Studio Project

This semester our main project was studio based, my group had the pleasure of working with Boomclap Studios on a low poly VR experience based on a TED talk on the creation of the world.

The Team

My group consisted of James, Lydia, Mark, and Shioban.

As I previously mentioned the virtual reality short was based on a TED talk on the creation of the world. The studio had written a 5-minute poem to be used as narration for the 3D visuals.

The experience begins in an interactive bedroom where the user can engage with and move several objects – For example, a fireable BB Gun, a football, toys etc. The room also has certain trigger points that engage other sections of the story. For example, when the scrabble board type pieces are plugged on to the periodic table it triggers a voice line/narration and focuses the lights on it. The same way as when the user looks up through the velux window on the roof the poem and visuals are triggered.

Software –

Unity – Scene assembling, FX, running it in VR.

Maya – Modelling, Rigging, Animation.

Photoshop – Concepting.

I personally mainly used Maya as I was asked to focus primarily on low poly animal designs and rigs, unfortunately not really getting much use out of Unity.

Communication Method – Slack

One of the weirdest parts of this project for me was getting used to modeling in tri’s for Unity.


Fish No.1

Within this project, I got the chance to model and rig many low poly assets for VR, the majority of them being sea creatures and fish. This low poly style is new to me and I initially didn’t like it an awful lot. However, it did begin to grow on me throughout the project.

To get me into that fishy under the sea vibe I initially started out with a bit of concept art. Here is an Anglerfish that I drew.

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Overall, I didn’t get much of a chance or opportunity to do concepts or 2D artwork for this project. This was mainly because everything was to be made low poly so the assets wouldn’t slow the frame rate for VR (and to fit in with the overall style of course).

Note – I was asked to leave my models untextured as they were wanting to use the “skinner effect” in Unity on them which just takes their active vertices and creates FX that trail when the model is animated.

I began with finding a fish reference for my model, it had to be a clear silhouette as the fish is just going to quickly swim past the viewer. So I began modeling a fish with plenty of fins. I based it on this illustration of a Bigmouth Buffalo (Ictiobus cyprinellus).

Image sourced from –

Below is the fish from various different angles as if it were a technical drawing. I began with the typical cube and modeled it in quads initially.


I then fired on a basic joint chain for each of the fins and the rough skeleton ready for animation. I made controls as well. However, they weren’t quite working out as well as I hoped they would, this was mainly down to the lack of joints in the spine.


I added a few more controls, joints and overall developed the rig a little more. However, it still wasn’t working how I wanted it to. At this stage the studio also asked for me to exagerate the proportions a little more as they weren’t going for realistic. So I stretched it out a little more.


Anyways, I thought that there bound to be a better way to do this rather than having to manually animate each control. I found a few tutorials that were useful in the rigging process. However, they didn’t quite cover everything that I was looking for, so I had to add a few things here and there. (Below is the tutorial that was most useful).

I redid the rig and used a sine deformer to create the main swim controller allowing me to adjust wave length/amplitude/speed etc. It made animating it substantially easier.

Here is the first iteration with the sine deformer method.



Below is the rig above in motion…


This rig actually has NCloth attached to the top fin which is why is it looks a little weird. The studio informed me that it is difficult to use NCloth in Unity, therefore, I redid the rig a bit. They also wanted a few more fish options… So I began modelling more.

However, at this point I was working on my whale models for the same scene. So I will switch to those for now…

Whale No. 1

I initially modelled a whale based on the references they posted in slack. I used this image as my primary reference.

Image sourced from –

I can see the appeal in this low poly art style. However, it really isn’t for me, but I made one in the same sort of style anyways to give the studio the option.


As you can see I made a few changes to it but I tried to keep it relatively similar to the one that they preferred.


Whale No. 2

I personally prefer my second iteration of the whale (below), I based it on a Dishonored creature. However, the proportions and style are far more intriguing for me (even if it is a couple of hundred polys more).


Here is the Dishonored whale that I based my design on.

Image sourced from – Dishonored.Wikia.Com



After modeling the whales, I decided to model a pre-historic hammerhead type shark creature for fun. I enjoyed making this and modeled it slightly differently in comparison to the previous models. I made it in multiple different parts – The head/fins/body to try and capture the different areas correctly.



Back to Fish…

As I said before, the studio asked me for some more fish variants. So I used this image as a reference to make a few different fish variants.

Image sourced from – Twitter.Com

I used this as a plane and created a few of the ones that I thought were more unique/interesting.


As you can see from the image above, some took more iterations than others. But I went with 4 different kinds of fish from this image – the Bass, the Dolphin Fish-Mahi, the Marlin and the Salmon.

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To begin with, I modeled the basic shape in quads to start off with, then later using the reduce tool I lowered the poly count then I triangulated the model. I then manually merge more vertexes to bring out the low poly style and sometimes reduce it again.

I also made another one basing it off the references on the studio slack channel and looks quite heavily stylized.


I feel it turned out quite cool for a low poly stylized fish. (The reference image is below).

Image sourced from –

In the end, the studio liked the Salmon the best as it had the strongest silhouette. So I remade my rig again to help me with the process for the other rigs later on.


Rigging the Salmon

I followed the same process as before making use of the sine deformer within the rig. I tidied up the outliner in this one and made better custom controls.


This rig has been through a number of variations but eventually, I am happy with it and provides the model with a nice smooth movement that I feel accurately represents a fish movement.


Since this rig is done, I decided to apply the rig to the other fish, to give the studio the option again. They still preferred this salmon just for simplicity purposes and for its easily read silhouette (as it is intended to be in a shoal of fish).

Here is the rig applied to the other fish (below), I made them all swim at different speeds.


The next thing was figuring out how t make them swim along a path…

Fish Swimming along a Curve

Alec suggested looking at this tutorial below, I looked at it and tested it. It was good, but I wanted to see if there was another way that would work better with my rig (since I had spent the time making a decent rig).

After a good bit of searching, I found this one which seemed much better and made use of both aspects I was looking for – a curve to swim along, the sine deformer.

This did need a few adjustments to make it work with the rig as it was just showing the basis, which made it a little bit of a hassle. However, it turned out quite well in the end I think.



The only issue is that at the encounters a few problems at the end of the line it reverts to the sine deformer. Therefore becoming a bit of a problem later when I was trying to move a shoal of them passed the camera where the end of the path is visible.


They decided to remove this shoal section from the story anyways. They just want to have the animals passing the camera one by one now, for that reason I moved on.

Manta Ray

I was trying to think of other animals that would be fun to model and rig, the manta ray was one of the main ones that came to mind. Therefore, I started looking at reference images of real mantas and fired away with it. (I also looked at mantas swimming at this point as well).

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(References on the images in the slideshow – Please have a look at this video – Diving with Manta Rays, there is something peaceful about it.)

My first version was way too high poly for what they wanted, I knew that before even showing them it. Therefore, I started making iterations of it before showing it to them, each lower poly than the last.


It still is low poly, but it could be optimized better, I didn’t need the gills actually connected to the interior of the mouth (as shown in the images/video above). Therefore, I lowered the poly count and filled in the holes.


Next I triangulated it and reduced the poly count further.

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Below is the final iteration of the Manta Ray with reduced poly count and slightly better topology…



I then rigged this so it would be able to be animated. It is made using IK spline handles mainly with a various cluster deformers along the wings and tail.




The Eagle was definitely the most complicated model out of all my models for this project. I began with looking up references, here are a few of the ones I was looking at…

Here is my concept.


As you can see my model changed substantially from the original concept sketch. I personally feel that the model looks substantially better, but the concept helped me get there like. I used a combination of the reference images of actual eagles and the concept when modelling this eagle.


I don’t think I have any progress shots. However, I started by making the main wing sections and the body blocked in. All as separate pieces, I then began making the individual exterior feathers on a new object. I positioned them all and then started merging vertices. I then created the interior feathers and merged the wing together. I then made the head and joined it to the body and the same with the rear feathers and feet/talons.

Here is a rough turntable below.


The rig was also the most complex in relation to my other rigs for this project.


I used an IK Spline with Cluster deformers along the curve allowing me to create the wing flaps.


I made an overall wing controller to control the individual feathers as well as groups of feathers.


As you can see it is a very similar rig to my Manta Ray, the Manta Ray used elements from this including some of the NURBs controllers and joint setups. However, they did have to be adjusted.


In case it needed to do anything else I wanted to make sure it was pretty much fully rigged. Here is a quick action shot below…




The Plesiosaurus was fun to make, and the rig was very similar to the fish rig (making use of the sine deformer again). I based it on a Plesiosaurus/Elasmosaurus, which are very similar in shape.

Plesiosaurus – Image sourced from –
Elasmosaurus (Almost like a larger Plesiosaurus)
Elasmosaurus – Image sourced from –

Here is my model below with a basic animation using the start of this rig, I don’t think they wanted it so I haven’t finished the rig yet.


After the animals they wanted us to make other props and Islands


Islands and Stuff…

The first asset I made was a hand, I based it heavily on my own hand as they didn’t specify a particular style. Unfortunately, they were thinking more of an emoji hand. However, here is the one I made and rigged…


The rig looked something like this, it didn’t transfer overly well into tri’s initially and the skin weights were all messed up so it had to be re-attached several times.


I tested the rig by positioning the hand in a few different ways and with a few different movements. It is alright, it functions for what it needs to do, if I was to re-do it I would adjust the thumb a little more and create a better section for the knuckles.


