Posted: January 7, 2011 in Uncategorized

I found an article on Bryce in 3D Artist magazine. Theres a section all about Brcye 7 Student edition. So, I downloaded the trial version and within an hour, this is what I devised.

More Bryce will follow.


Posted: December 13, 2010 in Uncategorized

Our first tutorial on 3d involved looking at 3DS MAX navigation and simple object creation. I’ve put together some screenshots of what I have learned throughout this first session.

The basic 3d workspace, in perspective viewpoint. You start off with 4 set defaults, FRONT, TOP, LEFT/RIGHT, PERSPECTIVE.

I found it much easier to work in perspective, because I could see the physical scale of the obects created.

I created this sphere by clicking on the ‘create’ panel on the top right hand side, under ‘standard primitives’, selecting sphere, and dragging my mouse on the viewport. I t came up with a default colour green. We were asked to change the colour.

There is a very simple way of changing colour, which involves clicking on the colour box next to the ‘sphere 001’ header. Or, to go about it the fancy way, you can select the modifier tab, and scroll down to material. I was told that the simplistic way to change material / colour was to press the ‘M’ key on the keyboard.

This then brings up the material editor port. There are default spheres at the top, but also 3 options, (Ambient, Diffuse and Specular) each have their seperate property.

I clicked on the ‘diffuse’ colour, and selected a blue colour from the colour selector. When I did this, the default sphere at the top of the material editor changed. I pressed ok.

Once ok was selected, the object in the viewport’s colour changed.

We were then asked to change the material.

Our next lesson was for box modelling. We were shown that through dividing a box’s mesh up, you could then create anything you wanted. We started by creating a robot.

This started off just as a square, but I modified it to the point where I could create this robot.

I then used these tools to create something that was more applicable to my movie concept.

We were told about ‘sketching in 3D’, using certain programs to quickly develop concepts, (much faster than 3DSMax)

I used a program calles Sculptris to create on of my  ‘bad’ characters:

This does not have arms as of yet. It does have a back though!

I also needed to look at environment creation, I used 3DS Max to create a simple house that one of my characters could reside in.I based it upon an interesting bit of research I did into ‘tribal’ homes. I wanted to get a feel of the house being made out of rock as oppose to brick.

Here are a couple of research pictures that I used to hep me create this 3d model. One of my main environment inspirations came from looking at the artwork of Daniel Dociu, a brilliant concept artist, who has worked for such games as Guild wars. Here is some info about him:

I like this screenshot from World of Warcraft, because it shows the non industrial side of tribal life, I also like the totem pole as an indication of a tribe.


I love how the houses in this have been sculpted into the rock.

Although some of these images are slightly later in time period, I still like how they show the scale of the buildings. I suppose this is shown cleverly in composition, as if you are looking through someones POV, from the bottom up.

So, from this, I started to make a trial village.

To create this, I used a plane, which I textured using Mental ray textures, (environment). I then made a house, by box modelling, and texturing it with a concrete texture. I then copied it 6 times and assorted them in a ‘hamlet’ style layout. Ideally, I wanted to create a night  scene, so I started to consider lighting and camera positions.

I moved the camera further forward, and also made quite a bright light, which was law down to the ground, this gave the impression of a light emitting from a fire. My ideal outcome. I like the shadows that have been created. I plan to improve this by adding more buildings, and to try to get a ‘sandlike’ material for the floor. Ideally, I would like to look at a way of creating a more realistic fire too.

Based on the World of Warcraft image that I put here earlier this week, I though I would try creating something similar in MAX. I’ve noticed that it is taking me less time to create simple models, which is a good thing, as it means I can put more time and effort into the detailing and finishing. Anyway, here’s my draft totem pole, which I intend to put in each village. Depending on the tribes’ moral status, the totem pole will look different. The one I ‘m putting up now is the ‘good guy’s’ totem.

And again from a distance:

Idecided that my 3D scene needed a campfire. I checked out a fire tutorial online, and imported a landscape texture for the background. This is what I created:

It took around an hour to create, and looks pretty cool 🙂


I wanted to change the material and texture of the totem pole to make it look as though it had been crafted from wood.

I later intend to import this max file into the village I posted earlier.



Posted: December 10, 2010 in Uncategorized

We started our authoring tutorials by looking at different portfolios online, and commented on how good / bad they were in terms of design and why.

