MashMob Final Video

Below is the final animation video we are bringing to MashMob. There are a few things we need to fix- notably animations on both the chicken and the octopus, as they were keyframed in the wrong position. The chicken was pretty easy to fix itself, as once Robert added a further control we could move the character into position. There was slight shifting in the feet- something we will need to look at fixing at a later date.

The octopus, on the other hand, was a different story. Despite a locked camera and environment- the character was animated through the shelves. This resulted in us having to render the octopus on a separate pass, however the lighting came into play here, making it look off. This is definitely something that will need fixed, as it currently looks terrible.

Further Set alterations

One of the comments from our most recent meeting with Jude was that the shelves did not feel lived in- and that they needed further items to make it feel like an actual childrens bedroom.

Jack and myself came up with models we thought would go well with the shelving unit, Jude originally suggested pencils, however we thought this odd for a childs shelf, and came up with our own;

  • a dummy
  • Lego bricks
  • sticky note with the company’s tagline ‘march to your own beat’
  • dice
  • wooden letter blocks

Jack and myself split these objects up and modelled and textured them quickly to ensure we had them in our scene for rendering.

Another minor alteration addressed by myself was the shelf ‘brackets.’ Our original model had a slight lip, however, Jude wanted us to remove this. It was a quick fix, and I was able to fire the new clips back into the scene.


Baby Dummy, modelled to create our more children like setting.



Changing the Setting

One of our main changes was the surrounding environment. During our feedback, it was commented that our white room principle was not really working as the MASH letters looked to be floating, while the others rested on the ground. Jude recommended we maybe look into creating a bedroom like environment, and having lighting that would reflect this, also resolving our lighting issues we are having, giving sharp shadows on the fox and dinosaur and washing the characters out.

For the bedroom itself we needed three assets- two shelves and a wall. I wanted to look into different children bedroom settings to see how we could add to the environment.

I looked at films such as Wallace and Gromit- the opening sequence in Curse of the Ware Rabbit gives an excellent timeline of a relationship, and looks lived in and worn.

I also looked at Toy Story 2- especially the scene with Wheezy, although this shelf had a lot of clutter through books, something that didn’t fit spacially on our own shelf.


We also looked at the room in boss baby, with the typical baby items strewn around the room. bossbaby.png

Using these stills and films I was able to block out the basis of the shelf as seen below. After showing this to my group, Jack suggested tilting the letters to make them look less uniform.


After this, I started exploring different wallpapers based on references I found online- trying to incorporate the MM logo.  We all agreed, with the guidance of Kerry, that the yellow lettering suited best and stood out the most. We also decided on the random MM logo in the obscure polka dot pattern.

Below is the final image we presented to Jude, to show how the wallpaper looked.


Easter Egg Texturing

Another of the changes can due to the wooden egg. The texturing wasn’t quite working with our light set up so we had to change it. Jude said he wanted more of an Easter egg look.

We discussed keeping the brand colours the same and implementing them into an Easter pattern, with a foil like normal map.

My team gave me a few patterns as ideas based on kids colouring books. I liked the flower patterns, and thought it was a nice way to implement the different colours around the yellow.

Easter Egg Template To Print (12).jpg47895fb942f4ce3a8a994f54995737dc.jpg

Below are a few of the patterns I tried, we agreed the flowery one was the best, as it suited the colouring and created a nice branding.

Gorilla Changes

One of the comments from our previous meeting had been that the gorilla itself needed a texturing update, due to the fact it was sticking out like a sore thumb among the other characters.

Jude suggested making it look like metal- to which I suggested the look of an old fashioned tin toy, with a spinning key to further show it’s wind up quality. Jude liked this idea and further suggested we even make the animation look jittery- like the head is stuck as the in toy mechanism is broken.


I took the character into substance and created a grimy, beat up looking toy. Based on some tin toys I found online.




Below is the character I managed to texture. I originally had some problems with the texturing of the character itself- when I imported into substance painter the character seemed see-through. I consulted James Dalton in final year for advice, he said that my normals were reversed- a common problem when you duplicate an object over and reverse the scale to -1.  Jame said I go to display- face normals. Green lines appear on the faces, pointing in the direction in which the normals are facing. I then had to click on the polygons which were the wrong way and reverse them.

I ended up having to scrap my substance painter texturing as the specular maps were not working in Arnold. Alec explained that there is a difference with converting these compare to use in real time renders. Alec suggested we use a noise bump map to achieve a similar effect. I am sad that I couldn’t use my original designs, however this is something I plan to look into, to see how I can ensure it doesn’t stay like this.





