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…

If you look closely at these images, the statue/shrine concepts usually include a figure to relate it to an average human size, displaying both the shear size and importance to their history/lore. Particularly within the top right image, the small red figure that is around ankle height in relation to the shrine. I feel a large centerpiece or statue would have been of much importance to the Vikings. Whether it is a reminder, shrine, figurehead or trophy, I feel that the would have had them within their ships.

However, my favourite Ray Lederer shrine/statue concept of is this one below.



The detail, different levels of light and the overwhelming feeling that this statue portrays is incredible. The fact that it is dug into the cavern wall is another very interesting and unique factor. I am considering whether incorporating a throne into the shrine/statue of the ship would be a good idea. It is a necessary concept that will need considered, the Vikings having a leader. A throne built into the centerpiece of the ship would create a new setting and aspect to the narrative of our story, the idea of the leader.

Anyways, I could talk much longer on the influences that both the artist as well as the game series have given me, but I feel I should move on to a few more Sci-Fi based concepts…

(Again, if you want to check more of Ray Lederers’ work or you want to see where I got the images from, please follow the links below)


2. Bungie/Blizzard – ‘Destiny‘ franchise – Joseph Cross (Concept Artist)

Three Classes – Destiny 2 – Sourced from –

Destiny is possibly one of the best games of 2017 in my opinion. The detail, variance, characters and environments all merit it this for me. However, I don’t mention it here because I like the game, I am mentioning it as I particularly want to focus on both the Space Ships and the Titan class, as for me it sort of captions what a Space Viking could be like (it is the middle one in the image above).

There were many amazing concept artists and designers who worked on this game. However, the Concept Artist I chose to talk about is called Joseph Cross, he has worked on both games within the ‘Destiny‘ series. I also found his Kong Skull Island concept art to be very interesting as well as his Personal concept pieces.

If you want to see more of his work, please follow the links below…

Blog –

Instagram –

Concept Art World –

Below is the a great example of a piece of concept art piece that makes me feel that the ‘Titan’ represent a good basis for Space Vikings. The Energy Shield, one of the concepts which I feel is important. It shows that they aren’t just regular old Vikings, they are an intelligent enough race to allow them to be in space…

Energy Shield – Titan – Destiny 2 – Image sourced from


Proportionally, the image above accurately represents the strong bulky figure and armour type that I would expect in a Space Viking. The sense of pace and power can be felt within this piece through the blur, glow and stance of the Titan. Even the use of a primarily defensive weapon in an offensive stance would represent the aggressive fighting style of a Viking.

The next piece represents more of an offensive weapon, an Energy Staff/Spear. I found this piece below to be incredible, the balance between position, colour and light represents the characters agile speed perfectly. Although it isn’t a strong Titan figure, the Vikings still would have possessed more agile qualities. This is so clearly represented by the quick and nimble Hunter below…

Energy Staff/Spear – Hunter – Destiny 2 – Image sourced from

Below is a more relaxed pose that shows the full figure of the large Titan class. The image makes the character look heroic and large suggesting the role of a protector through his stance, shape and the background. (Joseph Cross also worked on Logos during his time at Destiny). Although the image represents the character in a positive light, it can be clearly seen how he could be seen as an intimidating figure and one to be feared by his enemies. These are further attributes we would want to be suggested in our Space Viking characters.

Titan – Image sourced from

The next couple of pieces are directly from his website, the first is an interesting and possible consideration for a control panel style within our ship. The following one is a representation of a Titan helmet design representing the green glow coming out of the helmet.

Ship Control Panel/Interface – Destiny 2 – Image sourced from –
Glow Helmet Design – Destiny 2 – Image sourced from –

Joseph Cross also worked on some incredible ship layouts which vary in both shape and colour providing each of them with different attributes both visually and practically.

I feel these could be useful for us when considering slick or bulky concepts in relation to our ship and possible escape pods.

Joseph Cross worked on many logo designs as well. The all depict different meanings and serve different purposes.

