated resonance charging, RFID) and brings together TV, RCU, STB, and mobile phones into a single hub. Sitting at the edge of new experiences, MODU was designed for the environment where it belongs – your home, office or working space.

YD: How did the idea of MODU Ecosystem come along? What was the brief given?
PGD: MODU was born out of an open/envision brief from our client Tech4Home, a leading OEM for Global Telecom’s with 8 years experience in the market, looking for the next big leap in it’s industry. The result of this great partnership and team collaboration with Tech4Home, where together our focus was to understand and define how design and engineering could shape technology to challenge the industry standards by bringing added value to the final user.

YD: How does the MODU Ecosystem work differently, as compared to the set-top boxes and dongles that are its contemporaries?
PGD: MODU is a groundbreaking customizable television ecosystem and an holistic solution for the Telecom entertainment systems by bringing together TV, RCU (remote control unit), STB (set-top-box) and mobile phones into a single hub. Merging today’s and tomorrow’s technologies (voice, air mouse, smart textiles and integrated resonance charging) with a modular design construction, MODU challenges the industry’s current paradigm. The remote allows you to customize the interface by swapping the smart-textile interfaces, while the STB extends its purpose and becomes the central hub for resonance/induction charged devices. Finding the right balance between the design vision and technical feasibility was essential to achieve the level of work we have with MODU.

YD: Do tell us more about the design team’s role in deciding aspects of the product, and what was the client’s role/feedback through the course of the project?
PGD: MODU was developed in close collaboration between Pedro Gomes Design and Tech4Home – Management, Design and Engineering teams. Short feedback loops assured a close collaboration and quick iteration of ideas that resulted on a solid, collaborative and trust based relationship between the consultancy and the inhouse team. It’s only in this intersection we can all deliver great work and allows to deliver a great product.

YD: I might be going off topic here! But why design a remote when your phone could perform the duties of the remote?
PGD: As a strategic design consultancy, we use user research as the ground foundation to every product we develop. By gathering user insights, data analysis, and design trends we were able to understand: 1- the TV and Phone have very different roles in terms of Interfaces for video watching. It was interesting to find that several Telecom’s and TV manufacturers have tried launching apps that worked as TV remotes, but most that ended up with really low usage rates or poor reviews.
There is a clear human/tech condition that explains why: 1- Imagine you were about to change the TV channel on your smartphone app, but you just got a notification and then all of sudden you’re replying, liking, commenting, posting, googling, etc.. and when you notice, you just spent 15 minutes on the phone and you haven’t even finished the two seconds task that would get you watching your favorite TV show. Sure the smartphone has a role in the TV experience, as an easy to use interface for the internet and a powerful broadcaster, but there’s still space and need for a dedicated product offer that allows you to focus on your TV content and can be specifically targeted for Telecom providers and other clients that purchase from Tech4Home OEM product lines. 2- A TV’s remote should be inclusive – Tech4Home clients need to provide a universal solution that can work for teenagers to older generations – Using the phone as an interface is clearly the easy way to change the interface for each user but as tactile/sensorial human beings and research showed glass is not the material one would imagine to join you for a cozy day in the couch. Which gave us our third outtake 3- People still want to have meaningful tactile and sensorial experiences when it comes to everyday objects. The hardware interface of the remotes allows a user to interact without looking at the remote. Transferring this into a digital product we’ll be distracting the user. Not every interface has to be digital.. This is where MODU’s custom interfaces can provide a unique approach in product development by bringing swappable smart textile interfaces to an industry, where before changing an interface meant re-engineering the whole remote and carving new plastic molds to assure that tactile feel to users.

YD: Okay then! Let’s talk a little bit about the product’s design… especially its use of soft forms, and the combination of plastic and fabric. What were the design inspirations for the MODU’s visual character and CMF?
PGD: MODU’s CMF was inspired by your home and it’s interior design. MODU was designed for the environment where it belongs – your home, office or room. The soft shapes and smooth textures blend in with the surrounding environment providing a visual and sensorial experience that can be celebrated as a central timeless element of the environment where it stands. Last but not least, tastes and interiors are as different as people – this is where MODU system creates a better product development system for Tech4Home to provide its clients with customizable options for their final customers.

YD: In a future where the mobile experience is so connected with entertainment, do you see MODU being a bridge between one’s phone and the TV?
PGD: MODU is a new ecosystem that integrates mobile phones in its experience. Anyhow we deeply believe that TV’s and Phones are very different interfaces that still require different experiences – so MODU becomes an integrated ecosystem that blends your room / space with your entertainment devices.

YD: What’s the future of MODU? It’s currently conceptual. Do you see it being built and turned into a reality?
PGD: We are really excited that Tech4Home is investing in translating MODU from a concept to a groundbreaking product and we can’t wait to help Tech4Home develop MODU to the next level!

