At a first glance one could almost believe that the 3D models pictured in this article are photo-realistic paintings of Malacca at its seafaring prime.
Despite what the eyes say, these fantastical scenes were painstakingly crafted on Autodesk 3D Studio Max and rendered on V-Ray 2014 by a history enthusiast.
35-year-old Mohd Faizal Rahmat studied architecture with a focus on philosophy and art in Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, which sparked his personal interest in 3D modelling.
Armed with a longstanding interest in historical folklore thanks to bedtime stories from his grandmother, Faizal told Vulcan Post, "The Kota Melaka in 3D started long before I was admitted to UTM Sudai Johor, when I was still little child."
An assigned urban study for his 5th year in university brought him to the cityscapes surrounding Malacca. As he was known to be a Malaccan history enthusiast, he covered the historical section.
"There, I gained the opportunity to meet important persons regarding the subject and from there I slowly constructed the idea," he said. "Combining my knowledge from an architectural point of view and also the urban study that I did, I started to construct the 3D."
Even after he discovered the art of 3D modelling in the year 2000, he did not have much time to focus on the art as he was caring for a sick mother. When she passed away due to lung cancer in 2014, that was when he was able to pay full attention on developing the 3D models.
He had already spent some time studying 3D modelling in his own time but it took 12 years dabbling in architectural and interior design before he could actually bring his dream to fruition.
Making his own contact with museum folk and experts in-the-know about the depths of Malacca's history, Faizal pursued his chosen path into the depths of Malacca's history.
Armed with the knowledge and skills, he was able to pay full attention to his passion project.
What came about were dreamlike depictions of Malacca in its golden ages between 1456 to 1477, crafted with attention to history. Many of the details sourced from historical records from the British Museum, Portugal's records and the national archives.
60 per cent of his detailed and intricate work came from this painstaking research. The blanks left in history meant that 40 per cent of his work was filled in based on his own creativity to bring the Kingdom of Malacca into 3D reality.
The depictions of Faizal's Malacca are filled with beautiful imagery, deep colours and intricate details that do justice to the artistry of Malaccans in the days of yore.
Designed on a 3D modelling software that can be used for game design, the details look like they could easily be the model for an upcoming Assassin's Creed game set in Malacca (hint hint, Ubisoft).
His designs range from the city of Malacca itself to the smaller but no less impressive throne rooms.
The combination of his passion for both Malaysian architecture and 3D simulations meant that Faizal was granted opportunities to further his interests in projects such as the interior design of the National Palace of Jalan Duta, the Grand Palace of Johor Bahru and Istana Hinggap Gua Musang, among others.
Recently, Faizal was put in a difficult position when a commission of one of his works fell through, according to a post on the Lowyat forum. He was left with no payment for his efforts, apparently due to the fact that the project was abandoned.
According to a personal post on his wall, Faizal aims to pursue legal action for his troubles. Unfortunately, Faizal's issues are another sad addition to a long list of creatives who are undervalued and taken advantage of for their work.
Despite his troubles in getting the right remunerations for his work, it is clear that this Malaysian has some massive talent and attention to detail when it comes to 3D modelling.
Though some on the Lowyat post have critiqued certain sizing issues with his work, the fact remains that he dedicated his time and efforts into learning the 3D programming softwares on his own, not to mention his attention to historical details.
Mohd Faizal Rahim might just be a name that we will be seeing more of a few years down the road, maybe in the credits for game or movie?