To show a good example, here is one of the sites that we studied:

The reason as to why it is a good example of web design, is because it is clean, and clear in terms of navigation, plus, the theme and font tie in with the style of the artist. (Something which I plan to use with my own)

An example of not-so-good web design is here :, the reason being, that although his artwork is good, his online portfolio does not echo his creative ability, the presentation and layout is poor, and nowhere near as creative as his drawings.

Next up we had a dreamweaver tutorial, where we learned about the basic user interface of the program and how we could use it to our advantage when designing, or creating our own websites.

Here is a brief idea I came up with, based on simplicity of a website, the colour scheme is just draft, but can be changed to suit my concept at a later stage.

Here is my mind map that allowed me to create this, based upon our lecture on portfolios on the web.

The week after we were going to look at DVD Menus. So I thought I’d do a little research into a few, to see how they were presented.

This ‘select a scene’ menu from LOTR is very good, as it doesn’t just list the chapter numbers. The numbers actually follow the design in the background. The text is also similar to the overall design.

This is a brilliant layout option. The use of a book to act as a dvd menu is a superb way of presenting interactive media.

Quite basic here, but very pretty background image. The menus are also outlined in a restaurant menu style.

With a little bit of inspiraion I gave creating a menu a go, using encore.

I found the navigation part the hardest to get my head around. Working out ideas for the presentation and content was easy enough, but finding a way to make the program let you go to the correct page was quite difficult.

I then realised that you could always veiw the flowchart, there is a tab at the top middle of the screen. and you should see something that looks like this:

This lets you creat links between the different menus.

Composition Tutorial

Posted: December 9, 2010 in Uncategorized

In week 5 were asked to use the rule of thirds composition in our tutorial on Monday.  What is the rule of thirds? check out this website that I used for research into composition. It is very informative both for rule of thirds in regards to composition for photography and artwork.

We were given seperate photos and asked to frame a part of the photo with Photoshop to show the rules of 3rds.

This involved equally dividing the image into 9 pieces, or 3 rectangles at the top, middle and bottom of the image. I think this image is the best example of this theory because the horizontal lines of the building are align with a 3 by 3 grid.

The composition of any scene is very important as it can drive an image, or even animation. I intend to use these methods in my concept art, and also try to include the theory of composition into my 3D renders / scenes.


In week 6, during a graphics and design tutorial, we were told about composition in photoshop, and using basic shapes, we were shown how to create a mood or feeling to a scene.

Here is a list:

Positive Space/Negative Space


Here are a couple of examples.


Even though very simplistic, you can see how it shows you exactly what it’s meant to. On the scale example, imagine if the big square was a robot.

and the little square was a human. How would you know that the robot was ginormous if there wasn’t something small to compare it to?


The main composition that I intend to look at in my piece is TENSION. Purely because it is the premise of my movie. Two tribes at war. Think of transformers for example, and the conceptual imagery for the movie:


Notice how the decepticon’s eye is almost touching the earth? That’s tension for you. Its slightly similar with the main game front cover too:

I’ve used this as an inspiration for some 2D art for my bundle.


Colour theory is so important to animation / film / game industries because without it, they would get no emotional response from their audience on a visual reference. Take Pixar’s ‘Up’ for an example,

Colour determines the mood, and gives subtle context throughout the entire film.

In a 3D world, the colour is mainly created through atmospheric controllers, and lighting (my ideal job in industry) but before hand, the colour scheme has to be carefully planned out with paper and pen. So much importance has colour, that in some companies there are jobs that allow people to do nothing else but.

Basic colour theory tells us that there are a few main types of colour:

  • Analagous
  • Complimentary
  • Tertiary
  • Compound

If you ever want to see how these schemes work, go to Adobe’s Kuler website. It allows you to pick a colour, and a colour theory scheme, and then it brings up the colours for you. For example the colour scheme used in the image above, is:


Using colour theory, we were asked to ‘colour in’ some characters, using only the correct colour from each individual group.

I love how this man looks like a ninja turtle. I t wasnt intentional. Honest.


I made him again, used some of my own brushes and used the colours from KULER’s website. Thankfully, he now looks less like a ninja turtle.


