FV - Bud p.3 (UV's)

Bud's UV's. There are seams across the start of his arms, neck, back of the head and the bottom of his feet; as well as another on one side of his torso. Most are hidden. (Minus the one around his neck.
I went with the slightly higher poly version of Bud! Pal will also share this same model. 

2048 x 2048 UV'd in Maya.

FV - BUD p.2 (High-poly to Low-poly)

ZBrush high poly

Maya QuadDraw low poly

I tried my best to optimize the fingers' topology for animation so they don't deform like weird pickles....
Both the eyes and the mouth are now gone as they were only a guide. Bud will have an animated texture for his face that I can easily change which emotion/if he is talking with channels, and finally I'm going to use normal maps again to make him look smoother than it appears.

From 607k polys to...
1262 Polys.
0 Triangles.

Optimized it a little further taking out some edge loops, and then sub-divided once. He's nice and smooth now! Comes in at 4202 Polys.. not sure if this will make a massive difference with rendering times / animation ease etc though

FV - BUD p.1 (ZBrush Start)

It begins. Making quick high-poly in ZBrush then the re-topology for lower resolution will be done in Maya.

Walk Cycle w/ Felix Jnr + Finished Rig (Legs, Arms, Neck..) + Tail

Walk Cycles Part 1: Mechanics + Rigging Techniques 4: Tails

Biped Rigging Part 1,2,3,4: Legs, Spine, Arms, Head, Neck, & Final Grouping

Maya Tutorial - Leg Piston

Film Review - Blair Witch Project

figure 1. The Blair Witch Project Film Poster

Known as one of the first of it's kind, the Blair Witch Project made strides with what was capable with film, and not just that, but how successful it was.  "The movie is like a celebration of rock-bottom production values--of how it doesn't take bells and whistles to scare us." (Ebert, 1999) With a budget of only $22,000 it eventually went on to make $248 million in the box office it has been romanticized as one of the first "indie" movies made by three young filmmakers.

Advertised like a real occurrence the Blair Witch Project gained massive publicity as viewers of the film tried to visit the small town Burkittsville where it was shot. The attention, mostly uninvited was one of the large effects of this film even though a lot of the BWP wasn't actually shot in Burkittsville, which shows how many people really did buy into it.

Believably was key and with only three main actors and no actual script to read from for dialogue close to all of it was improvised. The arguing and crying through-ought BWP possibly some of the most strenuous, were backed up by a script outline . - It must be said that whilst there was more than enough improvisation this was only to enhance the realness; as BWP behind the scenes was full of control. Three days to shoot hours of footage, eight months to edit it all down. The mastery came from the editing and never do you not know what's going on as the strong consistency and pacing from an ultimately simple plotline plays out. Whilst each night passes, the Blair Witch, supposedly, gets closer to them and the events that follow worsen significantly.

The BWP could have stopped at having three very good friends go into a forest and to their dismay, the Blair Witch gets them. However if this was the case, and the three good friends didn't argue, get stressed or upset at eachother not even once then we would be looking at a much longer-feeling film. Day scenes riddled with arguments and silly hissyfits brought on by being lost not only shorten BWP up, but enhance the bursts of action at night when they happen. The day scenes are preparation for the night; although one of the most frustrating things with the three filmmakers in the forest is that there is no preparation. They are too busy arguing coupled with being exhausted to make much progress with trying to get out the forest, instead sitting down having cigarettes. Constantly switching between working together for the sake of getting out the forest, to more towards the night when hysteria breaks loose. Together they work greatly. "a most inventive departure from standard horror fare, is frightening only insofar as its characters' panic seems real. Everything else is left to the imagination." (Maslin, 1999)

It is a film that since it's release in 1999 has remained a landmark of horror films for being low-fi, with a low budget to high boxoffice turnover unique to the horror genre. The handy-cam style of shooting is still popular today with films such as Paranormal Activity (2007) going down the same route of trying to recreate a believable event captured on video. These type of films are much more personal than usual Hollywood films and their compositionally strong shots but with this comes a delicate nature too. The Blair Witch Project had a sequel, received extremely poorly compared to the first, and this goes for Paranormal Activity as well, with each film after it getting predominantly worse and worse. "At a time when digital techniques can show us almost anything, "The Blair Witch Project" is a reminder that what really scares us is the stuff we can't see."(Ebert, 1999) Overall, they are hit or miss one offs that if you buy into the charade becomes hard-hitting; but if you choose not to will seem dull at the very least.

