As well as posts about current projects and my own development. There some about helpful techniques I have found on the way as well as useful plug-ins or software.

To see finished projects head over to my YouTube Channel

You can also follow me on TWITTER or connect with LINKED-IN

Saturday, 26 September 2015


Been really busy these past few weeks, with my day job but did find the time to finish this little project.

I approached it with the goal of rigging a nice wing system. As with allot of my projects I wanted to keep it cartoony and the end results are pretty cool. The model I wanted to keep really simple and keep the so I didn't spend too long on the texture because I knew the focus of the project was rigging a bird.



The rig itself has some cool features like auto fanning on the feathers, a nice twist for each feather. Also I have set up an auto fold for the entire wings. A big challenge was adjusting the eye rig so that it could look forward straight but still keeping in the realms of reality where the eyes are on the side of the head. After fitting a stretchy neck and spine I decided to add an extra blend shape that help maintain volume when the neck is compressed. 


As with the previous project, I'm just trying to focus on some things I haven't done before and expand my skill set.

 Its been a tricky few weeks, was planning on going back to University to do the MA course, got accepted onto the course but after looking at my finances and the very little financial support offered it just isn't possible at this time. Been moved onto the 2016 course but in the mean time focusing my search on getting a job in a studio.



Stay tuned to see more projects. 

Sunday, 23 August 2015

Cartoon Shark


Lately I’ve been kept busy with my day job so blog posts have slowed down, However on my days off I have been working on my newest character. A Cartoon Shark, the idea was to create a shark the size of a goldfish. 

It has taken a few weeks to complete just because of the lack of free time I’ve had to work on him, but I’m happy to present the results now.  



Modelling began in Maya using traditional box modelling techniques before, UV’ing using Maya and RoadKill then higher detail sculpting was done in Mudbox. I wanted the textures to have a cartoony, almost clay style so I didn’t do too much micro detail.



After painting the basic diffuse I used the green channel of the normal map to add detail in Photoshop.
The most interesting part was creating a really stretchy rig, I used a stretchy spine system I have used on a previous project but this time I added it in for both the spine and the fins.



 I didn’t think I would need IK rig for the side fines as the character currently isn’t planned to need them for any animation. The stretchy spine system works great as a stretchy FK arms, as it add a nice fluid squash and stretch across the whole arm.

I’m looking forward to doing some more similar projects, but I partly think I should look at some more realistic characters and rigs. But I really love these cartoon rigs they are just a lot of fun to design and plan.


So stay tuned to see what comes up next.

Also if any animators want to try using him and give me feedback just contact me.

E-mail: bjohndavid21@googlemail.com  


Monday, 13 July 2015

Unreal 4 Practice and Graduation


Last Wednesday was my graduation day, a great day the weather was great and the day went off without a hitch.


Got plenty of photos but most importantly my amazing girl, Carina Symonds, was there to see me get the piece of paper that sums up the past five years of work. I finished with a ‘First Class Honours’ in Computer Animation.

Unlike some graduates I’m unable to take time out to travel the world but also restricted on the distance I can travel. So in the meantime I’m looking for Freelance work or local opportunities to get into the industry.

To keep myself financially stable I’m working in retail again, hopefully this will only be temporary. However just because university is over doesn’t mean I’m done learning. 

Like my previous post shows I have been working on learning the Unreal engine, mostly because game engines was missing from my final show reel. Below is another update video of the practice I have been doing with the engine. 


Since starting I have followed tutorials to create an endless runner, which has really inspired me to take this further and work on creating a project using a similar code but with a few extras and my own assets.


Also I have follow the Digital Tutors ‘Introduction to unreal’ course, this was also really cool using their assets made the process easier but it makes me want to carry on working into the previous ‘Apartment Project’ and make it into a slightly more interactive project. 


Feel free to check out my WEBSITE.

