Head Model and Module Reflection

Here’s a weird portrait of Dermott I painted while he was sitting across from me, it’s kind of relevant. Its very flat and blurry but looks kind or artsy, I wanted to try and understand the volumes in his face better for the last.



Sculpting in Mudbox


I messed around with the software for a bit, I tried to mark out bone structure as I saw in one of my reference videos.

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Dermott and i used his camera and tripod to take lots of pictures of our head rotations so we knew what we’d be modelling.

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Here I’ve started to create the sculpt for Dermotts’ head, starting with the base human head mesh was really helpful. I used the grab tool to pull out the main masses of the head to a more realistic volume.

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I thought I would start creating the facial features

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I’ve started to mock out the lips here, looks like Dermott is puckering up. I’m using the wax brush to apply volume to the sculpt and the inverted foamy tool to add detail, I’m also a big fan of the smooth tool, maybe too much of a fan…

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Adding in some more facial features like the eyes and some ear detail

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I thought I could sculpt the head without adding my reference images to the scene but I knew there was some inaccuracies that I wanted to clean up so I added a reference image to my front facing and side camera’s.

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I had the ears in the wrong place so I had to pull them down and edit the mesh.

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Fixed up the ear using Dermott’s side profile picture. At this stage I have most of the detail i plan to do done as i don’t know the retopology to get too complicated.

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I had some trouble with behind the ears of my model, I was reluctant to split my mesh again, I was getting jagged lines, I smoothed these as best as I could without compromising the shape of the ears.

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As you can see in the image below I had a similar issue with the parting of the mouth.

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Here I have began to add more unevenness to the sculpt, faces aren’t perfectly symmetrical so i wanted to look more closely at my reference pictures and identify what elements of his face weren’t symmetrical like a small bulge on one side of his nose.

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I widened the jaw a small amount upon Alec’s suggestion, I think the sculpt has a relatively decent resemblance to Dermott. H


Retopology in Maya

I watched this video which was great help, just to see the oder that this person used

Dermott suggested I used one of these reference pictures as it shows in colour the pattern of the mesh.

TomCrazyfoolParker_topology_breakdown (1)

As far as I know this imagine is from ‘Taringa’

I’m reduced my polycount down to 500,000 from suggestion of Allistair who help me import the file into Maya as I was having trouble. This worked and so I was good to start my retopology. I made the sculpt surface i imported’Live’ and then started using my quad draw tool to create some polygons/

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I realised here that I’d been doing the eye incorrectly, I was not intending to make a spidey suit.

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Heavy on the polygons, hoped this wouldn’t cause me any bother (it did). I quite liked how my ear turned out so I was ambitious to keep the shape clear to the end.

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I think the face mesh is coming along nicely.

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Some shots of the re-topo smoothed out with the omission of some polygons and of course half a head.

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Here’s my retopology I’ve tried to follow the references, I think there is logic behind the topology as i followed the structure in the structure in my references for the most part. the range of polygon sizes which I used when creating my head has given me bother but given the time that I had left to finish the project I think I made it work. There are some mess ups in the mesh that Im not happy with.

I selected the edge vertices in the front camera mode in maya and I turned on snapping. I snapped these vertices to the gird so that they were all even across the axis, i made some fixes to edges and vertices that had messed up. I then duplicated the half head in object mode, I selected the scale tool and pulled the side of the head the opposite direction and it easily inverted for me, I scaled both halves to a very similar size and the combined them.

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This gets really messy as I tried to reduced the number of polygons as they moved away from the ear, there’s definitely a more efficient way for this to be done.Screen Shot 2017-05-16 at 00.24.15


I added a couple of spheres behind the eyes to be eyeballs.Screen Shot 2017-05-16 at 00.24.28


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Messy work behind the ears could have been work on longer or had more subdivisions added.

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Imaging Data and Visualisation Reflection

I’ve really enjoyed this module. I’ve worked hard for it, the floating city project was very enjoyable, I loved the freedom that we had, that we could look at the statistics and interpret the design in whatever way we wanted, looking back at the project I think if i was to make any changes it would probably be with my process, I probably had 300 ‘pcubes’ lined up in my outliner, I think my team had a good grasp on the project and although we had some technical hiccups we came out with a successful outcome. I really enjoyed viewing my classmates floating city projects, it’s interesting to see the different approaches people take to a project and how others are progressing with the software. This module has involved some really interesting lessons such as when me learned to make blend shapes, it has helped me widen my knowledge of maya. The most recent project, the head sculpt, was very enjoyable, the sculpting in particular was really fun to do. The biggest issue I probably had with the project was time management, I was quite rushed in the end to finish the topology which meant that it wasn’t at the standard I wanted my final project to be, despite this I feel I have achieved a likeness to Dermott who I sculpted, I would really like to sculpt more things over the summer break. Looking back I have really enjoyed this module and I know I’ll be able to take the skills I have learned and apply them in future projects, my own or in university. Thank you Alec for taking the Module!