As I said earlier, they wanted more of an emoji hand (which they still didn’t tell me at this point). They asked me to round off the base/wrist. Here it is below…



The didn’t end up using this hand model in the end, I think they cut the hand from the idea.



Jerusalem Style

We were supposed to make islands based on different civilizations. This was left extremely loose and was supposed to be early civilizations, some others in my group had already covered tepee tents/early buildings. Therefore, I decided to go for a Jerusalem style building (like biblical times buildings).



Crashed Rocket Ship

This was a mixture of being an island and just a general asset. The crashed rocket ship obviously isn’t a civilization, but it was under a different category on the list and I was very keen to make it.


The wings were probably the most inconvenient bit to model since I redid the entire inner section where the engine would be.


I textured it and made an iteration that possibly looks more like a rocket ship.


I asked a few people and they said that the preferred the first iteration more, so I stuck with it instead of the second one…


I then made a low poly island like the previous one and created a crash trail along the ground of where the rocket would crash. I also added a bit of a scale animation on the smoke. If I were to do it again I would create actual wee smoke clouds getting smaller as they go up into the air.



Sahara Island

We were asked specifically for some Sahara Islands, I wanted to put a creature into mine. Therefore, I considered the main animals that would have worked with it and I decided on making an elephant (more difficult than initially expected to make a low poly one).

However, before I started into the elephant I looked for references for a Sahara plain. I really liked the trees in Lion King as well (last image on the slideshow below).

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I modeled a small Sahara Island with a lone tree like the images above and a small oasis type pool of water with some loose vegetation.



I modeled an adult and infant elephant both scaled slightly differently to suit their ages…


I then applied a basic (and unfinished) rig to the adult elephant just to get the positioning that I wanted it to have. Since the rig wasn’t complete and finished I just decided to soft select the infant elephant and move it around that way instead.


It was at this point that I also adjusted the general size/shape of the island to make it work a little better…



If I were to do this again, I would finish the try to finish the rig and then add more animation to it, as this is definitely my favorite island for this project.


Particle Shoal

The Studio asked if I could get a shoal of my fish swimming along and then get disrupted/broken by a whale swimming through them…

I started researching this, I asked if this is what they were sort of looking for…

I found these videos/tutorials very useful in regards to this.

Here was my first successful attempt at it…

Here was my attempt with it being rendered to look like it’s properly underwater…

I attempted to create the effect of the whale swimming through using passive colliders. The sphere is intended to be the whale in this situation…

This was more complicated than expected, as I found out that I was using a Legacy script, therefore, I had to change the .mel script for the particle curve emitter effect to make it function as a non-legacy particle to allow it to work with the current effects. Here’s a tutorial on how to do it, I tried figuring it out for quite a long time before coming across this tutorial on how to fix it.

Unfortunately, due to time restraints and other looming deadlines, I didn’t get this shoal finished. However, I found it very interesting to learn about and if other deadlines weren’t there I would have really liked to have finished it off.



In summary, I have really enjoyed working on this project. I have definitely learned from and gained experience through the creation of my assets and rigs. The Boomclap studio was very friendly and accommodating with meetings and it was great to work with them. However, I would’ve liked to do more or help more with Unity and learn more about it. I felt that we weren’t always kept in the loop, which I can understand why but it would have been nice to work closer with the studio. Overall, I am pleased with this projects outcome and the semester in general.




Space Vikings: The Warrior

For my personal project, I decided to revisit a previous group project, I wanted to make a character for the “3D Environment Project” back when we were working on it. However, we weren’t supposed to as the environment was supposed to tell the narrative rather than characters doing it. Therefore, for my personal project, I am going to make a Space Viking.

Having worked in a very low poly style this semester within the studio project, I want to work in and improve in the higher poly style, as that would be my preference and goal. For that reason, my aim is to make a high-poly AAA rated game character sculpt and learn more ZBrush sculpting techniques.


I am trying not to repeat myself too much in relation to my previous projects post, but a lot of the games are the same. However, please check it out here in the link below…

Creating A 3D Environment

Game Studios

As you may already know, I am quite the avid gamer in my spare time and the majority of my research often reflects that… Therefore, I began with some research and revision of the environment project… We used the Bethesda’s Elder Scrolls game series as the main inspiration for the previous project. Therefore, I wanted to prioritize that…

The main games/studios that I found inspiring in regards to this project are split into two categories below;

Traditional Viking Style – It was pointed out that the previous environment project lacked in the more traditional Viking style. Therefore, I tried to ensure that I researched into it further as I wanted the intimidation that comes with being a Viking to be displayed through my characters design.

Elder Scrolls (Skyrim/Online) – Bethesda

For Honor – Ubisoft Entertainment

God of War (2018) – SIE Santa Monica Studio

Witcher 3: Wild Hunt – CD Projekt RED

Futuristic Sci-Fi Style – I still want it to look like he could function within a sci-fi environment so I will be using games such as this as inspiration to incorporate alongside the more traditional looking Viking style.

Destiny (1 & 2) – Bungie/Activision/Blizzard Entertainment

Titanfall (1 & 2) – Respawn Entertainment/EA

Elder Scrolls Online

Elder Scrolls Online – Bethesda

This game was a huge inspiration for me, I have played Elder Scrolls: Online before, and the style of the game was great, but the cinematics, are particularly where my interest within it is.

Even watch the first two and a half minutes of this clip and you’ll understand what I mean. Truly amazing character design, this is level of detail that I am aiming for and hope to achieve within my sculpt.

The Nordic character in the middle of the image above is the primary source of inspiration within this game. The style and design of the characters are phenomenal and really inspiring.

Elder Scrolls Online Helmet – Image sourced from Etsy.Com
Elder Scrolls Online – Bethesda

I would also really like to design and make an Archer and Mystic at some point (possibly within a Viking style as well). However, I am going to focus on the more Viking Barbarian look for this project.

For Honor

Image result for for honor
For Honor – Ubisoft Entertainment

Another huge inspiration for me was Ubisoft’s For Honor as it features literal Viking characters. All of which are geared perfectly towards the traditional Viking look.

Below are their roster list of Viking characters…

Image result for for honor Viking
Viking Characters – Image sourced from

I found a concept artist named Remko Trost who worked on concept art for one of the Viking characters…

Viking concept art – Ubisoft – Remjo Trost – Image sourced from

God Of War

Image result for God of War Concept Art
God of War – SIE Santa Monica Studio

I had the previous God of War game in my post for the previous environment project. However, with the release of the latest God of War around a month ago, I had to include it into this list. I even bought the newest artbook, and it is by far the best in my growing collection at the moment…

Truly inspiring with the mix of traditional viking and magic nordic runes that imbue his weapons with power. It’s too bad I don’t have a Playstation to play it… Might have been some good research there…

Image result for God of War Concept Art
Image sourced from – GameInformer.Com

I didn’t use an awful lot of online image references for this section as I had the book right beside me while sculpting the majority of the time. Again, truly inspiring work, some of the character designs within the book are incredible and really got me in the vibe for Viking designs.

Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

It was mainly the bosses within this game that I found to be inspiring. However, it was actually after I had come up with my concept I realised about Witcher 3: Wild Hunter. However, it was useful in the sculpting process.

Image result for imlerith the witcher 3
Image source – Pinterest.Com


Destiny was probably my top inspiration for this project, as it is incredibly designed and detailed, exactly what I’m looking for within my character. I feel like fond memories of Destiny and Destiny 2 helped me in designing my character and staying motivated to create and work on my personal project. In order to not repeat myself, please check out my previous research on my environment blog post as it is more in-depth. Here’s another link in case you need it… 3D Environment Project.

Here are some Titan Designs which I found to be inspiring…

Image result for Destiny Titan
Image sourced from – Destiny.Wikia.Com
Related image
Source – BungieStore.Com
Image result for Destiny Titan
Source –
Image result for Destiny Titan
Source – Artstation.Com


Another concept art book that I bought (Titanfall 1), definitely not as inspirational as the God of War art book in terms of character design for this project. However, the armour designs for the ‘pilots’ are not far from astronauts within some of the suit designs. Some of them had nice shape and design ideas to be taken from them… (Mostly sourced online though rather than using the artbook for reference).

Titanfall 2 Concept Artist – Regie Santiago Artstation.Com
Image result for Titanfall pilot concept art
Image sourced from – TitanfallWikia.Com

This last one (below) was actually fanart, however, I really like it.

Woo Kim – Fan Art – Arstation.Com

Individual Artists

Yunsoo Bae

This “Snow Viking” concept is amazing, so detailed and really well sculpted proportionally… This is a very inspiring piece of artwork.

Images sourced from –

Conor Burke

Instagram –

Arstation –

Conor’s drawings have been an inspiration as well, many of his speed-paints are very detailed for the 30 minutes he spends on them. He obviously does fully fleshed out pieces too and they are even better. However, I find his speed paints very interesting and they leave a bit of room for subjectivity and creative thinking.

Images below sourced from either Conor’s Instagram or Artstation profile (linked above).


Conor burke ds3 fanart conorburke

Conor burke rain3

Conor burke raid

Conor burke rainshore



The conceptualisation stage took me quite a long time, I spent about 2 or 3 weeks creating my design amidst group work, presentations and studio project work. I couldn’t quite settle on what I wanted…

Until I came up with this design (below). I really liked the both proportionally. Therefore, I asked my friends which one they thought was better and the majority said the one on the right. Therefore, I went with that, as a bulkier upper body does seem quite Viking like.


