Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Female-Naut Update...

Hey All. Here's a quick update on where the female astronaut I started aaaaaages ago is. Just picked this project back up again today and am pretty happy with where this is heading. Still got more lighting tweaks to make as well as some motion graphics elements for the inner helmet to nut out. Think it's pretty close to getting some blendshapes out though, and can start thinking about a small animation for her. I re-did her face texture in Zbrush because the sss was really killing the subtleties in Maya. Enjoy!

Thursday, 9 January 2014

Backlog - Bits n Pieces Dump...

Hey All. That pesky lil window telling me my drive was full popped up leading me to go back through my old folders and cull the excess. I came across a few old bits 'n' pieces which I actually quite like. Watch this space for a dump. Enjoy!

01. Random Head. I remember doing this guy just before the end of the working day a while back. I like the nonchalant expression. Fun.

02. The Boxer. This one could do with a little more love, but I still like certain things about him. Another speed sculpt.

03. Frontier Pilot. A lil short film I offered to help out on once... One of the initial concept sculpts.

04. Plane Engine. Totally unrelated character work, but I like the forms in this piece I created for the 'jetpack' of my Baron character. This one was built in Maya.

05. VW Bug. Did I put this one up already!?! A VW Bug built using Zbrush (mostly) and then Maya to finish. I was going to use it for a little 'Upper Playground' promo, hence the logo.

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Female Astronaut...

Hi All. Here is the beginnings of my female astronaut character. I want to do a small 5/10 second facial animation using this model I made in Zbrush. She will be wearing her helmet, mask, etc and wanted to use the scene to also do some nice motion graphics in the visor. She was modelled from a Dynamesh sphere originally and I used 3DSK textures for her skin textures. This image was rendered using BPR and comped in After Effects. Enjoy!

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

An Audio-Visual Experiment...

Hey All!  I wanted to learn more about Trapcode Particular and how it can be controlled via external elements (in this case audio). I love this piece of music and thought the colour/animation of the particles worked really nicely in this experiment. I haven't really posted much of my Motion Graphics stuff up here, so will try and bring you my latest and greatest. Enjoy!

Music: Début - Mélanie Laurent

Mobotato - Audio-Visual Experiment... from Daniel McKay on Vimeo.

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

UAZ Animation...

Hey All. Carrying on from my last post, here she is in all her animated glory. Rigged using Director Studio in Maya. I think Vimeo has slightly washed out the colour/contrast as well as reducing the length by about 25 frames, but you get the idea! Enjoy!

UAZ FINAL... from Daniel McKay on Vimeo.

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

UAZ - Recon Van Concept...

Hi All. My first post for a while. I came across an image of a UAZ van which I instantly loved. They are Russian made and referred to as a 'loaf' after their resemblance to a loaf of bread. Anyways, I started to think about a version in the not to distant future that had been adapted for a reconnaissance style purpose. I decided I'd continue my Zbrush hard surface learning, and chose speed over getting down to nitty-gritty details. So here she is... Main body made from a dynamesh cube, and snapped on a bunch of insert mesh brushes for things like the chassis (You might see some familiar ones from the likes of Bad King's brushes, etc). The model took one day to build during a quiet day at work, and another day roughly textured in Zbrush, with final texturing done in Photoshop. The final render was done in Maya. I plan to use it in a super short animation for my reel, but don't think it will be anywhere near as large as it is seen here, so some of the details might seem a little dodgy. Ha! Enjoy!

Here is a rough reference image of how I put this guy together. Dynamesh was instrumental in building this vehicle so quickly, and Zremesher allowed me to get it Maya ready in super quick time! (Once, this would have taken me a solid week to get the model out... Now I can do them in a day! Win!)

Thursday, 11 July 2013


Hey All. Here's a new sculpt I hope to finish AND animate! I have blocked out his full body, but only have his head rendered for now. Built in Zbrush from a Dynamesh sphere, I originally began following reference of Mickey Mantle. I'm happy for him to have evolved from that and like the idea of a short animation showing some close-ups and swing shots. I don't pride myself on character animation but would love to see him come to life, so we'll see. Textured, lit and rendered in Zbrush. Comped in AE. Enjoy!

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Another BRINK Head...

Hi All. Here's another speed sculpt based on the awesome concept art of the video game Brink. I did this guy in about 3 hours all up. The proportions of the characters are a lot of fun to play with. Started from a Dynamesh sphere and textured and rendered in Zbrush. Comped in After Effects. Enjoy!

Update: Ok. This last render was really annoying me. I knew I had all the information there, but rushed it and didn't end up doing him justice. I went back and re-rendered him and am a lot happier now with how he looks. Amazing what a bit of extra time can achieve! Enjoy!

