Neon used to win large sculpture project


Well, I am finally allowed to announce that I won this sculpture competition, my biggest project to date, and will be building this sculpture for a sciences building at the university in Anchorage, AK. I used 100% straight Rhino for all modeling (no grasshopper or other plugins) and 100% Neon for all project renderings, including the animations (just using a screen grab script). Post-editing was done by batch processing the images through a script in photoshop to get rid of the last bit of grain (so I could run each still frame in seconds) and make the look a touch more painterly. I have the Caustic card that more than doubles Neon speeds, so that’s a nice bonus when running thousands of render frames. The two-minute video presentation using the Neon animations is here:



(PS: the first twenty seconds are just stock photos to show design inspirations)


Congratulations. This is going to be beautiful! (the rendering in Neon already is!!)



Thanks! :smile:

(Willem Derks) #5

Nice, very nice Heath.
a Beautiful work of art!

Congratulations on winning!


(Marc Gibeault) #6

Mmm, yummi!
I think you’re in for a couple of weeks of polishing!

(Margaret Becker) #7

Whose job is it going to be to keep all those surfaces shiny? :smile:


@margaret: I was going to ask if you were interested in moving on from McNeel and taking a polishing job in Alaska?


On behalf of Caustic, congratulations on winning Heath! We know you’ve been waiting on approval for this one for some time, and we are just pleased that you can now finally talk about it.


Bravo…If you could see into my office you would see me standing, clapping and whistling as only a true southern redneck can do. Fantastic work and presentation.



I think it’s a great concept! Nice work.

From a practical standpoint, I think Margaret’s question is very fair. I also suspect that your client also asked it in one form or another. It looks like the reflectivity is an important element of the design, and given that Anchorage doesn’t exactly have the same climate and air quality as the high desert in California where the solar electric plant is located and given that there are so many flat surfaces to clean and polish, let me ask:

  1. Did you do any studies with reduced reflectivity and contamination-coated surfaces?

  2. Do you have a secret process that will make short work of cleaning?


Beautiful work Heath, the magical combination of imagination, art, craftsmanship and technology. If it’s not confidential, what material will you use to get the highly polished finish?


I appreciate the concerns and congrats. :smile: The material is 316 (marine grade) stainless. I’ve had pieces out for some time, and they get environmental dirt like anything else, and they need to be hosed off once in awhile, and cleaned like a car (washed with soapy water and dried) once in awhile. Dirt and streaking is more visible close up, but a few feet away, the mirror polish actually reflects so much of the environment that dirt and streaks are much less visible than they’d be on, say, a painted surface. I had similar concerns when I first started experimenting with this material, but I was surprised at how much crap can get on it before it starts looking bad. This piece: is near the ocean and is in an area where it gets hammered with bug crap, dirt, and fog. Up close, the surface gets pretty nasty looking (as any surface would in those conditions), but step a few feet back and it looks great. They’ve washed it maybe once since it was installed eight months ago. I love stainless steel for its low maintenance… no repainting, no regular waxing (like bronze requires), no refinishing, just an occasional washing.


Oh, for what it’s worth, it’s the same material used on this Anish Kapoor piece in dirty Chicago. :slight_smile:


Well now that you have clarified it, I have thought about a number of friend’s sailboats I’ve been on that had stainless hardware, that they don’t clean but maybe once a year, and which looked pretty good. I have administered myself the appropriate dope-slap and will proceed on to the next question :smile:

I assume the material comes pre-finished with protective covering and is sheared to shape (rather than any heat-requiring process)???
You join the appearance panels with adhesives (rather than welding) to its support structure and one another?
You ship and install it with the protective covering in place, strip the covering, collect the money and run?

Is that about it, or am I way off base? :wink:

Or does it actually require the bajillions of hours of finishing I don’t enjoy imagining?


Cheers mate!

I was thinking exactly about this piece. A couple steps back and it just shines as new.


The metal is pre-polished, but there will be a ton of seams to be welded, ground out, and polished. Loads of polishing… again, just like the Muse sculpture I linked to before… there will definitely be “bajillions of hours of finishing”. Ack! :smile:


Congratulations Heath! Nice idea, concept and result! Nice video also :smiley:



Very impressive Heath!



Thanks everybody! Now comes the hard part…