Illustration List:

Sánchez, E. and Myrick, D. (1999). The Blair Witch Project Film Poster. [image] Available at: http://www.coldbloodsandwich.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/the-blair-witch-project-movie-poster-1020270130.jpg [Accessed 26 Mar. 2015].


Ebert, R. (1999). The Blair Witch Project Movie Review (1999) | Roger Ebert. [online] Rogerebert.com. Available at: http://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/the-blair-witch-project-1999 [Accessed 26 Mar. 2015].

Maslin, J. (1999). Movie Review - The Blair Witch Project - FILM REVIEW; Vanished in the Woods, Where Panic Meets Imagination - NYTimes.com. [online] Nytimes.com. Available at: http://www.nytimes.com/movie/review?res=9C02E6D91E3CF937A25754C0A96F958260 [Accessed 26 Mar. 2015].

Film Review - North By Northwest

figure 1. North by Northwest Movie Poster

Alfred Hitchcock's North by Northwest at just over two hours long makes no attempt to speed itself up, but as you see the sheer amount of extras Roger Thornhill and his (as expected) blonde assistant are surrounded by it's clear Hitchock went all out to portray a real-world feeling to this film; compared to that of The Birds which had a much more supernatural feel described as a "glamorous espionage thriller includes a tongue-in-cheek odyssey away from the city - a perilous adventure for a man who is normally sheltered by his wealth and prestige. " (N.D, Dirks)

Throughout NBNW it remains comical. Mr Thornhill exclaims "I'll catch up on my reading" whilst being shut in a room full of books by his captors. In his confusion he's left worrying about missing a theatre performance he has later in the evening rather than being overcome with worry about the possibility of murder. Even when murder is attempted he is remarkably drunk yet able to save himself. This stays true throughout. - He even survives being closely mowed down by an airplane. Whilst this part of NBNW isn't the most realistic; the less than dramatic pacing of it is.

Arguably, the ending of one of Hitchcock's longest films might seem unsatisfactory, but NBNW is one that requires patience and some slight concentration. By people's ability to concentrate and commit to something in 2015, that may be much lower than that of 1959. So North By North West needs a little extra concentration; which is most definitely not a bad thing. Whilst doing so the script begins to flourish; and careful nuances of ironic humor come out. The whole premise of NBNW is surrounded by the idea that Roger Thornhill can infact pay the $2 dollars (Equatable to $16 now) bail, hell he gives his own mother $50 ($400 now !) to go and ask at the desk, but by matter of moral standing and justice he refuses. Thornhill is painted in light of a "good boy" as his respect for his Mother remains strong throughout regardless of tiny slurrs she may throw, coupled with his inability to at first comprehend that him being kidnapped would even be a possibility!

It might be considered that NBNW is racist; as minorities are played in stereotypical roles thought "suited" for. However the fine line Hitchcock portrays is a very realistic one for the time. If NBNW was made now; then yes, it would be racist but for the time it is set in (present day in the 1959's) it is accurate. It does become painfully obvious how prevalent this is when Thornhill gets on the 20th Century Limited as he walks past the masses of rich white people fine dining.  But again, this was all too accurate for the time where race and class especially were seperated massively.

As Hitchcock has a certain bias towards using blonde women in his films you would expect a certain level of stereotyping to come from that, but instead he does not hold blonde women, or infact women in general up to the many stereotypes surrounding them at that time. He creates a very complicated, and multi-layered woman under the name of Eve Kendall, and whilst at first her main motivation seems that of a inamorata; it becomes entangled with deceit, betrayal and doing. Yes, she is portrayed as being under the guidance of a man and what she does is controlled by one but Eve Kendall is shown to have real emotions, second-thoughts and sympathy. - Sympathy being a very large part of her complexity and in-turn affecting the way NBNW plays out. Without Eve, the entire second part of the film would not take place and this shows perfectly how Hitchcock plays women as a part of a film rather than just an asset.