Next we had a tutorial in regards to how colour effects mood when in a scene. Wwere given some black and white images that looked like this:

and we had to make them look like this through use of colour:

You can see more interest has come to the photo now, it looks like there’s a sunset outside, but a really cold shed inside.


Very eerie. Almost Bioshock like.

Despite this, a mood would have been created no matter what colour I had used, so I guess it’s down to how you wish your audience, or gamers, or viewers to FEEL.

Graphics and design

Posted: December 9, 2010 in Uncategorized


We had a tutorial on graphics and how they are integral to marketing in industry. Think of Pepsi for example. You know exactly what it will look like, even before you look at the image below:

This is an indication of good graphic design, an image that sticks in your mind. For marketing purposes, this proves a valuable asset to any company. Suprisingly enough, Coca cola’s logo, (we learned) is very very poor in terms of graphic design, due to the fact that the typograpy is not easily read, however, because it is such a well known brand, if it were to be changed in any way, it may not be as recognizable to consumers, and therefore, the likelihood of it ever bein changed is very low.

Based upon the creation of graphics, we were asked to create a microwave. It had to be red. That was all we had to go on, and bearing in mind that I was lacking a red pen, I improvised a little:

I did not just draw this off the top of my head however, I did use reference from the web, purely by typing ‘red microwave’ into google!

As you will see, although crudely drawn, there is something that resembles a microwave, with an arrow saying ‘red’ pointing towards it. Thus, my red microwave concept was created.

Our next lecture was about character design. In particular, the morphing of an animal to a human. Considering the fact that I was in the process of creating ‘wolf people’ this proved extremely valuable, because it allowed me to find a nice balance between human features and animalistic features for my own characters.

We were given a template that looked like this:


and we were asked to transform it into an animal. Now, even though I was in the process of making wolf people, I thought I’d branch out a little in my artistic capabilities, so I decided on a bush baby. (They’re pretty funny-looking too, so I thought it might be a giggle)

Here is my completed character morph:

Sorry about the poor quality, I had to use the webcam 🙂

The easy part was drawing the final stage of morphing from reference from the web, however, I struggled when trying to work out the inbetween stage, possibly because it doesn’t exist in real life! But hopefully I did a good job!

Vehicle Design

Because our subject area lay within sci fi or fantasy, we had a tutorial on vehicle design. We had to stick to a very specific brief, (something that would be integral in industry to do)


You will design a futuristic scout ship which should be small
and fast. It might be used, for example, to explore and map
There will be certain limitations to your design, and you
should use appropriate reference to ground your finished
concept in reality as much as possible:
:Your design should be should be not much larger than a
modern helicopter or small executive jet plane.
:Your design must incorporate two engines and at least one
:Your design must be streamlined, for use in both space and in
a planetary atmosphere. Wings are optional but shouldn’t be
too large.
:This won’t be a military ship, so no guns or heavy armour
plating although it should look used and weathered with
evidence of wear and tear.

The parts in bold were the key indications I noted down. I knew that these parameters should be kept to. So with this brief in mind, I started to look for reference. I immediately thought of Battlestar Galactica, so I googled it and this is what seemed helpful for reference. I also found other spacecraft that gave me some indication of what I should include in my sketches.

I like the use of different viewpoints here on the image above, on thing that was needed on the template

The reason why this image was used as reference was because of the retro futuristic look of the plane.

Wing layout and streamlined approach to the aircraft.

These two images above I liked because they are conceptual. As far as I’m aware these models are not actually bulit in real life, however, these were brilliant reference points because they allowed me to see the potential at which I could push my concept.

I particularly like the hexagon-like air holes on this last image, along with the multiple wings. As it seemed to be in-line with our brief, I used this bottom image as reference mainly, along with the top battlestar galactica image. The B G image was helpful because it gave indication of how the spacecraft should be shown on different angles.

Another use of reference was from my own research I had done previously to the session.

concept creation

The first two pages of this were extremely helpful because they gave me instruction-like methods of what to include. Here is my small, yet finished picture of my space craft concept.

Next, we had character design, a very important lecture for myself, especially because in my concept, the design of my characters will distinguish between the good character, and the evil character.

we had to use reference from the web, to create a character dressed in a certain way. I chose medieval, and used these images to gain inspiration for my finished characters.

These images seemed the most appropriate, given the short brief of ‘medieval’ Here is my finished design.

