Monday, 7 December 2009

Intro to Mudbox, Game character project

For this project we were asked to take an existing character from tv or book.etc and make them in to a computer game character. I chose 'Kal Jerico', a bounty hunter from the Necromunda/Warhammer universe. Initial research for this character was tough but I managed to gather some visuals and put together a model sheet to work from.

The final game model was made using 3d Max (for texturing), Maya (for modeling), Photoshop cs3, Mudbox (vital to the project brief), Zbrush (because I don't like mudbox stencils) and Xnormal.

I'm happy with the outcome but there are plenty of areas I feel I could work on, such as more texture detail on the clothing and alphas to go with the hair.

Critique more than welcome!

Sunday, 1 November 2009

Introduction to Maya - Environment

First project back in Uni was to create an environment in Maya. This is a programme most of us had never used before so it was a lot of work for the amount of time given. The project itself was very rewarding and some of the environments created were really awesome. The below is my result!

I was quite clearly influenced by the research methods of the recent 'Brutal Legend' game. I looked at a lot of metal album covers and my concepts went from 'Shrine' to 'Sacrificial Mosh Pit to the Gods of Rock!' Had a lot of fun with this one and managed to get some HD renders, so hope you like it!

There is a lot I'd do differently now I know more but in the end I think it was quite successful. Getting my head around hypershade was probably the hardest thing of this project but now I know how it works I can see how useful it can be. After using Maya for about 2 weeks I'd say I'd probably feel more comfortable modeling in 3dMax but I think I'd be inclined to texture in Maya.

Sunday, 27 September 2009

Using the Zbrush Tools

I've started working my way through some books I purchased, in particular 'Zbrush Character Creation, Advanced Digital Sculpting' by Scott Spencer. So far this book seems great! It comes with a DVD with video tutorials but I'm yet to watch any as the book itself has me glued to the pages.

I spent a few hours on the first tutorial which talks about the importance of Gesture, Form, Proportion and introduces you to the basic tools required to start sculpting. Although I'd had some prior experience experimenting with the different brushes and tools, the first tutorial introduced me to some features I hadn't yet come across. These were features like the lazy mouse and transpose tools. I also managed to use and successfully navigate Subtools for the first time. Surprisingly easy! For me the most fun part of this exercise was actually modeling an eye. There was a lot of satisfaction to gain after using the masking tool in conjunction with various brushes to get a set of realistic looking eyes in almost no time at all. Awesomeness! Bring on tutorial 2!

Saturday, 26 September 2009


My first attempt at Zspheres pre 3.5 Saw 'District 9' on Wednesday and loved the special effects so I thought I'd try making a prawn alien!

Semi successful and fun although I found the process interesting but a little awkward at times.

I think this will be something I'll come back to at a later date. All in all I learnt quite a lot so I'm looking forward to giving it another go!

Friday, 25 September 2009


Here's something I did during summer. My imagination went nuts with this one so its probably one of my more personal creations. I titled it Ctrl+N, its a bit surreal but I had great fun making it and it taught me a lot! I'll be sure to use the techniques I taught myself when making this piece during my coming year at Uni. Its always great fun to play with photoshop! I created it for's 'Newborn' contest. I'm starting to find online competitions a great way of improving my skills =)

Thursday, 10 September 2009


I decided to spend some time working on a competition entry for the Imagine FXs 50th issue. Here is what I've done so far. Quite a lot of work still to go...

Friday, 14 August 2009

Zbrush intro

I had a little look at using different brushes and alphas today. Quite interesting stuff, I can see how easy it would be to create very interesting textures with experience. I used the clay brush when initially modeling, instead of the standard and also played about with clay tubes. I also experimented with masking, embarrassingly it took me a while to figure out how to deselect the highlighted surface but in the end it helped with the nose.

Couldn't resist letting my imagination take over today, aliens on the brain! Over the next few days I think I'll try and learn how to add/create separate elements to the model, like teeth, eyes and maybe hair. I think I'll also try and experiment with different combinations of brushes, strokes and alphas.

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Day 2 in Zbrush

This is the 2nd sculpt I've made in Zbrush and I think I'm progressing quite well. Today I tried to use the pinch tool. Some quite cool brushes in Zbrush, hopefully I'll learn to use one a day or something. Starting to feel a little more comfortable with the controls now.