Floating City Portfolio


Sets of wires I created for the teams use.


Simple Train Design i created for the teams use.Screen Shot 2017-03-15 at 12.59.36

Low poly craneScreen Shot 2017-03-15 at 13.34.50

Drawings and Concepts

IMAG0103IMAG0092IMAG0096IMAG0094IMAG0093IMAG0095Top left drawing above is not mine it is a rough drawing Takeshi Ogas piece.


Perspective Arnold Renders

Below image showcasing custom fog i added to the sceneScreen Shot 2017-03-16 at 17.04.19

Below image showing glass balconies I placed on buildingsScreen Shot 2017-03-16 at 16.39.43Screen Shot 2017-03-16 at 16.14.51Screen Shot 2017-03-16 at 15.58.06Screen Shot 2017-03-16 at 15.46.34

Renders from Maya camera for final videoScreen Shot 2017-03-16 at 18.19.50Screen Shot 2017-03-16 at 18.20.27

Motion Graphics added by myselfScreen Shot 2017-03-16 at 18.20.45

Final Video by Dermott Burns, Matthew Duddy, Ryan Loughran and James Goodwin

Motion Graphics – Displaying our Statistics

We were unsure of how to present our infographics and after researching various different approaches I came across this video which provided a simple method of presenting information. I thought that this was a really slick way to present our information as our scenes move quite fast and this is quick and simple way to display information and make it look good. It also suited our city as it was built extremely tall, this method of displaying our data shows a bar rising vertically which merges well with our scenes.

Ryan also provided me with Japanese symbols I could overlay into the scene with an added drop shadow effect which read ‘electricity, home and people.’

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Each Scene which I overlaid Graphics on;

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Creating my scene

Based off of my concept drawings I began modelling. I believed that the easiest method for the design I wanted would be to build with individual blocks, I took reference from the capsule tower in Tokyo which has detachable pods and also architecture by Herzog & DeMeuron.

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I built up the structure with various different shapes and sizes of blocks. I then added textures by using the aistandard shader and applying a clay texture preset which I got from the solid angle website.

I needed to clean up the presentation of the blocks as some were not placed properly, it took quite a long time to reach an aesthetic I liked. Once i did this I added some other features such as glass balconies. I wanted to show the building with lights, at first I added some extra edge loops so I could texture the faces to glass, I then added lights behind them as show in the picture below however I found out that it wasn’t a good idea to put loads of lights in a scene as it would drastically increase render time.

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I then found out I could texture faces as a Blinn and edit some attributes to give the impression of a light without greatly increasing the render time.

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I also made some circle windows inspired by the capsule tower

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I added the trains to the scene which I had created earlier in the project. I originally used a locator to move the train but they caused be a small amount of trouble so I ended up applying the movement to the train itself as it was only moving along the y axis.

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I added different kinds of wires into my scene which I created at an earlier date.


I duplicated my original building and rotated it through grouping all the blocks and centering the pivot so that they were all show from different angles achieving an organised but messy feel. I played around with the composition of the buildings a lot to try and create a built up environment from my cameras perspective. From a birds eye view they form a sort of pentagon with a relatively equal distance between them.

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I added a couple of Dermott and James’ buildings in to create a background and composed them in a way to show the great scale that their buildings were compared to my lesser in size living quarters.

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Polygon plane

Once my buildings were lined up in a fashion I like I took a screen cap and applied it to a polygon plane to create background depth and to give the allusion of more buildings.


I placed a camera in my scene which I thought complemented the composition of the scene. The camera was set to move vertically and  rotate on it’s x axis slowly from the bottom to the top of the scene. I edited the graph to create a smooth transition for the camera. Here is the curve;

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Here are some Arnold renders with different lighting, trying out cold and warm colours.

In the end I used four lights which I know is quite a lot, I experimented with lights and how adding additional planes around the scene to reflect light would affect it but for the aesthetic I wanted I added additional lights to ensure I was happy with how it looked. I used three area lights and a skydome light which resulted in these colours;

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I also added fog which seemed to affect the lighting.


Rendering was new experience which definitely cased a few issues… I completed a render at a low quality and took my a long time to render in the optimum quality. I also didn’t realise if you render with tiffs anything not covered in the frame of the render will be white which led me to add a couple extra polygon planes int my scene. Eventually I figured it out and was able to render my scene in the highest of qualities and I have learned a lot about rendering in the process.

Concept Designs

The following work are sketches and concepts for my teams floating city.

Dermott thought of an idea based around a Japanese Bonsai tree which I added my own design to.

Photo on 15-03-2017 at 16.01 #2

This design is taken from James idea to use the crest of Tokyo as the base of our City.