What is  refraction?

the fact or phenomenon of light, radio waves, etc. being deflected in passing obliquely through the interface between one medium and another or through a medium of varying density.
  • change in direction of propagation of any wave as a result of its travelling at different speeds at different points along the wave front.
  • measurement of the focusing characteristics of an eye or eyes (Murray et al., 1961).

image2016-4-14 12-23-18.png





Murray, J., Bradley, H., Craigie, W. and Onions, C. (1961). The Oxford English dictionary. 1st ed. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

Exporting Substance Painter to Maya/ Arnold

One of the things Jack had a problem with before was bringing the Substance Painter files from the application into Arnold itself, the bump map seeming too extreme and had to be tweaked. I wanted to do a bit more research myself into how to recreate as close a material as possible in Arnold, so I went and did some digging.

General Knowledge

Arnold uses a Diffuse, Specular, Roughness workflow ; consequently textures made in Substance Painter using the BaseColor, Metallic workflow have to be converted for the Arnold shader. Arnold being a raytracer and Substance Painter viewport being OepnGL, the result between the two might be slightly different.

In Substance Painter- 

Go to file/ export textures. Then go to the export tab and select Arnold as the system configuration.

image2016-6-2 16-29-43

Exporting textures from Substance. (, 2017).

In Arnold-

image2016-6-2 16-51-54.png

Arnold settings. (, 2017).

Arnold Standart Shader settings:

  • the diffuse texture is plugged to the Diffuse channel
  • the specular texture is plugged to the Specular channel (not the reflection channel!)
  • the Specular Weight is set to 1.0
  • the Roughness texture is plugged to the Roughness channel
  • the Microfacet Distribution is set to ggx
  • the Fresnel option is enabled
  • the f0 texture is plugged to the Reflectance at Normal channel

Gamma workflows-

What is gamma correction?

Gamma correction controls are helpful for users to make sure they are working in radiometrically linear space (also called ‘linear workflow’). Linear workflow ensures that all of the elements interacting in a scene (light colors, textures and shader colors) correspond linearily with actual amounts of light so that the renderer does proper light computations in a physically accurate way. This is needed since light works linearly in the physical world (if you double the amount of photons, the color values are also doubled).

Method 1

You assume all textures should be interpreted as sRGB and you add a gamma correction node for specific textures that should be interpreted as linear. In this case you will set the Gamma Correction for Textures to 2.2.

image2016-6-2 16_38_3.png

image2016-6-2 17-4-27.png

Method 2

You assume all textures should be interpreted as Linear and you add a gamma correction node for specific textures that should be interpreted as sRGB. In this case you will set the gamma Correction for Textures to 1.0

image2016-6-2 16-56-47.png

image2016-6-2 17-6-43.png


References (2017). Arnold for Maya – Substance Painter – Allegorithmic Documentation. [online] Available at: [Accessed 22 Mar. 2017].

The Fox 3D Model

OK, so the last week has been spent modelling and doing re-topology, UV’s and texturing on two different character. Thankfully I had Jack to help with the dinosaur.

For the 3D fox, I wanted to look at some other fox characters to keep the head shape of the original fox in mind.


The female fox. Fox and the House (1981).22d284aa3f02866661d439c079d7eb09

thelittleprincestill2.pngThe fox from the Little Prince (2016).

I wanted to keep to the original fox as much as possible, so the face of the Little Prince Fox was perfect for this. The design from the original MashMob fox has his face in the triangle like shape too. I wanted to add a softness to the character as I found MashMob’s slightly too harsh. Below is the blocked model of the fox. I then added the hands from a previous model and used the sculpt tools to make them more claw like. I showed the model to my team mates and they suggested making the eyes slightly larger and adding shoes. I did this before moving on to texturing the character in Substance Painter.


Blocked fox model. I then added shoes and hands.

The next step was UV mapping the fox and then exporting into Substance Painter.


This is my view from Substance Painter of the fox texturing. I then exported it using my previous research into Maya and set up with textures with Arnold.

I was pleased with the character’s look so far. However during our presentation, it was commented on the UV seam on his head. Some people liked it as it looked more made up- like a child’s toy. However, I wanted to make it still look plausible. So I went and researched some sewing patterns to see how this muzzle would be sewn.



Below is a pattern for an animal muzzle. It splits the head into three separate UV shells, one running from the nose to the back of the head, and the two sides.


‘Guzzet’ patterns. (Pinterest, 2017).

After looking at this pattern, I fixed the UV, adding the additional seams and then I painted white on the face to give the same look as on the original Fox artwork.

Below is the finalised fox model. Next, on to the banjo.




Pinterest. (2017). Teddy Bear Patterns. [online] Available at: [Accessed 22 Mar. 2017].

Fox Update from Feedback

So, some of the feedback for the 2D for was that he was feeling a bit flat still, but with the added buttons, and guitar he may look ok.