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Getting started in Zbrush

I've just started introducing myself to Zbrush 3 and my experience so far has been very positive! Its taken me a little while to get used to the scary interface but now I've had a proper look at the different brushes and vast options I feel little more confident. The customisable interface is very impressive and makes working feel very personal. The above image is my first attempt at sculpting anything and was pretty good fun! Thank god I've got my Wacom tablet working again!

Saturday, 1 August 2009

2nd year showreel

Daniel McCarthy - BA2 Computer Animation from ATRiuM CCI on Vimeo.

(Better quality video to be posted soon)

This is my submitted work for the end of my 2nd year in Uni. It got me nominated for 'best 2nd year' which was a great honor. Its amazing how much I've learnt this year and I'm really starting to feel comfortable in programmes like 3D max. I'm looking forward to starting my 3rd year as things I didn't really understand in my 2nd year are suddenly becoming clear to me now. I still find some of the technical aspects a bit mind boggling but I remember that same feeling starting up Photoshop almost 10 years ago. If I had more time on this project (it all went so fast!) I think I would have liked to experiment with normal maps and also do more hand drawn designs.

On a more personal note, I have a feeling that because I've been doing mostly digital work lately people doubt my capability with a pencil. One person in particular who mentioned this to me was my tutor and its been eating away at me since. I've always been confident using pencils but due to spending the majority of my time trying to figure out how to use certain computer programmes to enhance my 3D work, I guess I've been neglecting more traditional skills. When I get back to Uni I'll have to make sure I keep practicing and not forget how much fun traditional methods are!

At the end of this video you'll notice my work for the BBC 'talking dog' project. This was great fun and I'm so glad I was asked by my classmates to take part in it. I've always had a huge interest in Matte paintings and always wanted to give it a go. This assignment gave me the freedom to experiment with techniques I've always wanted to try. Despite the length of the establishing shots, getting a feeling of life and movement in these images was very self satisfying!
Much thanks to my friends in Motion design for teaching me how to use Adobe After Effects in such a short amount of time!

Friday, 31 July 2009

Forgot to include this in my last post but here's a quick illustration I created for my Valkyrie character. I wish I was given more time with this, it felt really rushed and uses a lot from my finished character turn arounds. Originally I wanted to create something from scratch so I could work on Corel Painter and try and learn some of the interface. Unfortuatly I couldn't afford to take the risk as I was running close to my deadline so I ended up back in Photoshop. Despite being unhappy with how this image was created Im pleased with the result.

More 2nd year work

This is a turn around for a character I produced for my major project. Shes a space Valkyrie! Had a lot of fun creating the designs for her. An unusual approach but I learnt so much! I bought a shape theory DVD from massive black which was a huge help and taught me lots. Andrew Jones has become a massive inspiration in my work. Good stuff =) I recommend it to anyone interested in concept art and illustration!

After going nuts on these designs I realised the whole point in designing this character was to make it in 3d. I cant say there wasn't a point where I wondered how on earth I'd go about this but I was having so much fun designing that I wouldn't let the doubting 3D artist in me take over. Eventualy I managed to think about what parts of the design worried me the most and came up with some solutions. I'll be posting the finished 3D version soon.

Below is the Valkyrie characters hover bike. Also had a lot of fun designing this. When I get into the swing of dispalying my artwork on this blog I'll probably end up posting all the crazy variations and weird contraptions that existed before it was finalised as a bike. I tried to keep some bold Norse influences into mind at all times when designing this.

Thursday, 30 July 2009

2nd year final project work

Here's some work I did for my major project in Uni. These are two illustrations I made for a friend and fellow student. She asked me to produce a design for two characters, an Orc and a Dragon for her fantasy inspired end of year film.

They were created using photoshop and I had great fun in the process. Whenever I try and practice digital painting for concept art and illustration I always find myself resorting to my usual photo-manipulation techniques. I don't know why this happens but I'm starting to realise that maybe instead of avoiding the techniques I already know maybe I should just adapt and experiment with them.

Although these Illustrations didn't take me too long to create I did manage to learn a few useful techniques and effects that I'll be sure to incorporate in to future works. If I had more time on these I'd probably like to clean up some of the edges and possibly work on rough backgrounds. The Dragon initially had wings too but I felt they didn't really do justice to the image as a whole so that's definitely something I'd like to come back to.