The Marvellous Escape


The mad scientists lab is coming along nicely thus far! We have been bringing in our assets to the master copy of the scene and placing them roughly in the right positions. We have been going off one of Alistair’s layout sketches which I have mentioned before whilst changing and adding little bits here and there. Seeing all of our separate models together really surprised all of us, never would have thought we would have so much! but then again there are six of us in the group!

After getting most of the assets in I spent a few hours the next day importing more models and adjusting a few little bits in the scene. It took a little longer than I had thought, I’m not entirely sure I had placed things the right way and after taking some screenshots I was still kind of unhappy. But nonetheless these things can still be altered before final hand in 🙂 In between it all I got a horrible cold and was unable to help my teammates the next day when setting up render shots and lighting.

Our trail of destruction should hopefully be apparent when looking at our scene. Depending on whether or not we decide to animate a camera going or just render some clean shots… we should be able to show a narrative of a break out. Mark has modelled great smashed glass for us to lay on the floor beside the specimen tank and also the window where our monster has escaped. Michael placed a table or two overturned with some ncloth draping over the top to give a bit of life/movement. Below are some quick screenshot I took of our progress with setting things up.

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Below are some renders we used for our presentation but we hope to improve them before final submission with the aid of a few light and composition changes.

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To finish things off nicely I feel we could do with some wires/ropes or even some broken pipes and cloths hanging from the ceiling to give it ore visual interest and also help with our composition. Going form Alec’s comments also, the gurney could do with being a little larger, so maybe also looking at our scaling to readjust anything that looks out of place etc… It is always good to get feedback, to be able to take it and work on what you need to improve always makes for a better piece of art.

On a side note, I absolutely love the group I am in right now, not one thing have we fought over. I feel we have worked very well as a team and gave each other the right amount of time and space to get the work we needed. Out of everyone I have been the pest, picking at little things that perhaps didn’t matter in the end, haha. Adios until the nest update on our mad lab.

Mad Scientist Lab – Part 3

So, part three and I haven’t really modelled anything I am super happy with! 😦

I worked on a steampunk lamp and I am not looking forward to UV unwrapping it, non-manifold geometry seems to be a recurring issue for me and had held me back in getting any work transferred over from zbrush but you can only do so much! Below is a quick render of the lamp with the reference picture below.




I modelled a very quick potted plant, nothing exciting. I did have fun experimenting with the paint effects though, (which I have used for the leaves)




Pinterest. (2017). Steampunk Lamps. [online] Available at: [Accessed 19 Oct. 2017].


Mad Scientists Lab – 3D Assets – Part 2

Continuing on with the laboratory assets I have found a great tutorial by Mike Hermes on youtube where he explains in depth how to model a spiral staircase in Maya. It is quite difficult to get the shape correct but after a few goes I finally got there. It may not be exactly how I had imagined it but I am hoping to improve upon it if times allows.

Spiral staircase



I modelled a simple container which I have now named ‘the growth hanger’ … cause thats how original I am. I found a great image on Pinterest and although I couldn’t find who the concept belonged to I thought it would do no harm modelling it. I thought it would be interesting to have a specimen jar with something growing in it for extra personality in the lab.. maybe it could hang beside the scientists desk where he watches it grow or morph into something non-earthly. The quick render can be found in the slideshow below along with other basic assets I have been modelling. The textures where added very quickly so I hope to add more textures using substance painter when I get a bit of free time.

I hope to add some liquid to the inside of the glass hanging container, once I have learned how. 😉


Below I have included some quick renders of other objects I have been modelling for the scene.

Steampunk stove




Armillery Sphere



Orrery Solar System Model



Adios for now, might get some more simple models loaded into a third part. 😀

Mad Scientist Lab – 3D Assets – Part 1

To begin our journey into creating a mad scientists laboratory we had written down a few interesting assets we could possibly model. Since a laboratory is so diverse..(especially when the doctor therein is mad) there would be many strange commodities to be seen! So! We assigned various objects to ourselves to start modelling and decided even if two of us ended up modelling the same thing (maybe a bottle/jar) it would be no problem as we plan to have the scene quite busy anyways!

First things first! As we plan and hope for the lab to be of the old victorian style we agreed it would look amazing with two floors with maybe a spiral staircase leading up to the second floor. The structure of having a second floor allows for more depth to be created and assists in helping our composition. We can also experiment with ncloth by maybe having fabrics draped over the banisters . I would also love to give ncloth a try with modelling a pair of very long curtains to go alongside our very large victorian style windows. The slideshow below shows some inspiration of the look we are going for.


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I have collected together some reference images after some research on various assets and gizmos to get me started….

I had to start of with some simple jars and bottles! Using the curve and revolve tool in Maya was perfect to assist with the modelling. Below are some reference images I have found through a simple google search.


Below is a render of some bottles and jars I have modelled, they may not be perfect but they’re the best I can do for now. I also modelled a generic cork that fits into the top of selected bottles/jars. I hope to take these jars and bottles into substance painter to experiment with different finishes and textures and maybe also adding stickers or labels to heighten the detail…maybe even create some normal maps in zbrush. Something to think about for the ole portfolio.



