Technetium (Justin) talks to SimArchitect

Technetium (Justin) is a master SC3URKer who has his roots in SCURK. An expert at creating buildings with realistic reflections and shadows.

"It's hard to go back to SCURK"

SimArchitect: Your SCURKs are fantastic. Do you still create SCURKs or do you only make buildings for SimCity 3000 Unlimited?
Justin: I am only doing SC3K stuff right now. It's hard to go back to SCURK when you can do stuff in higher pixel dimensions in SC3URK, and with more than the 200 colors or so that SCURK allows.

SimArchitect: Do you plan to update your SCURK Website anytime soon?
Justin: Unfortunately, I can't seem to access my account at Geocities anymore. I lost the password a long time ago. I still sometimes get emails from the feedback form from people that aren't aware that I'm not doing anything with the page anymore. To be honest, I don't even remember the address for that page. Even so, as I said before I am not doing SCURK anymore. I think I kind of milked my career in that program anyways. :-)

SimArchitect: Do you think that your history in SCURKing has helped you create your sc3urks?
Justin: Yes, but in a roundabout sort of way. SCURK was my first introduction to doing computer graphics of any sort. It is where I learned all about the aspects of RGB color, how screen resolutions affect perceptions of computer graphics, and how antialiasing works. This has carried over into helping learn most of the other computer graphics stuff I am doing now. I primarily use Photoshop these days for artwork, and I have to edit the raw rendered images from POVray with Photoshop before they can be used in SC3K.

"3D Raytracers can do reflections, refractions, and shadows quite easily"

SimArchitect: I was very impressed with the reflection which appears in your latest building (the IDS Center). How did you do that?
Justin: 3D Raytracers can do reflections, refractions, and shadows quite easily. I use POV-ray, a free raytracer that can be found at In the case of this building, when setting the "finish" attribute to the objects that makes up the glass of the buildings, I simply choose to enter "reflection .5" as a parameter for that (its an optional one). That means that the objects will reflect half of the light that hits them and absorb the other half. Raytracers are really pretty cool because they simulate light radiation. Rather than just using objects and their orientation to a light source to make a guess as to how the object should be lit, as 3D Studio Max does (a "scanline" rendering program), a raytracer replicates exactly what objects do in real life. This is why buildings created in 3D Studio Max that come with SC3K tend to be missing shadows in many cases, and why none of their glass buildings have reflections.

SimArchitect: What program(s) do you use to create your buildings? Are they difficult to use?
Justin: I use POV-ray. It is difficult to learn at first, because it is text-based rather than using a built-in modelling interface. The source file is a .POV file which just contains object-oriented code. It's a lot easier to learn than something like C++ or Java, though. In fact, the Help file contains a very long tutorial that will take you through learning to use most of the objects in the program. Using graphing paper to plan out the buiding beforehand makes it very easy to produce it in the program. If enough people are interested in learning to use this program to create SC3URK images, I may upload the source file for the IDS Building so that they can see how I have the light sources and camera set up. I also use Photoshop to set the magenta background color and to size the image properly.

SimArchitect: How long (on average) does it take you to create a building?
Justin: The last one took me about 16 hours. Most of the time spent is actually letting the computer render an image. Then I have to see what's wrong with it, fix the code (which takes usually a couple minutes), and let it render again. The IDS Building took only about 7 minutes to render the final version, which is because the glass frame of each building is a single object. The previous building, 60 Wall Street, took 4 hours and 49 minutes on the final render, because every glass and metal floor section is a different object. I use my brother's computer for all the rendering since he's not here these days, so that I can do other things on my own computer. :-)

"I remember BAT ran very slow on my machine, and I'm not expecting BAP to run faster"

SimArchitect: Have you or do you plan to create any BAPs or BATs?
Justin: Not really. I considered using BAP once because the use of props technically allows you to create just about anything you want. You could use a huge prop for the whole building, as far as I know. But I don't really need to use it. I remember BAT ran very slow on my machine, and I'm not expecting BAP to run faster.

SimArchitect: What else do you do in the "Sim Community" (if anything)?
Justin: I play Simcity 3000 Unlimited occasionally. I still have never played The Sims, and I've heard its a great game. I just haven't had the opportunity to yet.

SimArchitect: What do you do in the "real world"?
Justin: I am currently in school studying Computer Graphic Design. I plan to attend an art college as soon as I'm done here, because I really would like to focus more on computer art than computer advertising, which is what most of CGD is about. Speaking of Computer Art, I also do that quite a bit on my own. I am a fan of anime (Japanese animation), and that's how I draw. I color my art in Photoshop. I have a gallery online if anyone would like to see it, located at I like to play hackey sack and climb mountains, when I can find the time.

SimArchitect: Do you think what you do for a living affects your buildings or the other way around?
Justin: I would like to think that working the deli department has some positive effect on my life. :-) But unfortunately, that's not the case, other than providing me with some spending money.

SimArchitect would like to thank Justin (once again) for allowing us to interview him.