I went ahead and modelled buttons for the eyes on the fox. I showed my team and they really like the character. However, when I sent it to Kerry for feedback, we were met once again with more critics. Suggestions of changing the fabic on the body- maybe a denim fabric for the foxes clothing, adding depth of fur, experimenting with his thickness.

I decided from that moment to leave this fox alone and to create a 3D model to go alongside the 2D one, to ask Jude which he preferred.

fox _banjo

Changing the Fox- Pose

One of the main feed backs from Jude was the positioning of the fox on the logo.


So, I redrew the character to fit the design Cassie provided me with. I also added an extra eye shape to show how the fox would have a peaceful expression when playing the guitar and then when shown in the final shot, the eyes would be open looking at the audience.


I then started to work on the texturing of the fox. I experimented with a few things until I finally achieved what I thought looked best.

Below is my first test, however, as you can see, it looks horrible. I used an online generator to create my normal maps, however, I didn’t realise how strong they were until I applied the materials. I opted this time for a felt fabric for the face and a wood for the feet, with a hessian like fabric on the body.


I added more of a knitted material to the fox, and based on previous feedback, I tried larger buttons for the eyes, much like Coraline, only I made them smaller.


Button eyes from Coraline (2009).

I encountered a problem with the banjo and the eyes. The original idea was to have the eyes and banjo on their own UV tile, to keep it separate from the animated fox. However, with using multiple objects with the opacity masks didn’t seem to work. The eyes rendered out completely black and the banjo had a complete black area around it.


I am going to present this to Jude to ensure he likes the button idea and the overall look of the character, before handing it on for rigging.


Opacity Masks- Arnold

When bringing the fox into Maya, we realised we had a problem. The areas around the character on the UV, not covered by the character were rendering out black (see below).


I showed this problem to Alec. He informed me that Arnold does not render out alphas as transparent. Instead, you have to create you own opacity mask and put it into the material, with the other maps.

To create this mask, I would have to create a clipping mask over my original fox UV, block it out with white and then add a black background (see below).


This mask was then placed into the opacity node under the refraction settings in the material. Thankfully it worked, creating a clear character.

Below is the test character and the second character is a knit texture as a normal map on the character.





Specular Maps and Specular in Arnold

What is Specular?

Specular is direct and indirect reflections which can be made glossy (blurred).

Specular maps can be used to define a surface’s shininess and highlight colour. The higher the value of a pixel (black to white), the shinier the in game object. Therefore surfaces such as dry stone or cotton fabric would have a very dark specular map, while surfaces like polished chrome or plastic would tend to have lighter maps.

The pixel colour is also used to calculated the resulting colour of the surface; a very saturated specular map will have very different visual effect than a grey specular map. If you need a more “neutral” highlight on a surface, your specular map should use the inverse of the diffuse map’s colour. Using the same colour on the specular as on the diffuse will result in a more saturated highlight when viewed in the game. (, 2017).


Specularity in Arnold


Increasing the weight, influences the highlight in the material.



This controls the glossiness of the specular reflections- the lower the value, the sharper the reflection.  In the limit, a value of 0 will give you a perfectly sharp mirror reflection, whilst 1.0 will create reflections that are close to a diffuse reflection. You should connect a map here in order to get variation in the specular highlight.


The microscopic features of a surface alter the effect of the diffusion and reflection of the light. The microsurface detail has the most noticable effect on the specular reflections. In the diagram below, you can view parallel lines of incoming light commence to diverge when reflected from rougher surfaces, when each ray hits a part of the surface with a different orientation. In summary, the rougher the surface becomes, the more the reflected light will diverge or appear ‘blurred’.

image2014-2-25 10-31-13.png

In short- the higher the roughness, the more the light is reflected, and the more blurred the object becomes.

The brightness of the highlight is linked to its size, due to the Standard shader’s energy conserving nature. To get variation in the highlights of the surface, a map should be connected to the Specular Roughness. This will influence not only the brightness of the highlight but also it’s size and the sharpness of the environmental reflection.


Anisotrophy reflects and transmits light with a directional bias and causes materials to appear rougher or glossier in certain directions. The default value for Anisotropy is 0.5, which means ‘isotropic’. As you move this control towards 0.0, the surface is made more anisotropic in the U axis, and as you move the control towards 1.0 the surface is made more anisotropic in the the V axis.


Anisotrophic 0-1. (, 2017).

References (2017). Specular Maps – Mod Wiki. [online] Available at: [Accessed 21 Mar. 2017]. (2017). Specular – Arnold for Maya User Guide – Solid Angle. [online] Available at: [Accessed 21 Mar. 2017].