I watched a tutorial on how to render glass in Arnold. Some tutorials where definitely needed when it came to rendering and texturing my light bulb!



For now it is only a simple bulb but I believe it can be so much more… I will definitely be adding better texture maps to this bulb along with extra components to make it a more visually interesting part of the laboratory. I was thinking of integrating it into a steampunk styled lamp which would either hand or sit.. or even be part of a larger strange looking machine.

I would also like to model a scientific globe which would hang from the ceiling of the lab. Below are some reference images I put together for inspiration. I quite like the idea of having a solar system revolve around on the inside of the globes structure.


I had modelled a very simple birdcage in Maya but later failed to think ahead on the UV mapping side which also plays a part in this project. I will have to research in more depth as to how long it might take UV unwrapping a birdcage. :/  (Quick render below)




Pinterest. (2017). Pinterest. [online] Available at: [Accessed 2 Oct. 2017].


Cabinets of Curiosities and Mad Men

Cabinets of curiosities and mad men.. where do I begin?!

Basically back in the day there were many many ‘mad’ men.. namely top scientists. I’d say most these days are even madder but that’s a story for another day. Thinking about how to present our laboratory is important as the project is focused on narrative within our 3D scene. So naturally a bit of research into some mad men and curiosities is the way forward!

I’ve picked out only two mad scientists to describe briefly, just to give an idea of the type of scientist’s lab we are hoping to depict/narrate.

Giovanni Aldini, Corpse Reanimator –

This guy was mad! Long story short he used batteries to ‘reanimate’ lifeless humans and animal carcasses. Aldini is said to have put on show his experiments in a type of circus act- sounds interesting but on the other hand.. there was something wrong there. For sure his work was inspiration for Mary Shelly’s classic ‘Frankenstein’ novel. As a group we discussed the idea of the scene depicting the after-math of an escaped experiment. Maybe we could have a large specimen/salt-water tank burst open with a clear path of destruction leading to the smashed window where scientists ‘monster’ had escaped.


Illya Ivanovich Ivanov – Artificial Insemination


Another crazy man, Russian and soviet biologist in fact who is famous for creating animal hybrids. Back in the day his specialised in the field of artificial insemination and has been involved in controversial attempts to create a human-ape hybrid (to use in war). Some great ideas for weird phenomena in the lab can be taken from this. Maybe creating a few strange skeletal sculpts of hybrids, strange creatures imprisoned in hanging cages.. the list could go on.

Moving onto the strange world of curiosity cabinets and how they can be of use in our project.

I first came across the idea behind curiosity cabinets after finding a strange book named ‘Cabinet of Curiosities’ by Guillermo Del Toro. I found it in an old book shelf in the art department of my last job at a high school. It was amazing to find a book that gathered information on strange artefacts which collectors had discovered during their travels whilst most often being accompanied with hand drawn illustrations. It has stuck in my mind since and now hopefully I can take some inspiration from it when thinking about assets for modelling.


Cabinets of Wonder, and wonder-rooms) were encyclopedic collections of objects whose categorical boundaries were, in Renaissance Europe, yet to be defined. Modern terminology would categorize the objects included as belonging to natural history (sometimes faked), geology, ethnography, archaeology, religious or historical relics, works of art, and antiquities” – Wikipedia

Painters from the renaissance era depicted these types of wonder rooms in their art. (see below)

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My thinking behind this research is based on creating strange oddities for the laboratory… as we are not focusing on a modern lab we can afford to dabble in times gone by and include ‘curiosities’ that you would more than likely see in a museum these days. These types of strange objects bring some character and personality into the scene. This type of theme is also quite fun when thinking about producing interesting work for my portfolio. I was hoping to maybe try sculpt a bust of an old greek scientist that could maybe have some sort of twist. Mad scientists have to look up to someone..right? Why not honour them with a sculpt? Only if times allows though.


Surprisingly Beatrix Potter was an avid collector of biological specimens whilst also having filled books of illustrations of fungi. Since her passing her collections have since been moved to London’s Natural History Museum…nice!

Some ideas for modelling..small jar of eyeballs, scientific globe/solar planet structure, jars and bottles, test tubes, animal skulls/bones, strange machinery, bulbs, candles, books, posers rolled etc..


References (2017). 9 Real Life Mad Scientists. [online] Available at: [Accessed 1 Oct. 2017].

The Paranormal Guide. (2017). Giovanni Aldini – Reanimating the Dead!. [online] Available at: [Accessed 1 Oct. 2017].

Toro, G. (n.d.). Guillermo del Toro cabinet of curiosities. (2017). 11 Wonderful Wunderkammer, or Curiosity Cabinets. [online] Available at: [Accessed 1 Oct. 2017]. (2017). Cabinet of curiosities. [online] Available at: [Accessed 1 Oct. 2017].

Composition and Narration in 3D environment

As we have chosen to model a 3D interior of a mad scientists lab, he have decided that a full 360 degree view would look amazing. Thinking about this before the modelling stage is important as it gives us more scope to decide upon our composition from each angle. Depending on the position and movements of the camera our composition will have to be on point in order to draw the viewer in.

