Today I’ve been playing around with Maya. The Alter ego project is about creating an environment for a character to live in, and i am tying the origins project in with this one.

I got some walls up and floors and ceilings, the staircase and some textures on the surfaces. I began by drawing a floor plan on the computer and imported it into Maya, i then used the plan to create the basement. I then made the staircase and I found some textures/images online for the surfaces so that i could get a feel for what it could look like when it is finished.

I put lights into the project to illuminate the space, but this really was my first baby steps in Maya. I am going to model some furniture and objects that will go in the basement, like the pizza-box that The Pizza Bread Man uses as a bed.

Various notes I’ve made:

I began by imagining that pizza guy would live inside a house that had the same features as a pizza box, with pizza related shapes and stuff involved as well. But I have further developed the characters back story and want the environment they live in to reflect that. So now that Pizza guy was brought to life by a super hero character, he lives in that super heroes basement with all the other objects that the super hero has accidentally brought to life.









I have tried to think about how the camera will travel through the environment when designing the layout of the space. I don’t want the camera to end up tracking back on itself and needing to turn around- although I would also like to play around with this once the space is more developed.

So here it is, not entirely in its finished state but getting very close to the end. The rooms are built and the walls and floors, etc are textured. I have created objects to go in the scene, furniture and the venting system for example. The environment still looks a little bit bare, but as i am pushed for time i will just do as much as i can while still ensuring that i can finish and hand it in on time.

Here are some screenshots of the environment while i was lighting it, i tried to take different shots so that i could show you how i was able to improve the lighting as i went through. [Warning! – they are not in the order that i took them in]


Little concerned about the lack of shadows on the table and chairs, I will potentially have t work on that…


Here i was trying to see if i would be able to keep the corridor with no lighting, making it more moody for the camera as it comes down the stairs.

finalminlaFirst look lighting

I really like how this looks but its too dark, the red glow effect under the lamp looks nice though 😛 This was a screenshot i took before putting all the furniture in.


Here i was looking at the spread and size of the spotlight, as i wanted to use volume lights and spotlights to make it really more realistic.

loop3pizza box on table

Another shot i took before proper lighting, here we can see the pizza-box bed (the artwork for which i didn’t do myself- but i thought it looked excellent and with time a factor and with it being unlikely to be seen in the final project, i wanted to just lout something there for now so it wasn’t bare).


Too bright..






aargh my eyes!!


Shiny shiny SHINY!!! floor 😀


My soul is darkness..


Vector screenshot for the hell of it.

screenshot testsuperbright

Entering the vents…


I have just put a little volume light inside the room that’s in the vents. I may put a little torchlight on the front of the camera when we go inside the vents, but i am not sure if it will be necessary – i like the moody light at the end of the tunnel idea, as ling as its not too dark anyway.


Making a sofa…

I modelled a door handle, i ended up having to re-texture it with a simpler blinn, as i managed to do something too complicated when following a tutorial. In the end i’m much happier with the way that its come out, and it fits with the rest of the project better.


I noticed that the door handles were not showing up in the render, so i had to figure out why!



Rendered in mentalray and realised why… 😛

everythign else is dead

Here is the final door handle in the basement with the final Blinn texture.


Skirting board in and finished, i am only going to have it on a couple of (feature?) walls to enhance the environment. This reflects the fact that the character lives in a basement that the superhero who created him has had to turn into a living space for all the things he has brought to life, and he hasn’t got loads of money or time to do it properly, so the result is a basement environment which is not perfectly finished.


I decided to add more of the skirting board to the basement, and also I’ve added a load of posters to give it a more lived in feel and reflect the sort of person (superhero who turns our pizza into living beings) who lives there. I’ve also ‘painted’ some of the walls a nice blue/grey colour, instead of having so much exposed brick, this is to give it a more lived in feel, and make it look more interesting.


I was playing around with the lighting.


I changed the pivot point so that i can animate the vents opening and closing behind our character as he passes through it.



