Robot arm progression

I have made some steady progress today with the robot arm, cleaning up and finishing the design and fixing some more issues i was having. While i was building my model the pivot points ended up moving, for various reasons; sometimes when i had extruded an object or joined two together, but either way i ended up getting everything back into order again so that it wasn’t a total and complete mess!


Smooth view of the arm
Like a lamp… (it could hop along like the Pixar lamp does…)


I ended up just getting rid of this piece, there was nothing wrong with it but it was a bit unnecessary really so i deleted it. 


Cleaner edges and generally looking better..
I have bravely tried to have a bit of an opening in the arms, just to see if it will screw up my model because i think it looks good, we shall see if i regret that!

So once i was happy with the completed model it was time to put the bone structure into the robot arm.


Different views are helpful.
It was tricky so i made sure to use the different perspective views to get it right. 
Finished bones!

I have been really enjoying learning how to model and rig everything in Maya, although i often spend more time fixing mistakes I’ve made, which is still learning, but frustrating! especially when i am following a tutorial or something and i still mange to make a  mistake – the upside of this is that i should be able to identify and solves more problems for myself in the future when working in Maya, but in the short term its just messing up my organisation and plans for this project, and time is slipping away..

I gave the arm a red colouring and made it shiny (blinn) 
I think it looks pretty good actually. 

La Tortue Rouge – The Red Turtle

The Red Turtle is an upcoming French-Japanese animated film directed by Michaël Dudok de Wit in his feature film debut. The film is a co-production between Wild Bunch and Studio Ghibli, and tells the story of a man who tries to escape from a deserted island and battles a giant turtle. The film has no dialogue.

The Dutch-British illustrator/animator director’s short film ‘Father and Daughter’ won the Academy Award back in 2000, so he’s not a total unknown entity or anything.


As a massive Studio Ghibli fan i am always really excited when there is something new on the horizon, and after watching this trailer i am really looking forward to seeing this one. Although the lack of dialogue can be off-putting to some, it can work really well and the animation itself looks attractive and it reminds me a little bit of Tin Tin.

The film looks a little bit like an animated castaway, and that was a great film, the story of man versus the elements, something huge he must overcome. The emotions that character will struggle with alone as he battles the elements and everything; it looks like a fantastic place to tell a story.


He builds a sweet raft…


Meets some amazing wildlife…


And the scenery is not too shabby either!

I haven’t been this excited about a studio Ghibli film in absolutely ages, and the fact that this is a collaboration just interest me more! – review

Jon Burgerman


Jon Burgerman is an artist who studied Fine Art here at Nottingham Trent University and has gone on to become a huge success story. He exhibits his work internationally and lives in New York now and he’s won many awards for his art.


I really like his style and although I’ve only recently discovered him as an artist, I’m pretty sure I’ve seen his work before. He has a really cool cartoon modern style and uses bold lines and colours with quirky and off characters. Some of his stuff looks like its surreal or impressionistic, and it seems he draws inspiration from a few different places.




Some of his exhibitions are fantastic and the art he produces can appear in many different and varied ways and he using many different mediums, allowing him to experiment a lot.



A tutor here at Nottingham Trent university was telling me how Jon made a website and he used to send stickers (with his illustrations and his website on them) to anyone who signed up for his email list. A few month into doing this he went to the Tate modern in London and he saw one of his stickers on a lamppost! He was using the public to advertise his website and his brand of illustrations and stuff by giving them stickers for free. Stickers are great, and actually designing a set of characters who would work well as stickers and promote yourself is probably great practice – also getting your name and info out there in an often colourful way is a win!

2Jon’s work can be found not only in exhibitions or the street, but also on many different products, from clothing to phone covers and rugs, he’s also worked with Pepsi and his designs were on the cans.






The official website.

This is a website that’s dedicated to drawings that Jon has made of women he’s seen.

Here is (one of?) his other tumbler accounts.


Loving Vincent

First look at the ‘Loving Vincent’ movie trailer – 2016

Van Gogh has always been interesting to me. His art style stood out and each piece is truly recognisable as a Van Gogh, at least to my eye, and his story is intriguing and dramatic and growing up learning about him he definitely stuck out. He was a man who never sold his own masterpieces, but did in fact sell many paintings working for art dealers during his life. Sadly he never really made a success of himself and seemingly went mad, going so far as to disfigure himself gruesomely. A tragic but brilliant man who produced some of the greatest art ever made. I really enjoyed the Dr Who episode where he featured as a character, I can’t help getting choked up when Bill Nighy is describing the genius of Vincent Van Gogh, with Vincent in the room just being overwhelmed by it all, im not sure how this is relevant really, but its emotional! Dr Who can be a bit hit and miss sometimes (forgive me Whovians) but some episodes are truly fantastic pieces of television.

Anyway this animation looks really promising and boasts itself as the first fully painted animated feature film.

Loving Vincent is an investigation delving into the life and controversial death of Vincent Van Gogh, one of the world’s most beloved painters, told by his paintings and by the characters that inhabit them. The intrigue unfolds through interviews with the characters closest to Vincent and through dramatic reconstructions of the events leading up to his death.

