Some Alien Animation Clips


This project has not been a total success, the deadline has arrived and i don’t have a completed animation, just some clips. I also rendered this stuff at a much lower quality than i would normally – i left it right up until the last moment to render the stuff out – trying to complete as much animation as possible. So it’s not a total loss, I modelled a character and rigged it following a tutorial and basically all by myself. Unfortunately that took most of the time i had for the whole project, and in the end i didn’t leave myself anywhere near enough time to animate. But now i have my own original 3D character that i can use to develop my 3D animation skills over the Christmas break, so hopefully there will be some more stuff to show you soon! I learnt so much about modelling and rigging – having to problem solve and figure out the processes was hard work but as i make more and more 3D animation and characters it will get easier!

I actually managed to break the model a couple of times, the eyes were originally parented no problem, but somewhere during animation i broke them and the eyes stuck in one position when i rendered it – a simple fix but still annoying! I had a problem where Adobe Premier would just not import my image sequence in its entirety as well, and i lost some of the clips i had animated – it’s like the universe was punishing me even more for my bad organisation this project! I never quite got my idea pinned down and that was a major time sink – coming up with more ideas and trying to hash out different scripts. You’ll notice there’s no sound as well – something that would have come in had i managed to get the model ready for animating sooner.

I should have probably downloaded a rigged character and practiced at least as i was modelling and rigging my own character – but i wanted to focus on the one thing so i got it done – it just took a little longer than it should have. I was also unable to add any 2D to the animation and that was in the brief – if i had more time i would have done 2D credits at least.. This project had the good and the bad, but in the end I’ve learnt a bunch and have done something that I’ve never done on this scale before in 3D, so i feel like its been pretty good actually and next project i will have to make sure i manage my time better. I am really happy with how the character looks – although he was not my own design i was able to make him my own with some small changes to his features – and i think that the story i came up with and the identity for the character had potential. This project was a good start to this year, and has been a bit of a wake up call, I just can’t wait to make more 3D animations anyway!


Screenshots of an alien!

I’ve been modelling this alien in Maya 2017, and after loads of time & work, here he is! I took some screenshots of him in various poses with different expressions while I’ve been animating with and getting used to the guy. Even though he’s my first full 3D character that I’ve ever made i think he came out really well, and even though i can see where i could make improvements, that’s part of the learning process and he’s still really expressive and capable of animating with, so i’m happy and gonna chalk this up as a success! 😛


Thanks for checking out my little green alien 😛

edit: Moar!! From bits I’ve been animating.


Edit again: EVEN MOAR!! AND NOW SHINY!!!!!


Finishing off rigging in Maya

So I’ve finally got a fully rigged character and he’s nearly ready to go! I’ve gotten a lot more familiar with working in 3D and am really looking forward to modelling more 3D characters in the future. I also want to model some different locations full of stuff! (interiors, exteriors with different environments and def want to tackle water as well) And generally hone my modelling skills as well. Before this project i guess i was still on the fence about 3D in a lot of ways, it took me a bit to get past how Maya works, and I’ve still got a lot to learn (and prove) but I’ve definitely developed a passion for 3D now! Lets just see if i can animate something now..


I think i forgot to connect/parent the knee and elbow controls properly – they still work, but they don’t follow the rig unless its the top control, or waist actually i’m not sure if i did that now i think about it. This doesn’t really affect anything as he’s not going to be moving around a lot really and its a very short animation so it shouldn’t be a problem.


He’s great at limbo..7

Seriously good actually! 😛


Testing the shoulder control again to see how its working before beginning the skin bind.


And now his neck..


Now that the character is completely rigged its time to bind the skin before animating. Everything you do on one side is done to the other mirrored side as well, which is super convenient!


You can see in the picture below that i was having some difficulty with the fingers here, which was a bit of a headache for a while but i was able to figure it out so that it looked less insane looking!




I’m actually thinking an animation with broken models would actually be really cool if the story was done right. The characters would not be restricted by the laws of known physics! Well they’d look and move all gnarly – the animation would have to be at a really good level to really make the most of the messed up models. Just a thought for now anyway, probs a side thing when I’ve done a few more models in Maya and have some stuff to mess around with.