As a team we have started to draw out some thumbnails in Photoshop and in our sketchbooks which will help us to determine placement of assets within our scene. Below are some quick thumbnails to start of.


We have decided that our narrative will focus on an outbreak of the mad scientists experiment. Maybe it could be a strange creature hybrid that has escaped firstly from the tank and has made his way up to the window to escape. A trail of destruction from where the incident began to where it disappeared would be shown in the environment.

I originally had thought that a nice large open laboratory would look cool as we would have plenty to fill it, but after a little while I realised that this was me being a little too optimistic. Alistair had drawn up some very nice layout plans in his sketchbook which we all fell in love with and decided to take our design in that direction. Below shows Alistair’s layout drawing we decided to base the final model off.

Screen Shot 2017-10-30 at 19.14.28

As the scientist is quite mad we wanted the room to look quite unkempt and busy in ways. Maybe filling areas with stacks of books, barrels and cabinets full of strange trinkets.  Duplicating certain objects which will be modelled would be a great way to work this way.

When thinking about lighting it is important to have it hitting the scene in the right direction and also with the correct intensity. If the lighting is off, the whole scene will look off and also any work which has been put into composition can potentially end up being a waste of time. Our idea of having a large victorian style window where the monster had escaped from will probably be our main source of cool light…preferably moon light. The other light sources we plan to have come from the wall lights and also the large specimen tank. I am hoping to have a contrast between the cools and warms within the scene to give it more visual harmony.


Although our scene will not be textured, thinking about the hues of the light and the hues of the shadows should surely make a bit of difference to the overall renders. In this article Lori Woodward explains so simply how to use colour well when it comes to light and shadow, I found it summed it up nicely.

I came across a great article on a similar project on creativebloq, it covers the same issues we will be dealing with and also shares insightful knowledge and tips which are very helpful. (Link here) Another great article on environment design workflow was found on ‘the’ (link here). Having an idea of what type of workflow is most time efficient is important as it is very easy to work in ways that take up too much time in regards to planning and modelling etc..

Group Member Blog Links

Alistair Lyons –

Mark Lisk –

Molly Wilkinson –

Michael Lilley –


Reference (2017). Warm Light Makes Cooler Shadows. [online] Available at: [Accessed 30 Sep. 2017].

Lavoine, R. (2017). How to create detailed 3D environments. [online] Creative Bloq. Available at: [Accessed 30 Sep. 2017].

The Rookies. (2017). 8 Tips on how to Create 3D Environments. [online] Available at: [Accessed 30 Sep. 2017]. (2017). cool colours | Image Essentials. [online] Available at: [Accessed 30 Sep. 2017].


Mood Boards and Ideas for 3D Environment

For our second assignment of Animation Strategies we are to design a 3D environment of our choice. My group members include Michael Lilley, Alistair Lyons, Molly Wilkinson, Mark Lisk and Tobias Bred. We came up with a few ideas together (shown below) and scribbled them all down on a white board and went from there. I am so excited to get started on the project as I feel we have a lot of freedom. The extra task of trying to exhibit our environment in 360 is particularly exciting as it gives us more room to work.


After coming up with some ideas we created some “mood boards” containing some inspiration on particular themes. The board below shows some concepts I loved when researching. I had an idea to create a 3d environment which depicted the aftermath of a city torn apart by escaped arcade characters. I felt an old arcade style would look particularly interesting if it were scattered around a ruined city scene. The images below hint at what I had in mind, mainly the colours.


The board below displays conceptual artistic ideas on ruined cityscapes which I found quite interesting and which could possibly fit in with the retro arcade city idea.


After we had put some boards together we discussed our ideas so far and had decided for a while to try a sci-fi scene which might include some form of movement… possibly in the form of an explosion. Alistair had thought it would be interesting to have a scene with something exciting happening. Below are a few images I have found from ‘Remember Me’ and other various concepts which depict this type of thing.


In the end we agreed to take another route in the project and ended up deciding on a loose idea of basing the design on a mad scientists laboratory. Michael had put together a mood board beforehand depicting scenes from the game ‘Bloodbourne’… this mood board definitely steered us in the right direction. I put together a similar mood board with nice concepts that delve into this theme of laboratory and on going science experiments.


With this steampunk/mad scientist theme it leaves us plenty of room to experiment with strange oddities and trinkets which will help to build upon our portfolios.



DeviantArt. (2017). JonasDeRo’s DeviantArt Gallery. [online] Available at: [Accessed 29 Sept. 2017].

Artists, V. and Briclot, A. (n.d.). The Art of Remember Me. (2017). Interior Concept | Video Games Artwork. [online] Available at: [Accessed 29 Sep. 2017].

Wade, D. and Wade, D. (2017). Syn Studio Concept Art Diploma Program—Apply for 2017. [online] ArtStation Magazine. Available at: [Accessed 29 Sep. 2017].

DeviantArt. (2017). Carnival. [online] Available at: [Accessed 29 Sep. 2017]. (2017). Desenvolvimento Visual de EPIC, por Jake Parker | THECAB – The Concept Art Blog. [online] Available at: [Accessed 29 Sep. 2017].

“Bloodbourne” concept art.