Fire and Ice

Well, the first two days at my new place of work – albeit for about a year – has already thrown up some interesting things.

Firstly, the first episode of this show that must remain nameless is probably going to be the hardest. I have met the animators – serious cred to these guys, they are animating in Flash and they’ve got to get up to 8 seconds a day! – and they are all really great people. And I have broken down the VFX that I have to create. There are around 183 shots in the first episode, and around 50 of these are going to be quite effects heavy; the most biggest stumbling blocks being the fact that everything begins frozen – except for the characters – and then after one thing or another there is a resolution that includes fireballs.

So, no pressure there then (gulps).

And, due to the imminent release of Maya 2010 – come on Autodesk – I have been denied a computer. Great joy. It will now be on order since, as of today at Siggraph, people now know the approximate required spec for this Matchmoving, Toxic wasteland of Autodesk’s bundled creation. So, I will be After Effecting and Dynamic making in no time. I hope so, the schedules not getting any longer.


Seven years and six months ago‚Ķ

…I started working for 422 Manchester. It was quite a time of change for me; my wife was pregnant, our house back in London was sold one minute then not sold the next. We had already bought the house in Derbyshire and our finances were all over the place. Everything was in a state of flux.

422 was a wonderful rock that helped to stabilise us. And the last seven and a half years have been amazing. But time waits for no man, and I’m not getting any younger – despite the painting of me in my loft looking older by the day – and for one reason or another today is my last day at 422 Manchester.

It has been great. The years have flown by in what feels like a couple of weeks. I will always have fond memories of this place – I am sitting at my desk here as I write this – but I decided to change my path. A little for now, but perhaps a lot more in the not too distant future.

I am going to be working on a bit of a hush hush children’s project for the BBC over the next year. I’m not entirely sure what I can say, but I will be keeping this blog a little more regular.

I’ll still be writing for 3DWorld. They’re not getting rid of me that easily. ūüėČ

Anyway, I’ve got a few things to finish up, so I had better be getting on.

Speak to you soon


Been a while…

Sorry for the time I’ve not been posting.

Work has been quite a rollercoaster, the highs and lows of advertising taking its toll initially and now springing back to heights unseen for a while.

Anyway, I have put the 3DWorld tutorials for magazine 111 Р117 up on my website.  These are:

111 – How can I make an occlusion textureUV map in Maya?

112 – Is there a simple flocking procedure in Maya?

113 – How do I create is a material with the look of tarnished silver?

114 – Is there a way to stop Paint Effects flickering during camera moves?

115 – How do I create a tooth brushing action in Maya?

116 – How do I simulate a magnet, like balls rolling to a common point?

117 – How do I grow Maya’s Hair system?

I hope they are of some interest.  If there is anything that you would like to see on the website, or even have a question asked, please ask me.

Thanks for reading

This is what I call character animation

Cameron Fielding.  Animator.  To say the images speak for themselves, is an understatement.  Well, press the play button and see.  If I could character animate half as well as this guy, I would be a very happy man indeed.

Character animation has never been a strong point for me.¬† Organic modelling is something I don’t get a lot of time to do professionally and on occasion I feel that I am losing my skills a bit in this department.

Saying that, when I see something as wonderful as this, I realise that I am happy to be able to see work of this quality even if I can’t achieve it myself.



Thankfully my wonderful lservice provider has helped in getting my site fixed.  It seemed that there was a permissions problem in the linux server for some unknown reason.

Anyway, it’s going back up as I type, so please take it easy on the downloads and PLEASE don’t hack the site and take everything in one go.

Whether this messed the permissions or not I would like to keep my bandwidth at it’s current cost. ¬†If people want unlimited downloads, then I shall have to put in a paypal button to pay for it and heaven forbid that happening.

Speak to you later!


Being Human


The main cast of BBCs new series Being human

The main cast of BBC's new series "Being human"


For quite some time, the United States have shown that when it comes to Fantasy and Science Fiction, they rule the roost. ¬†Let’s face it, the wonders of Lost, Fringe, Chuck, Eureka ¬†plus having a history that includes Star Trek, Buck Rogers, Outer Limits ¬†and thier contemporaries¬†shows that the US TV industry knows how to put its money where it’s mouth is.

