NPOWER Software - Advanced Modeling Plugins for 3DSMAX and RHINO

Featured Artist: Luke Gustafson
Luke's Bio/ Fun Facts


  1992 BFA Universtiy of Iowa
Job History:
  2006-Present: Owner/Art Director of Datahouse Studios LLC,
                        Adjunct Faculity at ACC,
                        Vice-Chair Siggraph Austin Chapter

8.5 years: Senior/Lead Environment Artist
                    (Midway, 3DO, Acclaim, NCsoft)

3 years: Lead Artist at Unitech
              (Department of Defense)

5 years: Lead Technical Artist in Manufacturing
              (John Deer, Sauer Sundstrand, Fisher Controls)
Favorite Movies:
  Fight Club, Fandango, Castaway, Anything with John Wayne in it.
Favorite Artists:
  Miles Davis, Thievery Corporation,  dZihan & Kamien, Radiohead, Old Van Halen (yea, you dig it too!)
Main Software:
  3ds Max, All Adobe Products, Corel Draw, Google apps!
Image on your mousepad:
  Over-sized and flat grey (my kids have drawn all over it)
Interesting fact about yourself:
  I got rhythm... But can not dance- Complete goof.
Our nPower questions to Luke
Datahouse Studios is a company that has many aspects of 3D visualizations, architecture, and interactive design. Can you tell us a little more about your company's mission statement and what led you to where you are today?

Datahouse Studios is a full service digital production studio that specializes in 3D Product Visualization (Illustration and Animation), Graphic Design and Interactive Web/Mobile Development.

We work directly with Engineers, Operators and Scientists as SME's (subject matter experts) during development. Our ability to re-purpose CAD data allows us to create stunning, photo-realistic visual assets for training, marketing and technical based communications.

We are continuously involved with R&D and new technologies as part of core business solutions. From Trade Show Booth to Technical Manuals and Training Material; our development process is condensed around one innovative pipeline solution that focuses on enabling clients to deploy their messaging with accuracy and continuity throughout all forms of media.

What types of projects does Datahouse Studios usually do and for which industries?

We are not specific to any certain industry and our projects are as unique as our client base. This makes development very exciting- we never know what the next project will be!

The clients needs tend to change regularly. By maintaining our own internal flexibility and open communications, we adapt with the client and fill an initial "advisement" role in the beginning of the development process. The client determines the direction and style that they are interested in, we in turn, provide the technical solution to the development process. Maintaining an open dialog and steady review process with the client, we can find solutions that guarantee that projects will be delivered on time and within budget.


You recently worked on a new project for repairing the Horizon deep water oil rig to help fix the big oil spill disaster in the gulf of Mexico. Can you tell us a little more about how you got involved with this project and at what point in the process?

TorqLite, who manufactures the hydraulic tools that were used in this event, decided that it was time to update their Operations Manuals for their entire product base. They are an excellent company to work with and Datahouse in conjunction with Sento Design was honored with the responsibility of this task. We took 23 technical manuals and condensed them into 4 comprehensive operations manuals, quick start guides, tool diagrams and troubleshooting guides. Every diagram, illustration and exploded view was created directly from the core engineering data. The accuracy and visual quality of this production is incredible!

What steps did you take to accomplish your plan of action? What were some of the greatest challenges with this project and how did you work to resolve them?
  Working directly with the client and their service department was the key to this production. We were able to provide a visual representation (in the greatest of detail) of every step involved in the maintenance of this tool and its components. Language barriers (Globalization and Localization) were one of the clients major concerns. By focusing on the visual assets of this development, these issues were overcome immediately. The illustrations, diagrams and charts are so accurate and visually complete- the entire sequence of images communicates the instructions practically on its own.
Why did you choose to use nPower tools in your work flow?

nPower's Power Nurbs Pro Bundle and their Power Translators proved to be the best interpolation tools we have tested (we have been researching for the better part of 4 years and have direct connections with most of the major software manufactures). The integrity of the models in 3ds Max is unparalleled because it remains a Nurb's surface- The user has control of when and how they want to convert the model into a polygonal form. Since most of our animations are ridged body, there is no need to convert to poly's (no skinning or weighting). When we do need that control, conversion is a snap.

How often do you use nPower tools?

Every project that involves engineering data. It is the only translation tool we use

Working with others whether they be clients, architects, engineers, scientists, etc is an integral aspect of your company. How does working with this diversity change your overall design process?
Communication! Communication! Communication! We have a standard rule: when in doubt, pick up the phone! Email is great for exchanging facts but its a terrible way to communicate. 90% of my time is spent on phone or Skype.
Your company focuses on a plethora of new media. How do you keep up with all the new technology out there? What are some resources our readers might like to know about?
  We try to reach out to the software and hardware manufactures themselves. We ask questions, post on boards but mostly participate anyway we can. We teach, train, volunteer in non-profits, speak at engagements and go to as many tech events as possible. The learning process never ends!
What should we expect from DataHouse studios in the future?
  Hmmm... That's a really good question! Technology is moving so fast, it's hard to know what will be in place in the far future. We tend to rely on our core Kung Fu (know-how of development fundamentals) for successes. Hardware, Software and Tool Sets will always change but our integrity as a developer is what really matters at the end of the day.
DataHouse Studios Use Case for TorqLite


Name: Luke Gustafson
Company: DataHouse Studios
nPower Software used:


Power Translators

  The images below from DataHouse Studios and TorqueLite show the creation of the hydraulic tool that helped repair the oil rig for the spill in the gulf of Mexico  
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