I sorted it, eventually..


It took a while but i think i figured it out, mostly..

Screenshot (180).png



Now that the hands were all rigged up and the skin bind was

I double checked every joint and bone i could to make sure the body would not bend incorrectly when animating. After sorting the fingers out i was definitely feeling confident!





My alien character is finally finished! He’s not perfect but i can begin to animate using him now! You can probably tell from this picture (below) that I’ve managed to squeeze his arms at the shoulders a bit as I’ve been getting used to animating the rig -i think the arms are not binded correctly to the skin, after all my checking.. (Doh!) I think i should have added more mass to his shoulder area – although i’m sure i could fix this model and make it bend right, i did myself no favours with the way i modelled his upper arm/shoulder area. But a lot of him came out great, for some reason i’m overly pleased with his ear/antennas! So its not a total failure. Yet..


I’ve got very little time left to actually animate this guy for the project. I spent so much time coming up with different ideas and didn’t get ahead of the tutorials, then i changed my idea a few times, i’m not sure when i decided to make him an alien – pretty sure that was because he looked like one anyway as i was modelling him and i thought i could give him antenna things. I have an idea now but with only days left in the deadline i’m just going to try and do as much as i can. I have learnt so much by modelling and rigging my this character, i can’t wait to see him in action!


*If i have time it could be cool to do some thought bubbles in 2D that represent how he’s really feeling – something to help convey his feelings. At this point my animation has no plans for anything 2D and its supposed to be a hybrid animation of sorts really. If i’m going to have a white background, and i think i might, i could always add some simple drawn details to the background afterwards.


Alien character – Script

This project is to:

Create a conflicted character, where what they say and what they think and feel differs wildly. Using body language and facial expression to communicate one thing whilst language and speech says something else.

So i have chosen to do a story about an alien who isn’t very good at his job. He doesn’t have the best attitude about it either, he doesn’t really care about what people think. So he’s sarcastic. To fulfill the part about his body language and speech being different to what he is saying i thought sarcasm was a great fit. The audience and the person he’s speaking to both realise he does not mean it, the sarcasm is meant to be clear to everyone- maybe with some progression to the tone of the sarcasm – becoming more obvious he is not being serious with his response.

Here are some pages from my notebook that i made about this character and the story i am  trying to tell with him.


Outline – An alien (A) goes to see alien (B), to check he has done his job right, because last time he didn’t do his job right it was not good! (A) asks (B) if he has done his job this time and (B) responds annoyed that he did the job (ok get off my back man!) and when alien (B) pushes for a more definitive response he is sarcastic and lets all his feelings out in that moment. (B) treats  (A) like he is always showing up bothering him – and he only screwed up once so its not fair!! But as it turns out (B) did forget and ends up feeling silly and embarrassed for being so confident this time.

This will allow me to animate the character in a few different feelings (annoyed, impatient, angry, embarrassed, nervous) – which should show that he is a conflicted character who would like to tell the other alien to ‘swearword’ off!! It’s not that this character is flawlessly hiding his emotions or feelings, but trying not to let them out completely – which is hiding his true feelings.


What he says – I did the job ok!?! (or also sarcastically – noooo i didn’t do it because i’m stupid!).

What he means – I don’t care about your stupid job just stop bothering me! (he is very forgetful and also pretty grumpy and lazy so..)


*I actually really like the robot bit, but i don’t know that i will use it in the final animation.




A – ‘Hey my alien friend!! How is it today with you today? I am enjoying speaking as the humans do my good-friend!!’

B – *not enthused to see alien A. Rolls his eyes at him as he speaks human but smiles meekly at him.

A – ‘So my fellow alien chum-bob, did you make sure to do your job-employment today?’

B – *nods and maybe a small quiet gruff annoyed yes.

A – ‘Ok so EXCELLENTS! You did the job then?’

B – ‘Noooooooo’ (big and over the top sarcastic no).

A – ‘Hey! My friend i think maybe you are not so very serious about your job-role today? Perhaps you would like some oranges to feel more appropriate for living? Last time it was your job-reason to get the humans back to earth-ground after abducto-probe, and you-hoo forgooo-ot! (B = hands on hips and annoyed expression here) But of course, you did it today, Affirmative my fellow alien buddy-pal?’