Origins – Developmentationalism



Names for the character:

  • Mr. Pizza
  • P-Slice
  • The Pizza Bread Man
  • (the) Pizza guy
  • Steve
  • Pizzaman
  • Super Pizza
  • Pizza invincible
  • Pizza ass
  • Mr French
  • George the 1st
  • SuperPizzaHero
  • Pepper
  • Roni
  • Cheesey
  • Stuffed-crust (AKA: SC)
  • Bernard

I like the idea that the superhero just names the creatures whatever, so sometimes its very on the nose- Mr Pizza Slice, and other times its something the superhero likes, maybe a flavour of ice pop or even a celebrity or famous character from history- Alexander the great, Napoleon, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Rambo, Dumbo, etc..

This character is a bit of a lovable fool, and he likes to have fun and goof off with the other residents in the superhero’s basement, he’s a bit naive and doesn’t always think things through so he’s a bit rash and only after will realise his mistakes. So he should have a name or nickname which will reflect his nature somewhat. I really like P-slice, i think that it suits the character, who has a habit of using slang that he has made up to make himself seem cooler to the older residents. But he would also have a normal ‘given’ name which could be Mr. Pepper Roni! “Nobody calls me Pepper! The names P-Slice and this here half-a-banana guy is called “BP” and DON’T NOBODY FORGLIB IT!”

Names for the animations title:

  • P-Slice : And the toothpaste of destiny!
  • P-Slice : Return of the conundruminator!
  • P-Slice rides again!
  • The Pizza Bread Man
  • P-Slice : The Revengioning
  • P-Slice : Time to Live!
  • P-Slice the SuperPizzaHero
  • P-slice saves the day!
  • P-slices best day ever!
  • P-Slice eats a few hundred pieces of rice, And other stuff too!
  • The pizza and the banana and the kiwi fruit.
  • The Slices of Pizza that live in the basement
  • P-Slice : Super hero?
  • Attack of the brains!
  • Mostly action filled actions scenes!
  • The new testament
  • The second movie you’ve seen this week
  • Accidental hero

The main character of this animation is a little pizza slice who has been accidentally brought to life by a superhero. The superhero cannot have the newly-alive creatures running wild so he keeps them as contained in his house as he can, with the least intelligent or most troublesome creatures kept in the relative safety and confinement of the basement. The creatures generally enjoy life although one or two want more, including our main character, who fancies himself as a bit of a superhero sidekick, after all they were created by a superhero who genuinely saves the world on a daily basis.

But one day the superhero disappears. What will the creatures do? Who will take charge and save the day? Will anyone be able to help themselves let alone the superhero?! Will the TV subscription run out soon?!

P-Slice and his crew are ready and willing and the others cant think of a good reason to stop them, so screw it, go for it little pizza guy! Save the day or most probably we will never see you again, but go out and live and experience!

I quite like ‘Accidental hero’ in some way. Because it could mean the superhero who accidentally keeps bringing inanimate objects to life, or those creatures that are brought alive becoming accidental heroes. Our main character P-Slice has the best intentions but the only times he does anything truly heroic is by accident. So it works on hopefully more than one level, although perhaps its too on the nose.


Origins – Golden Age Animation – Hanna Barbera


Hanna Barbera were big producers of animation during the ‘golden age’ of American animation (roughly the 1920’s through to the 1960’s), with famous characters like Yogi bear, Top Cat, the Flintstones and the Jetsons to name just a few. The animated style is immediately recognisable as a Hanna-Barbera cartoon, they have their own identifiable look, from the character and set design choices through to the actual animation style itself.




Top Cat and the gang! This helpful sheet helps animators reference the heights of the characters compared to one another. Below that is a turnaround sheet, which shows the characters in different angles, which again is helpful as a reference for animators when they are animating the scenes for the show.

14367524540_e1e237a570_bc0e6e6e2384d8319cf2cec4b9ada35f3“Heavens to Murgatroyd even!”


“Exit stage left!”


This turnaround is useful because they have also made sure to put in ruler lines which help to keep everything at the right height and size when animating Johnny Bravo.



So The Flintstones was originally going to be the Gladstones?! huh, TIL.



Wacky races was one of my favourite Hanna-Barbera cartoons growing up , and that’s in no small part thanks to the amazing and interesting characters that take part in the races, each characters had their own custom race-car as well, which reflected their own personalities and helped to define and identify the characters. .






