Data & Visualisation, Face model, Head model

Head Model Reflection

This experience has really opened my mind on how things can be modelled using Maya. I’m used to creating man made objects so it was enlightening to try create something organic. I know software like Mudbox and Zbrush are out there but I was curious to try modelling a face only using Maya. Doing so I feel i have really begun to understand how Maya works and how important it is to use polygons. I plan to use my summer  to experiment with the other modelling software and see how it can improve my model quality now that I have a better understanding of Maya.

It sounds kind of crazy but I’m enjoying the puzzle of making a mesh using polygons. Before if I had a three pointed face, I would have lost my mind trying to fix it. Now I’m more confident looking at the problem and thinking of ways to fix it.

This task was challenging and in no way easy but now I feel confident that I have learn’t the grounds work for what it takes to make models for future animations.

Data & Visualisation, Face model, Head model

Head model

Before beginning my head model I asked the second years about good videos to watch for reference to help get started. One video that really helped me understand the stages of building a head was by James Taylor. He has a great tutorial video on how to scale your reference photos. This was crucial as once I import  into the scene, they are accurately scaleed to each other.

Link to tutorial used:

following the tutorial I think I ended up with a good result!

Here is my final rotation of my head model.

face rotation


Data & Visualisation, Narrative, Short Animation

Mother Bird Rig Ideas

So today I decided to try out different ways in how we could animate our mother bird. I found some nice tutorials on how to set up a face rig using controllers. Here I have a controller for the each eye and a main controller for the pair. This will allow us a lot of freedom for animating them.

I also made a controller for each of the eye lids and main one again. Having these eye lid controllers will prove useful for giving the bird expressions and allow for blinking. Again I did the same for the beak…

I’m confident with these face controllers we will be able to bring our mother bird to life and really sell her reactions to the eggs hatching

Once I had created the controllers I made a quick animation demostrating them in use.

So far I really like how the controllers are working so I added a rig from the base of the body to the head, this will allow us to give the bird head movement. Here is another quick test animating the rig with the face animations included.

The use of a simple rig will prove effective for what we are looking as our bird will be sitting down. Her main movements will be in the head so why make life more complicated…

Once I was happy with the controllers and the rig I decided to make a short animation of the mother bird sleeping. Our opening/first scene shows the mother bird snoring so doing this animation will give me a good idea of what our work load shall be for animating.

I can safely say that I am happy with the results for the rig. Of course our bird model still needs work but this has now put my mind to rest knowing that we will be able to animate it.

Data & Visualisation

Timing to the beat! Continued…

After successfully timing my first animation to a custom track I thought I’d give it a go again but with more shapes and movement. For this attempt I want to have multiple rendered scenes showing different shapes moving to different elements of the music.

Here is the first rendered scene completed. I plan to have the main beat represented by the puslating triangles in the middle and as instruments are added to the track, more shapes shall appear.

Data & Visualisation, Narrative

Timing to the beat!

I love animation and the art of story telling but part of me has always been itching to learn how to produce a music video styled animation. I’ve always been fascinated about animation movements timed to the beat of sound. So I decided to dive into some sites that focus on the art of time animation to music.

Animator Island

On animator Island they talk about how to calculate your animation to a song. They suggest multiple ways to do it but the method I found most useful was the calculation that meets the two arts in the middle.

Using the equation 60s  x 24frames = 1440 frames a minute

So with this if we divide 1440 by the BPM (beats per minute) 1440/120 = 12

So this means to have an animation moving to the time of the beat I would have to have the movement hit every 12 frames.

With this knowledge alone I feel confident I could make a simple animation timed to the beat!


Here is a quick example I made on maya, I had the orb pulsating and lighting up to the sound of my track. The tips I’ve learnt have been very useful and I can’t wait to experiment more with this.

Data & Visualisation

Short Film Break

Our team is at a good point in our project with concepts and ideas so I decided to take a break and dive into abstract 3d animations. Here are a few that I really liked.

Artificial Paradise, Inc. by Jean-Paul Frenay

Flux by Candas Sisman

Flux really caught my attention! I love the abstract shapes that and organic movement that they possess. The concept of the object’s movements and shapes being based on the frequency and base of the sound playing is fascinating to watch. This short film was defiantly an experience! Worth a watch!

Intel Fashion Show Intro by Danil Krivoruchko

I really liked the colours in this animation. The fluid movements of the objects morphing really peaked my interested, I would really like to learn more on how they animated them.

Rising by Hugo Allart / DoMove

Data & Visualisation, Short Animation

Sun rise Effect

The group thought it would be nice to have the intro scene open up with a sunrise. The sunrise symbolises the dawn of a new day and new life!

Thinking about how we could pull off this effect I decided to jump into maya. I had the idea of using a dim sky dome light with a blue tint to resemble the night, I then added a directional light that was parented to a locator which would rotate. This in result would rotate the directional life around the scene resembling how the sun lights up our planet at different times of the day.

Here is my first rough draft testing out my lighting.

I think this was a pretty successful attempt at creating the day/night cycle effect. Obviously this cycle was very quick but I will try it again on one of my scenes at a slower rate.

In this video I tried the lighting effect again but at a much slower rate to give the affect of a sun rise. I used it on one of my rough draft concept models for our environment.

I think using the dim blue sky dome combined with the rotating directional light works very effectively.