This side of the pond, we have lived off a twee existence of science fiction programing born from the wobbling sets and man-in-a-suit monsters associated with Doctor Who and Blake’s 7 of old. ¬†Apart from the odd piece of accidental cash injections into the genre – such as the BBC’s adaptation of The Day of The Triffids – this has not been seen a serious genre for the British to throw money into. ¬†Then in 2005 the BBC brought back Doctor Who with a more proportional budget in relation to its demand and rewrote our concept of what the UK could accomplish. Remember, a lot of CGI in motion pictures is done in the UK now – especially with a weakened Sterling of late. ¬† Since then the UK has created Torchwood, Primeval, Demons, and so many others, the most recent being “Being Human”

Based on a pilot created in the mind of Toby Whithouse which aired in the Summer of 2008, Being Human is a show very much out its comfort zone.  Neither a straight comedy nor a horror drama, it tells us the tale of three supernatural beings Рa vampire, a werewolf and a ghost Рall living in a house together in the suburbs of a City, the two living characters spending their days working in low profile jobs at the local Hospital.  All three of them are only just coping on a daily basis with their individual situations and the problems it creates for them in the world of naturals around them.

The Vampire, Mitchell, and the werewolf, George, moved into the house in an attempt to forge something like a normal life only to find a tea making ghost, Annie, living there. Having chased out the previous tenants, Annie can only be seen by supernaturals such as werewolves and vampires and thus the three of them seem to forge something of a normal relationship.  If only.

In this six part series there is evidence from the first episode that something on a grand scale is afoot. ¬†Their are other vampires in the City and they seem to be awaiting for some imminent event that will tip the balance between them and normal people, putting Mithell – a vampire trying to stay on the wagon – at some kind of risk. ¬†George is finding it hard to come to terms with his “curse” and Annie doesn’t seem able to resolve issues she has over the actual cause of her death, something we can currently only guess at.

The thing about this series is that something tells me it shouldn’t work. ¬†It should end up being a farcical mish-mash. ¬†But it isn’t. ¬†In fact it is well written, heart-felt and poignant in every possible way. ¬†Mitchell’s everyday exterior occasionally slips to show a sinister maturity and the animal underneath, his suffering more akin to a drug addiction making it accessible to angst ridden teens and 30 year olds alike. ¬†George’s blustering, house proud character and his inability coping with his other self is sometimes hilarious and at other times heart-rending. ¬†Annie’s character is caring and almost childlike one moment and the next appears alone and sad even in a crowded room. ¬†The secondary characters driving the plot are solid and played with deft hands. ¬†The filming is well lit and atmospheric and the visual effects – which go from recolouring eyeballs black to a complete werewolf change sequence not dissimilar to the masterful work of Rick Baker on American Werewolf in London – are wonderful. ¬†it scores on so many levels, it deserves to go on for some time.

Two episodes in and I am completely in love with everything about it.  It has classic written all over it. If you are in the UK and can get to the bbc iplayer service, download it and watch it.  If you are in the US, you are so going to be in for a treat.

A white out and black out

Okay, yup, snow, yadda yadda yadda. ¬†It’s all over the UK. ¬†First time in years, whatever.

It’s cool, in more ways that one, especially as it means I’m getting out of the office and taking any work I can home. ¬†Rather be buried near Buxton than in the depths of Manchester

Also, hell’s teeth! ¬†The bandwidth on was been exceeded so I’m going to have to find a cheaper way of getting out the files. ¬†I think. I’m going to have to keep the archives and just leave up the PDFs seeing as they don’t take up much room in comparison. ¬†If you need the archives, I’ll sort out another way of getting them to people. ¬†As soon as I can upload again, I’ll put this info on the website.

As for now if you try to go to my site, well, you can’t. ¬†And I can’t afford over ¬£150 a year for unlimited bandwidth right now.

My Maya Tutorials are back online

Hello there, long time no blog.

Well, I am delighted to let you know that the tutorial section of my website is back up and running.  About time too.  There are 33 tutorials covering a wide range of topics from modelling objects, through animation, dynamics, rendering and some compositing. 

I have some more up and coming – one in particular about nCloth which will go up in a couple of months that shows exactly how to make it… well, you’ll have to wait. ¬† Wow, I’m such a tease.

Anyway go to follow the link to tutorials and check them out.

Monsters vs. Aliens.

Right, well, I saw a really early version of the trailer from Comic-con shot on a phone, and since then there has been some major tweaking of the trailer. It’s up at the Apple sight, and if, like me, you like your movies full of pop culture references, this little puppy is the one for you.

Plus it’s all CGI and it’s going to be shown in some cinema in 3D too. ¬†God, I love this sort of stuff. ¬†It’s what my eyes were created for.