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