Below is Takeshi Ogas design which I really liked followed by a couple concept studies by myself.


A very abstract design to explore different design options


Another design below with an abstract low poly idea with bright colours. Followed by thoughts on advertising.


Another abstract design below trying to represent a built up modern area in space.


The design below was in spired by architects Herzog & De Meuron, I will link an additional post with some of their work.


This is further adaptation of the last design with more abstract prospects.


Below is silhouette of how the city could look from afar based on the teams idea to have it very tall due to the images we see of Tokyo today and price of land which being very high causing people to build vertically.


Here is a design which I like and would like to take to my final designs based on living quarters. The idea of built up buildings as one like an abstract tower of apartments. I also like the idea of lots of wires hanging across these buildings.

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Based on our decision to do cut scenes of different parts of the city I created a few story board frames to explore the possibility of this.


Some train drawings below based on our idea to have vertical trains in our city.


Building Assets

I’m creating some assets which can be easily imported into our Tokyo City scenes, here are a few variations of wires with different thickness and groupings below.




I created a really simple design for a train which we decided would travel vertically in our city. I created a version with pods also which had the possibility of being detachable. For the final animation I applied a chrome texture as it looked quite futuristic and would reflect other buildings giving the city more depth a compact feel.

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I also added a version with pods

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I created a very simple crane model using the aid of a reference image. I intended to use texture mapping to apply detail however I did not achieve this in the time limitations.

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We wanted to have a lot of adverts for our City so I decided to created to design some really simplistic adverts that could be possibly be used in the final animation.

The text above from top left to bottom right on each sign according to Google Translate reads, Toilet, Ryan, Dermott, James and Matthew.

Here they are added to some polygon planes in maya;Screen Shot 2017-03-03 at 19.08.19


Inspiration and Extended Research

Here’s a long article about Japanese Culture http://www.everyculture.com/Ja-Ma/Japan.html

Some information Japanese monuments and tradition http://www.japanvisitor.com/about-japan/cultural-sites-1

Dermott and I were discussing more designs which directly link to Tokyo City which we could show in our floating city. I was researching statistics and realised that Tokyo was the city with the busiest trains in the world, here’s an example of rush hour …


a https://www.tsunagujapan.com/looking-at-tokyo-from-statistics/

Some Statistics from: https://www.jnto.go.jp/eng/transportation/railway-services/trains.html

I definitely think we should consider including trains in our city. Dermott had the idea of vertical trains;

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These images were taken from http://www.evolo.us/competition/hyper-speed-vertical-train-hub/ they are some pretty cool concepts.

This website also included a link to some cool evolved skyscrapers which could come in useful when designing our city

This led me to this cool video on design;

Here’s a link to some pretty cool train concepts of the future; http://newatlas.com/future-transport/22959/

I like this idea of detachable carriages

These days we think of road and rail transport as completely different things, but this distinction is set to become a little muddy as technology marches towards 2050. One of the benefits of public transport in general is that it avoids the inherent chaos of personal transport where the decisions are made by individual drivers. “Follow-the-leader” systems are looking to solve this problem by using a lead vehicle that’s wirelessly linked to a series of other cars or “carriages” which follow its path autonomously. The system retains the flexibility of purely private transport (i.e. vehicles can leave the train so that you don’t all have to end up at the same destination), the only additional infrastructure required is the computers that link the vehicles and the benefits for road safety, decreasing congestion and reducing vehicle fuel consumption are obvious.


Tokyo advertising

Tokyo is renowned for it’s night time scenes with streets bombarded with bright advertisements, here are some pictures from Google images to show the extent of advertising there is in Tokyo and also inspiration for our Floating City.

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Population – 13.62Million

The highest populated metropolitan area in the world with a population of 37.8Million


Average Life span:

-Male 79.59

-Female 86.35


Homeless Population

According to http://blogs.wsj.com/japanrealtime/2014/10/17/homelessness-in-tokyo-hits-record-low/ the homeless population in Tokyo is at an all time low.

According to the article written in 2014 ;

‘The number of homeless people in Tokyo dropped to a record low of 1,697 this August, down from 1,877 last year, according to the latest statistics released by the metropolitan government.’

These are fractions of the 6,731 homeless people when the survey began in 2002. These are the statistics of the city, not the greater Metropolitan area.

‘A similar survey by the health, labor and welfare ministry also showed that the number of homeless people has declined in recent years. In 2014, the ministry survey found a total of 7,508 homeless people across the country living in parks, riverbeds and public places, down from 12,253 in 2010.’

Herzog & De Meuron


When researching architecture in Tokyo I found some by this company, I thought the designs were very innovative and inspiration. I looked at their designs inside and outside of Tokyo.

Here they are showcased on Dezeen https://www.dezeen.com/tag/herzog-de-meuron/

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