After eventually figuring out the design, I went on and found a great reference for anatomy by Brent Rombouts.

Image sourced from Artstation.Com

I used it in the background of my drawing and adjusted the anatomy in the required areas for my characters body shape. I then finished with this design sheet, it is still a bit rough like, but I was happy enough to continue to the sculpting phase with it and figure out the rest then.


Sculpting Process

Since it has been a while sicne I have used ZBrush, my first attempt was a bit crap, as I was just getting back into the swing of it. Here is the very first attempt I was using as a quick practice, to get my mistakes out of the way early on and practice the use of my brushes.


After getting the crap version out of the way, I started into some proper sculpting, I looked up references for body details and found a great set of tutorials from Hossein Diba, Lead Character Artist at WWE.

I found it very useful, and I learned quite a lot from it. Unfortunately, due to time restraints, I didn’t get to go into as much detail as I had wanted into the body (as the majority of it isn’t being shown as it is underneath his armour)… Therefore, I didn’t watch the full set of tutorials.

These are the base muscle shapes and face that I made, this did take quite a while to do and still has some problems and areas lacking in detail. However, I’ll fix that later on hopefully…


I used the muscle reference from earlier for reference amongst other various muscles and forms including the arms, chest, legs etc.

In the making of this, I used standard tools mainly… I focused the bulking of forms with the ‘clay’/’clay build-up’ brush, I used the ‘standard’ brush for smoother curves and cutting in. I used the ‘move’ brush for the movement of major forms. The ‘transpose’ tool (move/scale/rotate) was very useful for quick movement of masked out forms. The ‘dam standard’ brush was for finer details and cut-ins into the mesh, the ‘flatten brush’ to flatten out areas and forms and so on…

Below are larger images of the rotation above…



I really liked the scar from my concept and wanted to ensure it featured predominantly within my sculpt. Therefore, I put it in at this stage.


After working on this form, I wanted to get stuck into some under armour, so I began a bit of research into under armour designs. This was to be a more sci-fi based section of the armour suit. Therefore, I looked at various references including Halo for this.

Halo 4 Undersuit Master Chief
Halo 4 Undersuit Armour – Image sourced from Torolf024.Wordpress.Com
Under armour – Image sourced from (Instagram)
Prototype Sci-Fi Recon Character – Image sourced from Arstation.Com

I extracted it from the skin mesh to create a quick skin-tight under armour effect. Here it is below…


My ideas were a bit grounded and unimaginative at this stage, it was at this point that my God of War art book had just arrived. Therefore, I began using it as inspiration for out there ideas and concepts and included more Celtic designs within the piece.


This was probably one of the areas I learned the most in, attempting to do a mix between hard surface modelling and organic modelling… I made use of a variety of tools/brushes, mainly the ones I previously mentioned along with HPolish and a few others.

(I did some adjustment to the face as well, as some people told me that he looked “too model” like rather than a rough Viking. However, some of these changes aren’t overly great looking… So I change them again later…)

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The main area that I learned about in this section was the deformation tab and settings. Since I use a lot of masks while sculpting I found this extremely useful. The Surface section was also great within ZBrush for applying noise and alphas.


Below is gives a rough description of the deformation tools in this section… It’s not an overly great/professional one, but it gives you the outline of the tools and is kinda useful.

For my armour I started by blocking it out, getting it to match the shape and form that I wanted it to have and then I dug into it with various brushes. I mainly used the ‘ClipCurve’ brush to attempt to get that hard surface look to it and form. Then using the same brushes as I mentioneed before alongside the deformation tools I mentioned before I made the details.


I made the helmet blockout in Maya and then dynameshed it all together in ZBrush, this was the only piece (in the entire sculpt) that I made in Maya/outside of ZBrush.

At this stage, I started making another mood board for armour details and inspiration, as I was planning on trying to improve my concept art piece for the character as it was really rather rough. Here is how it turned out (below)…


I used PureRef in order to make this (above), it is a reference board package designed to make it easy for artists to fire all their reference images on to one window. It allows the user to move in closer to any area of the board and rearrange the images without losing detail. This is an overview of the final board.

I went in and added extra detail into the body, particularly the head and the extremedies, such as the hands and feet. I added some more definition to the legs and arms and pushed the chest up a bit as well, just to make him fit better proportionally. (Note – I have since fixed the bump on the top/front of his head as well).


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After fixing proportions on the body mesh, I really wanted to give hair a go. Therefore, I found tutorials on how to do this. However, I wanted hair that didn’t look sculpted. The tutorial series from earlier by Hossein Diba (the Lead Character Artist at WWE) went into this. Therefore I used FiberMesh and a variety of grooming tools to achieve this style of hair which renders out nicely in ZBrush’s own BPR renderer.

2018-05-14 (50).png


I am overall very pleased with the outcome of my characters face and body, it is much better than my sketch/concept and I am glad I made the necessary changes as I feel it has paid off.

I then returned to working on the Helmet and starting working on the mouth cover, I’m still not overly pleased with how the helmet covering the rest of his head dynameshed, so I will change that later on to make it look more hard surface.


I really liked the idea of a metallic mouth piece cover, as this is the sort of thing I would imagine a Sci-Fi Viking to have… It took a while to come up with the design, but I have pleased with it.

I redid the top section of the helmet and added to the rest of the helmet, fully encasing his head to protect it. I also adjusted the horns and added an extra set in (and went through quite a number of different variations. I’m really starting to get the Viking vibe from the helmet now. Although it still needs a few tweaks here and there, such as the eye cover. However, I’m really starting to like it and see it come together as a helmet.

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For the symmetry to work and for easiness sake, I duplicated and moved the chest under armour and body out to work on the shoulder pauldron, I changed it substantially from the original design. However, I feel it looks so much better and I am really happy with it… The base of the pauldron is then repeated below to attach to the arm to allow it to function.


I then readjusted and sculpted the detail into the chest plates.


I gave it a quick BPR render (you can see the way the hair renders in it) and then fixed the helmet and put it on with the helmet and rendered a couple more times in ZBrush’s BPR renderer.




I am very pleased with how it is turning out and I can really sense both the traditional Viking and the Sci-Fi space aspect coming together in my sculpt (thankfully). Well, that’s the top half done, now on to the bottom half.

Note – Unfortunately, my laptop was really rather full storage wise and it wasn’t allowing me to make new saves, therefore, I had to delete a couple of my progress saves in order to save the newer versions since each of my later saves (the ones by this point) were around 1 GB or more each, I deleted a couple of them. So that’s why there is maybe less information on the process here…

Anyways, onto the legs – I created a belt and bucklet, reshaped and detailed the groin armour plate. I then masked out the leg-guards from my under armour suit with the detailing, made them a separate poly-group and extracted them to create the leg-guards. I made a few detailing changes to them and re-positioned them to fit the leggings. Using the IMM Curve brush, I created some restraints to hold the leg-guards to the body.



Unfortunately I was runninng very behind schedule (an hour and a half before deadline is when I finished), so I wasn’t able to finish this piece quite how I wanted to, I got rough boots made in the time. However, they don’t quite fit the style of the rest of the armour.


Overall, I am very happy with the sculpt, I would have preferred the bottom half to be as detailed as the top half. However, I ran into time restraints and had to adapt the character to fit those time restraints. I intend on finishing this sculpt in my free time for my showreel.

The parts I still need to do are the knee-guards, the waist tabard/cape and the arm armour/exo-suit. I’ll possibly make guantlets and elbow guards and re-do the the boots and leggings to match the rest of the gear. I also would like to re-do the weapons that I did for the 3D environment task. I intend on texturing him definitely and possibly rigging/animating him for portfolio/showreel purposes.






Bravery Animation

The Bravery Animation is the second group project of the semester and possibly the most challenging one. Our groups were assigned for this project and we were tasked with the challenge of making an animation that links to the theme of ‘Bravery’.

We considered multiple ideas, but we settled on ours being about a knight rescuing a princess from the tower. Except the twist would be that he isn’t brave and doesn’t save her. Therefore, it is still within the theme of Bravery.

The Initial Idea

We decided on the knight and tower idea relatively quickly, but we had to develop upon this story further which was the problem. The idea originated from an old drawing that Veronika was working on which she called “The Good Knight”, I jokingly said that his nemesis could be called “Knightmare” and then we stumbled upon an idea.

I suggested inputting these two characters into a story where they act as a knights conscience. The main reference that I used was Krunk from Disney’s Emperor’s New Groove.

Image sourced from – 

(However we can see these characterizations of the conscience in plenty of other examples, such as The Simpsons).

Image sourced from

I designed a very quick and rough sketch to show the team what I was thinking roughly…


The left one was based loosely on Veronika’s sketch and the other two were just showing good and evil while maintaining roughly the same silhouette (so it wouldn’t be too much extra modelling or rigging). I had Tyrael from Blizzard Entertainment’s Diablo III in mind when quickly drawing the right side one.

Tyrael – Images sourced from

At this point I was also exploring different kinds of knight shapes and working with a variety of proportions, to see which would give the best result. My favourite would probably be the second from the right with the very exaggerated proportions…


First Animatic

This was the rough animatic that was made (my frames are the starting section up to around 0:09 – Roughly 34/35 shots, which was supposed to be quite an intense tracking camera movement, so it does look a bit jumpy, apologies).

