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This website is a log of my hobbies, passions and projects. It will hopefully over time fill up with helpful advice
to encourage, inspire and guide others with similar interests.

June & July 2020

Blender 2.80 Book

3D Computer Graphics Using Blender 2.80 - Modelling Methods, Principles & Practice


Updated to Blender 2.83

Blender 2.83 has been designated a LTS release and will remain current and supported until the spring of 2022

The Blender Foundation released Blender 2.83 at the beginning of June, another release filled with bug fixes, updates and new features. Though packed with new things, there were no new features added to Blenders modelling tools. At first I thought there would be no need for an update of the book, but then I noticed a little documented change to Blenders Merge tool. The shortcut that activates it had been changed from Alt-M to just M. It may be extremely minor, but it affected the book on 32 pages. Having used Blender for around 17 years Alt-M is deeply engrained in my muscle memory and this has become a regular annoyance to me, though I can see the logic in simplifying the shortcut.

As before, I will continue to keep the price of "3D Computer Graphics Using Blender 2.80 - Modelling Methods, Principles & Practice" rolled back to its pre-introductory price for the time being. This is to help anyone stranded at home during this period of social distancing/isolation, and wanting to fill their time constructively, The price has been reduced from $24 to the discounted pre-introductory price of $15.

London Blender Day 2020

Its been a busy couple of months with illustration projects eating into my available time, but one highlight has been the London Blender Day 2020 which was heald as an online web conference this year. I had offered to do a talk on teaching Blender users, but instead was asked to talk about how I used Blender to design the Austin Mini rotating jig. Knowing that wouldn't fill a 25 minute talk I thought it would be a good opportunity to talk about how I incorporated Blender into my design workflow at Red Bank Manufacturing, which was the reason for creating the Heavy Clay Factory project.

It was a really enjoyable day and there were some really interesting talks about different aspects of Blender. I would like to say a big thank you to Michael, Gareth and Kevin for their hard work organising the day.


London Blender Day 2020 Presentation
All of the videos from the day can be found >> here <<

Classic Mini Rebuild

There's not been a lot of progress with the mini over the past couple of months as I have been too busy with other illustration contracts. I did manage to get the drivers side door step fitted, but other than that the project will probably be on hold for at least two or three more months.

Austin Mini - off side door step


Details about the rebuild can be found >> Here <<

Robert Burke - Portraits & Art


If you would like to commission a portrait please visit my Robert Burke - Portraits and Art website for more details.

robert Burke - Portraits & Art


it would help me Immensely if you would like my "Robert Burke - Portraits and Art" Facebook page and share it with others. The further my websites are spread throughout the web the better the chance I will have of maintaining and continuing with future Blender and drawing tutorials.

Robert Burke - Portraits & Art Facebook Page



Robert Burke - Illustration

My technical Illustration website showcases a little of what I can do towards the creation of the more technical type illustration, graphics or animations.

If you are in need of technical or engineering type illustration for your technical manuals, training or sales literature and websites, please dont hesitate to contact me via the contact link on the illustration website www.robertburkeillustration.co.uk.

Robert Burke - Illustration
Follow my Technical Illustration page on Facebook
Robert Burke - Portraits & Art Facebook Page



May 2020

There has been a little progress adding more detail to the heavy clay production factory, drying bays, racks and a fork lift add a sense of scale to the machinery in the building. Its probably as detailed as it needs to be for the presentation so now I can focus on building the elements that the talk will focus on.

Heavy Clay Extruder created in Blender

As a quick experiment I had a look to see if Blenders physics would be able to display how a double shafted mixer both mixed the clay particles and transported them from the feed conveyor to the vacuum extruder. The video below demonstrates the principles quite well. I will probably have a go to see how the new Mantaflow physics simulation copes with a similar or even mode detailed model!

Blender 2.80 Book

3D Computer Graphics Using Blender 2.80 - Modelling Methods, Principles & Practice

I will continue to keep the price of "3D Computer Graphics Using Blender 2.80 - Modelling Methods, Principles & Practice" rolled back to its pre-introductory price until further notice. This is to help anyone stranded at home during this period of social distancing/isolation, and wanting to fill their time constructively, The price has been reduced from $24 to the discounted pre-introductory price of $15.