B – *clearly annoyed. through gritted teeth – ‘Of course. How could i forget.’

A – ‘Remember how the humans got free into the glooby-dooby? woohoohoo! We were cleaning that mess up for.. ohhh.. a long time i think huh?’

B – ‘Yeah that was the best!’

A – ‘Hmm. Perhaps i am remembering it differently to you, but i am satisfied-happy that you have done the work-job so i will say goodbye to you today buddy-friend.’

B – *smiles really wide and eyes closed. ‘ok great thanks’

A – ‘Well, keep up all the good-great work you are uhhhhhhhhh…’

*Alarm goes off.

B – *reacts to the alarm by being embarrassed, shocked and at the same time he’s totally not surprised because he knows he didnt do the job..

A – *still going: ‘uhhhhhhhhh..’ in the background.

B – *Starts laughing.


(I have written the sideways writing from my sketchbook in the picture above here:)


As you can see i have not completely finalised my idea into a finished working story – or at least i keep changing little things with every draft and iteration, which is a problem i seriously need to get over – i keep taking it into different directions instead of just making it work and going with something! However I am going to basically move forward with what i have at this point because i wont have enough time to animate if i don’t – and some of the changes i want to make are cosmetic and not really important. I am already right up against it with this project, and really need to take this as a lesson in time management and planning. At this point if i can get some scenes in and finished on time i’ll be happy. am not convinced by my idea in terms of a full interesting story for an audience, we’ll see anyway.. but i do think that it will allow me to show a character who is conflicted and feeling things- saying one thing but thinking and feeling another. So at least it gives me the opportunity to create something useful and show that i can animate a character that I’ve rigged together.

Having run over the initial deadline i have had another look at my idea and simplified it a bit. Basically a character behind the camera sees our alien friend and goes to say hello. The alien is not happy to see this character -they are too happy! – but they say nice things even though they look and sound like death! The below images make some more sense of this idea and i drafted a script:


Very rough storyboard idea for this simple animation:



Modelling a character in Maya continued

*For anyone who ends up here looking for a tutorial, this probably isn’t what you want. Buuuut I’ve taken a bunch of screenshots of the process, so that’s something. 

Anyway Maya crashed and i lost the head and stuff that i had modelled last time, and i didn’t have an auto-save set-up remind me to always set up the auto-save! I found my most recent version, i still had the body modelled, so it wasn’t so bad really – just more practice using Maya!



To make the head you use a cube not a sphere, and then you turn that cube into a sphere.


So i made a little alien guy, and my idea for the animation has adapted somewhat. Instead of being a relatively vague ‘did you do the thing’ its going to be one alien asking the other (known to be lazy and negligent) alien if they put the humans back after abduction and probing, or if he forgot again. To which the alien will be really sarky and reply like ‘yeah, i forgot AGAIN because i’m an idiot who can’t remember anything!’ And the other alien will be like, ‘ok but last time you forgot and this hilarious thing i cant think of right now happened that made you look foolish, remember?’ and then the other replies ‘What time? i don’t remember any time? humph!’ (still all sarcastic and whatever). And then lights flash and an alarm sounds, and a look of ‘oh dang’ comes over the aliens face as he realises he actually did forgot. He looks at the other alien (off-screen so he will look at camera or wherever he’s already been addressing when talking) with a sheepish smile, ‘Sooo, I think i might have forgot something…’ or probably something funnier and/or cooler than that.


That’t the vague idea now anyway -and I’ve got an alien modelled and ready to be rigged for animating.


I had a little bit of trouble with the UV. As i had managed to overlap a couple vertex’s on the feet and hands. After going over the model a little bit i was able to fix everything (i think) and it all turned out ok.


See, it pretty much turned out ok. And now he’s a totally awesome little green alien man!


Now comes the expressions! This part of the process was actually pretty fun – just pulling his face around to make different expressions, keeping the face looking natural with the movements and experimenting a little with how far you could pull the face around.


