Matthew Lawrence Christy
UXD/HCI Student / Game Designer

3D Modeling and Animation

Working in a variety of graphic design applications to learn the basics of modeling and animation.

Maya, Photoshop, ZBrush, Oh My!

To fulfill my Digital Media Minor, I chose to take an animation elective to learn more about 3D modeling and animation techniques. Using a suite of applications, we learned how to create a basic blockout, use UV maps and textures, create an advanced model using ZBrush, and to animated a bouncing ball in Maya.

3D Modeling and Animation

My First 3D Model

Dipping my toe into Maya

The first assignment was to create a simple 3D Model in Maya: a tree stump.

3D Modeling and Animation

Experimenting with UV textures in Maya

Stump Shape Refinement, UV Maps and Textures

The second assignment was to take the basic model and give it more shape. I created additional modeling at the top of the stump to make it more realistic, and curved the roots a little. We applied a basic texture using an Arnold material.

UV Maps and Textures in Photoshop

In the third assignment, I exported the UV Maps from Maya and imported them into Adobe Photoshop. I then selected a bark texture and applied it to the UV Maps and brought everything back into Maya for a final render.

Advanced Modeling, UV Maps and Textures using ZBrush

For the fourth assignment, I exported the advanced model without textures and brought it into ZBrush. Using ZBrush, I created and manipulated the model to create a more realistic looking tree stump that includes bumps, crevices, and other elements that a real stump would have. I also used the paint features in the application to add color, including some mossy/green elements. Afterwards, I exported the model and imported it back into Maya, placing it next to the previous stump for comparison. The last thing I was experimenting with was spotlight lighting techniques, adding a green hue to the location behind the two stumps. I wanted to see how it would affect different elements of the model's lighting.

Animation 101 - 24fps in Maya

The fifth and final assignment in the class was animation using Maya. We were tasked to animated a bouncing ball. We used key frames with object sizing and physics to bounce the ball over 100 frames.

My first Maya animation: an organic bouncing ball.

The Final Project - MASH Networks in Maya

For the final project in the class we were tasked with "taking any previous assignment to the next level." This required us to find something new; a technique, an effect, anything that was outside the scope of what was taught in the class and incorporate it into a previous assignment. While doing so we had to document the process and recreate it in a video. I decided to entertain the idea of what Maya could do on its own without ZBrush. I decided to finalize my rendered blockout by modeling rocks and grass with the tree stump. I leveraged basic modeling techniques for the rocks (textures and bump out maps), along with advanced modeling with MASH networks for the grass effect. To achieve the grass effect I followed an online tutorial by the YouTube account "What Makes Art" (Jimmy Kuehnle) and recreated it for the class.

Final Project tutorial on MASH Networks

original by "What Makes Art" (Jimmy Kuehnle)