Classic Mini Rebuild

With the off side floor, sills, toe and heal board completed my attention has turned to the door step. I had ordered some replacement step panels from M-Machine which were delivered as magnum panels. The fit to the original bodywork was a long way from perfect and required a lot of modification before they would fit correctly. taking a lot of care about corrosion prevention, the jacking point which was pre-assembled between the inner and outer sill presented a problem. There was an enclosed box to the side of the jacking hole that had no rust protection. I decided to drill an access hole on the top plate and carefully cleaned inside the space with solvent using a small sponge attached to a flexible wire. Firtan, etch primer and truck coat were applied in the same way so hopefully it will offer some protection to this point of the sill. I will also give it a coating of cavity wax once the body is finished. The other panels for the step area have also been cleaned back to bare metal and painted.

Austin Mini - off side door step


More details about the rebuild can be found >> Here <<



April 2020

I have started a new Blender project this month after being asked to give a talk a little later in the year coverng some of the work that was done in the Heavy Clay Industry. As it's more than 10 years since working in the industry, I no longer have contacts to get hold of photographs or videos of the machinery that was used. I thought this would be a nice little project to build a virtual factory and model different types of generic machinery that can show the information I need to talk about. I am starting with a clay extruder that will have all the features but not be specific to any one machinery manufacturer.

So far the basics are modelled and I have imported the model into the portal fraim shed used for the palletizer robot animation.

Heavy Clay Extruder created in Blender

Classic Mini Rebuild

This month the floor panel was cut to fit the opening in the bodywork. Before welding it in place all the paint from the surrounding metalwork was stripped back to clean metal and for belt and braces rust prevention a coat of Firtan was applied. Once the rust treatment had cured all the exposed areas were etch primed and any hidden surfaces painted with top coat.

The floor was welded in place, a repair panel made for the Toe Board and a new rear slinging bracket fabricated.

Austin Mini - off side floor welded


More details about the rebuild can be found >> Here <<

Robert Burke - Portraits & Art


I can show another pastel portrait that was a commission for a birthday present. This is Flyn the Cocker Spaniel. I received some lovely feedback from the owner that will be added to my Portraits and Art website when it is updated to include my pastel work, a little later in the year. I have also done my first commission for a portrait of a young lady, again it is for a present so nothing can be shown until a little later in the year.
robert Burke - Portraits & Art





March 2020

Blender 2.80 Book

3D Computer Graphics Using Blender 2.80 - Modelling Methods, Principles & Practice

This month, to help anyone stranded at home during this period of social distancing/isolation, and wanting to fill their time constructively, I have rolled back the price of "3D Computer Graphics Using Blender 2.80 - Modelling Methods, Principles & Practice" from $24 to the discounted pre-introductory price of $15 until further notice.

Classic Mini Rebuild

A lot of this month was spent on preparation to get the floor panel fitted. After a trial fit, I realised the heal board / subframe mount repair panel needed to be fitted first and there was still a lot of corrosion on the boot floor around the outer corner of the heal board. I decided to cut this away to clean metal as it would be almost impossible to do with the floor and heal board in place. To allign the subframe mount I made an angle iron template by drilling through the subframe mounting brackets. Unfortunately the only good bolt hole on the near side was next to the boot floor so the angle iron had to have a relief cut out along the centre edge to miss the raised section of the floor panel.

Austin Mini - New rear subframe mount

I found a bit more use for Blender on the mini rebuild, sandwiched between the inner sills and rear wings is a small filler panel that sits at the bottom of the passenger companion box. It looked easy enough to make myself so from the rusty part I removed from the car and what I could see in the bottom of the still complete side of the car I remodelled it in Blender. Because of the different angles along the filler piece I needed a template to mark out where to cut and fold the sheet steel. I was hoping the Paper Model script would be useful to unwrap the model, but unfortunately it split the part into different islands. In the end I manually unfolded the mesh onto the X - Y plane then printed it to scale.