The rough story was that the Princess actually doesn’t want to be saved, so she sets up speakers at the window to scare knights/potential suitors away as they will think there is a large dragon protecting the tower, but really it is just a small dragon with a speaker phone. The animatic was quite poorly executed/organised but that’s was the general gist of it.

We were thinking that the Princess would be a bit of a gamer girl – We decided not to set this back in Medieval Times thankfully and this allowed me to give the Princess more of a tom-boy chilled looking personality rather than a pink flowery Princess. I created a concept that I was really rather pleased with based on this ‘Gamer Girl Princess’ persona.


I had begun to do a character sheet drawing of the character (not shaded as you can see). However, Charlotte wanted to do the Princess, so I stopped around here with my Princess designs.


At this stage we still hadn’t settled on a knight design. Therefore, I did another few of those as well… Knight_Design_01

I was very pleased with this drawing as well, I used some of the techniques that we learned back in the Life Drawing days. I then went on to design a Dragon Drawing or two.


These were very much based of Mushu (from Mulan), as I really like the shape and style of him. Even though he is so simplistic, he has so much character and is able to show a vast amount of expression through his movements.

Mushu – Image sourced from

After presenting this idea, we decided that it wasn’t good enough, so we changed it up, we created a more interesting story about the knight’s journey to the tower, rather than him just standing still at the bottom.

The More ‘Refined’ Idea…

We drew out storyboards for the new idea, and we asked Mike (Michael Bass – one of our tutors) for some advice, he told us about a few areas which could be cut down and he liked our new idea. He wasn’t very fussed on the old one… (Apologies about the poor photo, it was drawn quite lightly and it wasn’t great lighting).


The new idea generally shows all the trials that the knight faces along the way to the tower. I discussed the idea of narration with Mike and he agreed that it would be a good idea to help tell the story, he gave me some advice on narration and how might be best to do it.

After this, I drew out a couple of ideas of some of the trials he could go through, my favourite one (drawing wise) was the geyser field idea (below). We had discussed many different ideas, ranging from jumping over spike pits/geyser fields/bees chasing him/cliff face climbing and of course the snapping rope bridge.


When thinking about this idea, we were discussing the Shrek scene where Prince Charming braves all of his trials on the way to save Fiona from the tower.

We based the rope bridge idea mainly on this clip, except we didn’t want to completely copy it. Therefore, we decided to make the bridge snap due to the knight jumping on it. We thought this would be a great transition from him jumping over the spike pits. Once the bridge snapped the knight falls, after a second or two though, he shoots his arrow up and swings heroically leading him to completely face-plant the cliff-face.


I wrote the narration, the next day I brought it in to see what people thought and my group seemed to like it, they found it funny.

We then wrote it up into a script together in Uni, Charlotte said that she had a friend who studied Drama who might be able to read the script for us. However, it turned out that he couldn’t do it, he suggested a couple of slight changes to the script that the rest of the team thought were better.

I’m still not too sure though, they were only like a couple of word changes here and there, but I felt that the changes made it more complex and longer which I felt took away from it a little bit.

The Next Animatic/3D Previsualisation

In the previous animatic, I made my section first on Maya to get the camera angles and all sorted then I hardware rendered them and drew over them in Photoshop. The team felt that this was a good approach to it. So our animatic is also our rough 3D Previs.

I decided to just take on the role of the narrator, generally whenever I was showing it to people or my teammates were, they found it funnier that it was me. Anyone that I showed the animatic to laughed at a lot of the little puns and narration jokes that were made throughout. It was also easier rather than having to rely on another person who doesn’t really have a connection to the project.

I did the 3D part of this animatic, to keep it consistent we tried to take a part each, so I did the 3D sections and character posing, Veronika drew the character line art on and Charlotte or Jessica quickly drew the environment on.

I’m reasonably happy with this animatic, I feel it turned out quite well, a lot better than the first one at least. I know the end needs tweaked in particular, but I have a couple of ideas for this. For example,

  • The Princess marking a board of knights scared away, as the knight is running over the hills in the distance. (I did a very quick and rough drawing of it to show my team what I meant).


  • I think it was Mike that possibly suggested having the Knight joining a queue of defeated knights.
  • The Knight waking up at the bottom (POV) with the Dragon approaching with a broom sweeping him away.
  • The Dragon knocking on the helmet, lifting the visor and waving goodbye, (maybe winking while he does waves) to the camera (POV with a waking/shuttering eye effect – as if the knight is just waking up again).

Bye Bye Princess

Unfortunately, after presenting our Animatic, we got the general consensus that three characters was a bad idea. Most other groups only have one character, therefore, we cut our Princess out as she was the least vital to the story (as you can see in the animatic, she isn’t much of a vital part of the animation). We are thinking that we could just suggest to her presence, she could maybe be behind a door or something, or overheard in the background (if she is playing video games or something).

Anyways, we had to try and simplify it down, so the Princess had to go.

At this stage I also started to think about the environment and how it would look like, I considered an establishing shot from inside a cave. Therefore, I decided to draw out this concept, to better visualise it and be able to show my team my thoughts on the environment.


The Dragon

[I have been working on this for quite a while, I had all this dragon concept designing section done at around the time of the first presentation. But I forgot to put it in up there while blogging about it…]


I wanted to try and make the dragon a little less Mushu like. Therefore, I went through quite a number of quick Dragon designs to try and discover the shape that I wanted to go with… Here are a few of them. (Some of them were very quick to just test ideas).

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They started to get a bit better or more interesting at least (in the images below)…

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I started looking at other creatures for reference, I looked at Pascal – the Chameleon from Tangled. He fits the characteristic of “cute” while he still has scenes where he pulls more ferocious/angry looking faces. (Image sources on the photos).

One of my main inspirations still was Mushu from Mulan he is a very energetic likable character, I would quite like these qualities for my dragon as well. (Image sources on the photos).

I also considered a couple of realistic references –

Veronika was talking about Crocodile Skinks (mini crocodiles) and we thought they might be a nice addition to the dragons qualities (“cute”) if he was similar to that. (Image sources on the photos).

I found another species that looks possibly the most similar to a dragon as is possible (except size of course). The Sungazer or otherwise known as the Smaug Giganteus. (Image sources on the photos).

I also unknowingly used my character designs rough ear shape from last year in the design (which was based from Dobby the Elf from Harry Potter as well as Ratchet from Ratchet and Clank).


The Style

After discussing with my group, we were aiming for an Overwatch type style… Or just a general Blizzard Entertainment type style. The Blizzard games are some of my favourite games of all time.

Overwatch Cover – Images sourced from

I have played World of Warcraft for hundreds of hours throughout my childhood/early teenage years. I play more Overwatch/Diablo III now, but still all their games are great, even the strategy ones (Yes, I also play a bit of Hearthstone/Heroes of the Storm from time to time). I obviously have a lot less time to enjoy these games now due to University work, but if I get to work in the same style, it’s pretty much like playing the games…

(Image sources for the images below are on the images themselves).

Therefore, the style was perfect for me and it made it so much more enjoyable to work on. I just hope I will do the style justice…

The Dragon Concept

I eventually designed a dragon concept that I thought was good and thankfully my team thought similar, so that’s what I went with. – I hope you can see the similarities between the references above that I was considering…


I drew a rough turnaround to get a better idea of how to sculpt him.


I then started straight into ZBrush with the model (as that was the most ideal way to make an organic character such as this). It was a very enjoyable process sculpting the dragon, ZBrush is great when you get the hang of it. I used Dynamesh as well to create a more smooth polygon flow over the entire character.


I then brought down the topology count from a couple of million down to around 19 thousand using Z-Remesher along with the Z-Remesher Guides – to keep correct topology around the character facial and body features so that they could be easily animated.

I had Z-Remesher guides around –

  • The face – eyes/mouth/cheeks/nose/ears
  • The body – neck/chest/hips/tail
  • The arms – armpits//elbow/hands/fingers/thumbs
  • The legs – legs/ankles/feet/toes/tail

These were to keep the correct edge flows strong in these areas. I did create a high and low poly version of my dragon using the project function in ZBrush, but in the end I didn’t end up using the high poly because of the style we seemed to be going with.

UV Master

Using the UV Master I UV’d the model on ZBrush itself before doing the whole re-topology and projection process.


Thankfully, I had already done all this process before in the previous environment project (Space Vikings) so I already knew how to do it. However, I guess in that way, I used the same sort of tutorials. I also helped a couple of my classmates with their UVs and linked them the tutorials so that they would know how to do it again in the future.


I used Substance Painter for the majority of the Dragons textures… I experimented quite a lot with different textures for the dragon, ranging from different colour schemes, to scale sizes, material choices.

Substance Painter 3D_2D

I found this to be a really enjoyable process. I also baked the maps inside of Substance Painter instead of Maya as it gives a far nicer and cleaner result in comparison.

I must have spent a good few days to a week texturing, looking back I probably should have spent less time on it, but it was reasonably early on in the process (and my teammates still hadn’t made their models/characters so I felt it was fine to spend that time messing with textures and learning Substance Painter a little better).

I remade the eyes in Maya just using a simple sphere, I then UV’d it and created the texture on Photoshop using the UV snapshot to draw the texture on to ensure that it was correctly positioned and that the pupil remained in the middle. I wanted to get a dragon/lizard looking eye, so I looked at a few google images of Lizard eyes. The UV snapshot is a bit hard to see, but hopefully you can see it alright.

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I did the tongue on Substance Painter as well to try and get to the bumpy tongue texture in the normal map.


