Room scene Update ‘Lego brick method and tracing’

I am coming to an end of the creation of my room scene in Maya which I am really happy about but the overall, the entire process wasn’t easy…

I have had to take some time away from this project to further focus on other projects, therefore I don’t have to stress about everything at once, as soon as I came back to the room scene. I had time to take in what was around me in detail such as lighting, eccentricity, bump/normal textures reflections and clothing. In addition, I have taken more reference photos to make exactly sure what I am creating… like tracing.

I have learned a new skill which is seen as one of the most basic fundamentals throughout 3D modelling and that is how to insert an image plane to use as tracing paper for creating models, its like a guide but the only problem I had was how to create an entire model with just one image, I had to find two images and cross them over each other. Here is a visual presentation below.

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When the model was finished and textured, there was a sense of relief when the render came through, knowing that all of these skills I had learned produced such a spectacular model which is made to look so simple.

As I continue with creating models for the room scene, I have a big trouble of containing all of my images and organising them which tells me that I should be careful when transferring images as one or more may be lost and can not be found due to unplanned file structure.

I would like to finish by showing you, the reader the same method used but with a slight twist to the execution, I would like to call it ‘Lego piece’.

Now, when I create a door handle. I have to create a door for that handle, so I did but there was a challenge. The door in the living room is a six-panel wooden door which I wanted to make from scratch to look like the exact replica. But how!?

Got it!… Lego pieces


I know it sounds weird but if I explain it this way it could hopefully make sense…


On a Lego brick the concept is if one brick is made, it has to lock or slide into something identical or with the same imprint.

The picture of this door is the same as what is in my living room, I used the Lego brick method to create the iconic design of the 6-panel door.








This is how I achieved this;

  1. Created blocks the same dimensions as one panel & Extrude to the same style.


2. Duplicate and place to other panels and Place the block to the main door face like a Lego piece.

lego3. Activate booleans to imprint the design block onto the door panel.

This should be the end result…


This, alongside a small section is what I have done at home, the rest I will have finished by the end of the day and move on to lighting my scene and producing the final render.


Lighting in Maya


Depth Map Shadows & Ray trace

By default, an individual light in Maya will produce no shadow. But combining the depth map shadow casting lights and ray trace shadow casting lights and tweaking the attributes of both depth map and ray tracing shadows will simulate shadows which mimic those generated by real world light sources.


These Images by Alan Opler show the comparison of different mapping nodes which have been applied to the bunch of flowers. As you can see, the combination of depth map and ray trace go hand in hand with each other to make the render image in the bottom left corner. Both maps show that the shadow can be visible alongside the reflections on the vase from the entirety of the scene.

Maya software renderer

Maya is a multi threaded piece of software which have many different renderers such as;’

  • Vector
  • Software
  • Hardware
  • Hardware 2.0
  • Arnold (Maya 2017)

For example, with Maya software renderer. You can produce high-quality images with complex shading networks, including procedural textures.

Mental Ray Renderer

Mental ray is a top production rendering application developed by mental images it uses Ray tracing to generate images

Ray tracing is a technique for generating an image by tracing the path of light through pixels in an image plane and simulating the effects of its encounters with virtual objects.dof_bloom_mental_ray

Arnold Renderer

Like Mental Ray, Arnold is an Unbiased rendering application which often uses one level of diffuse inter-reflection so that light can bounce off of a wall or other object and indirectly illuminate a subject.

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The 12 principles of animation ‘Illusion of life’

I have just watched a clip of the 12 principles of animation from Disney. I have also taken into account the vast range of different ways which an animation or a real life object can be altered to either look more fluent or fun in a way.

Click the link to watch the full video: The illusion of life

Extract from Illusion of life ‘Secondary action’

Squash and Stretch

This principle delivers weight and volume to an object as it moves throughout a scene.


Gives the illusion of preparation through movement prior to the objects main movement


The presentation of an idea so it is therefore clearer to the audience what is being shown.

Pose to Pose and Straight

The idea of animating through two different methods which give out a smoother animation.

Pose to Pose

Charted with Key drawings so you can therefore plan out what will happen through the timeline of your animation.


Working the animation from frame to frame/drawing to drawing to complete the overall animation.

Follow through and overlap

When the main character moves from one space to another and suddenly stops, the rest of the body continues to follow through. Therefore nothing stops all at once.

Slow in and slow out

When the action starts, less drawings make the animation go faster. On the other hand, more drawings make the object move slower.


All actions tied to an object give out a round or arc movement, it gives out the perception of natural action and better flow to an animation.

Secondary Action

It’s an additional action which therefore creates additional supplementary actions to give the main action more dimension and interest within the scene.


More drawings make between poses make the animation slower yet keep the animation smoother yet less drawings present the animation with faster movement but with a more static movement.


Keep the common views of reality yet come across that view in a wild and wacky view.