The image below shows different stages from the rusty part, to the the finished steel filler panel.
New floor panels and starting to cutaway the old floor panels and sillspanels


More details about the rebuild can be found >> Here <<




February 2020

Blender 2.80 Book

3D Computer Graphics Using Blender 2.80 - Modelling Methods, Principles & Practice Blender 2.82 was released on 13th February which meant I needed to update the book to include the bevel improvements, which now includes the ability to add custom profiles to follow the selected edge to be bevelled. I also took the opportunity to correct a couple of errors and typos, The new version was uploaded to Gumroad on 23rd February.

The book now contains:

Pages: 514

Images: 924

More information about the book including a chapter by chapter breakdown of its contents can be found
>> Here <<

Classic Mini Rebuild

The body panels for the floor, sills and door jambs arrived towards the end of February, so it was time to start cutting out lots of old rusty steel. As you start cutting you realise just how many repairs are going to be needed to get the body rust free. The first area to be tackled is the off side (drivers side) floor area.

The panels look good quality, though there were one or two ripples around the corners of depressions where the flat surface had stretched a little. Nothing that couldn't be neatened up with a little bit of panel beating. The floor pans were ordered as an assembly with the outer sill already welded to them. There wasn't any rust protection over the welds so the first job was to give them a clean down with gun wash thinners and coat them with etch primer.

I have also started adding details to the Classic Mini Rebuild project pages including an article detailing how I used Blender to design the Minis Rotating Frame. More details can be found >> Here <<

New floor panels and starting to cutaway the old floor panels and sills

Robert Burke - Portraits & Art

Another pet portrait to show this month, this time a Chihuahua and Yorkie in soft pastels.

Chihuahua and Yorkie in soft pastels.
If you would like to commission a portrait please visit my Robert Burke - Portraits and Art website for more details.




January 2020

Tiger Portrait, Acrylic on Canvas by Robert Burke The new year has started with me tryng out some new art techniques. When I left full time employment almost three and a half years ago I used some of my free time to practice my traditional pencil sketching and drawing skills. Using pencils was a deliberate choice as I wanted to make sure I could still recreate on paper what I see in life, before complicating the process with colour. Having worked on computer graphics projects for over 20 years I was expecting traditional colour theory to be a bit challenging as computer colour works opposite to paint colour theory. On a computer mixing your primary colours produces white, where with traditional mediums mixing them produces black.

About six months ago a tried out soft pastels and pastel pencil and realised that colour isn't as challenging as I first thought. For Christmas I was treated to some acrylic paint and various acrylic mediums. As usual I set myself a difficult challenge for a first painting and decided to do a tiger on canvas. I didnt realise just how much control acrylics give you, yes they dry quickly so mixing wet on wet isn't as easy as oils, but their ability to layer colour is excellent.

The tiger was a pleasure to paint, though I soon found working on canvas needs the base mid-tones to be scrubbed in to the canvas a lot more than when working on paper or board. I am really please with how this first attempt has worked out and will definitely be doing a lot more with acrylics.

Blender 2.80 Book

3D Computer Graphics Using Blender 2.80 - Modelling Methods, Principles & Practice Blender 2.82 is due to be released on 13th February and the new bevel improvements will impact on the reference section of the book. Another update is planned to keep the book current to the 2.8x series. As before the update will be free for anyone that has already purchased the book.

Classic Mini Rebuild

Once the underseal was removed in December, it became apparent that the bodywork was much worse than expected. I have decided the best option will be to replace the floors both sides as there is significant rust both at the front and rear of the floor pans.

To start the bodywork rebuild I have ordered for both sides, floor panels including the inner and outer sills, front door posts including an extended repair panel onto the inner wings, windscreen scuttle corner repair panels and rear subframe mounting repair panels. Because of the amount of structure I will be removing, I need to increase the amount of temporary bracing to keep the body work from twisting out of shape. The new panels have to be manufactured to order, so the project will be on hold until the new panels arrive, hopefully mid February.

Robert Burke - Portraits & Art

I mentioned the Tiger portrait above, I am pleased enough with the result that I am entering it to be displayed at the Tamworth Society of Artists February Exhibition at Shenstone Library.

Tamworth Society of Artists February Exhibition