Origins – Character Design

Character design is the process of creating visual representation of character concepts or ideas defining visual style in a range of situations. It is also the process of exploring the back story and mind-set that combine to define the motivations and personality of a fictional character.

Task: Design a character in the style of a golden age illustrator/ cartoonist/ animator. Designing a character that thinks in order for an audience to emphasise with them is core to animation. Learning to design both the insides and the outsides of characters is an important skill.


  • Write the characters creation legend/ back-story, setting the scene for their future adventures. (800 words).
  • Draw a turnaround (front, 3/4, side, 3/4 back and back views).
  • Draw an expression sheet (at least 5 facial expressions and 2 story telling poses).




A world with animal hybrids, meaning that the cast of characters would be a concoction of different species mixed together. For example: A bull/duck/human hybrid who has anger problems, which stems from the bull side, loves bread like crazy like a duck, but also mostly has a human body. Most of the intelligent characters would have human in there somewhere, so the audience can emphasise and connect with the characters a bit more, and also because its our world set in the future, where all humans have mutated with other animals and a whole new unrecognisable set of creatures walks the earth!


So the deputy is the character, juggling a complication double (triple?!) life, a helpful and kind person who is brave and intelligent, even if nobody realises it.


I like cat guy actually, he just seems cool..


character ideas

If the characters live in a future world where different species have merged together, then they should also feature other mutations i think. I really like the three-eyed owl, maybe birds are the other intelligent species, so they are human sized but crossed between birds and another animal, eg: owl and pig/ pigeon and turtle/ penguin and horse?!deputy lizard

When devising The Simpsons, Matt Groening knew he had to offer the viewers something different. He reckoned that when viewers were flicking through TV channels and came across the show, the characters’ unusually bright yellow skin colour would grab their attention. [1]

When it comes to designing a character there are a lot of different things to think about, and a lot of questions you need to ask yourself and your character. Its not just about what they look like, its about who they are, the more you know about the character, the more it will inform the character design and the more real and well-rounded the character

2. The Pizza Bread Man.

This is the character that I am going to develop further and also I will be creating a 3D environment in Maya for the character as well (tying the alter ego project and the origins project together).

Writing exercises to help develop character background and personality:


The monologue

  • Objective: Learn a characters insights, thought and feelings,.
  • Exercise: Write a monologue that accurately portrays your character, what they are feeling, their hopes, fears, loves, hates.
  • Remember they are speaking to themselves.
  • Remember speech patterns and vocabulary.

“The pizza bread man: “One whole year! Boy a whole year of being alive! crazy… It seems like maybe more stuff should have happened in that amount of time.. OK best thing about this year.. hmm.. So many great things happened this year, that time I ate all those grapes! Biggest achievement is definitely watching the entire series of friends from start to finish.. Or maybe when I got the high score on Pacman the 2nd: Revenge of the Wakka Wakka! that one time for five minutes before Mr. Tape recorder guy got a hold of it and broke the game..” sigh.. “I do wish that I got to spend more time with dad but at least I’ve got my brothers and sisters when dads off saving the world, maybe one day he will take me with him! I cant really complain, really I have everything I could want right here in the basement. We got a TV and dad even got us a video game system, even though I keep losing track of time and staying up playing Boogerman 3 until 6 in the morning! Mr. Half a banana is such a bad influence on me! I’m so lucky to have a dad that lets me do whatever I want and stay up super late, especially because I’m only one years old! He even lets me watch films that are waaaaaay too adult for me, sometimes Mr. Wellyboot jokes about them warping my tiny little mind, whatever that means! What a year though. OH MY GOD I JUST REALISED! Theres a very good chance that I will get another year.. WAIT A MINUTE!  How long do we live for? MR WELLYBOOT!?!?! HOW LONG DO WE LIVE FOR!?!?! OH MAN oh man! Ohh man… I wonder if I get to live forever… This is crazy.. MR WELLYBOOT!!? THIS IS CRAZY!!! CAN I LIVE FOREVER!!?? AAARGH! EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!! Oh man I had better go and tell Mr. Half a banana about this, the implications could be… they could be… errr.. well they could be something pretty big.. a pretty big deal probably anyway. What if we only live for a year? MY TIMES UP!!! AAAAAAAAARGH!!!! EVERYONE!! AM I ABOUT TO DIE”

Mr Wellyboot: “What is that damnable pizza slice screaming about this time..?”