I would post the colour map/normal map, but it is extremely plain due to the UV being so small and the tongue details being so subtle. Ah, here they are anyways… You can see more of the details in the roughness map which I’m not sure that I actually ended up using…

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As I said before, I looked at different colours, such as red/orange/blue/different greens etc. Unfortunately, I can only find the bronze one as the others I was just playing around with in Substance itself mainly.



I ended up lightening the green up a bit and going with it (as you can see from the earlier image that I posted).


I baked out Ambient Occlusion maps as well and Overlayed them on top of my Diffuse maps on Photoshop to give it more of a depth/character to it.

Here are the maps that I baked out and plugged into the Ai StandardSurface texture…


I touched up the last one and lightened up the horns/nails as they were very dull…

Here are the rest of the maps, I had to make a few adjustments to the normal map in Photoshop as well, to fix some areas that we protruding too much or that weren’t following the model how I wanted them to.

They follow the order of Height Map – Normal Map – IOR – Specular – Roughness Map

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Due to me already having rigged before in first year (my Astronaut) I was keen to try it again. I actually found quite a lot of satisfaction in making a character move and do semi-complex movements, it felt quite worth-while. Below is a reminder of the rig, as you can see, he doesn’t have a facial rig either, so it’ll hopefully be fun to get all that working.


I wanted to improve upon my previous rig. In making it I followed several more basic YouTube tips and tutorials for it (not that they are bad, but I wanted to try and push it to the next level passed that)…

I followed this James Taylor tutorial understand how the facial joints worked.

I tried to match up all the joints to my character that he discussed in this video. I feel that I successfully did.


However, with my dragon, he was a bit too high poly in comparison to the model that James Taylor was using. It was a bit of a challenge and it took quite a while as my character isn’t human as you can hopefully tell, so I gave him a few extra joints here and there…

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After firing Joints (NURBS Curves) on I was starting to feel that it was possibly a bit too much for the character. I actually made half-eyelid shapes at this stage too (which I didn’t end up using thankfully…)


After presenting, Alec (Alec Parkin – our tutor) seemed to think it was too complicated and seemed to agree that the face didn’t need that many movements in it. Therefore I simplified it. He recommended that I used Blendshapes to make the facial movements. Which I plan on doing, but I wanted to be able to control the face with the rig as well to exaggerate certain aspects if necessary…


I tested the rig and it was working pretty much how I wanted.


However, this was starting to look very basic around the body, which as I said earlier, I was trying to avoid. Therefore, I changed it up and started following a more complex set of videos about rigging. The series of videos was from Lynda.Com I think and it was 75 clips long. I think I watched around 40 of them, and I learned quite a lot throughout the process.

However, little did I know that this was going to be the longest and most difficult part of the whole process – Since I had spent so long on it though, I wanted to finish it – I had the old version as a bit of a back up though, I hadn’t fully finished it as I knew that I wanted to do this instead of that…

The Leg

The leg was set up with 3 Different IK joints and through the “common” reverse foot process.

This is the reverse foot (Red), it gets constrained to the normal foot rig (Yellow) in multiple places… I later came back and simplified this, removing all the various toe joints, as my character didn’t need the capabilities of moving individual toes separately.


The IK joints went from the hip to the ankle, the ankle to the main part of the foot and the foot to the toe joints. Once I constrained the various joints to one another, I constrained it to the foot control and then added attributes to the Foot_CTRL to allow the foot to raise from the heel, swivel from the heel as well as bank left and right.

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I then added controls to allow the foot to raise from the base of the foot as as well as from the toe.

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The Spine and Main Body

An IK handle was put into the spine and cluster nodes were added to it. I then set up the body CTRLs. One at the base of the pelvis to control hip movement and stretching of the spine, one in the middle to control chest compressions and exaggerate hip rotations, one at the top to control the shoulder and head and one that runs along the spine to control the movement of all three. This is where problems came into play with the Script editor. Alec (my tutor) figured out that they were impacting the global scale control, which was a problem when scaling the character (and it was exactly what the script was supposed to prevent according to the tutorial).


Next was fixing this up and creating the Hip_CTRLs. At this stage I was also messing a bit with the arms as well (hence the blue joints (IK arm)).



As I said, I had started with the IK arm there… For the IK/FK switch to work, the body needed 3 arms, one being the IK arm (Blue), one being the IK arm (Red) and finally one being the resultant arm (Green) which used the values from both to create a switch. Unlike the Jack rig I wanted the switch to be able to smoothly transition from IK to FK, which is exactly what the series of tutorials showed/taught me what to do.


First I made the controls (CTRLs) for the IK arm and the hand (above). Then I made the FK arms and the Resultant Arms.

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It was at around this point I added in the shoulder and elbow constraints and controls. However, the main thing at this stage was getting the IK/FK switch working so it controls the resultant joint with the value input into the hand (wrist) control.

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I felt that my previous rig from earlier was actually more complex than the tutorials rig, so I left it as it was. It already did all that I required from it, all the other movements I was intending to use blend shapes for. It could move the direction, nose flare, ear gestures, jaw movement, neck rotation. Therefore, I felt it was good enough to just keep as it was…

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Here’s a wee test of the eye movement/point (below).

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Filing System Problems

Unfortunately, once I constrained all the parts together and binded it to the mesh, I ran into a few problems with the grouping system and a global scaling issue. My Master_CTRL wasn’t working and my eyes/tongue weren’t functioning properly and when I scaled it, the rig and mesh would unfortunately separate and scale at different proportions. I tried for ages trying to fix these problems and then I asked Alec (my tutor) if he knew what was wrong with them. He was then able to fix the problems and he said that he would send me videos on how they were fixed (so I’m looking forward to seeing how to fix the problems with my rig).


I then made a few minor changes and skinned the rig to the joints a bit more… I also added in a few smaller things such as finger/thumb joint CTRLs (which allow for rotation and I added an attribute to give them a middle joint bend in each) and a Tail CTRL (with the same functions as the finger CTRLs)…


(I know that the tail wouldn’t be making a movement like that, but I wanted to try and show you how much versatility it actually does have…).

Blend Shapes

Although I had done this already before starting this complex rig, I thought the blog would flow better if I put this down here…

First of all, I will show you the standard face, so the rest can be based of that…


The Blendshapes order – Angry/Smiling/Shock/Blink/Inhaling (“That looked like it hurt”)

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The rest of the expressions or if they need further emphasis that can be done with the facial rig controls…


Not going to lie, at this point my team are very far behind schedule. I have been working on the tower throughout the rigging process but, other than that, we don’t have much at this point… Here is my tower process.

I started with drawing a stone brick while thinking about how I wanted the tower to look. Here it is below…


I know it doesn’t look like much, but during the time I was drawing this, I got a good few of the tower ideas sorted. I then started to actually draw a few tower concepts…


I quite liked the first one, but it was a bit too small in relation to the size it needed to be. Especially since the princess wasn’t going to be shown in the shots, I had to make sure there was enough room for a interior wall or door to block of the rest of the towers interior layout. This meant that the ‘head’ of the tower had to be bigger to allow for this space that wasn’t shown and just to be suggested.


I made a few more tower designs and researched it a little more. I found this really nice sketch in sort of a Blizzard-looking style.

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I found this other piece that looked great, I more used the left-hand side tower section as reference myself though…

Tower – Image sourced from from

The main reference for shape was the tower from Tangled (shown below).

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I began by blocking it out roughly using basic shapes and models just for rough markers.

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Unfortunately, I don’t have an awful lot of saves when it comes to my tower, as most of the time I just saved over the previous save. Therefore, the next set of shots are a good bit further along in the process after I had worked out a lot more of the problems and proportions that I wanted.

As they did in Overwatch, I used my dragon for scale, this was an extremely helpful marker and landmark for the modelling process as I was able to create things based on the size of the dragon from then on.

The next phase involved blocking out the interior (wall/roof/floor/door) as well as the rest of the exterior. I mainly made the rocks/stones for the tower, to allow it to be possible for the knight to climb it and the wooden boards and supports.

For the rocks (above) I made half a ring different larger rocks and then duplicated it around to form a full ring, I then scaled the ring rotated the ring and moved it down, I filled in the larger gaps with small rocks and repeated the process around a few more times. I then had formed a group of several rings all filled in, I then scaled this group -1 on the Y-Axis to give the impression of different rocks. I filled the gap in with more smaller rocks and repeated the process. The smaller side towers followed the same process roughly.

The modelling was pretty much finished by this stage… (I have made a few more models and adjustments throughout the next few stages while UVing and texturing).

While UVing, I found that I had mad a mistake by not UVing the rocks originally before duplicating. Therefore, since they were only using one texture, I UV’d one and transferred the UVs using the Transfer Attributes tool in Maya – as they all had the same polycount. This too was a slow process as it was 1 by 1 (I did it for a full group of around 4 or 5 rows then just duplicated them down) but it felt faster than repeating it and UVing from the beginning modelling stage.


Introduction of another style

Fortnite – Epic Games

Fornite – Image sourced from

Lately during my breaks from work, I have been playing a couple of games of Fortnite, which is a very popular game at the moment on both console and PC. However, the main reason that I play it, is the style, don’t get me wrong, the gameplay is great too (and can be very intense), but for me the style is the big hard hitter and the thing that brings me back to the game.

