Sunday, 19 December 2010

Biker Mice From Mars!

For our second Specialist Project of the year we had to recreate an existing 2D character and bring it to life in the 3D world sooooo I decided to recreate Modo from Biker Mice From Mars!
I loved watching Biker Mice as a kid so this project gave me a great opportunity to model one of the characters.
I chose Modo out of the 3 Biker Mice because of his Mechanical Arm and Eye-Patch makes him less symmetrical than the others and therefore pushes my modelling skills

Here's the Final result:

Character Turnaround - (Modo) Biker Mice From Mars from Aled Matthews on Vimeo.

Here are the Maps I created for Modo and his Armour:

... and some Rendered Stills of his model:

Saturday, 23 October 2010


So 3rd year is here already! ... how time flies when you're working hard!
First project back and I had to build an environment using Maya
Never used Maya before so it was a bit of a challenge getting used to the interface etc. but it was a nice project to get used to the programme ... bit annoying at times, but still

I didn't want to go with the typical boring building and simple backdrop design for my environment so I decided to design a funky, Tim Burton inspired Tree House instead

Here's a couple of Pre-Viz's I made for the Tree House so you get an idea of the design and mood I was going for with my environment:

I like the rain and lightning Pre-Viz but I thought I'd go with the purple sky Pre-Viz instead because there's a better contrast so it makes the Tree stand out more

Here's a video showing Turnarounds of different passes etc. and a slightly dodgy Fly-Through of my environment:

Tree House Environment from Aled Matthews on Vimeo.

If anyone's interested what Maps I used for each part of my environment, here they are:





Mini Trees:



Thursday, 23 September 2010

Transform v.02

My second attempt at the transform, piecing together the character sequence!
This one worked a lot better ... this time I kept the Mesh Smooth modifier on the character then broke it up into pieces
It looks a lot smoother than v.01 but you can still see the shape of some of the pieces so it looks a bit off still, but it's getting closer to how I want it to look

I used bigger pieces this time around so it's not as fancy as v.01, so it's more of a quick test to see if this technique works:

Transform v.02 from Aled Matthews on Vimeo.

Friday, 17 September 2010

Transform v.01

Me and Joe O'Connor are gonna be making a film together this year which, so far, revolves around a VFX fight scene. The story and what-not isn't there yet but we've been throwing some ideas out there and one of mine was to have like an Iron Man-esque sequence where the CG character builds around the Live Action character.

Here's a video from the Iron Man film (can't remember which one!) to help demonstrate what I mean:

This sequence is brain-frying-ly difficult to work out exactly how they do it, but from my 2 years in uni, I have some ideas of how it's done
I've been experimenting with my Elephant character from last year's project and trying to make him build together to form the full model
I basically broke the model up into many many pieces and animated them to look as if they are building together to form the Elephant ... before breaking it up I took off the Mesh Smooth modifier and then put it back on once the piece was broken, and I think, as a result, you can clearly see all the separate pieces! (which does not look nice!) ... once the pieces finished forming the Elephant I replaced the pieces with the fully formed, animatable model, so you can see a jump from pieces to smooth so it looks really weird!
It looks pretty cool so far and I really like the idea but the pieces are an eye sore at the moment and looks pretty cheap ... so this is a Work In Progress!
Still more work to do with getting the sequence right, but for now, here's what I've been working on:

Transform v.01 from Aled Matthews on Vimeo.

p.s. Fail of my Life! just realised at the end of the video you see the "pieces" Elephant in the corner of the screen! ... oh well, it is a WIP :)

Friday, 10 September 2010

DaniSaur Textured

Texture is finally done!!
Danie was away in Greece for a couple of weeks while I was working on the texturing so I had to wait for her to get back before finishing bits and bobs off, just to make sure it was what she wanted for the character.
Luckily she liked it and here's the final result!


UVW Unwrap:
Normal Map:


UVW Unwrap:
Normal Map:

TURNAROUND! (included some Ambient Occlusion in there as well to make him look a bit more solid)

DaniSaur Textured from Aled Matthews on Vimeo.

Sunday, 15 August 2010


Over the summer I wanted to do lots and lots of work ... but that hasn't happened because of things getting in the way etc. as it is summer after all :) BUT i have been working on my friend/house mate's character for her, DaniSaur!
She originally started the model off and I worked from what she gave me and following her design
It's going to be the "face" of her blog as you can see here :
... so a lot of pressure for it to look good haha!

Here are some snapshots of what Danie had given me to work off:

And here's a Turnaround video of the finished model:

DaniSaur Turnaround from Aled Matthews on Vimeo.