Thursday, 2 July 2015

Unreal Engine 4: Apartment Test



I have recently been practicing setting up a level in Unreal 4, to do this I decided to create a replica of my own apartment. Total work time was around 2 1/2 working days. 



I started modelling in Maya, measuring up every object to make sure it’s the accurate size. I used a unit size of Meters to help make the modelling easier, but before export out using Maya 2016 “Export to Unreal” feature I changed the Units to centimetres. This ensures it is the correct size when imported into the engine.

I found that UV’ing the objects is important as the UV’s are also used not just for texturing, but also for the light maps. So making sure UV’s overlap is an important aspect when preparing models for the game engine.

Once the objects where in the engine, I started setting up the collisions for each objects and creating some materials, Including simple gloss and matte materials, metal, wood and fabric.

 Using really basic seamless textures for the objects to avoided spending too much time creating individual textures for the objects as I mostly just wanted to focus on getting on level set up and working with Unreal.

Their where some post-Volumetric effects used including adjustments to Ambient occlusion, auto exposure and colour grading using the LUT Texture. As well as this I got a system that allows the lights to be turned on and off. 

I really enjoyed this and want to explore creating more complex levels and scenes in the future. Just need to get an idea and plan now.


Stay tuned for more updates. 

Friday, 12 June 2015

Modelling and Rigging for Game Engines Results

A little late with the blog post about the short project I came up with, however I did get it finished in five working Days. Below is a showreel of the final results. 


The animation is a bit ropey in places and the turning in the Unity engine is too sharp. However I was pleased with the final results and happy that I could get it into and working in a game engine. 
This type of short solo project was good fun after university, and is something I really want to continue as it can help to improve and test my skills. Eventually it would be great fun to get more in people involved, such as animators or modellers and try to develop a finished product.

Stay tuned for future projects.  

Friday, 5 June 2015

Modelling and Rigging for Game Engines Continued

Now that I have finished all my university work I wanted to look into an area of CG I haven't explored much. I briefly experimented with importing characters from Maya into game engines, however these where either characters supplied with tutorials or meshes from FUSE.

This time however I wanted to design and create a character of my own, with the end goal of getting it working in a game engine.

Also I wanted this to be a test of how I work when under a strict deadline. I have given myself less then a week to get the character moving around in the engine.

I kept the character very simple and even removed the idea of having a face at this time in place of just the space helmet. I wanted to keep a cartoony style as I really enjoy the freedom you get with it.


I started modelling in Maya then moved into Mudbox to sculpt some details. I exported out a Normal Map, the original mesh was very low poly less then 2k however the normal maps different work very well on it so instead I returned the next sub div level model back to Maya with Normal maps which worked allot better.


The Final poly count is 9400, as I don't have a huge understanding of game engines and most people seem divided on exactly how many a character should have I don't think this is too bad.


I know the textures need work to fine tune however, that is an area I need to work on overall and this kind of quick turn around project has helped to highlight that. 


Today I finished the rig, nothing extraordinary, instead of going overboard I kept it simple. Did explore new ways of rigging a foot roll system, using locator's instead of more joints. 


Below is a quick rig demo to show how basic but effective the rig is.


With only a few days left its time to get my Animators Cap back on and throw out a walk cycle and jump animation to start. Then figure out how to get it into Unity and wrap it all up but getting it controllable in Unity. 


Stay turn for more update coming.



Saturday, 30 May 2015

2015 Showreel



Above is my end of year showreel, made up for bits from all the projects I worked on this year. It was also nominated for an award at university, however I didn’t win but was surprised at just being nominated.

It’s been a long but fun three years, and have meet some great people during that time. Now it’s time for the next time, at this moment I don’t know what that is but all I can do is keep contacting studios looking for opportunities. But most importantly whatever happens if I get in industry or not I have to keep improving my skills.


I have just updated my WEBSITE and it now features all my final major project work. So head over to the “Finished Projects” page to see the full videos and more focused showreels for each project.