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The texturing style within the game is incredible in my opinion, and I found out from friends in the class that Epic Games (maker of Fortnite) use 3DCoat to texture. Therefore, I downloaded 3DCoat and gave it a go, and this software is incredible for texturing hand-painted objects and textures. It felt just like an Adobe Photoshop for 3D meshes.

Tangi Bodio

I found a texture artist at Ubisoft who I found who worked on some of these seamless textures at one stage… He is called Tangi Bodio.

ArtStation –

Here are an example of some of the stone/brick textures that he worked on while at Epic Games –

Here are a few of the other textures that he worked on, such as wooden floor boards and tiling textures, which are slightly similar to my own later in the process.

The last texture, which would have useful if I had have found it earlier in the process or had more time was this one of a ground/grass texture.

Grass texture – Image sourced from

Tower Textures

In my tower there are around 20 different textures. I painted each separately on 3D Coat, so I won’t go into detail on them all, instead I will just show you the a couple of images for each… (Some have been altered on Photoshop after being textured primarily on 3D coat).

Rock –

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Wooden Plank Support –

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I had to do 3 different types of this texture to be used on 3 different types of Objects/UVs, I did this twice and the third UV was done on Photoshop as I made the UVs in a way in which I could later replicate them…

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Wooden Arch –

Possibly the second most used texture within the scene, as I have quite a number of arched supports throughout the scene.

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Roof –

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Main section of tower –

There is two parts here, one is the main cylinder shape and the other is an outer section of the window with the same type of plaster material on it. (I did make both separately just using the same colours.)

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Wooden Ring_01 –

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I tried to make good use of my textures, so I try and re-use them as often as I could. In the image below you can see this texture in use just shy of 10 times or so in 2 different shapes…


Window/Door Frame And Window Sill –

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Since the camera would be quite close to these particular textures, they needed to have more detail, and you can see that a bit better in a couple of these renders below.

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Underlying Tower Granite Textures –

As you can see, this is quite a rough texture, since it is underneath the rocks and in the dark, it didn’t need to be incredibly detailed, so I drew a quick cartoony looking granite texture and made a section that was lighter than the other as it is not covered by rock (but it isn’t seen that much by the camera up close)…

Using the same texture I was able to adjust it in Photoshop to suit the side towers.

Small Window –

I did this texture primarily on Photoshop actually, as it was easier to get the symmetry on the UV map since it exported with weird symmetry lines.

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Tower Top (Spiked and Rounded) –

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Interior Wall/Door –

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As you can see, I re-used the window frame texture from earlier for the interior door frame texture. I think it works well for both. I added cracks to the walls and small sparkles or dark areas to the walls to give it a bit more character, I also drew in the door handle and bolts to test whether I could make them stand out with the 2D texture.

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I tested the rig – I felt it was best to keep it to this section, but it was tested after rigging the character as well.

During this scene I modeled the deodorant can to allow me to test the rig in a funny way.

Deodorant Can –

This was a bit of a later test showing the dragon spraying his armpits (which isn’t in the scene – but I wanted to test a lot of the controls in one movement that makes sense with the scene and the props).


After this I began animating the first scene of the dragon, where the knight looks up to a friendly Dragon looking back at him.

Animated GIF

I then animated the next section, this was it initially, it’s quite rough at this stage still, still not finished…

Animated GIF

I put both into the same YouTube video you can watch it here (below).

Before I could finish this scene I needed to do the model for the lighter. I just textured it using Maya, so it is made using two Blinns for the Silver and Gold and a plain Lambert for the black switch. This is also made with a simple rotation so that the lid can be flipped up from the joint in the middle to close properly as well.


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After this I then put the deodorant can in his left hand and the lighter in his right and started developing the movement further. (There is a shot of the knight supposed to be in between here and it’s not just a sudden facial change).

Animated GIF

I was happy with this so I started rendering it with a simple 3 light set up to show the interior and exterior quite well.

This scene was re-rendered with the correct texture, and I went on to animate the final scene as well.




I basically animated every scene that the dragon is in, I very much enjoyed the animation process using my Dragon Rig, it was quite satisfying.

I also made the Cave and Spike Scene environment as well as a couple of planes for cliff textures…

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Veronika and I put on the majority of the scenes to render and whichever ones didn’t get finished we play blasted the rest of it, I roughly assembled the clips into the video below. Unfortunately, the voice actor who we arranged hadn’t finished the voice acting by this stage, so it doesn’t have voice and the rope bridge scenes aren’t completely finished either.

Playblast Animation – No Sound Yet…



















Professional Practice Research

For my research on the local creative studios, I focused particularly on the games industry. As a gamer myself, I have always enjoyed sitting down and firing up the console or pc to play a good game. Therefore, entering and working in the games industry has been a life-long ambition of mine, to be part of making games that others can enjoy and find inspiration in. For that reason, when it comes to placement, I hope to secure a position within a local games company.

Image sourced from –

I am currently interested in the role of a 3D Generalist, as it feels like the best starting point for a student. A 3D Generalist is usually considered a “jack-of-all-trades” when it comes to their skills. They are confident enough in most areas of the industry but wouldn’t be specified to one particular skill set. I feel that this the best way for me to advance. Hopefully, allowing me to get a better understanding of each part of the process and workflow from initial concepts, through modeling and rigging, all the way to the final render.

My Character for the current group project

However, future job role wise, my particular interest lies within the game characters. Preferably within their design and modelling. Although, working on the rigging and animation side would be nice too. Therefore, I would really rather improve upon and hone my skills in on character as a 3D Generalist before settling on a particular aspect of it yet.

5 - Female Elf Archer
My own character concept piece

The main studio I researched was the company BillyGoat Entertainment. It was relatively easy researching it, particularly after hearing the enthusiasm of William Barr in relation to their latest project at the Animation Industry conference. Although it was brief due to time constraints, the creativity and humour was still clearly evident within it. BillyGoat’s latest project, “Her Majesty’s Spiffing” really encouraged me. I read about the history of the company, watched the kickstarter pitch/trailer/gameplay of ‘Her Majesty’s Spiffing’ and even seen a couple of tutorials showing their characters and rig set-ups.

Image sourced from

The quirky modelling and animation style of the characters and environments were impressive, but it was the witty more subtle aspects of the game that kept me interested… Such as the political jokes, the funny stereotyping (“Frank Lee English”) and the small links to other popular games. I feel that all this reflects the characters of the people who worked on them, and I feel that it would be a great experience to work alongside such characters within my placement year.


The Animation Industry Conference was very diverse and interesting.

It began with a Nuke tutorial from Victor Perez – a VFX Supervisor who has worked on huge budget films such as Star WarsHarry Potter and The Dark Knight Rises. The compositing tutorial was very useful and interesting as I am still very inexperienced with Nuke. I also enjoyed hearing about his new short film Echo‘ in which revolutionary new technologies and techniques were being used to film it in an incredibly small number of long takes.

I found Catherine Mullan (MPC) to be very inspiring and down to earth, her work was very impressive and I found her talk to be easy to listen to and very interesting, which wasn’t hard as she worked on Pirates of the Caribbean, Harry Potter, Maleficent and X-Men. She is currently Animation Lead working on the new Dumbo movie. Her answers in regards to showreel questions were very useful, and I feel that they have helped me while making my own for this assignment.

It was great to hear Greg Maguire again and learn more about his work outside being a University tutor and revolving mainly around Humain. It was incredibly interesting to hear about the pathways that 3D may being going down in the future and the work they are doing with character avatars and such.

As I mentioned before, William Barr’s short talk on BillyGoat Entertainment was both intriguing and entertaining, leading me to research more about their company and now that’s were I’m aiming my cover letter/CV for.


The Avenger – Apocalyptic Car Design

I contemplated for quite a while in regards to what I wanted to focus on for my personal project. I have been looking forward to this for quite some time now and I decided to focus on possibly one of my favourite genres of both films and games… Apocalyptic…

I decided to make this a modelling and sculpting project in which I would focus on the car design. Ever since I was a child I have always had a great interest and adoration for two main car classifications, the muscle car and the off-road 4×4 car. They are both ideal for the genre I am planning on working on.


Research wise, I will focus primarily on –

  • Film – Mad Max: Fury Road
  • Game – Crossout – Targem Games
  • Game – The Crew – Ubisoft
  • Brands – Land Rover

Mad Max: Fury Road

Mad Max is both for genre research as well as vehicle design research. Mad Max is possibly the most applicable movie for the genre and the style which I want to use within my project.

Mad Max Vehicle – Image Sourced From SciFiDesign.Com

I would like my end design to look like it is from the same Apocalyptic genre as the Mad Max series of films (except maybe be more of a custom made vehicle able to be batch produced).


I have recently started playing this game and I found it to be both entertaining and educational in terms of vehicle design. This will be the biggest reference for me in terms of Film or Game research.

While researching this, I came across one of the artists who worked on the advert, his name is Mathias Zamęcki… I found this work to be inspirational as an aspiring artist, gamer and custom car enthusiast.

Image sourced from –
Image sourced from –

This research led me to more of his personal work, which has such a diverse range in styles/workflows and theme. Here is an example of one of the 3D pieces that he uploaded to his Instagram page.

Image sourced from –

Please check out more of his Artwork below –

Artstation –

Instagram –

I also found a Crossout page on Sketchfab.Com which was extremely useful for reference and to just admire their models. You can use the link below to preview some of their models…

The Crew

I found the way that the car assembles itself in the beginning and throughout this trailer to be inspirational (as well as very helpful in understanding how a vehicle is put together). I feel that it has helped me understand both the complexity of the parts and how to make my design more realistic.

