Saturday, April 30, 2011

Gordon Freeworm Final

Here's my final Gordon Freeworm image (click for larger):

I had a great time with this project and I'm quite happy with how it turned out. I did learn quite a lot, especially in the area of texturing (not my strongest point at this stage). I'm planning to render out a turntable, so I should have that uploaded to vimeo in the near future. If you're not familiar with Gordon Freeman or the Worms series, here's a couple image searches to help you out: Gordon freeman images and Worms.

Thanks as always for reading, and don't forget to vote on the poll if you haven't yet.


Thursday, April 28, 2011

Gordon texturing

Hey, really quick one here. It's late-ish and I'm tired.

Gotta get this done by Saturday night. Wish me luck.


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

HEV suit... jetpack not included

Title = lame attempt at bridging worms and hl.... anyway.
Here's an update on the suit and I put some color in so you can actually see where the parts are at the moment.

Don't forget to vote on the poll... :)


Monday, April 18, 2011

New Poll and Subscription option

Just out of curiosity, I decided to add a poll to see what sorts of people read my blog these days... don't worry, I'm not going to ask for your names and numbers. It might help me tailor my posts to whomever reads most. I also added a "subscribe by email" so you can get a nice notification of posts, if you're not already getting an RSS feed or whatever else. Because you know we all need a constant feed of new and "exciting" digital information. I won't see your email addresses if you put 'em in (I don't think). And... that's all. Go Canucks!


Spring Planting with Farmer Joe

If you don't like reading, here's the link to the video (, but it's more gratifying to read right to the bottom and click the link down there!

My friend Daryl came over on Saturday, and as usual we got creative. After a short brainstorming session, we settled on a claymation short about a gardener planting some seeds. We quickly bashed out a storyboard and broke down the scenes into simple actions. Since we were working at 8 fps, each second of video would require 8 different pictures (oh the maths!). So, we acted out the scenes and estimated how many shots each action should require. With that finished...

... we got started on the modelling. We had decided to use real dirt and plant material for the environment, and we needed to use the clay for props and characters. With seven colors available, it was fun mixing to get what we wanted. (Quick, how do you make purple? Yes, red and purple. I mean blue.... and how about skin color? Correct again, red and yellow and white).

We needed some structure inside Farmer Joe to get him to articulate and maintain posture, so we used a skeleton of wire, which turned out to be far to flexible and weak, not to mention its aggravating tendency to disassociate itself from any contact with clay. It turned out to be a battle, and Farmer Joe was bolstered up in the garden with various toothpicks, paper clips, and the occasional "hold him in place and photoshop afterwards". As you can maybe see, we started by drawing out each of the characters and props to scale on the cardboard before modelling. As you can maybe also see, despite this careful planning, everything turned out 1.5x bigger, so that's alright.

We were a bit behind schedule by the time we got everything modelled, but we set up the camera on a Joby Gorillapod (product placement: Joby, please give me money) and got everything into position. I decided to shoot at a relatively wide aperature (f/4.5) so we didn't get too much in focus, seeing as the background needed to be somewhat amorphous and "passing as a real outdoorsy place"

Claymation always has its frustrations, and this was no different. Farmer Joe generally refused to sit upright and as the shoot progressed, his face got dirtier and dirtier, not to mention more hole-y around the crotch and legs (courtesy the aformentioned toothpicks et al.). But ultimately we got almost all the shots we needed (if you're very astute you can work out from the storyboard how the short was supposed to end) before the sun and Daryl both departed.

Then it was up to me to assemble everything together. I collected all the jpegs, ditched the unnecessaries (the bloopers, if you will), used some clone tool in photoshop to remove a few wires, and imported them as an image sequence into After Effects. I made compositions for each of the three shots, cut together the pieces, and exported in eye-popping 3D. I mean HD. One of those.

And for those that made it this far, here is the link to the final product:

Hope you enjoy it. Also, get out there in the real world to do some gardening!


