Finished Zombie Arm Animation

Severed Zombie Arm – 3D Maya Animation 1:00 Min – Matthew Pearson 2016



My animation is just the zombie arm, and its pretty limited even then, i only got so much actual animation done in time, but then i was able to edit it together and by rendering some different angle i was able to create a final video that is 1 minute long with a couple of repeats. The arm can be seen lurching forwards, and although it is far from perfect, i am really happy that i was able to do what i have done. I feel as though now i would be able to model and rig and animate in Maya. The arm itself came out nicely, although the environment was severely lacking, i tried to keep it simple but it ended up probably being too simple. The lighting was a bit experimental as well, too dark initially, then perhaps too much intensity. but it all added to the dark feel of the video. I think the sounds i used in the film were appropriate for the content, and they add to the atmosphere, which makes the audience wonder what is happening, why the arm is severed and crawling along the ground, why there is gunfire and explosions – a future war perhaps where the dead are not all completely dead – or a future war with cyber super soldiers who are reaaaaallly hard to kill! 😛

I am now able to create a model, rig it properly and then animate it. After, i am able to successfully render the video (which i did a few times!) and then compile the video in Adobe Premier. So all in all it has not been really unproductive and i have learnt a lot, and i am looking forward to using Maya more in the future and developing my 3D skills!

Below is a screenshot of the animation in Premier. The purple blocks are the video and the green is audio (pink are titles). There was a lot of layering of audio and adding effects -audio gains and fades etc.


I think that this project has been a great  introduction to modelling more complex objects and the rigging is fascinating and makes me wonder what other kinds of characters i can bring to life in the future!



Maya VIDEO! – Zombie Arm Continued

I was finally able to finish rigging and readying my zombie arm, so tried to animate it a bit. I was able to make it look like it was lunging forward a little bit, and i decided to render it so that i could see what it would look like. It ended up being too dark and was a good opportunity for me to sort out all the little things before, like increasing the lights intensity;so now the mood of my finished animation should be dark and grungy and should match the zombie look a bit better.




The blue circles are the things i made which makes it easier to move the model and specific parts around when you are animating.


A render of the arm, it looks all shiny and weird. The red and greeny fingers give the arm more character in my opinion, and makes you wonder why it has green on its finger – from sticking its finger into something? EWWW! Or maybe more likely its rotting and dying and green from infection. Rather gross, but it is a reanimated zombie arm!


The green thing below is the camera, which i moved around the arm, making for a more interesting shot, there is a little zoom action as well!

Capture5Capture6Capture7This is an early render of the arm in the environment, it looks like it is bright enough, but this is the one that came out really dark before i increased the intensity and size of the light. Notice that the light moves across behind the camera, like the sun (not that its meant to be the sun, more just movement of light/shadows).


You can really produce some amazing results with Maya and i really have learnt a lot about how to model, rig, set attributes and animate.


This video is what i have managed to animate so far.It may not be a lot but its a zombie arm lunging forwards and i am over the mood with it. I then went and increased the light intensity and size to make the scene brighter – both feature in the video. More to come…

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. 

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.


Maya Fofayyah!!

Here is the continued progression of my severed zombie arm that I’ve been sculpting in Maya. So far I’ve made a lot of mistakes and spent a lot of time trying to make the model look good, which ended up breaking the model a little bit.. 

Boom it’s an arm


I did my best to fix it all and eventually got it looking like it was fixed, the UV editor was a bit misleading though.. (it wasn’t, I was sculpting in the smooth view and that was where I went wrong at first. And when switching between the smooth and original view the UV editor changed and the whole thing was all over the place. It was all a bit confusing for the longest time).



Well they’re not scaled correctly and actually there’s a bit of overlap even here, I really thought they looked fixed here..

Cool view from Maya

Once the arm was completed in Maya (or so I thought..) i could take it into Mudbox and start painting it. You can also add texture and stuff, so I could add some little details and make the stump look more how I imagine it to look. Here’s what the arm looked like when i first sent it into Mudbox:

Geometrically amazeballs robot hand? Done!

I painted a base coat and then made a new layer and painted the flesh colours onto the arm, I think I ended up merging the layers anyway though. Slightly lighter skin colour on the underside of the arm and the palm, I painted the fingernails as well and then did some pinks and reds on the stump.


I was able to make the stump look really scarred and much more realistic in Mudbox, although the problems I was having with the UV caught up with me and I decided that although I had a model which would work fine and look ok(ish), I was going to see if I could go back and fix the issue.

With a little help I was able to get the model more or less fixed, by deleting some parts and remodelling them.

Here’s what I did before I scrapped it and went back..

Colours a bit off on this paintjob as I was still just getting a feel for colours and stuff.

I added a couple of raised veins in the hand and some scars in various places over the arm, just to give it some more character and realism.



A very bloody stump indeed
Like it was burned and torn and ripped from the owners body in a painful and traumatic incident.
Oh thank all the gods it looks kind of like a dang hand ya’ll!

Here is the resculpted arm model after the whole fiasco I had today, I sent it to Mudbox and was able to sculpt this..

Big gnarly scar on forearm
Mangled and messy stump
Epic veins and dimples and biz

And I think it looks way better than the last one, I added the same kind of things; scars, veins and the bloody gnarly stump.

Today i spent a lot of time trying to figure out what was wrong with everything so I wasn’t able to progress as much as I wanted, but the arm (hopefully) works now and is ready to be painted and then rigged up for animating, then I just have to do the robot arm and the environment they are in and I can actually start animating!