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Obviously the work of ‘Destiny‘ verges much to far on the futuristic/sci-fi section in our project. Although, it is useful to see two very different sides of the spectrum managed it (Elder Scrolls – Traditional and Destiny – Futuristic).


3. SIE Santa Monica Studio – God Of War series

This is back to a more traditional style of Vikings… I will keep this section a little shorter.

If you could watch the video from around 2:00 to 3:30 you will get a rough idea of how I would picture the fighting style/weaponry of our Space Vikings.

If you don’t feel like watching it, I screenshotted a few of the more important frames… However, you would get a much better idea from watching the video.

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I know the task is to create the environment and this is a lot of character/gear/weaponry research, but researching the character helps me when thinking of where they would live and the type of environment they would be in. Anyways, I think I am focusing more on assets within the ship rather than the actual ship itself.

Anthony Jones (Concept Artist)

Anthony Jones is a concept artist that I found who worked on the series. His work isn’t as relevant as the other previous artists I mentioned so far. However, I really like his style and the layout of his work.

Blog Link –

Concept Art World –


4. Digital Extremes – Warframe – Roger Adams (Concept Artist)

Back to a more Sci-Fi based game, where I will focus mainly upon the Ship designs and layouts within this section.

Image sourced from –

Warframe is a game that I don’t own. However, while searching through the internet to find useful designs I stumbled upon it. Based on the concept art I found, I could easily be tempted to play it. Absolutely stunning…

I looked into the work of Roger Adams for this section, who is a Canadian Concept Artist who as you can probably guess, worked on Warframe. His style within the pieces I am going to mention is extremely clean, detailed and professional. He does work on more abstract artwork as well.

If you are interested in finding out more about Roger Adams or you want to see where the images within this section are found please visit –

Website –

Artstation –

I found it very interesting how Roger focuses on varying sections of the ship that could be replicated to add variance and detail while maintaining a quick work flow.

Above are 3 varying floor sections, which you can see put into action in the initial piece of this section. The amount of detail within them allows them to be duplicated and for it to be barely noticeable. This is such an effective way of creating a scene and it is a perfect example of the gaming industry workflow.

Below he repeats the same process in creating these walls. The detail form and process for these metallic sections would work fantastically within our scene when combined with a more traditional style.

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Below is another section of his work where he is designing full room scenes and they just look incredible. The use of minimalist colour, the use of light and the shear detail within each piece is exactly why I chose to mention his work within this section.

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Roger Adams also worked on a range of major scene components and assets (shown below).

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Although these on a much more futuristic sci-fi level in relation to where we are going, each asset is still very interesting and fascinating to look at. They all could go on to inspire an asset within our scene, whether it is a generator, an engine or a duplicated panel of lights/floors/walls.

End of this section of research…

I better move on to some of my ideas that I was working on before/during/after researching all these great and inspirational pieces of artwork.





I drew this image below when we started talking about Space Vikings, this was to help me get the grasp of it and start practicing drawing again. I drew him with more of an exaggerated figure, the typical cartoony style Viking – Bulky Shoulders, Tall in height, strong, intimidating and fearless. Although I barely looked at any references for it, I had the Blizzard Art Style in the back of my mind while drawing it.

My Initial Concept Piece – Viking Line Art

This piece would be more of a traditional ‘God of War‘/’Elder Scrolls style of Viking Warrior with the huge, crude two handed axe, single skull shoulder piece and ram-horn helmet.

After this piece I moved on to a colour piece, I still focused on the Viking character at this stage rather than the environment. However, the aim of this piece was to capture an essence of the narrative we were considering at the stage.