Monday, 3 June 2013

Female Speed Sculpt...

Hi All. Here's a speed sculpt from this morning courtesy of an illustration I saw on the net. I'm not really the best at sculpting females, but figured the best way to learn is to keep at it. This sculpt took all up just under 2 hours, start to finish. Started with a Dynamesh sphere, textured and rendered in Zbrush. The hair is pretty rough but wasn't really focusing on that part. Enjoy!

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

More Than This?

Hey All. I started this guy yesterday during a slow patch at work. Nothing better to do than slap on some Roxy Music and figured Bryan Ferry could be fun to sculpt. Anyways, here he is, derived from a sphere. I have actually sculpted his whole body in pose too... I'll put that up in a bit. Rendered in ZBrush and comped in AE. Enjoy!

Monday, 20 May 2013


Hey All. Here's a little morning speed sculpt. Created from a Dynamesh sphere and busted out in about 1 hour and 30 minutes. I spent a bit longer colouring him up and rendering him in Zbrush. (Maybe about 3 hours all up, start to finish!?!) Enjoy!

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Astronaut... Again.

Hey All. Here is a little sculpt I've been working on here and there for the last week. It began as a 1.15 hour speed sculpt of a head (See post below), and I decided to build a helmet for him. One thing lead to another and Boom! I got myself an astronaut. He's a work in progress... Nothing here is final. I have a few more attachments and cleanup to go. He's all Dynamesh at the moment and hope to retopo him, and potentially animate him!?! I haven't started texturing him yet either... these are just basic colours dropped on the tools. Everything was built in Zbrush, as well as rendering. Enjoy!

Update: Here is a paint over I did in Photoshop just to finalise some of the textures/colours. I have to retopo first but nice to see a result like this to keep me motivated! Enjoy!

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Head Speed Sculpt...

Hi All. Here's a quick sculpt I did while waiting for client feedback. I allowed myself 2 hours, but actually wrapped it up here at about 1 hour, 15 minutes. Started from a Dynamesh sphere and rendered in ZBrush. Comped in Photoshop. I did a little history video, but my Zbrush crashed and I lost a lot of the end stages. Although this video is pretty nasty (He spends most of the time looking like a transvestite Goblin) it's a bit of an eye-opener to see where I waste my time the most and what I can improve on. Enjoy!


Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Back to Basics...

Hey All. Here is a little anatomy study I started yesterday. I am very aware that my anatomy knowledge is pretty basic and I am going to attempt to pick apart the body piece by piece. Hands have always troubled me so figured I'd begin here. I thought I'd try a sculpt using photo reference first, then go back and learn the actual bones/muscles of the hand and attempt a better sculpt at the end. That's the theory, anyways. I also added a little step-by-step tutorial, as much for my benefit as anyone else who might find it useful! All up, about 3 hours work. All done in Zbrush and rendered passes using BPR. Comped in Photoshop. Enjoy!

Sunday, 28 April 2013

White Trash Zombie...

Hey All. Here's a little sculpt I started as a speed sculpt. It wasn't really for anything, other than I happened upon the cover of the book 'My Life as a White Trash Zombie' and liked the image. I didn't want to spend any more than a day on this and so started with a female base mesh. While it took about 8 hours all up, it was during the course of about a week... an hour here... and hour there. The hair was done in fibermesh and was bugging the hell outta me so ended up as a rough Photoshop paint over. I really gotta spend more time on that tool!!! She turned out ok... Not quite as I had planned. Anyways, all sculpted, textured, lit, rendered in Zbrush. Comped in Photoshop. Enjoy!

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Speedy Spawn...

Hi All. A quick sculpt at work in between client feedback and getting out new playblasts! I was pretty happy with how this guy came out considering the time (Maybe about 4 hours, all up including comping!?!) Based on images of the toy (Commando Spawn), I like the 'blocky' style and simple colouring. He's all Dynamesh and textured just using basic fills in Zbrush. Rendered layers in Zbrush and Comped in AE. Enjoy!

Friday, 19 April 2013


Hi All. Here is a sculpt I put out over the last 2 days. It was a bit quiet at work, so between small jobs here and there, and waiting for client feedback, I figured a new sculpt was in order. Her name is Masquerade and she's a post WW2 comic superhero. Her back story is a bit wishy-washy, where as a socialite, she visited a Mardi Gras and needed a costume. She found this one and although the salesperson told her it was consumed by the 'spirit of justice', she went for it. She stops a criminal, feels all warm and fuzzy inside, and decides that crime-fighting is for her... As you do. So here she is... Sculpted entirely in Zbrush, textured and lit and rendered using BPR. Final comp done in After Effects. It was my first effort using Fibermesh for something other than short hair or stubble, and have learnt a lot since. It's a powerful tool, but there's definitely a learning curve there. Anyways... Enjoy!

