Services and History:
Since 1995, I've produced 3D models, images, and animations of real-world or conceptual designs for customers. Typical deliverables are:
- Still images and/or animations ("media") used in concept design, client presentations, advertising, print, or film.
- 3D models (the actual data files) for use within your own 3D pipeline, as you see fit
- Systems Training: I've done a variety of systems-training animations for aviation/aerospace customers, who needed to show how their products work, and perhaps "what button to push" to make various things happen.
- Manufacturing: I can provide certain items in a file format suitable for CNC machining and/or stereolithography. ("3D printing")
- Custom design work: I can create any of the above, based on your internal references. If it's a "proof of concept" design, the references can be as simple as a hand-drawn sketch. If it's a more technical project, I can build it according to your detailed drawings.
- 3D training materials - Most of the articles on this site are aimed at sharing information with other 3D modelers. In addition to that, approximately once a year, I introduce a new volume in my "Modeling with MODO" series, aimed at helping other 3D modelers who use the 3D application I use. ("MODO", by The Foundry)
I'm always seeking new projects, so if you have one in mind, please contact me. See my Cost Estimates page for general information on pricing.
I'm also an avid photographer, and welcome opportunities to photograph aircraft, people, places, and events, especially those that are aviation/aerospace related. (See my photo gallery in the menu above.) So, if you have a subject or event you would like to have professionally photographed, I welcome the opportunity! Feel free to email me (email@example.com).
I'm a a lifelong aviation/aerospace fan, private pilot, skydiver, photographer, and spent most of my working life as a musician. (Drummer/Arranger) In the late 1970s, while still on the road as a musician, I began studying computer programming. and ultimately wrote and sold a program called "Terrain 3D" to Digital Precision Ltd., England. If you want to see some truly ancient history, showing my beginnings in 3D in 1983, check out my 3D Origins page.
In 1994, I quit programming and became strictly a software user. During the next 10 years, while studying 3D modeling and web site design, I created various RC aircraft and UAVs, designed in 3D, created the physical plugs and molds, and did the assembly and flight testing. I still maintain an archive site including those articles, at NextCraft.com. In 2005, I got out of fabrication entirely, and since then, have worked as a freelance 3D designer and modeler.
I've lived here in Anchorage, Alaska since 1995, and couldn't be happier. It gives me great pleasure to have access to such a vast wilderness, surrounded by wildlife, clean air and water, and my closest friends. If you haven't visited this part of the world, you really must check it out at some point. In 1995, my intention was to visit for 3 weeks, and I'm still here, loving the people, backpacking and camping, and a rich and diverse artistic community.
Anchorage is thrilling for an aviation fan, too. We have Ted Stevens International Airport, which is one of the largest cargo hubs on the planet, Merrill Field, with more general aviation planes than you'll find in most places, Lake Hood, the world's busiest floatplane/skiplane base, and of course, Elmendorf Air Force base, home to the "Arctic Warriors", a huge cargo operation, and two squadrons of F-22s. All these things keep me motivated as a photographer too, which has been an interest of mine since the early 1970s. Click here to view my current photo gallery.
Today, I do a huge variety of 3D work, including images and animation related to both real-world and conceptual vehicles, organic visualization for artists and their installations, product design and rendering for advertising, prototype products for visualization, advertising and 3D printing, (rapid prototyping) and tutorials for 3D modelers, which you'll find on my Products page. Because I have no secrets about my methods, and enjoy sharing information with others, you'll note that this site is laid out in an information-sharing format, with "follow-along" articles aimed at those interested in 3D modeling, rather than the usual sort of "portfolio" style.
Thank you for visiting!
- Mike James -
3D-related Customers and Projects not under NDA:
- 2018: Beginning in 2014, I did a series of aircraft development work for Transcend Air, on their current "Vy" project. These projects included aiding in the design concept, producing machinable parts for subscale testing, and a variety of marketing images in various liveries. Most of the images shown on their site, which also appear in various aerospace publications, (aside from the flight simulator video) were done by me. (See their "Press" page.)
- I continue to be involved in creating parts for machining. One example is a project done in late 2018, for a subscale, man-carrying version of the P-51D. (See my article here.)
- 2018 - Sabrewing Aircraft Company. Beginning in 2014, when they were called "Elytron Aero", I did a series of projects for them, including producing models for CFD testing, various views for their website, and animations of how the tilt-wing concept and control system worked. In 2018, I created various images for marketing and trade show posters to animations, demonstrating the aircraft's potential. (The image on their home page of the UAV was done by me.)
- June, 2018 - Renders of my General Electric GEnx turbofan project used in internal presentations for the Aviation Finance Team within the Transporttion Finance Team of ING Bank, Frankfurt, Germany.
- 2017 - Output a variety of STP and polygonal files of my F-22 model for a study by TAI. (Turkish Aerospace Industries, with offices in both Turkey and Germany)
- 2017 - Supplied Beechcraft (Raytheon) King Air B100 model files to Aerobrand, for use in an aviation-related presentation.
- November 2016: Cutaway-style renders of my GEnx high-bypass turbofan model used in a paper to be submitted to Annual Reviews of Materials Research, University of California, Santa Barbara.
