Extinct but Still Swimming Prehistoric Nautiloid

28 05 2009
  Rayonnoceras Espeyense - Prehistoric Nautiloid
Commissioned by the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust, I was tasked with breathing life back into this extinct 2 million year old sea beastie. Its real name is Rayonnoceras Espeyense but was lovingly called ‘Ned’ throughout the project. This sequence (edited version seeen here) loops on a plasma screen next to the actual shell fossil within the museum and is the first time I’ve animated a ‘creature’; especially one with tentacles. The whole sequence took roughly four weeks.
Here’s an inside look at the bones and springs rig I set-up for my Nautiloids tentacles.
Attempting to animate over 200 bones by hand would have been very time-consuming so I needed to find a way of controlling the tentacles using the minimum amount of key-frames. This hierachy of bones connected to springs method in 3dsmax allowed me to control almost all the tentacles by wriggling their parent bone. To add subtle differences between each tentacle I also keyframed each root bone. This rig didn’t work when I had to jump the creature forward, at this point the tentacles would fly backwards into it’s head. For this shot I used a mixture of hand keyframing and ripple spacewarps.

Mocap for Muscle man

25 01 2009

Part of the Fitness exhibit @Bristol Science Museum, this sequence is used as a larger than life projected VR aerobics instructer that encourages kids to take part in his exercise routines.

My brief was to animate a man without skin (so we can see his muscles) performing aerobics.
This was achieved by capturing Mocap data of a dancer performing the routine and then applying this to the rigged 3D CGI model. The hands, jaw and eyes were then key-framed by hand.
The only issue with this process was that my dancer was only 5.2ft and had a small frame wheras my muscle man was 6ft and strapping. This caused a problem with his arms moving his ribs so the shoulder bones had to be tweaked slightly to stop this from happening.

During experimentation with textures and lighting I produced ‘wet’ looking muscles. This was looked pretty real but my client rejected this as it looked like a creature from Hellraiser doing the Jane Fonda workout! 

Capturing the Motion Data at Bournemouth University

Capturing the Motion Data at Bournemouth University



Quite a large product launch. The biggest (and scariest) project of my career……to date.

22 01 2009

VT Shipbuilding (now BVT) staged a spectacular naming ceremony to commemorate the first ship to be built and launched at Portsmouth in 40 years. I was tasked with creating the screen documentary style video  and a 140M High Definition projection that would play across the entire ship. The show was viewed by 3000+ spectators and was broadcast on the news. I spent six weeks working on the sequences but could only test the projection rig the night before the show – thankfully my graphics (based on the CAD drawings) aligned with the ship. The overall event won VT the RSVP corporate event of the year award. They’re currently building the new Aircraft Carriers so fingers crossed I’ll get another go………but will have to hire a ton of projectors!

Part 1

Part 2

A rather drunk me at award ceremony - yes, I was that suprised!

A rather drunk me at award ceremony - yes, I was that suprised!