This description sounds like the film will be a bit of a thriller, the characters look fantastic so far, i love using characters from his paintings to tell the story.

Loving Vincent features over one hundred and twenty of Vincent Van Gogh’s greatest paintings. The plot, drawn from the 800 letters written by the painter himself, lead us to the significant people and events in the time leading up to his unexpected death.

The fact that it features his work and the story is taken from letter he penned himself has got me really excited to see what they have come up with. It looks like it could be the most amazing tribute to an artist that’s ever been made, it really looks like a labour of love.

Each of the film’s 62,450 frames is an oil painting on canvas, using the same technique as van Gogh, created by a team of 85 painters.

The painters/animators are professional oil painters who were retrained to be animators as well, which was funded partially through a kickstarter and also the Polish Film Institute. ‘Loving Vincent’ is directed by Polish painter and director Dorota Kobiela and Hugh Welchman (Oscar winner for producing “Peter and the Wolf” 2006). The film is produced by the Oscar-winning Studios Breakthru Films and also Trademark Films.

This next video is the ‘concept trailer 2012’ and offers a better insight into the finished project and the direction it looks to be headed in, and it looks really good!!

I’m not sure if there is a release date, or if its even finished (we have the trailer but who knows), but I’m really looking forward to seeing it when it does come out, and maybe it will inspire a new generation of artists and animators!



Robot Arm Progress

I began work on my robot arm today, and i have decided that i want to try and create a robot arm that looks different from the zombie arm, so i will be using a claw and not a hand. I begin by making a ball and socket part and then duplicating it so that they fit together and make up the forearm and bicep parts of the robot. But its a robot, so there will potentially be more joints than an ordinary human arm – giving it more movement.


I ended up giving it a claw which i made by extruding the faces of the model. I think that a three fingered claw should work well for what i want to do, and will give the robot its own character. The ball at the end of the robot arm is not very big, and its what the robot rolls around on all day long, i didn’t want to go too large with it but i think that it needs to be a little big bigger probably.  Also there should be a circle on the ball where the arm connects to it or something other than the indent that i have currently made.


When you view the claw in the smooth view it reminds me of fangs, specifically the Predators fangs when he takes off his mask. The arm could do with some more character, maybe a couple of battery packs on the sides or a missile here and there? Maybe some wires and a screen or something? I like the idea that this robot arm is like Walle, in that it was created to travel around and collect cool stuff (recycle and whatnot) and is a refuse organising and collections arm. So it would have a company name on the side maybe, and a unit number, as there would be many arms.


Here are all the parts lined up, the long arms can extend and retract, and the whole thing rolls around on a ball at its base. There are not four claws instead of three.



Zombie VERSUS Robot Project

Here are a couple of pages from my sketchbook where i was exploring some ideas and designs for the arms. The robot arm is the one that i am least sure of, and how i want it to look and function. I think that a robot arm that looks pretty well human would be great, but a claw design also looks good and then the characters of the arms are very different  – slowing the differences and contrast between them.

robot arm final

I think that the robot should be able to move, so it should have wheels or a ball that it rolls around on – either that or it should be fixed to a location and the zombie arm comes to him! A simple grabber would be fun to use, it would have been interesting to do an animation where the robot arm is from an arcade machine and the zombie arm is the prize! I still like the simple encounter and freak-out idea, but i always like to entertain different ideas all the way up to animating, and often even while i am still animating.

zombie arm final

I like the idea of the robot and zombie hand meeting and having a positive interaction, like the handshake that i have written about here. I think that a secret handshake with different cool moves could look great! I still need to decide for definite exactly what i want to do for my animation. The handshake could also be very simple, its only 1 minute long, but really i need to begin animating to see what is possible and what will look good.

robot arm more

Zombie arm progress in Maya

I painted my Zombie arm today. I wanted it to look very dirty and bloody and battered and bruised. After painting i was able to start creating the internal bone structure and begin rigging and setting attributes. I ended up spending more time painting than i should have, but it was really enjoyable, there’s something great about sculpting an object and then painting it and seeing the created thing – i cant wait to bring it to life when i animate it!




I added flesh colours and red blood, but i also used blue and green and yellow to make bruises and discolouring to the skin to make it more aged and rotting and hopefully realistic.


Frostbite and bruises (veins look great here..)



This is the paint job that i ended up going with, removing the black frostbitten fingers and i generally toned it down a little. I felt like the other one was just not quite right and although i liked it, i think this should look better and translate better when it comes to animating it.



Still got a pretty gnarly bloody stump!

Once the paint job was done and i was able to export the paint layers (and bump layer with the remodelling id done previously) into Maya. Then i could begin creating the bones and giving them attributes.



I used different perspective views to make it easier to get the bones in the right place.



It’s coming along..

I’ve somehow managed to lose some of the bones so i am going to have to figure out what i did wrong or am doing wrong and fix it.



All connected up and nearly ready! Still gotta do the fingers.