July 22, 2020No Comments

Cycler: Kickoff

The initial idea for Cycler came from a web developer who was looking to learn iOS development by creating a bicycle workout tracker. His goal for the app was for a no-fuss quickstart to each workout and the ability to see a live map update of his current path. The following screenshots are from the basic working prototype he had built using Swift & UIKit, prior to me joining the project.

New Beginnings

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July 21, 2020No Comments

Cycler

The first independent side project I'm working on in my journey into product design is a collaboration with a developer on an iOS app. I'll be designing, developing and documenting the UX/UI process: from the mindmapping to the prototyping and testing through the initial release into the App Store. The goal is to gain practical experience and leverage that into new, exciting opportunities (call me, maybe).

Exciting caveat: Neither of us have ever developed an app or even worked in Swift/SwiftUI before. I'm an art director with a background in motion design, he's a full-stack web developer.

So, what is it?

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July 14, 2020No Comments

Layering surfaces procedurally in C4D with Redshift

I really love the 3D look development process — taking raw scenes or models and refining them into their final visual form. It can be a very detailed process involving both surfacing and lighting. On the surfacing side, layering textures and/or materials is very common as you build up the visual detail of a form.

Ideally, you want to start with a super clean mesh and properly unwrapped UVs — but hey, if you're a working motion designer in advertising, who's got time for that? 🙂

Here's my basic approach to layering textures and materials, the quick 'n procedural way.

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July 6, 2020No Comments

Sprint, by Jake Knapp

One of the most recommended readings from friends in the UI/UX world, Sprint (Amazon) leads you through a 5-day design challenge to quickly prototype and validate a product hypothesis. Developed and refined over years at Google and various startups, the book covers the process for running your own sprint with plenty of real-world examples and anecdotes from companies across various industries including software, hospitality, and retail.

One of my favorite things about the book is the insights learned by the author through running countless iterations and how it shaped the final form of what became the iconic sprint challenge. This book has been helpful in formalizing my own general approach to creative brainstorming — I use a faster, streamlined version I cheekily call Bolt! for developing independent side projects that have become everything from short stories to 3D visuals and interactive prototypes.

TL;DR

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July 2, 2020No Comments

Product Design Resources

As part of this current journey, I'll be documenting useful resources (books, articles, talks) on product design. My aim is for most entries to have their own expanded post where I jot down my notes.

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July 1, 2020No Comments

A journey into product design

Over the last few years I've developed self-initiated side projects in procedural design (Houdini), creative coding (Processing) and experiential / real-time installations (Arduino, TouchDesigner, Unity). These projects have led to amazing opportunities: from traveling the world to produce 360VR videos starring Bill Gates & friends, to developing an interactive book presented at the United Nations General Assembly (which now lives in Gates' home library) and creating a 3D projection-mapped interactive experience for visitors at the NHL Seattle Preview Center.

Not knowing any better, all of my prior side projects subscribed to the "move fast and break things" model. Fast results with surface-level domain knowledge, which has served me really well in my field of art direction and visual design. Fortunately, over time and experience, I've made certain realizations in regards to interactive projects (my blanket term for anything outside of static deliverables like an image or a video) and, more importantly, the role I want to play in the process. This coincides with an emerging field I'm very interested in - product design prototyping, particularly in XR.

However, having no direct formal experience in the fields of UI/UX, I've decided to start a pair of side projects to guide me through the "product designer" journey. And, I've decided to blog about them to document the process.

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June 11, 2020No Comments

11 ways to defuse an argument

Had the pleasure of developing this 3D editorial illustration for an article on ways to defuse an argument.

/ Cinema4D + Redshift, Illustrator.

April 3, 2020No Comments

From C4D to Substance Painter for Redshift or Unity/Unreal

Over time, I've learned that it's more efficient to use software for their specific strengths. This, unfortunately (for cost and startup knowledge reasons), means that I jump around between a few different programs.

Each is suited best for different tasks - like Fusion360 for hard-surface modeling, Cinema4D for motion graphics, RizomUV for unwrapping UVs and Substance Painter for 3D painting/texturing. And Houdini for wasting time building things from scratch 🙂 jk

Here's my current basic workflow:

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© Roberto Brambila