I started with blinks – each eye is blinked separately, each eyebrow, etc – so they can be moved independently later when animating. I used the soft-selection to pull his face around as well because it meant that curves and stuff would follow a little bit and although its hard to describe what i mean it was really useful.


I did a number of passes over each expression from various angles to make sure it looked right as i was pulling it around.


Combining a few different expressions to see how they look together – its really cool seeing the character start to come alive!


Mouth open (above) – Mouth closed (below).


Mouth open (above) and closed (below) again from another angle.


Aww he looks so sad!! I have been thinking if it would be possible to animate this guy in 3D and then render out the shots – then batch them into Photoshop taking out all the backgrounds – then adding in a 2D background that I’ve drawn (possibly in TV paint – a few looped backgrounds or something) and having the 3D alien character appear to be in a 2D world or whatever. This is supposed to be a sort of hybrid animation according to the brief so it would be good if i adhered to that with my final animation.

What is still most important to me is that i am able to model, rig and animate a full 3D character in Maya. Also now the audio lip-syncing is going to be key to making the animation look good – and would be great practice anyway. Then adding the 2D background stuff is next on the list depending on time and stuff. I’m thinking of a simple spaceship interior with a window that has some stars going by very slowly. That’s pretty much it.


I am really pleased with how this little guy is shaping up – just need to rig the model and then begin animating!! I followed the tutorial for the most part – giving him different ears and adding a belly button, also making him a little bit chunkier in the arms and the feet and neck are done slightly differently but look pretty much the same, so I’ve added my own style to this guy a little bit. I’m definitely much more confident in Maya now, and I feel like i understand what I’ve done wrong when i go wrong (mostly) and how to fix things as well – which is great – and hopefully there will be more cool 3D stuff is to come!


Modelling a character in Maya

*For anyone who ends up here looking for a tutorial, this probably isn’t what you want. Buuuut I’ve taken a bunch of screenshots of the process, so that’s something. 

The first thing i did was take the three perspective drawings which were provided with the tutorial and set up my work-space. Top, side and front view drawings of the character I was going to be modelling. I lowered the opacity of the reference images and once they were all correctly in place i turned them into a reference layer.


Now the space was ready i could begin modelling, starting with the body. It began life as a simple cylinder, which i shaped using the reference layers in the differentperspectives.


I cut the cylinder in half and deleted one side, as i would be modelling one half and then mirroring it to create the full finished and symmetrical model.


The drawings are not drawn exactly perfectly lined up, but i just made some slight changes, which was fine, and really they were only there as references anyway – but i was able to be a bit more fluid and start sculpting away from the drawings a little bit to make the character/model look a bit different.


In the end it all came together really quickly following the tutorials. I’m not finished yet though, got to finish the model and then rig it up ready for animating. I feel much more confident modelling a character, just got to master rigging in Maya and then actually animating a full character.

Project 1 – notes from sketchbook

These are pages from my sketchbook where i’ve just made some notes about different ideas that i’m still having for this project.


So i was trying to get back on track with this project and wrote a list of what i need to make sure i complete. I need to do this stuff and get this knowledge so that i can make an informed decision next year when it comes to animating my final piece. Someone mentioned final piece and the last year of uni is basically creating this one amazing video – i want to be able to create something amazing so there’s a lot of hard work in between now and then (less than a year!!)


Hey its that panda, thing, guy…


I really like this next idea about a guy who comes to sit down in a chair, but wait, the chairs not there anymore. Well where is it? hmm..

The adventures of ‘guy who cant find his chair and becomes pretty annoyed about it.’


I’ve been modelling a 3D character in Maya and its almost finished. I wrote up some notes when i set up the project folder and stuff. Its fairly useful when it comes to beginning any modelling in Maya, anyway:


I have a load of screenshots of my progress with modelling a full character in Maya which i am going to make a new post about in my blog soon. I’m almost finished modelling it so it will be the full thing, soon. Then i’ve got to rig it up and animate!


Yeah i tried to do this rough timeline of the idea, so i could see how it would space out and fill the time. But there are things missing from it – like various movements and facial expressions at various moments – if i do choose this idea i must properly plan out each movement and reaction – and maybe even act it out beforehand and record myself to see if it will work and look ok.