The speech

  • Objective: Use exposition to learn a characters past experiences
  • Exercise: write a speech in which the character describes, explains, tells or preaches about a specific event, experience or idea.
  • Examples: first love affair, reasons for killing a friend, practical value of atheism.
  • Hints; Use the characters speech patterns and vocabulary- their voice and what drives them

Mr Wellyboot: “Do you want to explain this to me?”

The Pizza bread man: “I was just trying to have a little fun.. It wasn’t supposed to end up going so badly. Ooh Actually I remember thinking about what would Mr Wellyboot say about this before I even did anything, and I remember you said that there was almost no chance that anything could go wrong, so I don’t really see why you’re so mad, its actually kind of your fault, not to mention you know what happens when I’m left all alone for five minutes..”

Mr Wellyboot: “I was in the other room! You could have literally asked me!”

The Pizza Bread Man: “Abababababa. I think we both know how this is going to go don’t we. So maybe what do you say we cut out the middle man and just go and make some hot chocolate and popcorn and lets watch a film! I know that we wont be able to use the TV, because… rizzle razzle.. But of course we can always use our imagination! Which in some ways is better don’t you think, TV was getting a bit predictable anyway, imagination TV means that all the cartoons can be in one show together! oh man actually think about it. This is big.. This is actually awesome!! I never thought about it before but, oh man mind blown, all the best characters could be in one show together! This is LIFE CHANGING! MR WELLYBOOT HAVE YOU EVER THOUGHT ABOUT HIS BEFORE??? OH CRAP! sorry mind my Spanish, but HOLY MOLY! OK YOU GET THE POPCORN I’M GUNNA SIT HERE AND COME UP WITH THE SHOW! I cant believe I’m only realising this now. I guess you’re not mad at me anymore right,  because I think I just literally made our lives like a million times better, in fact I think the best thing I’ve done all year is breaking that TV. Yup. I’m actually kind of a hero aren’t I..”

Mr Wellyboot: ‘sigh…’



  • Objective: Explore the things people surround themselves with that define character
  • Exercise: Describe your characters bedroom, and then describe it again after some time has passed.
  • Remember: the tricky part is to describe the room only. No people in the scene. Just use objects, furniture, clothes, etc. But don’t just list objects, write with a sense of discovery. The way in which you reveal the information is important. Affect understanding as well as emotions.
  • Hints: subtle, but clear, changes should occur to the room as time passes between scenes – to reflect

a) The walls are brick, and there are no windows, a solitary hanging light bulb swings from the ceiling illuminating the space. In the middle of the floor there is an open pizza box, inside of which is a little unmade bedspread. One or two empty crisps packets and candy wrappers are scattered around the room and it doesn’t look like it has been cleaned or tidied in months, the carpet hasn’t been vacuumed in ages and there are spider webs in the corners of the room, and the walls feature the odd funny-coloured splatter. There are a couple of posters stuck on the walls which add a bit of colour to the otherwise drab room. There are also a few interesting items around the room, and on the one shelf that is fitted a few inches from the ground. A magic eight ball, a toy car, a movie stub, a calculator, a fork, army men, a roll of tape, a stick of lipstick, a pet rock, some cd’s, a cookbook and a cuddly teddy bear to name a few. The room is an interesting mix of mismatched items and bits and bobs that have been collected together and displayed proudly for any visitors. 

b) The walls are brick and there are no windows, a solitary broken lightbulb hangs from the ceiling. In the middle of the floor there are a few fast food boxes, inside each one is little bedspread. There are empty food wrappers piling up in one corner and beginning to smell. The room doesn’t look like it has ever been tidied or cleaned properly! There are suspect stains everywhere from what looks like numerous food fights. There are a couple of posters, with noticeable wear and rips in them.  There are some interesting items displayed on a few shelves which are mounted close to the ground, and the room is an interesting mix of strange and ordinary items that are found around the house, they are not displayed with much care, and appear to be shoved together as the collection has grown. 