YD: Wonderful! What’s in store in the future for Pedro Gomes Design? Are you working on some exciting projects?
PGD: Yes, the present and future are really exciting. We really believe that today building just a great product is not enough – real success is dependent on optimizing complex systems and this is where our passion lies and where we’ve been focusing our energy. From business and brand incubation to strategic holistic programs – we merge the best of research, strategy, branding, industrial design, communication and 360 marketing – to partner with some truly amazing international & Portuguese clients.
Last but not least, next year we’ll be an exciting one as we’re rebranding our studio to truly show the holistic and business extent of our work! You can check our website and our work out at www.pedrogomesdesign.com

YD Talks: Should I follow my passion? Or the paycheck?

The irony of me being an Asian posing this question doesn’t escape me. I fully get that I’m absolutely following the cliche here, but let’s stop and really think about it. I’m sure you’ve asked yourself this too at some point of time. Do I continue doing what I love, if it doesn’t pay me much? Or do I do something that I absolutely dislike, but feels more stable?

HOW BIG SHOULD I DREAM? (AND, SHOULD I HAVE A BACKUP PLAN?)

Let’s just dive right into the topic and get to the point I’d like to make, and that Chris Do (in the video above) makes too. Chris says “If you don’t feel it in your bones, don’t waste your time. I know people who pursued money, who aren’t happy… and who aren’t rich”. Here’s a secret that most people won’t tell you: You’re not presented with a choice. You’re presented with the illusion of choice… Passion/love, and money/stability. You can choose to do something you love… but you can’t really choose how much money you make. The amount you earn isn’t entirely within your control, but the ability to do something you truly enjoy, is. Your pay-package is controlled by external forces. Passion for what you do, is completely internal.
(And everything is linked to one big parameter. Effort. More on it below!)

YOUR BACKUP PLAN IS SOMEONE ELSE’S DREAM

Here’s a scenario. You’re a passionate designer who sketches every day. Follows Ted Nugent on Instagram, participates in the Render Weekly challenges and is always on the lookout for Esben Oxholm’s Keyshot videos, or Sam Gwilt’s sketching tutorials. Your dream is to work as an industrial designer in one of the world’s most reputed design studios, but on the other hand, there are a tonne of UI UX jobs available that pay a lot and provide a comfortable life. The flipside is that somewhere, there’s someone who’s equally passionate about Web Design. They’re on Dribbble, always updated with everything UI/UX, and dreams of being a top-notch UI/UX designer. What’s worth noting is that if you’re pitted against them, there’s a massive chance that they’ll outgrow you professionally. UI/UX is your backup plan, but it’s their passion. They’re constantly bettering themselves, going for conferences, learning the latest tricks, staying up to date with all the news that makes them better in their field, whereas you’re doing it for the paycheck. You see the big flaw there? If you’re not passionate about it, you’re not going to put in the effort it takes to be the best, and to subsequently earn the most.

There’s a video out there (quite oddly titled “Don’t follow your passion”) by Mark Cuban where Cuban’s words somewhere after the 20-second mark go something like this, “The things I ended up being really good at, were the things I found myself putting effort into”. Cuban, although outwardly ‘against following one’s passion’ ends up making the point everyone is trying to make. The things you find yourself putting the time and effort into, are the things you become really good at. And nobody quits something they’re good at, because people inherently always crave, and enjoy being the best at something. That’s ultimately passion, right?

The moral really is that you can’t choose to make big money off of doing something you don’t enjoy. That isn’t a sustainable business model, because ultimately, it isn’t something you want to do! You can, however, choose to do something you love. Something you look forward to doing everyday. Something you’ll eventually get better and better at because you’re putting in the effort… because you want to!
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Video Credits: Chris Do | The Futur

The Moto Razr 2019 is the perfect fusion of futurism and nostalgia

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The interweb has been buzzing with a certain piece of news leaked by the Wall Street Journal only last week. Motorola plans to build a 2019-appropriate version of their iconic Razr phone. Details are incredibly scarce, and the only taste of the phone we’ve got is via images from their patent registration with the World Intellectual Property Organisation in December 2018.

The 3D visualization of the 2019 Razr bases itself on these patents. The new Razr will be more squarish (when closed) than its predecessors, but that’s only because it comes with a flexible folding display that runs all the way from the top to the bottom, with what we can only assume is an aspect ratio of 19:8, along with curved edges and even a notch (the notch design has always been a part of the Razr series, if you recall). Flip the phone on its back and you see the secondary display and the single-lens camera on the upper half of the phone, and a fingerprint sensor on the lower half. The presence of two screens means you can A. use the camera as both a front and backwards facing shooter, as well as B. access the phone’s notifications without opening out the flexible display. There’s no word on whether the secondary display will be touch-enabled. There’s also the absence of volume buttons in the patent drawing (and subsequently left out of the visualization), as well as a power button, but given the phone’s flip nature, I doubt we’d need a power button on this beaut.

