Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Project 4550 - Complete!

Today I finished the final render for project 4550!

This has been an incredible experience, 6 weeks in total! It's been a long time but it's great to have finally learned the entire pipeline. :)

Now it's time for a holiday! 

Friday, 7 December 2012

Project 4550 and The Challenge

So just a short update.

This week we have been working on all the final passes that make a complete render. That means lighting, various rendering tricks such as depth of field, bump mapping etc. and finally textures. Right now I'd say I'm about halfway with many of these things. I've decided to go for a look similar to the videogame Borderlands 2, which led me to spending about two days trying to find out how to make nice outlines! Here's the current render, which is very much a work in progress:

Textures and lighting are rough placeholders at the moment.

Secondly, I recently started a little challenge for myself in order to have something to work on every day that isn't related to what I do at The Animation Workshop. Being an avid Pokemon fan as I grew up, I've decided to try and draw every Pokemon, one every day. This will take me nearly two years, as there are now 649 of them! I'm hoping this side project will keep me artistically refreshed and that I can learn a little about appeal and shape language, as well as working quickly. I am also hoping to have a nice reference for my artistic progress when I look back on it two years from now. Anyways, today was my 8th day, so 641 more to go until I am finished! You can find the feed here:

That's probably the last time I will plug it here since this is meant to be a professional blog so if you want to stay up to date with it, subscribe!

Next week I will complete the render and then it is holiday time! :)

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Project 4550 - Turnaround!

So my turnaround is complete! Today we present our stuff to the class, and next week we begin the fun stuff (texturing, lighting and shading). Two weeks to go!

Agrippa Turnaround from John Obi-Wan Muller on Vimeo.

EDIT: Threw in my latest drawing of Agrippa, which I scribbled during a lecture and then coloured in Photoshop. I have designed a few villains for him as well, I might take them further and post them here sometime as well.

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Projcet 4550 - Short Update

We've spent the last few weeks working in 3D to put our render together. Now, finally, we are nearing the point where we have our characters and environments ready for early renders. There are still no textures, shading or lighting (that's for the next 2 weeks), but I thought I'd show what I have.

A few things have changed from the initial concept, but overall I am very pleased with what I have so far. Looking forward to the finished product!

UPDATE: Got some ambient occlusion shots rendered out. 

Friday, 16 November 2012

Project 4550 - Agrippa Update

Just a quick update, we started working on our 3D models at last! Here is my model after 2 days of work. It's really awesome to finally model a full body, but also challenging as this is my first time. The complete model is due early next week so I will probably put some hours in over the weekend.

Until next time!

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Project 4550 - Agrippa Redesign

So after receiving feedback from our teacher on Friday I decided to push Agrippa in a more heroic direction (which means a brightly coloured outfit) and a few other changes to the final render to give some more clarity and storytelling. You can see the new render below.

Tomorrow we begin 3D modelling!

Friday, 9 November 2012

Project 4550 - Agrippa

So this week we began Project 4550, which involves going through the entire process of designing a character and environment from the concept stage to a full 3D render of said design within six weeks. Today we finish the first week, our concept week.

We were tasked to create a superhero that adheres to a simplistic style (Pocoyo was our given example). I have gone with a genius combat chemist, called Agrippa (after a famous Alchemist).

Early designs.
Stylized turnaround.

Agrippa himself.

And now the full render! Coming soon in 3D!

So far this has been an awesome exercise and I really look forward to the final product. Next week we begin modelling!

Friday, 2 November 2012

Character Model Complete!

So we've officially finished our Intro Maya course and we got to do some rudimentary animation with our rigs. The texture on my model is still incomplete but I hope to come back and finish it over the next few days. Check it out.

I also have a video of my animation. Needless to say, I am no animator, but it was fun to toy with the rig for a few hours.

EDIT: The video appears to be slightly broken at the moment. I will re-upload it this weekend!

Next week we start on Project 4550, which is a 6-week course where we will construct an entire character and environment in 3D for a shot. The theme is superheroes, so I think we'll be having a lot of fun with it.

Until next time!

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Short Update

We've continued to work on our 3D head model, and have moved on to rigging the entire body (preparing it for animation), texturing and other things that make a completed product. I've also been sketching a lot lately, and thought I might upload a picture from the average school day here. Note: lots of notes about Maya.

The current aim is to have a fully prepared model by the end of the week so we can do some rudimentary animation with it. I have a lot of work to do yet but I'll definitely post some stuff when it's finished.

Until next time!

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Sketchbook Snapshots

 It's been a while since I showed anything from my sketchbook, so here are some of the better things that I've managed to hide in there lately.

First the original Skullvane Manse sketches and some
An alien design for a maquette that I intend to
do in my free time.
Superhero designs for an upcoming project and
further work on the alien.
And finally some grunt work,
practicing construction so I can
 make more dynamic characters.

That's all! We've started texturing our head models, so I should have some nice shots of that soon.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Intro To Maya

We recently began our second week of Intro to Maya with Bo Mathorne. Currently we are modelling a head  for a body that Bo already prepared. Still a work in progress.