Solid Drawings

The practice of drawing out three-dimensional objects taking into consideration their weight and volume.


It is the charm and the personality/charisma of the character action which is aesthetically pleasing to the audiences eye.

All of these principles should be able to alter and improve the way we animate anything from 2-dimensional drawings to 3-dimensional models and drawings. There is a book which can help any aspiring animator hoping to make a mark on their work. This book is called  ‘The Animator’s Survival Kit’ by Richard Williams. It can be bought online and contains everything which you would need to know about any form of animation within the creative industries.


VFX Logo creation, ‘Baby steps’.

Finally getting my back into some animation and something to use within my projects.

Logos… Doing logos are our introduction to the VFX side of the course, at first I thought ‘How to I make this look good’ obviously with a standard amount of peculiarities. By this I mean, something good yet different or outside the box if you like metaphors. Anyway, we all started with a basic set of primitive shapes and set out to do something with these such as make them do something to make the entire clip seem worth watching.

Ok this is the magic, I create a compression with Adobe after effects and create it with the aspect ratios all in place with the resolution the same as that of a standard HD screen. Here are the basic aspect ratios and all that jazz…

Resolution + Ratio Scale Graph


Now I am fully aware that there are bigger sizes but in this case we are told to use the standard 1920 x 1080 HD resolution which gives the screen a 16:9 aspect ratio.

1920 x 1080 (Pixel measurement)     (16:9 = 16 Inches wide x 9 Inches tall)

Now that we had our compression set, we then had to place the shapes in and started to create our logos with animation.

I started animating the logo and as soon as I finished, I wanted to gain feedback so I know what I could do to improve. As soon as I looked at my logo, the perspective of the camera had changed so therefore my logo was seen in  a custom view. This looked like the type of perspective which was seen in Nintendo’s GameCube splash screen intro.

In all fairness this could be seen as a good mistake and I wish I could take that on board for inspiration.

Game Cube Intro
My custom VFX intro

Christmas Game

As the festive season is creeping up on us, we now have to conjure an idea for a Christmas game for the college to play on their website and their Next Gen twitter page. I’m in a group with eight people and each person is assigned to a specific role which they have either volunteered for or have been placed in for skill based choice.

After organising this little group, we all made sure that we all had something to do. Also we all had to make sure that we had a protagonist, enemy, weapons and a background for the game to take its shape. After we got that sorted, we got developing. I got asked by the programmers, what they should do as they would be waiting for art pieces to get back to them. I replied ‘Make simple shapes, code them and make sure that the mechanics work without fault’. I thought that this was a good idea as programming can become delayed so this method would not interfere with any external development.

By the time this blog has been written, I hope to have finished our groups Christmas game in its entirety. Furthermore, I can hopefully write another blog based upon the completion of the game and its later development.


Review: HTC VIVE

Breathtaking, unbelievable… awesome.

A few of the many words which describes HTC’s recent step towards the VR (Virtual Reality) future alongside other tech giants. I have tried both PlayStation VR and the HTC vive and could place them both in comparison but this review is mainly towards the Vive itself.

Firstly as I placed the headset on my head, I found that the 2160 x 1200 pixel resolution had amazed me also considering I didn’t need to re adjust to sharpen the graphics. And that is impressive to a person like myself who wears glasses, because it feels like I am not limited to what I can see and what I can do with the Vive. This is amazing compared to other who need re-adjustments to make the display clear to their eyes.

Moving on to the performance.

The the HTC Vive has a state of the art tracking system thanks to the two ‘Lighthouse Base stations’ which shoot out IR lasers to pick up your every movement. As I was playing an archery game with ‘VR Labs’ the tracking was so good that I felt free to move without any hesitation to move about my surroundings. There was a moment when I saw the actual labs, my eye caught one of the robotic dogs where at this point I couldn’t resist but kneel down as experience this encounter up close. This is what I love for the future of gaming.

Unity: Variables and Physics

From the point of writing this blog I would have just finished coding a game for a Unity 2D game where we had to learn the basic data types which are;

  • Integer data type
  • Floating Point
  • Boolean
  • String

These data types are used to control the tools you use and the specifications of the physics engine or the ship alike. I had also learned that ‘if the variables aren’t public, they are out of order’. And all we had to do was to add the word ‘Public’ at the beginning to make that set of data accessible to whomever has access to the code and who ever is playing the game can experience the effect.

Doesn’t make sense? lets put it this way.

If I wanted to tinker with the gravity feature in the rigid body component, I would therefore have to change the rigid body to a ‘Public ‘ rigid body. Sounds simple going form a programming perspective, we then moved on to adding engine thrust and ship rotation. Tis is all we had done up till the end of the lesson, so as I am writing tis blog alongside many others. I am also reading through my code and revising the different types of data I can use in other projects such as my walking simulator and future projects on other software.

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