It made me both sit back in my chair as well as really want to do it. However, I am trying to be realistic with my current capabilities as well as push them further and improve upon them. This is one of the reasons why I am using The Crew as a reference within this project.

Land Rover

I thought that this was the perfect vehicle brand for the Off-Road 4×4 category. My favourite car from this category and the car I will use for the rough base structure is the Defender. Most of my references will be from Defenders, most will be sourced from Google Images, such as front/rear/side views etc.

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My Concept

I started by coming up with a rough sketch based initially on the 4×4 Land Rover Defender (pick-up). While drawing this, I had the idea that it could be part of the Land Rover brand – An apocalyptic car design for those who wanted to survive in style.

Land Rover Avenger_Small_Frame

The name Avenger came to mind when thinking of how Land Rover actually name their cars. It felt like the opposite of Defender – Not built to defend, built to avenge and destroy.

I refined my the line work down and drew out the Land Rover font.

Land Rover Avenger_02

I personally am very pleased with this design and this is how I had pictured it whenever I was initially started thinking about it. In my opinion, it looks like it could fit in alongside the Land Rover series of cars. It looks rough and ready for a fight, but not super unrealistic with ridiculous proportions.

2D to 3D Drawings

I honestly wasn’t very sure where I would start with this. I felt I would be able to understand and visualize the car better if I could see it from different angles, so I roughly drew out a 3-point view (technical drawing) of the car.


I was spending slightly too long on the drawings so by the time I got to the side view I just used vertical and horizontal lines from the major points of the previous two drawings to create a rough side profile. This wasn’t too vital as I hadn’t fleshed all the ideas out by this stage. I just wanted rough positioning to help me maintain sizes.

I wanted to create a thorough model, so I researched Land Rover Defender chassis’ and parts for reference in most cases to help me get the actual car shape. Therefore just using Google Images I created something similar to a moodboard of some of the better pictures that I found.

Variety of images sourced from Google Image

Based on these images I drew my own chassis shape (below).


I later ended up finding actual technical drawings with dimensions of the Defender Chassis (an older version of the Defender but they were still pretty useful).

Chassis Dimensions
Defender Chassis Dimensions – Image sourced from

Modelling Progress

Reference Plane Set-Up

I set up planes on the X/Y/Z axis allowing me to use the 3-point view drawings I created earlier as references.

I created a set up something similar to this… The middle planes are for the assembly and creation of major sections. The bottom planes were for making other assets that were easier to visualize without the overall assembly in the way.


Modelling in Sections

The modelling of the car had to be split into multiple sections. Here is the modelling process in the sections that I created and grouped them in roughly…


I made the front set of wheels and the front axle first, it was relatively easy but it just took time to figure out and create.


I tried making it reasonably realistic, the tires aren’t great, but hopefully I will get a chance later on to fix them up. I am happy enough with the alloy though, I made small hexagonal bolts which are on either side of the wheel attaching the alloy to the wheel and the wheel to the axle.



After making the axle, wheel and alloy, I created the spike. I heavily modified (and I feel improved upon the original drawing) while still keeping the rough shape. I created a section to attach it to the alloy, using a cylindrical threaded bar and supports…


I then moved on to the Spike, which was possibly the most fun bit to make…


I then duplicated the wheel folder, replacing the other side. Then the axle was finished and ready to be duplicated again to create the rear set of wheels.


Using my profiles that I drew earlier I create a very simple chassis the same shape.


Without the wheels now…

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I made the rough base shape of the car to test whether it was suitable, it did need adjusted later. However, for now it worked…




I modeled the bonnet on top of that rough blocked out car shape using the reference images as guides, I kept quite a clean topology to allow me to add more features to it easily if needed. In the back corners I have left a space for fenders for cooling the engine.

Unfortunately, I haven’t captured any images of the process of the bonnet’s creation, but I have the final version thankfully.


I added several details to the bonnet to give it more character and detail.

  • Metal checker plates for standing on.
  • The cooling fenders near the back as I spoke of earlier.
  • The bull horn and underlying wire frame mesh.

Standing Plates


I made one segment of this pattern first, I then duplicated it four times, grouped that pattern, rotated it 45 degrees, duplicated it again, rotated it 45 degrees the other way and then duplicated both groups until I have filled the plate. Using the difference tool I was able to fill the plate to the edges.

This is the style of metal sheet I used as reference.

Metal Checker Plate – Image sourced from

Cooling Fender/Vent


I filled the section of the bonnet that I left for the cooling fender/vent, this was quite simple, using a cube (which was beveled to get the nice chamfered edges). I then duplicated it and maintained the same distance between each one.

Bull Horn/Mesh Frame


I made the wire mesh using a similar technique to how I made the metal checker pattern. The wire frame was made to fit around the bonnet, I placed bolts on to increase realism.

I attached the horn to the mesh using a couple of metal braces which I bolted down.



While I was making this I had a couple of games in mind. I considered a pair of bull horns from Cross out (shown below) as well as Blizzard’s World of Warcraft horn styles (also shown below).

Crossout Bull Horns – Image sourced from
Spiked Pauldrons – Image sourced from

The final version of the bonnet looks like this, it was made using the blocked reference from earlier as well as the reference planes.



I started with the rear fender, using the wheel to model around.


The intention for the inside of the pick-up section would be that it would allow the wheel to fit in the proper position and also the inner section can function as a seat or storage area. I went on to develop the inner section later.


I used the rear fender as a base for the front fender, I made some adjustments to size, shape and I removed the interior section from it.


I fixed them up a bit more and duplicated them across to the other side.

Front Windscreen

The front windscreen was relatively easy and I just used the reference planes for it mainly.

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I made the glass plane then I insert the bulletproof panels over the top.

Beginning to block in the car


I blocked out the bull bar/bumpers/grill on the front to get the rough shape. I then moved to the back and positioned some of the rear areas.


I refined everything down, giving them more details, shape and emphasis.


At this stage blocked in the rear window and refined the pick-up section of the truck, adding a detail pattern to the base (for traction and grip).


I made one section of the pattern, duplicated it across, combined it and attached the outer vertexes. I repeated this process multiple times and then resized the shape to fit the back of the truck and maintain consistency with the pattern.


I attached the front bumper to the chassis (to try and partially replicate how it is done with real cars).

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Unfortunately I don’t have much of a mid-way save of the panel creation. However, I made the rear side panel first, I then then blocked in the front corner panel where the lights would go and then refined it further.

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I left a space for the rear lights to be inserted in the back corners…


The next part was the front panels which were a little easier to do than the rear ones, having the bonnet, front fender and bull bars was very helpful while figuring out spacing. Obviously the reference planes were useful here as well, but it was much easier to visualize with the other sections of mesh already being there.


The mesh was still reasonably clean, but since I am not intending for the doors to be animated at this point, I blocked in the shape for the doors to be put over.


As I said before, I made the doors as part of a separate mesh, or rather multiple meshes.

I modeled the rough door window shape and then I put the door big bulletproof door reinforcement part on and made it part of the door.

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I really liked the small back window in my concept so I tried to keep my model very similar to it.

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The roof was modeled to fit the rest of the panels and create a slight overhang on them.

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Front headlights


I started by making a panel for the lights, I used two varying sizes of cylinders to create the bulb slots. I then created the bulbs and made a cover for them.


Rear taillights

I reused the bulbs and mesh cover in the rear taillights.


Roof headlights

The roof headlights were actually one of the most fun parts of the model to make so far…


I resized the bulb that I used for the previous lights and I created a outer cover and holder for the light.I then created a small individual frames with a bar through them to connect the headlights together.


The frame that holds the bar would also allow the lights to be adjusted in angle. I then fired on another frame that holds the angle adjusting frame to attach it to the roof.



I made the spears as the first set of weapons before making the guns. I made a couple of adjustments to them, instead of spears, I thought chained harpoons would make more sense.


The chain attaches to the head of the spear and it would extend out of the holder.


As you can see in this last image I made holders that attach to the fenders to secure the spear to the vehicle.



I tried making the spearhead look cool by adding some more details to it.


The spearhead doesn’t look incredibly detailed up close, but from further away it looks like it has plenty of character in my opinion.


The turret was possibly the least detailed/helpful section of my drawing. Therefore, I basically created it with almost no reference. However, I am pleased with how it turned out in the end. I feel that this ended up being the most fun part of the model to create.

I had several variations of the turret before I was happy with it, this was the first version.


I blocked this one using the reference images. However, even when I was making those references I still didn’t like how wide the turret ended up being (the reason I didn’t refine it more within those drawings). I also wasn’t overly happy with weighting, even though the general shape would be perfectly fine, with the barrels being so long in comparison to the actual base of the turret, it seemed to look disproportionate or something.

The middle was intended to be a swivel for the turret allowing it to rotate vertically. This is also where I placed some of the cooling fans for the weapon (since it is such a big weapon, I felt it needed them).


The horizontal swivel was all in the base.


I then attempted to fix this balance issue that I mentioned earlier, I adjusted and remade some of the components and changed quite a bit of positioning within the turrets base.


I shrunk the sides of the turret down and re-made the back of the turret. However, I went on to adjust it again to the final version which I was pleased with.


I feel that they would function better like this, I have also tested their rotational axis’ (horizontally and vertically) from this position and they all both work well. They do look pretty intimidating in my opinion. I am very pleased with how they turned out.