We also had to do an environment, so I chose to do an abandoned observatory.

Finally, we were taught to light and do a turnaround of our finished product, which you can see below. 

Friday, 5 October 2012

Blog Changes

Just a heads up, I am gonna be renaming the blog and changing things around so that I can use this as my professional blog from now on. At The Animation Workshop all students are expected to have a semi-professional blog where we can showcase our art, and I don't see myself running two blogs simultaneously. Other than a few changes, things should continue as usual. :)



Our last project with Lawrence was to produce a fully rendered image, using all the principles we have learned during the last two weeks. This is the result after the last 2 days of work and a very late night. Still lots to do, but otherwise an awesome exercise! The idea behind this piece was to depict a warlock's bathroom.

WIP Rendered image

Next week: Maya!

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Construction, Perspective and Rendering with Lawrence Marvit

So we're on week 2 with Lawrence and we've done a lot of cool stuff, mostly about constructing and creating believable volumes and spaces from our heads. I am improving rapidly and I am really enjoying every day we get with Lawrence. Here's some of this weeks stuff.

These are perspective drawings we did. The first was a longer project, while the second we had only 3 hours. In hindsight I wish I had done something a bit crazier with both of them, but they work.

This is the pencil and final sketch for a 'robot made out of household items'. This was to test our construction and I had a blast coming up with this.

Tomorrow we start a two-day project to round off our time with Lawrence, where we will have to make a fully rendered, constructed and in-perspective environment with a character. It should be tough, but man am I excited.

Friday, 28 September 2012

Design 1 with Lawrence Marvit

We just finished our first week with Lawrence Marvit, who is trying to teach us graphic design in a desperately short period of time. It's been great fun, and it's nice to get a more academic spin on what we're doing. We've had all sorts of crazy assignments, from giving dynamism to boxes, to describing graphically the taste of boxes or the sound of jazz, to finally creating a Dr.Jekyll and Mr.Hyde piece.

FYI this is supposed to represent dark chocolate.

I'm starting to realize the scope of the field I am going into... I don't think I will stop learning new things about it until the day I die. Luckily, I find that to be an exciting thought.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Final Day with Julia Bracegirdle!

Today we present our stuff, including how our characters evolved, etc. :) My maquette is complete and I have thrown together some improved character designs for this presentation. Great stuff!

If you have any interest in the story this was based on, you can hear it here:

Sunday, 16 September 2012

My First Maquette

So we've had to make some character designs from a short story (called Dr. De Soto) and we had to pick one to make into a maquette. This was a real technical challenge for me and it's far from over. We've had very little instruction in maquette construction so this has been a pretty adventurous day. Lots of fun nonetheless!

I chose the fox to make into a maquette, and ended up making him a bit too big, but after several hours I think he is coming together.

He still needs a tie and top hat, but that is for tomorrow.

Friday, 14 September 2012

Photoshop Monsters

 So we've been having a pretty interesting week with Julie Bracegirdle, who has been teaching us alternate methods of character design. Here are some photoshop monsters I made yesterday as part of an exercise. We had to write a little bit of fluff about them as well (probably my favourite part), I have put that up here too.

Tetraclops Malculatus (Latin: The Four-Eyed Spotter) is a hellish beast spawned in the pits of my laboratory, and as such defies all attempts at classification any more specific than a rough suggestion of Kingdom.  A crude beast, it tends to wallow in the dark before making a surprise attack by latching on to its prey with incredibly powerful pincers. When attacking, it unleashes a hypersonic scream capable of dazing most ordinary creatures. These screams continue as it devours its prey alive, and as such its eating rituals are punctuated by constant screaming - both of itself and its prey. 

Aspis Erosus (Latin: The Serrated Bee) is a characteristically violent arthropod, prone to flying and attacking in swarms, hunting down and destroying larger prey with a ferocity that reminds one of the feeding frenzies of the Piranha. Do not let their diminutive size fool you – they are highly violent even when caged and it is my personal opinion that it is easier to shoot and dissect them than to keep them.

EDIT: We had to put them all up for display outside our class like some kind of gallery abominate. I took a photo. :D

Tuesday, 11 September 2012


Little shot of what I'm working on in Bo's Photoshop class. Great to finally be getting structured lessons. :)

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Bits and Pieces

These are some bits and pieces I felt like uploading as production nears its finish. So far the short is shaping up good and I have learnt a great deal over the last two weeks, including pipeline, organizational and communication skills in a creative environment. It's really cool that TAW throws you into the thick of the action in your first two weeks.

Most important of the lessons this has taught me is to kill your darlings. I've had to scrap a few pieces for the good of the short.

This is the character work for the final shot.
A few references can never go wrong.
This is a scrapped piece, it didn't match the style we'd set.
This is what the earlier image became.
With only two days left the clock is ticking! We show it to the entire campus at 9AM on Friday. :)