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Meet Lucas Morgan of Enviral Design in Mid Cities / West Dallas

Today we’d like to introduce you to Lucas Morgan.

Lucas, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
My career path officially started when I graduated from Full Sail University in Orlando with a bachelor’s degree in Computer animation. Video games and 3D art was a big passion of mine growing up.

3D art is a subject that people today can approach from an artistic standpoint or a more technical standpoint. I was pretty good at creating art procedurally, or mathematically, and for years created environment art (landscapes, etc) using a more technical workflow in the software we were taught (Autodesk Maya, Photoshop).

Throughout college, I spent much of my time doing as much as I could with the tools that we were taught. However, there was a pivotal day where a friend helped me solve a problem I had in my graduating demo reel project – in less than five lines of code. That code saved me maybe an entire day of repetitive clicking to resolve an issue I had and absolutely changed my perspective on programming, going from something I prided myself on being able to avoid, to being something I wanted to learn and use to improve my workflow, and save time.

As years progressed, from job to job I started writing software tools and even small programs to facilitate the creation of 3d art for companies I worked at. One limitation about the type of art I created was that it often took many hours to render a single image, in some cases as long as a day. This made the work a very tedious thing to iterate on, a sometimes frustrating factor.

Years later, I ended up spending a weekend at Coachella, a music festival. I happened to come across a concert by an artist named Amon Tobin, who had a very rich and visually intricate stage / visual show. I noticed lots of 3d rendered content, animation, techniques even that I worked with every day and was surprised to see it used in such a real-time high energy setting.

I went home after that weekend and did some research into the software behind the show, and discovered TouchDesigner, the core foundation that everything I do today is built off of.

TouchDesigner is a visual node-based programming environment that allows users to connect things together and build highly visual projects very quickly and with great flexibility. One thing it excels at is connecting things together, inputs from other sources, computers, networks, etc. and outputs to many things as well.

I began learning TouchDesigner some weeks after that festival, and as time progressed, I found my self drawn to the medium of physical lighting, LEDs specifically. I began by building very small and simple projects, and slowly grew them in size and technical complexity.

As more time passed, I started working with some local bands, doing lighting for their concerts at various local venues, sometimes house parties, or bars. It was a great chance to experiment in a live space, with musicians, and my decision to move further down this path solidified even more.

From then, till present, I continued building larger and more complex lighting systems, and at some point, realized that what I was building could be turned into a more general-purpose software solution that I could sell to other lighting designers to help make their jobs easier.

Thus, GeoPix was born. GeoPix allows lighting designers, programmers, or artists to build cohesive lighting systems tying together video, LEDs, and dmx lights into one ecosystem. The 3d Viewport also allows users to create digital scenes, that they can pitch to clients or similar.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Ah, well there’s a few areas where I’ve been lucky, support from friends and family has been positive and continuous. It’s a fundamental thing, but it’s value can’t be overstated.

I’d say the biggest challenges or set of challenges have been teaching my self to be a software engineer. I went to Full Sail for a 3d art degree, so while a lot of that knowledge did transfer to making a 3d software, I have had to learn a lot of algebra, trig, matricies, and many other advanced topics in the realms of 3d programming.

It’s amazing how many math topics in high school and college I laughed about not needing, and employ on a daily basis now.

Please tell us about Enviral Design.
My company Enviral Design is an LLC today, with a workforce of 1 – myself.

I’ve been working on 1 product exclusively for the last few years, that product is GeoPix.

In addition to Enviral Design’s core software product GeoPix, I also do led art installations, and everything from building lighting hardware, to planning and running the lighting systems for concerts.

I’d say the thing that separates my product GeoPix, from other software is how it integrates various lighting disciplines (led, video, dmx stage lights, etc) into one software system, where digital content can be mapped onto those lighting elements in real-time.

Another way to describe GeoPix is a 3D sandbox for lighting design.

Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
Some of my favorite memories from childhood were around dragging out the Christmas lights and decorating the outside of the house. I probably drove my parents nuts, with how frequently I asked them to buy more lights.

Looking back, it’s no surprise I ended up doing what I do today.

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