Sunday, 25 July 2010

Animation Showreel

There was a work placement offer not long back online.
They needed a CV and an Animation Showreel etc
I was moving house at the time and the deadline to hand everything in fell on the same day
So ... I made the showreel which is basically my "best" animations from 1st year and a few bits of animation from 2nd year
Unfortunately I got too distracted with moving house to hand in my stuff so I made the showreel and nothing came from it ... BUT, atleast now I have an Animation Showreel!

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Final Major Project Hand-In

Uni is OVER for another year!!
There was a lot of good times :D ... and some bad times! :/
But all in all it's been a good year :)

Here's a video of my final Hand-In!
It's very unfinished (an explanation is all in the description) but I'm proud of what I managed to achieve by myself with no prior VFX & Compositing experience!
This year has been all about the learning and I've been lucky enough to learn a lot, and I'm looking forward to learning lots more next year! :D

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Compositing Live Action & Green Screen

So now the fun part! Filming & Compositing!!!

I had to change my idea a bit for the Motion Design students to help me out ... which, in the end, never happened as they would not get back to me at all! ... but I won't get into that.

Instead of the Advert being made entirely of Live Action footage I added Green Screen elements so that the world would change to be CG to fit better with the Boy's imagination.

It's been very challenging to time the CG characters' animation to move with the Boy after keying out the Green Screen. The same with the camera. This was even more of a challenge as the camera movements had to match exactly with the live action footage taken in the Green Screen studio, otherwise the CG looked totally out of place and did not fit in or look good at all.

Here's an example of one of the shots, from Green Screen to Animation. This was probably the hardest shot to do, but I am very happy with how it turned out. All it needs now is a bit of masking tweaks, rendering and colour correction.

Green Screen Edit:

Green Screen Edit from Aled Matthews on Vimeo.

Keyed out with Animation and Camera movement:

Final Alley Test from Aled Matthews on Vimeo.

Compositing CG into the Live Action background plates was more of a frustrating experience than compositing from Green Screen. Any slight movement in the camera which hadn't tracked properly would mess up the CG characters' movement, resulting in it wobbling or sliding which didn't help with trying to convey the character being in the world with the Live Action Boy character. As I hadn't had experience using the software Boujou for tracking before, I couldn't manage to fix the problem from there, so instead I had to manually (and painfully) animate the sliding characters on almost every frame to have it stay in the right place. Luckily I think I managed to pull it off, at least as best I could. I still notice a little bit of sliding, but hopefully no one else will!

This shot isn't the one which had the sliding problem, but this is an example of the Boujou tracking work I've been working on.

Live Action Footage:

Boujou Live Action Plate from Aled Matthews on Vimeo.

I was playing around with lighting and HDRI, and here's a test Render of the Elephant character in with the Live Action plate. The metal texture isn't there on the wheels for this render, and the Ambient Occlusion and Floor Shadows hasn't been added so he doesn't look perfect in with the real world right now, so once it's added it should look a lot nicer; but this is just a sneak preview of how the final film will look:


Here's the final look for my Rocket character.
I guess it's the least impressive of the 3 characters, and definitely the least difficult one to make, but it is only a simple Rocket design after all, and I'm happy with the result. The reason for the many polys is for it to be able to bend and stretch without horrible deformation.

Mesh Turnaround:

Rocket Mesh Turnaround from Aled Matthews on Vimeo.

Textured Turnaround:

Rocket Textured Turnaround from Aled Matthews on Vimeo.

The textures are just made using textures in the Material Editor in 3Ds Max. I gave it a bit of gloss and voila! Very simple! I UV Unwrapped the head piece of the Rocket to give it the shape of the screen for around his eyes

UV Unwrap:


Elephant Textured

My Elephant character is a cuddly toy so the best way to show this is to add Hair & Fur.
After many attempts at making the hair I finally had one which looked cool.
As I hadn't used the Hair & Fur modifier before it was a bit of a challenge. I was given advice by others to up the hair count to make it look even. Turns out that wasn't what I wanted. I ended up with 5,000,000 hairs on my elephant which took an hour and a half to render 1 frame, and it didn't even look that nice!

Here's examples of the process of my first attempt at making hair ... as you can see they don't look very nice (the weird dark blue at the end of the trunk is due to lighting):

This is not what I was going for at all. The hair looks very short and harsh, not cuddly at all, so after talking to my friend Joe O'C, who had some experience with the Hair & Fur modifier, I managed to get something which looked 10 times better! Much more cuddly! :)

And here it is!:

Elephant Textured Turnaround from Aled Matthews on Vimeo.

I made a simple coloured texture for the Elephant's mesh so that the little gaps in the hair were not noticable, because without it there were different coloured bits scattered around the model which looked wrong and out of place.

UV Unwrap:


The tyres were a lot of fun to make. I didn't build in the grooves so I had to use Normal Maps instead which was a bit of a challenger to get to look right, but I'm happy with the results.

UV Unwrap:


Normal Map:


Ambient Occlusion: