About Me

Welcome to my site!

Thank you for stopping by. If you wish to learn more about me then you’ve come to the right place. However, I must warn you that I am very dramatic. This will become clear in the text that follows.

So, starting with the basics. My name is Hassan Mirza (surprise surprise…) and I am a theoretical physicist by profession, but loads of other things as a hobbyist! This site is mainly a showcase of one of my biggest hobbies – 3d computer graphics – with a little bit of academic work also.

The next section details the origins of my practice in the CGFX field as well as the exact software packages I use for my work. If you are interested in knowing, then please read ahead.

As a graphics designer

It was over a decade ago when my journey into the world of computer graphics began. Aged eleven at the time, I found myself spending hours drawing and perfecting images of Sonic the Hedgehog in similar scenery to that found in the Final Rush stage of Sonic Adventure II. Unfortunately, coloring in one pixel at a time in Microsoft Paint, while not having the ability to step back more than two moves, started getting to my head. At the time I didn’t have much more than mere hope that there was something better out there.

Shortly after came a very bright day when my father introduced me to a little something called “Adobe Illustrator 8”. Coupled with Lynda.com’s training videos, as boring as they might’ve been, all of a sudden I felt like my drawing possibilities were endless. No longer did I have to worry about each and every pixel; the mathematics of Bezier curves and vector graphics made the manual placement of pixels a thing of the past.

It didn’t end there, though. My next hurdle was indeed a force to be reckoned with – I was asked to draw a box (please refer to fig.1). “That’s easy!”, I say to myself. Draw a square, place the vanishing point to the top right of the canvas and draw lines from the two superior and one lateral vertex towards the vanishing point. It was that moment when a truly evil voice spoke to me, saying “That’s not really a box – its a square that looks like a box“. My heart sank; the voice continued destroying my confidence as a would-be graphics designer while echoing away into the depths of my tiny little mind. Well it wasn’t that dramatic, but when the dust settled, a very important question still remained – how do you draw a real box?

Fig 1 - The question that changed my life.

Figure 1 – The question that changed my life.

There I was, looking for some way to transition from just 2D vector graphics to something really 3D. So I decided to embark on a mission to find the best software for the job. Spending hours and even days on Yahoo!, searching with keywords like “3d graphics” showed me that, unlike the 2D graphics world where Illustrator was (and pretty much still is) the big name, there was (and still is) no single leader in the world of 3D. Note that I used Yahoo! – even Google wasn’t so big all the way back then. Anyhow, I came across all these cool names: Maya, 3ds Max, Lightwave, Modo, Xsi, Rhino, Silo, Blender and so many others that I cant even remember (did I just say “Blender” is a cool name?). Such cool names that I had no possible way of choosing which one I wanted to commit to. I could not even find a way to learn any of them – a way of learning simple enough for a thirteen-year-old mind. The final blow to my hopes came with the unfortunate sightings of their three-to-four digit price tags. Maybe it was my destiny to be confined to the small world of 2D. Like a fish in a pond – having only enough fortune to be able to see a 2D projection of the 3D world on the surface of the water in which it lives.

Fast-forwarding through the next ten years, here we are today. Although I never ended up using Blender after all, its quite humbling when I look back to where I started from where I am now. My skill set has had the chance to expand into almost all aspects of 3D computer graphics; and I continue to advance my knowledge as much as possible when I have time away from University and my other commitments. Please view my portfolio to see examples of my work!

My software arsenal:

Software Years of Experience What I Use it For
Microsoft Paint 11 Saving screenshots XD
Adobe Illustrator 10 Vector art, basic texture creation, silhouette tracing, typography, presentation
Autodesk Maya 9 General 3D modeling, rigging, animation, lighting, texturing, rendering
Pixologic ZBrush 4 Digital sculpture, 3D texture painting, rendering
Adobe Photoshop 4 Texture creation, concept art, compositing, typography, presentation
Unity 3D 2 Interactive simulations, game production
Topogun / 3D Coat 2 Re-topology, map generation
The Foundry Mari 2 3D Texture projection, PTEX, game resolution texturing
The Foundry NukeX 1 Live action compositing
KeyShot 1 Really cool and fast real-time shading and rendering!

 

As a theoretical physicist

Although I had a fairly rocky start to my academic education, mathematics was one of the subjects I enjoyed most from the very start of my school life in September 2005. After finishing my A-levels in 2010, I decided to pursue theoretical physics as it is a lot more encompassing than mathematics on its own. Having achieved a first class Masters’ degree in Theoretical Physics, I am now a physics teacher practicing at a state school in South East London. 

Academic Qualifications:

Subject Level Grade
English GCSE C
Mathematics GCSE A
Science GCSE AA
Design & Technology GCSE A
ICT GCSE C
Mathematics A-level A
Physics A-level A
Graphics & Materials Technology A-level A*