Category Archives: Art

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JB Manatee 2014

I have started working on a new sculpt and rig for my animated manatee.

Here is an early turntable render.


Mantis 2014

I finally got back around to working on the mantis again. This time with a more specific use in mind which helped to keep things moving along.

I switched from zbrush to mudbox and so I lost some of the more detailed sculpting I had done on it.

Here are a bunch of pictures of various points through out the process.

Here is an early paint test to see if the UV layout would work.


Here is the painting pose in mudbox. This pose made it easier to get at all of her body to paint.


Mudbox is pretty is a great tool, besides sculpting it lets you paint on the model as well. Here is an example of using a stencil to paint on the model.


Here are some early test renders of the initial paint job. The lighting is pretty simple but gives it a good look.

mantisMantis1 Mantis2

The following pictures are from inside of maya.


This one is the very start of the animation when she is still off camera getting ready to jump in.maya_1 maya_2

Here is the mantis’s skeleton. Her rear legs use Inverse Kinematics and her antenna are rigged as soft bodies to respond to the animation automatically. So they wiggle and wobble naturally as she moves about.


This shows the wireframe of the mesh. She is pretty low resolution. I do add some subdivision surfaces before rendering but right now there are no displacement maps. Eventually I would like to sculpt her more adding a lot more detail to the mesh.


I rendered her out to several layers and I was able to render her new antenna out in a later pass and then composite them back in. This saved a lot of time.  The mantis and logo took around 4 hours to render for 200 frames or about 8 seconds of video. The antenna rendered in about 20 min.

Here is the final render and composite with some basic color correction.


You can check out some earlier versions of the animations here as well.

First animation pass

Second animation pass

Third animation pass

And the final animation render after a new paint job


JB Manatee Poses

Here are some images from his current rigging. I have focused mainly on his head and arms at this point. So for now he can’t swim. He now has FK and IK hands with the ability to blend between them.


Showing some hand movements.

His neck and head have been moved to a more upward motion. The joints there stack so the neck will move first then the head as the necks limit is reached.

This would be more like a pose where he was coming up for air. His mouth is also closed.
A little happy pose, he has a slight head twist he picked up from my dog Leeloo when she is concentrating hard and trying to figure out what you are saying.

JB Manatee Version 2

Buddy the manatee has been put on hold for a while so I decided to go back and improve JB.
Most of the work is in his rigging as I have moved Buddy’s rig over to JB. I modified it slightly to take into account JB’s features and the main differences in his eye structures.

Here are some pictures of JB manatee version 2 with his new skeleton.


You can see here is eye is much more manatee like now. The rig is setup to eventually be able to close it in a similar way to a real manatee.

I fixed the topology issues in his tail that were there in version 1.

Here you can see his skeleton. The little manatee above him there is a reference object that contains some animatable parameters that control his functionality.