Oz and Kate Wedding Animation – Modelling!

Hey guys,

For the first time I am writing something that I hope non of my friends or family will see, not till next year, anyway. If you are a friend of family member reading this Pre-Wedding, either stop reading NOW, or DON’T TELL ANYONE!


In 363 days, I will be getting married to a beautiful young lady called Kate. This is a picture of us (Ok, this picture was taken many years ago, and age may have taken it’s toll on us since then, but this is us!).

As a surprise for the big day, I am working on a little animated presentation. Nothing too flashy, just something fun to entertain our guests. Don’t hate me because all I seem to model is cartoony versions of myself. I’m only a fraction self obsessed than you probably think. This time I actually have a purpose and a plan.

Now it has come to my attention that some (most) of the guests don’t really understand (have a clue) what it is I do as a CG animator (at all). My in-laws-to-be try to make conversation about my work, and as I talk, I can visibly observe the amount of understanding go from 100% to 0%, and have to resort to saying

‘Yes, I draw the picture

on the computer and move it


DISCLAIMER: This is not to say my in-laws-to-be lack intelligence. I have the utmost respect for them both, and recognise them as very intelligent individuals, but sometimes without physically showing people the rather abstract process of modelling a character, the words used to describe the process can simply get lost. (‘You start with a cube, like a physical 3D cube, and drag bits out of it,’, ‘No, it’s like a fully 3D model, but inside the computer’, etc)



So this is the design I created of myself and Kate as seen on our Save The Date. It’s nice and simple, and has the ability to be incredibly expressive when it comes to
the animation.

And this is the render of the Oz model. Clean and simple, block colours at around 30% self illumination, no need for individual fingers, and facial features are simple textures – no need for complex blendshapes or facial rigs for what I have planned.

DISCLAIMER: You should know, this is an ANIMATION blog. My focus here is on ANIMATION (and to a lesser extent, rigging), not modelling. My topology is basic, my UV unwrapping is planar and half-arsed, my texturing is lazy. I don’t care. This is an ANIMATION blog (with a slight focus on rigging), so if you want to learn how to sculpt some amazing film-level, hyper-real characters, YOU’RE IN THE WRONG PLACE. If you want to learn how to unwrap a model cleanly and with precision to take into zBrush or Substance, YOU’RE IN THE WRONG PLACE. If you want to read a blog that doesn’t use caps,



I mean, here! This is my UV template and the texture map! You happy now? HAPPY!?!


So how did I get from this (simple cube objects)… to this (simple character)?


Well it’s just a matter of extruding polygons (squares… ¬_¬), adding loops (lines… ¬_¬) a moving vertices (dots…. or, rather, the points in which the lines touch each other… ¬_¬). Then, well, being lazy as I am, I Turbosmoothed the heck out of it.


With a little more care, and the joys of 3Ds Max’s modifier list, I tweaked, refined and added to the mesh until I was happy with the base shape, then created separate pieces of geometry for simple details – glasses, cuffs and… dare I say it; hair.


I hate hair. In the illustration, it looks so simple. It looks nice and effective. How the heck can you change that into a CG model? Abstractly. That’s how! Pushing and pulling, and deleting and starting again! In the end I created three basic cone shapes, moved them into position, merged them and deleted/added any faces not needed/needed, I welded vertices until it looked ok, and then attached that to a duplicate of the head.


Then smacked it with a Turbosmooth!

And planar mapped it!

What did I say? I’m an ANIMATOR (with a love for rigging), not a modeller or texture artist. You don’t like it? You can close this tab right now! Go on, I dares you!

So that’s the final model. I added the illustrated facial details on separate planes, I have my plans for those.


Next on the list of things to do – I need to take this model and tweek it till I have the Kate model, and then from there, the fun stuff!

RIGGING! Yeah! Making bones to move the model! This is gonna be a complex rig, and I wont get chance to write about it all, but if you’d like to know more about how I do it, just drop me a line and I’ll see what I can do.

Cheers for reading, guys!


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