- July, 2016: Completed three animation segments for the trailer of "Scapegoat", a book written by Emilio Corsetti, on the unfortunate sage of TWA Flight 841. View the trailer here. There are also a variety of still images I created, within the book, including the back cover. The book is now available at iPgbook.com, in a variety of physical formats, as well as an eBook. You can read more about the author, Emilio Corsetti, on his personal site at http://emiliocorsetti.com.
- July, 2016: My 3D model of the Boeing 727-100 ("D. B. Cooper" version) was featured in various animations for the show "D. B. Cooper: Case Closed?", which aired on the History Channel, July 10th and July 11th, 2016.
- GEnx turbofan model used in their app by ScrollMotion, to illustrate it's interactive "peel away layers" capability.
- 2015 to present: Several advertising and airline companies are now using 3D models of my Boeing 787-8 "Dreamliner", as well as the GEnx turbofan that powers that aircraft.
- 2015 - Modeled an Airbus 320 "Sharklet" for Aerobrand, for use in an aviation-related presentation.
- Worked on the main fuselage part for a new real-world aircraft by Elytron. See my News page for more info. The fuselage was retopolgized and refined in MODO, then exported to Solidworks, for both CFD tests and CNC machining. Some of the images and animations I created are featured on Elytron's site, at http://elytron.aero/#page-home
- Artwork and tips featured as a contributor in the October 2014 issue of 3D Artist" magazine, in an article entitled "50 Expert Tips in MODO".
- More Boeing 747-8 renders to be used in Fall 2014 report for airport fire fighters.
- Did preliminary modeling work for an aircraft that will be integrated into a popular line of children's toys (under NDA now, but you'll see it in the future)
- Boeing 747-8 main landing gear rendering featured in September 2014 issue of Sandvik Coromant's Magazine, "Metalworking World" - ( Info here )
- August, 2014 - Boeing 787-8 renders delivered to The Fold, (branding) and used in ads for inmarset aviation
- Boeing 747-8 interior and structural renderings featured in Andreas Fecker's new book, "Technology in Aircraft" - ( Available via Amazon ) - Published by Motorburch Veriag (April 1st, 2014) ISBN-10 3613036576 or ISBN-13 978-3613036574
- Boeing 747-8 "particle cloud" animation featured in the June 2014 iPad edition of the Smithsonian's "Air/Space" magazine.
( Magazine Info here ) - See the high-res animation here.
- Creation of various scale aircraft models for Happy Design Studio, France.
- Created 3D concept UCAV model for New River Community College, for their 2014 USAF/DARPA proposal.
- I'm now able to produce machine-ready files of 3D models, in IGES, STEP, SAT, and 3DM formats, as well as STL, for stereolithography. The most recent of those projects is a model of the Aermacchi MB-326G, designed for a customer, as a large-scale, turbine-powered, precision scale, radio-controlled model, for competition in the 2014 Jet World Masters. See that article here.
- Illustration from my GEnx (turbofan engine) project is published in a new German book written by Andreas Fecker, called "Jet engines: Development - Application - Future", published by Motobuch Verlag in Stuttgart. (Amazon link)
- New River Kinematics ("SpatialAnalyzer") Renderings of parts of my Boeing 787-8 model used parts of the interface.
- Aircraft-related CG work for "D. B. Cooper" hijacking story
- Cutaway views of my Cessna T-50 model are featured in a new book called "Fundamentals of Aircraft and Airship Design: Volume II - Airship Design", published by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.
- Checkpoint Studios - Low-polygon aircraft models (about 36) for a new social gaming platform (2012)
- USAF - Provided a presentation in response to a project involving (flying) scale models of turbine and prop-powered aircraft in the current and past Air Force inventory, for training in both UAV fabrication and flight.
- Powerwave Technologies - Various modeling, illustration and animations for advertising a special antenna system for a mobile network-equipped vehicle
- British TV - ITN Productsions - Fictiional iPad images shown on "N2K", in February 2012
- British TV - Channel 5 - Cessna 310K images used in an episode of "World's Scariest Landings", January 12th, 2012
- Macina Digital Film Gmbh & CO KG: (Boeing 727-100 model for 1972 Munich hijacking reenactment) - Final production in 2012
- Volvo 7700 Hybrid Bus - 3D model and illustrations for a Volvo presentation (2012)
- Davis Aviation - (3) Magazine ads for "King Air Magazine" in 2011
- Flyright, Inc. - FAA-approved Flight Training Images and Animations for King Air Pilot Training (2010/2011)
- Cartier Gwin - Patent drawings for a new kind of hair clip (2011)
- Sheila Wyne - Various 3D Visualization and mechanics for physical art Installations (2007 thru 2011)
- Beyond Kiosks - Kiosk Renders for Presentation (2010)
- James Apostolou - Circuit Board Case and helicopter pilot kneeboard for Rapid Prototyping (2010)
- MUG (MODO Users Group) - (2) Webinars in 2010/2011
- Scale Aviation Modeller Magazine - Renders of my Cessna T-50 model, November, 2009
- MacLife Magazine - Fictional "iPad" (before original release) was "Photo of the Month", October, 2009
- F-22 model for animations by Mike Burnett/Doghouse Animations (2009)
- 3D Training - "Modeling with MODO" series (Five Volumes) (2008 thru present)
- Northrop-Grumman - Physical "Berkut" model for MTHEL Program (2003)
- King Air B200 model used for antenna simulation testing, by Sandia National Laboratories and Edocor (2003 and 2011)