Possible dialogue for this animation would be an offscreen voice commanding the character to ‘sit down.’ And our character happy to oblige but there’s no chair anymore. ‘Oh! where that chair gone?..’ then the offscreen voice in the same tone saying ‘Sit Down, please!’ And steadily over time the character becomes more unhappy and just finally snaps and gets angry and sits on the floor.

I would probably no have the off screen commanding voice change tone, much. The character that will lose their cool is the one who’s tone changes, and hes the one who cant find the darn chair!


Andy (my lecturer) said this –

“You are God in maya (animation). It’s your universe. Be creative!”

-before showing us this video. I guess he just wanted to remind everyone that they really can do any kind of animation they like. There is no perceived best 3D animated style, it’s important to experiment with different things and try stuff out to see what works and get used to the software.

This is only a short preview but the full video is great. The animation again goes really well with the music, which i find with really good animations – the music accompanying it compliments the action on screen. The story is so simple, its a loop. The creature gathers more stuff, grows, then moves forward. When it reaches a certain point it begins destroying itself, throwing bits here and there. Then it must begin the journey all over again. A very simple and yet somehow really evocative piece. The design is simple, the colours – just black and white with some grey. The story is a simple loops and everything is kept really simple with this animation, but the movements are varied and really well animated. The creature changes the way it moves as it grows, becoming this large slower lumbering beast when it was a quicker littler creature before. All the debris flying about helps to create this chaotic world that the viewer tries to understand – and by the end they understand, theres closure to the story because we know what happens to the creature, stuck in the loop, seemingly forever.


When it comes to animation you can create anything that comes into your head – only limited by your ability to translate those thoughts onto the page, or into the computer using whatever software. Animation is freedom to express yourself and tell almost any story to an audience. Animation can be a lot of it can be very little, a subtle thing or a loud brash messy thing. It is whatever you can make of it.So keep that in mind i guess.


Random quick idea.

We see a character on screen. They have a hose in their mouths, with their hand on the tap. They look really depressed. A number appears on a screen and a light changes from red to green. They brace themselves and steady themself to turn the tap on. They close their eyes and a single tear rolls down their cheek – they turn on the tap. We hear whatever is in the hose rush into our characters mouth. They drink. It looks hard. They become weary, but collect themselves and chug! They grow in size. Bigger and bigger but still sucking from the hose. They explode. The room is a completely different colour now. As if the character was drinking paint and thats how they paint their rooms – with the death of someone.

The audience gets to see the character going through some feelings. They dont know what at first, but the internal monologue is the character forcing itself through this ordeal which is obviously not fun for them, and in the end kills them – all to paint a room. Its a silly and abrupt ending, so this is all about the buildup.

Would probably have to model a room, a hose, a tap and a screen and lights. The number that appears on the screen is the rbg number thing for the colour that the room gets painted.


The ‘did you do that thing dude?’ one



Final script idea:

Offscreen-voice: “Hey dude! dude? Heeeey, so did you do that thing? You know how important it is, right? Dude?! I really need to know dude, did you do it or not? is it done? Duuude!?! I really need it done?” Duude!””

Bob: *sarcastic eye roll, and then nodding. “yessssuh!”

Off-screen voice: “Good, because if you didn’t do it i don’t know what i’d do.” (trails off/ fades out)

Bob: *eyes go wide – realises he didn’t do the thing. (signified to audience by his actions, behaviour – as he becomes concerned and less cocky/ laid back and more fidgety and anxious)

Off-screen voice: “Ok well i think that everything, thanks again for doing that thing i really appreciate it. Dude? Are you ok?

Bob: *big nervous smile

Off-screen voice: “You didnt bloody do it did you?”

Ending ideas:
  1. Bob: *runs away
  2. Bob: *smiles nervously
  3. Bob: *starts laughing

Off-screen voice: “It’s not funny dude!”


I made the gif below on my phone, its really just a quick mishmash of ideas and things, i was just messing around. The movement is really pretty static, and each movement the guy makes is one movement after the other instead of more fluid and lifelike, although in some ways it makes the guy look kind of awkward in his body language and movements.