Category: My Story

A little more about me


Photo montage of 22 Bishopsgate from St. Pauls' at sunrise

Sunrise over the City from St. Pauls Cathedral featuring 22 Bishopsgate

22 Bishopsgate at dawn

In my previous role as head of arch-vis at River Film, I completed a series of images of 22 Bishopsgate. These photomontage images were designed to illustrate how 22 Bishopsgate would relate to the city around it.

Although completed for some time this image only recently came into the public domain allowing it on our website. This image shows how of 22 Bishopsgate would be seen from Saint Paul’s Cathedral at dawn.

22 Bishopsgate project brings a rare opportunity…

22 Bishopsgate would be a major addition to the London skyline. Because of it’s importance to London, the views from the cathedral are carefully protected. Considering the size of the scheme it was no surprise that a view of 22 Bishopsgate from the top of Saint Paul’s was required.

I was lucky enough to be able to gain access to the Stone Gallery and the Golden Gallery at Saint Paul’s Cathedral. It was from the Stone Gallery that I was able to photograph the sunrise over the City. From these photographs, I would create the backplate for the photo-montage image of 22 Bishopsgate you can see above.

I was there to start taking photographs at first light, the first exposure was at 5:41 am. I continued shooting until 8:30 am. It was a beautiful experience from start to finish. I walked through the Cathedral in the dark before sunrise, I walked through the Whispering Gallery, the vast Cathedral was perfectly silent and still. I climbed to the Stone Gallery and set up to photograph a glorious sunrise over London, the city towers silhouetted by the ever changing sky. It was fantastic and the knowledge that I was capturing such beautiful backplates made the shoot one of the highlights of my career.

Planning and patience…

While there is always an element of luck to get the right conditions my chances of success were maximised by planning and organisation. I waited for the best weather, got there early and was prepared to stay for several hours shooting almost constantly. This meant that back in the studio I had my pick of many stunning images to use as a backplate. The lighting, the clouds the colours, are ever changing as the sun rises. With such great material, the options for a project like 22 Bishopsgate are wide and truly exciting. I hope you like the image. As I said earlier this is one in a series, there are still two more to come…

I would like to thank Oliver Caroe for getting up so early and allowing me access for a such a long length of time to get what I needed.




From Head of Architectural Visualisation to starting a Studio

Many of us sit at our desks thinking of starting our own business but it is very hard to take that first step. It is the hardest step of all. The safety and security of a job is difficult to give up when faced with an unknown alternative. There is no guarantee of income and security. You could say it is fear or lack of confidence, whatever it is I was in that position in my role as Head of Architectural Visualisation at River Film

“Can you come in for a day?”

I did not plan my time at River Film, it just happened about three and half years ago. River Film was getting going with architectural visualisation under the umbrella of Wordsearch. I was asked me to come in to help out for just a day, and then invited for the next day. Then for the week, and then a month, and from there it became indefinitely. When I joined there were two other artists in the studio and it began to grow. Soon we were six, and not long after I was head of Arch Vis. The company just grew and grew, and there I stayed for three years overseeing this great group of around twenty five artists, helping to grow the studio.

A recommendation from Miller Hare

I had briefly worked with River the year before joining them. About five years ago I was working at Miller Hare when David Groundwater contacted them. He asked for someone that could sort out an animation to be recommend. It needed to be rendered and finished in a weekend. My name was put forward.  The work went well and that was start of my relationship with River and David Groundwater.

Below is an image I created at Miller Hare. Incidentally the client was Wordsearch which is the parent company of River Film.

Architectural visualisation at Miler Hare. Singapore Skyscaper - Market Street

Market Street Singapore

Flic Models and the credit crunch

Before Miller Hare I was freelancing for a while. This was following the credit crunch around 2008. unfortunately the place I was working at; Flic Models, the place I learnt 3D and became a 3D artist went out of business.

Architectural Modelmaker

I was originally an architectural model maker at KPF before moving to Flic Models around 2002. It was there that I got the opportunity to learn 3D. I persuaded my boss to let me do a three day government subsidised course in 3DS Max. It was the start, I was completely hooked on 3D. It was a new beginning and I literally saw the world through fresh eyes constantly analysing lighting and the way different materials reacted to it.

When a moving card was needed to send out to customers to inform them of Flic Models’ and therefore Flic Digitals’ move to a new address I created the image below. Everything including the van was modelled from scratch and is 100% 3D. Vray was used for lighting and rendering. It remains one of favourite pieces of work.

Flic Models movig card

All CG 3D rendered image based on the game of Monopoly

Self taught

It takes years to become an expert at 3D visualisation, a three day course can only show you a few things. If you really want to learn you have go away and put in the effort. That is exactly what I did. Over the coming months I taught myself everything I could. I was determined to be the best I possibly could and I still am. I started Flic Digital as an architectural visualisation service to offer alongside the existing model making business of Flic Models. Flic Digital was relatively successful, I had two juniors working with me who I trained. We had interesting work with various commercial commissions including planning work for a hotel for David Archer Architects.

My previous experience as a model maker provided me with a excellent grounding to be an architectural visualiser and I was able to produce images like this after teaching myself for just over one year.

Early architectural visualisation. Chiltern street Hotel planning image

Chiltern Street Hotel


A desire to be my own boss

So there I was Head of Architectural Visualistion at River Film. It was a good job to have but I always had that desire to be my own boss. I felt unable to make the move, until I met Stuart Lipton and things started to change.

Working with Stuart Lipton and Karen Cook from PLP Architecture on 22 Bishopsgate made me realise that I could do it. I could start my own business if I wanted to. So that is what I did and here I am. It has not yet been a year, but so far so good, things are going well. We are doing great projects and great work. I say we because I now have a team of very talented freelancers.

For more on recent events and work please read my latest bog posts.

Martin Richardson