Friday, April 15, 2011

Gordon's hand rig

Just a very small update. I smoothed out the hand and added a simple skeleton so I can pose it more easily.

I don't know if it's interesting to see screenshots instead of just WIP renders, but you have no say in the matter so there. Actually you do, if you comment...

Anywhoo... I finished "Five Children and It" and the second James Herriot book, so I started "At the Back of the North Wind" and with a great deal of pressure "Jane Eyre"... we'll see how it goes, reading is limited to commuting and maybe a chapter before bed, but I enjoy it.


Wednesday, April 13, 2011

What's everyone else doing?

Thought you might be interested in checking out the threads of other people's projects, so here they are: (I'm stwert).

I don't really have anything new to post, but I started doing some texturing a couple days ago. I think I'm going to redo quite a bit of it, (already changed some stuff) but in the absence of real updates, here goes. I'm going to ditch the blood, so don't get too worried about it...

I'm done sorting through the photos I took in Africa, and I'm going to have a slideshow this week, so that's taking up some time (just compiling with other people's photos and getting the photos in the right order and trying to trim it down, cause it's far too many at the moment). Some days there's just not enough time. I so can't wait until I can do CG full time, and then I'll come home and just play with photos or read a book without thinking about Maya... not that I dislike Maya at the moment, it's just that I feel like I have too many "hobbies" right now and not enough creative time.

But since you're such good readers, here's a couple pictures that you don't have to read. Ten Stwert bucks to anyone that can figure out what the first picture is. (It's not smoke).


Friday, April 8, 2011

Zero point energy field manipulator

Started working on the gravity gun because I figured it would be more fun than trying to work out the HEV suit. I was right. Still lots of work to go, cause I want to stylize it more and get the pieces fitting together better, but it's a start:

And then the view that you usually see...

And a quick pose with the good doctor himself:

And finally a little advertisement... if you like my blog, feel free to post stuff on fakebook, I mean facebook, cause I'm not registered, or twitter, or whatever new social networking is coming down the interweb tubes. I'm still stuck in the blog era, remember. And there's always the subscribe feed in the sidebar over there. There, enough promotion for a few months.

Have yourself a good weekend!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Team Highway 17

I see what I did there... haha.

This project is turning out to be so much fun to do. Wheeee!


Tuesday, April 5, 2011


I don't think I mentioned that I bought a Kindle a couple weeks ago. I like it quite a lot, it's useful for reading on the bus, and also for reading docs and pdfs at work. The dictionary lookup feature is very handy too, which is starting to cause me to expectantly poke difficult words with my finger in real books. Anyway, I've been starting to read more again, both real books and ebooks, which are fun. I read "The Castle of Otranto", by some guy, which was so ridiculous that I'm sorely tempted to write up a synopsis on the blog. Also James Herriot, which I highly recommend (All Creatures Great and Small, All Things Bright and Beautiful), an autobiographical series of a Yorkshire farm veterinarian which is very humorous and light. Also started "Five Children and It" which I apparently missed out on during my childhood, so I'm catching up on it now.


Sunday, April 3, 2011

Follow Freeworm!

Some progress. Accessories are more fun than the worm at the moment :)


New Competition

Just started a new challenge. A new take (low poly) on a game character. After pondering for a while on the fact that I don't play that many video games, I realized that the two that I have played with some regularity are the Half-life series and the Worms series by Team17... so that led to a natural mash-up.

Here's my start:

I've got a pretty clear direction for this one (in fact it's not too hard to see where this is going) so I'm hoping to move pretty quickly.

Oh yeah, and of course he's called Gordon Freeworm.


Saturday, April 2, 2011

April Fools!

Some of you might have noticed a few of Google's excellent april fools tricks, not least of which was their nice 1911 youtube style. What I wasn't anticipating was how much it improved my crash control vid... give it a look-see:

Haha... happy april fools everyone!