Finishing Touches

Front/Rear Plough and Side Step/Side Covers

The most obvious finishing touch is are the front and rear ploughs…

I really wanted to include this within my model as it was one of my favourite sections of my concept piece.


I wanted it to look heavily reinforced, so I extruded sections and bolted them down to give the impression of brute force in the plough.


Similar to how I attached the bumper to the chassis earlier, I attached the plough to the same spot.


I did the same with the side covers, I attached this to the chassis as well as the side step.

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I used the front plough as the rear plough as well, with some alterations to shape of course to make it fit properly.


This ended up being one of my favourite components within the model as well as the concept piece.



Since I wanted my model to fit in with the Land Rover series of cars, I gave it a badge, since that is typical for Land Rovers.


Here it is equipped on the Avenger.



I literally made a car turntable based of existing ones I looked at. It is relatively simple and I lit it with 3-point lighting.

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Ideal Changes…

Unfortunately, I ran out of time to texture it. However, I have full intent on coming back to it at some stage to finish it up with UV and Texture. However, part of me would like to fully finish it with the whole wack. (Modelling an interior, realistic bulbs, and an engine and a rig).


To sum up, I’m very pleased with how the model turned out, I am happy with the topology and shape of everything. I feel that I have learned a lot from this personal project, and I look forward in anticipation to my next personal project and finishing this one up for my showreel.

Body Mechanics

This project has been running alongside our 3D Environment task, for this project we were given two rigs to work from (one female/one male). The rigs were called Jack and Jill.

For this project, we have to make a Walk Cycle and General Body Mechanic Movements of our choice.

First of all, I created a few poses (non-animated) just to test the rigs… Here they are below.

Posing the Rig

“Hmmm… What’s for lunch?” –


“Yeah! Get in there!” –


“Bang! Bang! He shot me down!” –


“Oppa Gangnam Style!” –


I enjoyed making these and the last one was just for the humorous aspect of it. Although I didn’t get to record myself doing these actions, I did pose myself to help me get the grasps of the positions.

Here are a few of the references I was thinking of while making these…

Overwatch – Mcree – Sourced at – SAGamer
Destiny 2 - Cayde 6
Destiny 2 – Cayde 6 – Sourced at – Gameskinny.Com
PSY – Oppa Gangnam Style – Sourced at – ZomgTalk.Com

Next I moved on to the walk cycle, this was a lot more challenging than I initially anticipated and lead to me questioning how I walk on multiple occasions…

Walk Cycle

This was definitely the most useful reference that I used (below).

Richard Williams Animator’s Survival Kit walk cycle reference

However, in getting a realistic looking walk, the 12 Principles came in useful yet again.

The follow through/slow in and out can be seen in the wrist flicks, the feet and the head bob.

I made use of exaggeration slightly within my walk cycle to give the model a bit more character. (The rest of them also feature in some aspect, but I won’t go into all 12 of them.)

Below was an interesting as well as entertaining reference that I found quite useful.

Although it is a 2D version of a walk cycle Alan Becker’s video (below) is very useful in helping to understand the walk cycle a little more…

His video series on the 12 Principles of Animation is also very good and useful…

Below is my walk cycle (I made it into a GIF and uploaded it to YouTube) –

Animated GIF

This is the graph editor of the full rig (looking reasonably clean and tidy thankfully).

Graph Editor

Here is my walk cycle in the same style as the Richard Williams Walk Cycle Reference…


Other Movements

Repeating Back Flip –

(Uncompleted – Decided to change movements)

The first movement that I went for was a double/triple back flip… The reference that I found for it didn’t look natural, so it ended up that my back flip animations didn’t look that natural either, so I decided to move on and try something else instead…

Animated GIF

I unfortunately lost the reference video. However, I got the basics of it, I just decided to do something else instead. I actually started on this before making the walk cycle, when I was initially messing around with the rig. If I spent more time on it, I would have been able to finish it, but I decided to do a couple of other movements instead…

Sneak –

I created a sneak movement, mainly from my imagination to be honest and from general knowledge from playing a lot of stealth games and from watching films. Well I guess the sneak from the ‘100 different ways to walk (Animation Reference)’ video earlier also helped a bit.

The gist of this movement is obviously a sneak. but my animation is supposed to be of a leader of a group. (I would picture the group being reasonably young and childish). He is sneaking along until one of the others makes a noise. He then turns around to signal to be quiet, he checks the other way, sees the coast is clear and tells the group to move.


I am pleased with how the animation turned out and I feel that there is character expressed within the rigs movements.

Here is an example of how I was walking around while making this… (Me in the video).

Below is the graph editor for the sneak cycle…

Sneak_Graph Editor

Here is my sneak cycle in the same style as the Richard Williams Walk Cycle Reference…


Driving –

I wanted to create a unique movement, I had looked at other classmates movements and previous years movements, I didn’t see any of them making their rig drive, so I thought I would give it a go…

This was probably one of the most fun to animate, and again, I didn’t really need a reference for this as I drive in to Uni every day. I literally sat at my chair in Uni and pretended like I was driving to get the positioning of the car components right.

“Dancehall” Dance –

I used a game as a reference for this, in Bungie’s/Blizzard’s Destiny 2, the emotes are amazing. I thought it would be great to try and replicate one of them. The one that I wanted to replicate though, I couldn’t quite find a suitable reference video for, so I chose another interesting one.

I made a GIF of the dance from Destiny 2 that I was trying to create… Unfortunately, I hadn’t found this reference when I was making it initially…

Animated GIF
Dancehall – Destiny 2

Here is my attempt at it, due to the looming deadlines for multiple projects, I wasn’t able to devote as much time to this as I would have liked to it, but I still like it…

Here is a older playblast with the reference on planes behind it.

Below is the reference I used in the background of the video above, as you can see it’s pretty jumpy… I came across the nice video that I made a GIF of afterwards unfortunately.

Creating a 3D Environment

This is one of the parts of our ‘Creative Development Assignment’. On day one we fired a load of initial ideas on to a whiteboard, here they are…


The ideas that I preferred were –

  • The Abandoned Arcade/Theatre
  • The Post-Apocalyptic Zombie Concepts
  • The Viking Long Hall

We wanted to pick our idea early on, therefore, allowing us to get stuck into the concept art and design phase… The next day we had a group meeting where we decided to combine a few concepts together. The Viking Long Hall was one of the top concepts on all of our lists, for that reason we decided to merge it with another favourite which was the Space/Sci-Fi theme.

This will hopefully allow us to generate more of our own unique ideas as we try to merge a futuristic Sci-Fi universe with a more primitive Viking universe.


TEAM – Dermott Burns, Glenn O’Neill, Ryan Loughran.

You can find their blog links here –

Dermott Burns –

Glenn O’Neill –

Ryan Loughran –


A few from the Gaming Industry

As I have mentioned before, the gaming industry is possibly the largest influence for me within my work. I find it so intriguing and interesting, hence why I would like to work in it one day.

However, the reasoning I feel that it is applicable to this section is simple… The shear bulk load of art, creativity and style crammed into the majority of the games coming out lately, could easily fill multiple blog posts full of research…

Sorry in advance for all these sections of research by the way… I am just trying to record what I find when I find it…

  1. Bethesda – ‘Elde Scrolls‘ franchise – Ray Lederer (Concept Artist)

Elder Scroll Online – Image Sourced From –

This is possibly the most obvious one that comes to mind when I mention Vikings, or any similar type of warrior for that matter. Honestly, this was the case… However, the fact can not be ignored that the series of games (particularly the later ones) are both stunning graphically and in content.

One of the first influential Concept Artists I found is called Ray Lederer, his work within the Elder Scrolls series of games was focused upon ‘Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim‘ particularly.

More of his work and the images within this section can be found by clicking either of the links below –

I will break some of his concepts up into several sections, first of all a few landscapes/environmental concepts…

These are very helpful in grasping the feel of a Viking village, which is a feeling that we aim to keep within our ship… The buildings look big, imposing and strong, you wouldn’t want to raid this village, these are more aspects that we obviously want to capture within our environment design. We will hopefully be using more futuristic sci-fi adaptations of these kinds of designs and applying/combining them with Viking longboats designs. However, the most influential and applicable environmental piece that I found of Ray Lederers’ work would have to be this one below.

Ray Lederer – Skyrim Concept Art – Sourced from

The reasoning for this would is the view of the interior of the house. When I look at this, I can picture it being suitable for the interior of a ship (as it will be in space, it will be enclosed). The details, functionality and warmth perfectly captions how I would picture a Viking household/building.

Next, he also worked on character designs/concepts…

Now, I think that these are great, and I feel that many aspects from these armour sets and scenes could be applied to some of the gear within our scene. They both resemble an older style of armour alongside a more futuristic sci-fi style of armour with the carved gear plates and highly detailed bulky pauldrons. The concept of mages/shamans also comes to mind when we think of more pagan Vikings.

However, as before, I do have my own preference of his concepts. (Shown below).

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As an avid gamer myself, this has always been the style of armour that I have been most impressed by… The detail, shape and use of colour to bring out the glow, reflecting both strength and power would be something I can see a Space Viking wearing. Obviously, it would need adapted to incorporate a more traditional style and sense as well, but if it could give of half  the sense of intensity and brute force that this set does, I would be very pleased (provided we make armour/Vikings).

Finally, I would like to mention the grand statues, centerpieces and shrines that Ray worked on and are so clearly important in Nordic/Viking times…