I began with the rough line art which I went on to clean up and use to help decide upon colours…

Viking Ship Under Attack_01

As you can see from here this is more of a Sci-Fi based Viking, this is the sort of level between the two themes (Traditional Viking and Sci-Fi Space) I would like to work in…

Viking Ship Under Attack_01_Colour_01

I would hope you can see the rough idea I was going for within this piece… The ship has been breached, a comrade or ally has been grabbed by the space creature (which at this point we are considering it to be a large squid/octopus like creature). The Space Viking in his strength and fearlessness charges straight in, head first into the fight to attempt to free his ally who is being crushed by the large tentacle.

Viking Ship Under Attack_Colour_02

As you can see this is more of a futuristic sci-fi Viking Soldier, closer to the style of Destiny 2 or Halo 5. I was experimenting with the idea of futuristic weapons here, since they are more developed than regularly Vikings, I felt that this would need reflected within their weaponry… Therefore, I drew the traditional equipment except in a futuristic energy weapon style. I really enjoyed drawing this and I feel that my experience in Life Drawing last year has really benefited my art style and proportions.

Below is the small mood board I created to help me with this piece…

Invasion Concept Piece Inspiration
Small Mood Board For Inspiration (Mainly For Colour)

I talked to my team about it and we felt that the style should possibly be somewhere more in the middle and a little less complex. Therefore, I tried to draw a clearer armour set in somewhere in this range.

Viking Armour Set_01_Better

This is a lot more basic and cleaner than the other I think… I also designed a possible logo or crest for the clan, I felt a double headed wolf could be applicable as it goes quite nicely with the narrative idea.

Current Narrative Idea – The Vikings are either blessed with knowledge and advanced craftsmanship skills by Aliens that visit Earth or else they discover it from them. We felt this was an interesting and unique way to describe the reasoning for Vikings in space. The Vikings in their brutish ways then leave Earth to hunt Aliens to advance further in their knowledge.

One of my teammates Glenn drew up a tapestry to help describe the narrative, which we plan on inputting into the scene… Here it is below. (Sourced from

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As I was saying, my two headed wolf then represents the clan well. They are fierce and strong like the wolf. However, they are two-faced (or two-headed) and want to hunt the Aliens that helped them discover a new level of knowledge.

Viking Armour Set_01_Better_Logo
My Two-Headed Wolf Clan Crest Concept



Viking longships were mainly used in battle as they were long, light and slender. Therefore, they possessed both easy maneuverability as well as speed and agility.

Image sourced from –

Below is a decent example of a Viking Longboat blueprint…

Image sourced from –

Here is another blueprint of a Viking Longship…



Image sourced from –

And based upon both of these blueprints, I would say that our ship would fit for the description of a Longship. (Although our ship is intended to be used for all purposes – Combat/Cargo/Quick Travel/General Living).

I found a very nice piece by Spiros Karkavelas of a beached Viking Longship… It is very nicely designed and it shows a great perspective of a possible rough size for our ship (except ours might be a bit larger).

Image sourced from –



After working on more character based concept art for quite a while, I decided to move onto ship profiles… Having done Technology and Engineering for A-Level, I can grasp the concept of technical drawings and enjoy doing them.

I got the rough design idea from Dermott’s early ship concepts and ‘photo-mashes’…

Dermott Burn’s Early Ship Concept – Image sourced from –

The next 3 images below are rough profile layouts of my own based on Dermott’s previous style of ship. I didn’t like the first one as much, so I changed it a bit altering the front of the ship and putting additional brace frames on it to strengthen the hull of the ship.

Viking Ship Potential Layout_01

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We hadn’t decided on rooms as yet for the ship, at this stage the ship is to be one long hall styled room. However, in the image above I do layout roughly where I feel the “Hull/Engine” area would be. This is where I started to consider the idea of pistons and rotating turbines… Something mechanical like my idea for the engine with moving pistons/cogs/turbines would be both interesting and enjoyable to make.

Moving on… After this design we changed it into a style more like the one shown below. I enjoyed drawing this, I built it up in layers to allow me to look inside the ship and create a perception of depth.