Character entrances and narrative

What does it say about the character. You can only make a first impression once, and its very important to show what kind of character they are. it is a chance to tell the audience something about the character.

  1. Theme is conveyed by the characters entrance.
  2. The entrance should invite the audience into the characters world.
  3. And introduce the characters flaw(s).
  4. Anticipation is vital for introductions.
  5. Choose the right scene to introduce your character.
  6. Characters entrances must be memorable.
  • Objective: make your character stand out in their own entrance scene.
  • Exercise: write a scene that introduces your character. Use descriptions, props, wardrobe and dialogue that give your character a unique voice.
  • Remember: Introduction scenes are often scenes of the ‘status quo’, the character living their everyday life before an inciting incident propels the character in to a new conflict.
  • Hints: Actions speak louder than words. If your character is in a group, have them do something specific and unique that makes them memorable and interesting.


Pizza bread man is in the basement with his brothers and sisters, they are playing a video game and pizza bread man is pretending to be a time explorer hero again with half a banana guy. So this is introducing him in a comical way, pretending to be a hero – even though he’s already a very silly character – this helps to show that immediately to the audience.

The disruption could be another object brought to life come crashing into the basement, with the news that the superhero (that brought them all to life) is in trouble and they need to do something! What will we do? Then our hero pizza slice steps up and suggests they go to save him – while the other character respond to this (like are you kidding? you?! save anything? you’ve never even been outside!! etc..) We will learn that he is not afraid and even if he was he wants to do the right thing – he also wants to be a hero like dad.


[1] [accessed feb 2016]

MRI – Final film

The brief asked for an animation which helped 6-8 year olds understand why sitting still for an MRI scan is a good thing to do and helping them to not be afraid of the process. The animation had to be fit for the audience, using the appropriate language and using imagery which would appeal to them.

I wanted to create something which at the heart of it was fun and would be more visually interesting for the audience. In the end i kept things simple, and didn’t take too many risks with this one. After effects is a useful tool but takes some getting used to, so i spent my time working out what went wrong and fixing things half the time. I would be much more ready to make an animation completely in after effects now, and would spend more time developing characters and ideas. My idea was nice and simple, a character who loves to dance, but of course he wont be able to dance while he has his scan!

I wanted the animation to be something that would be enjoyable and kind of silly, so that the children could enjoy something while being more informed about the MRI scan.

Improvements i could make:

  • Add a smile! The character is missing his mouth, which would help to make him look happy and friendly, which would be more appealing to younger viewers, and perhaps help to make them feel more relaxed with the character.
  • I would have used more close up shots with some expressions, like worried when the MRI scan is mentioned, but smiling again when the narrator mentions that it is a perfectly safe procedure which in the end will help the doctors a lot.
  • I would play around with the background a bit more, and perhaps also have some imagery pop up next to Sammy to help visualise things for the children.

In the end i am happy enough with the animation, as it helps children to understand that MRI scans are safe, and that they must be still when the scan is happening. I thought that this information was explained appropriately. I could have also included other information, like the MRI scan being loud, so children were aware of that, but there are a couple of reason i didn’t.

  • Not a long animation, didn’t want to have too much going on to distract and confuse the audience.
  • Hospitals will provide headphones or even DVDs for children so the loud scary noises are often not really loud scary noises for children, they are low rumblings at best. So really it would be something that they may not need to know even exists, and the nurses would tell them the relevant information anyway.

Also i left out the information about making sure not to take metal with you, this is because:

  • This information is more for the guardian of the child, they will make sure that the child doesn’t wear inappropriate clothes and things like that. The child shouldn’t and doesn’t have to worry about that.
  • When the child gets to the hospital the nurses will explain to them that they cannot have any metal on them and they will help them to make sure they do not have any. So really that information is completely unnecessary for this short animation.

Anyway i learnt a lot about After Effects and would like to revisit it in the future, although in my own time with a different idea so i can approach it differently and try a few things i didn’t get a chance to from the research i did.