I put a lot of focus into detail, to allow the viewer to distinguish the fact that the ‘maiden’ on the left has been in some form of distress, and that the knight has shiny armour, along with hunting skills which has allowed him to hunt rabbits, (whilst on his quest for the damsel)… and turn them into a cloak.

Speaking of character design, heres some updates from my sketchbook.

The final image, I composed in photoshop, using a graphics tablet, and custom brushes. I put a lot of attention into the facial detail, and emotion of the wolfman. I also added mud splatters for a bit of fun.


Ok, Environment. I have a couple of sketches in my sketchbook, that I put into Photoshop for some rendering and inking. The good news is that some of them, (because I drafted them up like a widescreen storyboard) are ideal for a banner for a webpage. Youll see that in my Authoring post.

Some sketches of buildings.


Although blocky, I think these have certain potential to become banners for a webpage, and, if not, the still give good insight as to what the environment will look like.


Sketching Tutorial

Posted: December 8, 2010 in Uncategorized

Mondays are awesome. We have an hour time slot, in which, we are asked to sketch each other, in 30 seconds, 2 minutes or 5 minutes. Turns out 30 seconds gives the best results.

Reason why? It allows you to keep the initial features of your subject in mind, rather than thinking about all the intricate detail.

After this tutorial, I started to think about a book that I had previously read, ‘DRAWN TO LIFE’ by Walt Stanchfield. He used to work for Disney, and concentrated on getting pose down on a page in a matter of seconds.

His book is very VERY helpful, and allows you to stop thinking about detail when it isn’t always necessary.

Here is a lovely excerpt from his book, that inspired me to look for the quality in a gesture:

‘Everything has it’s own gesture, the table’s “tableness” the crow’s “crowness”. When you get to people or animals or things you know well as individuals, the quality gets even more specific, belong only to him, her or it. Drawing can find and record the gestures: in fact, such recognition is at the heart of all truly great drawing’

This quote alone helped me to decide what I NEEDED to show in my character creation, along with the quick sketching tutorial that we had, I kept my drawing loose, yet still portayed the gesture.

Another good source of inspiration for my drawing came from William Andrew Loomis (1892–1959), most of his publications are out of print, and if they are available to purchase, they are pretty steep in price, however, I found a good source on the web:

Although slightly stylized, the pages that you can see of Loomis’ drawings, are very similar to the looseness of Stanchfield, yet still give you the gesture.

Next up, graphics and design 

Movie Concept Development

Posted: September 29, 2010 in Uncategorized

As part of my animation course at university, we were asked on one of  our modules to develop a concept for a movie. Our coursework was to be documented through a blog. SO… Now this exists!

I started coming up with ideas, based upon the brief. Our movie concept had to be based on Sci fi or Fantasy, to a storyline along the lines of:

• Overcoming the monster
• Rags to riches
• The quest
• Voyage and return
• Comedy
• Tragedy
• Rebirth

I decided to use the ‘overcoming the monster’ storyline, purely because it gave me the ability to come up with a concept that had the potential to be slightly dark. (possibly a little less PG than our previous module!)

So, with this in mind, I started sketching up some ideas in class. Here are some pages from my sketchbook.


Next up is some research I did in regards to concept art for film. I particularly like the star wars art because it was mainly completed with traditional art methods as oppose to the digital artwork that is used presently.

(It is quite big, I apologise if there is a delay!)


concept design inspiration


I also researched into movies that lay within the fantasy / scifi genre. One of my main inspirations was Transformers. This was because of the feud between the two ‘races’ of transformers, something that I wish to convey in my concept development. The reason as to why I preferred this was because of the ease of contrast between characters and the ability to create some contrasting artwork, not only in character design, but in environment.

Based on the fact that I was sticking along the lines of two tribes,  started to come up with different symbols r markings, the two tribes of wolf people would have to depict their race. Not only would their race be shown through the way they appeared, but also defined through a tribal marking. (Like transformers!) click on the link.

Tribal tattoos / markings

For the previous link, I used Photoshop with a wacom tablet, and for the splatter effect I used a custom brush from an awesome concept artist called Daarken, he has allowed some of his custom brushes to be downloaded. Please note, any budding concept artists out there, please check out his website, it’s amazing. Here are some of his superb digital compositions:







Amazing fantasy digital artwork.













Next up: Sketching tutorial (please click the link below)