The group liked the engine and piston idea, so we are considering keeping the Oars (maintaining a more traditional Viking style) and attaching them to pistons. This would create the idea of motion and the oars would most likely have solar panels to give further reason to their usage. This would simulate the traditional means of movement being re-purposed to fulfill a similar source of power for the movement (instead of kinetic energy being used, solar would be used instead.



I tried to designed a possible differentiating feature about him. I thought it was important for the leader to have a different head piece in particularly, possibly even a completely different set of gear.

Helmet Design

I would intend for this to mix more royal colours, I would expect the bird shape side sections to be made from gold. I had Azgarde from Marvel’s ‘Thor‘ in the back of my mind while creating this. How would their royalty and leadership be dressed/equipped?

Odyn – Thor – Image sourced from –

This also slightly influenced my idea around the lighting of the ship… I was considering how traditional Vikings lit their houses/establishments. Back in those days, Torches and Fires would have been the main source of light. Therefore, I designed a few different Sci-Fi based lighting techniques that could possibly work in a torch (below).

Light Sources



Space Octopus Throne_01Space Octopus Throne_02Space Octopus Throne_03





Back to weapon designs, I worked on quite a few designs until my team was happy enough with the mixture between Traditional Viking and Futuristic Sci-Fi Warrior…

My initial weapon design was in the first colour concept piece I did…

Viking Ship Under Attack_Colour_02

This was apparently a tad too futuristic, so I tried to dull the next designs down a bit. However, it didn’t have the traditional Viking feel to them that I was particularly aiming for… However, I really do like them and may still model them at some stage.


Therefore, I brought my designs back to the basic traditional Viking style… Just to have a decent basis to work from… I researched a number of Viking Weapons to get a decent feel for these and make them reasonably accurate.


Below are a random assortment of Viking weapons that I found to use as real-life examples.

Traditional Weapons Inspiration
Real Reference Images

However, one of my favourite pieces was by Erick Altensleben, showing a range of varying Viking Axes… I found this very useful and interesting. Here it is below…

Image sourced from –

Another artist that I found on DeviantArt.Com called ‘Etrelley’, creates 3D weapons (frequently fan art based weapons). However, I found her work very intriguing and detailed. Please find some of her work in the link below.

DeviantArt.Com Link –

However, my team-mate Ryan designed a class looking set of shield designs. I felt it would be great to keep a consistent style within the weapons. Therefore, within my Axe design I tried to use similar features and colours within it.

Here is the set of shields Ryan designed below…

Ryan Loughran’s Shield Designs – Image sourced from –


Eventually, I designed an Axe that we were all happy with. In my opinion it is in the right place for Space Vikings, that area in between Traditional and Sci-Fi. It fits into the same style as Ryan’s shield as well so it will give a better sense of consistency within the weapons/scene. I named the two-handed axe, “Olde’ Faithful”.

Space Viking Axe

I then went on to model this weapon on Maya, I did consider ZBrush for this. However, Maya was definitely an easier way to create it for me at this stage. While modelling I realised that the handle didn’t quite seem long enough, so I extended it in the model.

2017-11-04 (2)

After creating this and UV mapping it, I decided to re-use the already mapped components and parts to create a smaller one-handed axe.

Initial Modelling Style_02

However, after doing this, I realised that I would like it to be able to open up, for example when the Space Viking Warrior would unsheathe the weapon, what animation would it do? This meant that I had to re-model the head components of the model.

This is it original basic model –

Initial Modelling Style

This is the re-modelled version –

Initial Modelling Style_03


I had to redo the UV on this piece.

Here are the UVs all laid out for each component of the axe (individual objects/meshes).



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I then animated it and duplicated the model and the animation over onto the other side of the head (to keep the symmetry aspect to it).

Here is a GIF of the animation I created for it, made from my Youtube Video (also shown below).

Animated GIF

Below is the same animation but rendered and put in a GIF.

Animated GIF

After this, I felt that the Vikings may need more weapons, so I drew up a few more concepts for weapons. I focused upon swords for this part.