Through the years, the Razr has always been a symbol of cutting-edge futurism. Unsettlingly thin when it launched, the Moto Razr was an immediate object of desire, with its slim profile, and the fact that it was probably the only phone to come bundled with iTunes long before Apple closed their ecosystem. The 2019 Razr builds on that philosophy, retaining the slim profile, and introducing a new bit of futuristic tech, with the flexible display. A rare combination of cutting-edge (wordplay!) innovation and fond nostalgia, the Razr 2019 could easily be this year’s most awaited phone (and the year’s just begun!)

Designer/Visualization: Sarang Sheth

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Three concept designers visualize what the 2019 iPhone will look like

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Leaks have become a very common part of Apple’s launch process. When you’re as big as Apple is, it’s difficult to keep everyone quiet. Somewhere in some part of the world, a factory worker clicks a picture of the iPhone Gorilla Glass being prototyped, or the aluminum frame being machined, and the rumors spread like wildfire. Helping bring some sort of depth to these rumors are concept phone designers, who quickly put together renders that, after a couple of rumors, end up looking exactly like the new phone. Apple’s made peace with this, because not only is it inevitable, but it also helps their end-users get accustomed to the design long before the release, creating a wave of hype that builds up to the phone launch.

On the other hand you’ve also got concept designers who don’t just simply follow trends. They add a bit of their own expectations to these concepts, creating designs that may seem outlandish, but are well received for their imagination and creativity. It’s perhaps because of these designers we’re still anticipating things like transparent smartphones, or smartphones that wrap around your wrist (Lenovo went and even built one!)

In this article, we’ll take a look at a mix of both the approaches. Two realistic ones that base themselves entirely on reliable leaks, and one that turns things up a notch, no pun intended!

Right below is a visualization by Concept Creator, who’s given the iPhone back its 2011-style aluminum side-frame and signature chamfered edge (like the iPhone 4). Also on board the concept 2019 iPhone is a staggering 5 cameras. 3 on the back, arranged in a linear style, and two on the front, with a double punch design that sort of forms a successor to the notch. The centralized camera system allows you to have portrait-mode shots with your front facing camera too, and could even carry FaceID if the technology supported it. Its location isn’t desirable, but it’s much better than the notch, and the side-hole-punch we’re seeing in the upcoming Huawei and Samsung phones. The glass back on the concept would suggest that the new phone is aggressively pushing the gospel of wireless charging, while it’s hard to tell whether the concept sticks to the Lightning connector or opts for the Type-C connection.

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Probably one of the most reliable visualizations come from the twitter handle of Ben Geskin, a young, 20-something designer from Latvia. Geskin’s twitter handle is pretty much a catalog of concept phones based on leaks, from Samsung and Huawei to OnePlus and to Apple. Geskin updates his renders with each subsequent leak, and his final renders almost always match the launches, even down to the color options. His take on the 2019 iPhone is that the phone will pretty much look the same, except for two key differences. One, the back of the phone will have 3 cameras and a flash, and two, Apple will aggressively try to reduce the notch by pushing the speaker module out of it. Looking at the back of the phone, it’s somewhat disconcerting to see how the cameras are laid out asymmetrically (Apple takes perfection almost too seriously, so this is worrisome). The three cameras are arranged in a triangular format, inside a square-shaped camera bump. The flash and the video microphone find themselves struggling for space in this layout and get placed at extremely awkward spots. I doubt Apple would green-light this, but only time will tell. It’s good to see that the notch is made to be significantly narrower now, although once again, not desirable.

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And lastly, we have Michael Mojica’s outlandish iPhone that does things we’d expect from Android… modularity. While the world wonders whether the iPhone will have 2, 3, or 5 cameras, Mojica says it can have as many as it wants to. Built with swappable camera modules, Mojica’s 2019 iPhone is customizable to have a primary camera that’s as powerful as you want it. The camera modules magnetically click into their place at the upper-center of the iPhone’s back (an unusual move because every iPhone has had a camera on the top-left), connecting to the smartphone through contact points… much like the kind of experiments Motorola, Essential, and RED have done with modularity in their smartphones. Depending on the price you pay, you can choose anywhere from a 3-lens camera setup to a 6-lens camera setup, allowing you to take stunning photographs that are worthy of the #shotoniphone hashtag!

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Cover Photo Credits: OnLeaks x DigitIndia