figure 2. Roger Thornhill & Eve Kendall

North by Northwest in it's entirety is miraculously subtle in it's humor, infact sometimes so subtle it may be missed, say from when Thornhill has to use Eve's tiny razor, or a train going through a tunnel, to the incomprehensible irony of Mr Vandamm stating Thornhill overplays his various roles played in NBNW proclaiming he should look less into training from the FBI and more into the Actors Studio. A nice bit of metaphysics.  An immensely clever film using timing greatly, as per usual Hitchcock, leaving scenes as long as they need to be (for example the scene where Thornhill continuously watches cars go by) coupled with a script that should be re-heard to capture everything in more depth! As for the name of the film? Well, reviewer James Berardinelli states North by Northwest's title is "evocative enough that it doesn't need an explanation, and, once anyone has become wrapped up in the film's blend of suspense, romance, and mild comedy, such questions become irrelevant." (N.D, Berardinelli) but as a train, yet again pulls away into a tunnel as "The End" in stark-white text is shown on screen the title of the film we do indeed have to question, surely that isn't the end for Roger Thornhill & Eve Kendall.


Great film.


Illustration List

Hitchcock, A. (1959). North by Northwest Movie POSTER. [image] Available at: https://wattsatthemovies.files.wordpress.com/2014/03/north-by-northwest-poster.jpg [Accessed 22 Mar. 2015].

Hitchcock, A. (1959). Roger Thornhill & Eve Kendall. [image] Available at: http://puu.sh/gLemv/877a559afb.png [Accessed 22 Mar. 2015].


Berardinelli, J. (n.d.). Reelviews Movie Reviews. [online] Reelviews.net. Available at: http://www.reelviews.net/php_review_template.php?identifier=757 [Accessed 22 Mar. 2015].

Dirks, T. (n.d.). North by Northwest (1959). [online] Filmsite.org. Available at: http://www.filmsite.org/nort.html [Accessed 22 Mar. 2015].

FV - Bud & Pal Animatic (Shorter / Edits)

Small edits and a little shorter

Maya Tutorial - Rigging Techniques 2: Eyes

Vertex Painting Test 02

Test 2 trying to see if using Vertex Painting is a good way for me to do the backgrounds. A fairly disgusting example but I managed to figure out the connections for vertex colours to appear when rendering with Mental Ray.  By using Vertex Painting I SHOULD be able to then not UV any of the assets and rely on shaders. It'll look very stylized hopefully ! 

Vertex Painting Test

Testing some ideas out with different shading ideas. (Using Vertex Painting)

Film Review - Jurassic Park

Jurassic Park Poster

Steven Spielberg's Jurassic Park features the same feeling of wonder from E.T and brings it from otherworldly into a time we had forgotten. A time where Dinosaurs ruled the Earth.

From the very beginining of Jurassic Park Spielberg pushes wonder and amazement onto the main characters.  Ellie Sattler (played by Laura Dern) and Ian Malcolm (played by Jeff Goldblum) are introduced as the "relationship" in the film, but what is great about Spielberg's handling of this is that they are already in a relationship instead of their relationship coming from the struggles and hardships of the film. A refreshing difference. John Hammond, CEO and park creator of Jurassic Park (played by Richard Attenborough) acts almost as a God-figure but with flaws. It's these flaws and the self-reflection John has on himself that brings Spielberg's 1993 feature film to life. A film that could have only been about Dinosaurs doubles as a story about family and abandonment.

Technically speaking, Jurassic Park shows a great use of CG. Originally meant to be using models and stop-motion techniques similar to that of the original King Kong (1933) , Spielberg actually wanted to hire Bob Gurr who designed the massive King Kong animatronic, but instead the team chose CG as stop-motion big budget movies were becoming a thing of the past. Every dinosaur blends seamlessly into each shot and it is obvious they did not try to cut corners with this approach. It shows "a sense of grandeur" (Ebert, 1993)The smallest detail was considered and because of this it only adds to the believability that there are actual walking dinosaurs in Jurassic Park"Delights in such details and presents his story as a fascinating, obsessively detailed treatise on both the possibilities and the evils of modern science." (Maslin, 1993) The only arguable fault to this, and the existence of Jurassic Park as a real amusement park, is how no other people are there. No one visits, and it's not open to the public. The only real way to get to the park is by helicopter so it is closed off from the mainland. When Dinosaurs get loose there is suspense and almost ironic terror, but could be elevated if the Dinosaurs were getting loose from not only their habitats, but the island.