Then I began modelling, I tried making use of a majority of the same pieces on the hilt and handle to create the sword, this ensured they looked like they were from the same set of weapons and it would save time in the UV mapping stage.


I then created the other swords and went on to create a dagger.

To differentiate the swords, I made them all different sizes, using different components, adding bits here and taking away bits there. However, to make the two-handed sword completely different from the others, I added two more sides to it.

I began animating it again, I deleted the extra two sides during this stage as it made it easier to animate… I then re-added them after I had finished making the animation for one side (X-Axis) through the duplicate special which transferred the animation along with it. Below is a rendered version in a GIF of the sword animation.

Animated GIF

Below is the rendered video of both the sword and axe animation.

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Weapon Storage

I drew up this concept as an idea of how the weapons could be stored. This shows them in a wall mounted case behind a reinforced glass plane (opening up with the access terminal to the right hand side).

Weapon Rack

I did use this as a reference while modelling. However, during the process, we were reminded that our Space Viking ship was too Sci-Fi based and there wasn’t enough Traditional Viking in there. Therefore, I changed it up, making the shape more like a storage container and I added in a few more basic traditionally styled Viking racks.

UVs –

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I was influenced by two main designs, one futuristic, one traditional (shown below).

Futuristic – Dead Effect – Wall Weapon Rack
Traditional – Weapon Rack – 3DS Max – Sourced from – Turbosquid.Com

Using my design of a storage area for the weapons, I crafted an armoury on the ship underneath the main floor of the ship. We decided for one container to be ruptured, causing all the weapons to flow out of it. The other was covered by an energy barrier keeping them all inside and in position. I also modelled a quick target dummy for this armoury area.

Target Dummy

This was actually one of the first models I made for this project. It is a very simple model in relation to my others…

I took influence from Elder Scrolls target dummies –

Skyrim Target Dummy – Image source – NexusMods.Com

I also found the target dummies from Kung Fu Panda to be inspirational also…

Kung Fu Panda – Training Hall

Anyways, here is my target dummy… (It was a quick model to show the concept, I didn’t get to go back and update/fix it.)

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This was one of the earlier models, so I was still getting to grip with UVs… I UV’d parts of it better than others in this. This wasn’t really a very important part of the scene, it is just going to sit in a dark corner of the room. However, it was a real pain to UV due to the way I created it. I would definitely make it a lot better if I had more time (both the UV and the model).

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I began to model the throne design that I had drawn earlier on as my team really seemed to like it. This took up the most of my time, as it maybe should have, since it is intended to be one of the main center pieces of the ship. Here is the concept to remind you of how it looks…

Space Octopus Throne_02

Below is a bit of a moodboard that I created for my throne influences…

Throne Influences

I made this in ZBrush instead of Maya, as it was a piece of software I wanted to improve my skills in. I also thought it would be a lot easier to get more detail into its more organic shape. I began with the skull…

I then added the horns/beak/brain sections and details.

Ok, here is where the annoying bit comes in… UVs/Normal Maps/Re-Topology etc. Thankfully after many attempts and many hours of trial and error, I figured out how to –

  1. Lower the polygons (while maintaining quads) – ZBrush
  2. Create UV’s – ZBrush
  3. Create Normal Maps – ZBrush
  4. Export it all from ZBrush and Import into Maya (Low Poly/High Poly) – ZBrush/Maya
  5. Bake Normal Maps on Low Poly Meshes – Maya

Obviously, I had to follow a few tutorials along the way, but I have officially learned the entire process from having to do it around 10-15 times (for all my assets and then doing it for/showing other teammates how to do it (I also did the same for other classmates not in my team)).

Here are the most useful tutorials I found on it…

  1. Decimation –
  2. UV Master –
  3. Normal Mapping and Exporting –
  4. Baking Normal Maps –


Large sections – Horns UV / Small sections – Beak
Main Skull UV
Baked High Poly onto Low Poly Mesh
Accurate model – Created by eye (No image plane)

The tentacle followed pretty much the exact same process of creation… Here are the images.

Main section –

Joint Section –

End Section –

All Three Sections Of Tentacle Joined Together –


High Poly Baked onto Low Poly –


Building the Tentacle –


Positioning the Tentacles –


After doing all this, I started to block out the throne on Maya with the intention of taking into ZBrush later… Here is the stairway/inner/outer throne blocked out.

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I then took the steps and throne into ZBrush (after much time spent fixing up the topology on the original Maya steps).

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We ended up not going with these steps and outer chair style after all, it didn’t really work out unfortunately.

However, we did go with this actual throne seat wise. Looking at it though, the edges aren’t very stiff, I would probably re-make this on Maya if I were to do it again…

The stairs and outer chair needed to be fixed, they didn’t match the style that the ship was being modeled in. The hard surface modelling was key to the throne (at least to its steps and outer chair), therefore I made it in Maya instead, using more of the processes that Dermott used in the design of the ship panels.

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Using the curve tool, I designed the patterns on the sides of the ascend to the throne. I UV’d it all as well…

Full Throne Renders –



The Crest

After we presented, Alec (our tutor) suggested that we need more of a traditional Viking feel to it, at that time the percentage of Futuristic Space to Traditional Viking was significantly higher… Therefore, we had to bring it back by adding more Viking based aspects to the ship. Thankfully we hadn’t added in all of our models/”clutter” to the renders at that point, so we didn’t need to completely revamp the ship. However, one thing that I had designed earlier was the two-headed wolf crest (below for a reminder).

Viking Armour Set_01_Better_Logo
Original Quick Concept

My team, agreed that the banners would be a good idea and they liked the meaning behind the crest. Therefore, I did it up a bit, making it look more detailed and more importantly, more norse (Viking).

Updated Crest

I had a look at Viking banners as well, how they looked, and I found things like this…

I wanted the banner to almost look a bit like a sail as well, so we went for the long banner design rather than the corner banner design as it allows us to hang them more casually from several pillars/rungs at once.


I made a basic model the same shape as this, UV’d it and then fired the logo on with a extension on the edges to cover the sides. The UV was stacked to allow the banner to be on exactly the same place on both sides.

Below is the map I made on Photoshop using the UV.


Long Banner UV –



Cameras… Lights… Render!

Although most of us don’t consider these alongside the major aspects of the project such as the concepts, modelling and the animation. These are vital points to consider in the scene set up, and they drain so much time. However, they can make or break the final output.

We initially started of by cleaning up the materials in the Hypershader, to make sure that we didn’t have a load of the same shader after the import and we tried to adjust to suit similar materials.

We wanted our blues to glow through our Norse symbols along the pillars/walls/floor/throne and pop out, we made this initially through adjusting the incandescence and glow in the material attributes. However, that caused our render times to increase dramatically. Therefore, we ended up going with Surface Shaders instead.


We set up a few basic blue lights and the render time wasn’t too bad… However, some aspects of the scene aren’t as clear as we would have wanted and there isn’t many clear focal points for the eye to be drawn to. (The room is very blue in our scene below.)

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(Above – These were renders of our old lights as well as the old ship layout…)

We wanted to make use of a foggy type environment within our scene and it took ages to get it to work and then to get it to work on multiple computers. (We spent many hours trying to fix it, Dermott somehow managed to sort out the fog and lights) We ended up using Volumetric Scattering and Dermott set up a range of lights to make our scene easier to see.

Since we decided not to move our scene into Unreal Engine we had to make our own flame in Maya as Ryans Unreal Engine flame obviously didn’t work. For that reason, we had to make a new flame, it was at this point that I remembered about the Data Stream idea. I made the flame with Dermott and I used Rocket League for inspiration while making it.

Rocket League – Data Stream – Image Sourced from RocketLeague.Wikia.Com


Data Stream Flame – Low Flame/Beam