Mentioning ironic terror, this comes from the lighthearted approach Spielberg took to Jurassic Park. The wonder and excitement tries very hard to carry on throughout the 127 minute film, but as the Dinosaurs break through the electric fences of their habitats and even eat a few people, it's not clear if you should laugh or feel sympathetic and terrified, too. It constantly jumps back and forth between an Adventure film and a Thriller, but never at the same time.

John Hammond is an interesting character. An extremely focused person who reinforces that he "spared no expense". A phrase that ends up becoming a very somber one as Ellie remarks on how nice the icecream tastes whilst Dinosaurs run rampant throughout the park. John piles his two grandkids off almost uncaringly to the group of visitors as they traverse the park. We then see him in a baseroom with technicians about. They all look extremely hesitant to start the tour as if they almost certainly know something will go wrong. - Even John knows this, and so it's very complex in that respect as to why he'd let his grandchildren go off with strangers on a tour where they are surrounded habitat to habitat with Dinosaurs that may or may not get loose. It is almost as if his own excitement of his Jurassic Park project gets the better of him and in turn risks the danger not entirely realizing the consequence. At the end, when he has been away from his grandchildren for some time, he hears the shriek of them as they run away from an incoming Dinosaur, it's only then that you see extremely raw emotion and response to the danger that they are in.

Steven Spielberg managed to create an instance of a world where an amusement park of Dinosaurs doesn't seem too farfetched to be real. There is wonder, comedy and lots of thrill in seeing the amazement of the characters at real, walking Dinosaurs and in turn we feel this too. "Jurassic Park is all about the big emotions: awe and terror, excitement and wonder." (Hawkes, 2014) Characters are developed from the get-go, and so there is no rushed development and realization from within themselves that pushes the Dinosaurs to the back, and there is no forgetting that. Whilst Jurassic Park does set itself up to have an undertone of family and abandonment, it stays as that, an undertone. It does however have a realistic approach to the typical film cliche of having the problem be the answer in the end. First and foremost, Jurassic Park is about Dinosaurs and the reality of bringing them to life.


Ebert, R. (1993). Jurassic Park Movie Review & Film Summary (1993) | Roger Ebert. [online] Rogerebert.com. Available at: http://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/jurassic-park-1993 [Accessed 16 Mar. 2015].

Hawkes, R. (2014). Jurassic Park, review: 'swallows you whole'. [online] Telegraph.co.uk. Available at: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/film/filmreviews/11310946/jurassic-park-review.html [Accessed 16 Mar. 2015].

Maslin, J. (1993). Movie Review - Jurassic Park - Review/Film;Screen Stars With Teeth To Spare - NYTimes.com. [online] Nytimes.com. Available at: http://www.nytimes.com/movie/review?res=9F0CE1D71E3DF932A25755C0A965958260 [Accessed 16 Mar. 2015].

Illustration List

Spielberg, S. (1993). Jurassic Park Poster. [image] Available at: http://s3-ec.buzzfed.com/static/2014-08/12/12/enhanced/webdr10/enhanced-14020-1407861668-13.jpg [Accessed 16 Mar. 2015].

FV - Pitch Presentation

FV - Bud & Pal Storyboard


But I need advice ! Should I keep the text boxes of each character in a static position or move it around to fit the composition of the shot? It might help if it was smaller anyway though :^)

Here's the veryyyyyyy long final shot that pans upward.

And the small animation in the storyboard of Pal turning into... Pal:

FV - Storyboard Frames

Two random frames from the storyboard I'm working on right now ! Showing how I'm doing it.. placeholder kind of thing.. helpful workflow update maybe..........

FV - Map Rough

Whilst working on my storyboard I drew a rough of the very small world map for the forest Bud walks through. I'm thinking of it as a floating island but very closed off around the edges with trees and mushrooms etc so you only see masses of the atmosphere towards the end.
If successful I'd like to put this into Illustrator and have a vector version of it.

FV - Final Scene Concept Art

Some concept art for the final scene, or the area around the final scene. I want to make a map of the forest-island to show Bud's traversing throughout it too! Moreover, I couldn't decide if the other slime mold should be a different colour, like blue (as slime mold can be different colours..) to differentiate it from Bud but that might be a little confusing. and unnecessary. 

The canyon of sporangia that Bud and the other slime mold jump across is seen at the bottom, going towards the forest that is arranged like a circle of trees with space in the centre. - Like a courtyard of sorts. The story ends here with Bud and the other Slime mold growing into Sporangia and releasing spores. :^ )

Storyboard coming soon!