Friday, 5 April 2013

Steambot Racer - Revisited...

Ok, looking back now I was a little unhappy how my Steambot guy turned out. In hindsight there are a million things I would change, mostly in his facial expression. I was originally going for a day-dreaming 'this-is-the-biggest-race-of-my-life' quiet, reflective moment... Now he just seems bland. So... here's a super expressive pic of him! Giving it all he's got, on the verge of death!?! A real 'the moment before IT happened' style pic... All done in Zbrush... Posed, textured, lit, rendered and then comped in After Effects. I like that he doesn't look 'real', but like a stylised, almost painted, character. Or maybe it's just late and I should be in bed... Enjoy!

Sunday, 24 March 2013

BRM Sculpt...

Hi All. This is a little different for me. It began as a play in Zbrush as a hard-surface experiment and evolved into a full sculpt, based on blueprints of a BRM MARK I. The whole process from start to finish was roughly 16 hours. I found it really helpful in learning more about some of Z's newest features... especially 'Panel Loops' and 'Insert Meshes'. EVERYTHING is done in Zbrush, as well as texturing and rendering. Final comp in After Effects. For the purists, look away now. I got a bit excited and added a fair few 'bonus' elements to the car! Enjoy!

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Duddle Doodle...

Hi all. Here's a speed sculpt I whipped up on my Sunday night. It comes via a character from the amazing Jonny Duddle book, The Pirates Next Door. His illustrations are amazing and recommend you go buy his books immediately!!! This lil guy took a few minutes shy of 3 hours. He needs a bit more tweaking but I liked where he was heading... Can't wait to colour and detail him too! All done with Dynamesh in Zbrush... Comped in After Effects. Enjoy!

Update: I had a quick play tonight just colouring him in as referenced from the book. By no means final, it was a quick test just to see where to head next... All done in Zbrush in just over an hour. Comped in AE. Enjoy!

Update (again): Ahhhhh Zbrush. The ease at which I can now do retopo and UVing, as well as hi-res texturing and surface noise thanks to this program is nuts! If I get more time, I'll do another pass on his face and look into better textures/shaders/lighting, but for now I think he looks pretty cool! Enjoy! (Oh and Jonny Duddle, the amazing illustrator who drew the original character, has just released another book... The King of Space... Buy it!)

Update: More texturing love, I gave the brother some shoes, and toyed with his hair. Rendered in Zbrush and played with a new grade in After Effects. Enjoy!

Tuesday, 4 December 2012


Being a big fan of Barontieri's work and an avid supporter of Steambot Studios, I thought I'd try and tackle one of their original concepts. This one is of a futuristic racer which I came across via their Steambot book of awesomeness. I hope I did it justice! Done entirely in Zbrush from a basic dynamesh, then retopo'd seperate sections, and detailed. Finally, I textured him over the last couple of days and posed him for the final here... I like to think it's a candid snap of him preparing for an upcoming race, smoking a cigar to relax, all the while maintaining focus as his ship is prepared. Rendering was done using BPR in Zbrush and comped in After Effects. Enjoy!

Thursday, 22 November 2012

BLOODHOUND SSC Contribution...

Hi All,

Here's my contribution to the new Bloodhound SSC promo vid created by FLOCK London. I was responsible for modelling, sculpting, retopologising, and texturing the driver. The end result can be seen here in the final video that was featured on the BBC News and the BBC website: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-19798748 (I will link to a higher res version of the final when it becomes available) Enjoy!

BLOODHOUND SSC Contribution... from Daniel McKay on Vimeo.

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

New Reel Wrapping up 2012...

Hi All,

With my imminent move back to New Zealand, I decided it was time to update my reel. All the work you'll see has been done by me (except for the Bloodhound bit which was purely just the driver modelling, sculpting and texturing... I'll post a more in depth segment on that shortly though to clarify). Enjoy!

Mobotato - Showreel 2012/13... from Daniel McKay on Vimeo.

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Muscle Crunch...

Hey All. Here's a lil sculpt I busted out last night before going to bed. He took 45 minutes in Zbrush with a tiny bit of post work in After Effects. He is made from a Dynamesh sphere, some subtle polypaint, and rendered in Zbrush. If I took him a little bit further, I'd add a rose between the teeth and perhaps the ol' furry Tarzan-style leopard 'leotard' over the shoulder... Maybe another time!?! Enjoy!

Update: Ok... Another 15 minutes just to finish this guy off. I added the leotard thingymajig. Made with FiberMesh.  He's one smooth cat now... Definitely one for the ladiessssss.

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Lift Offfffffffff!!!

Hi All! Here's a selection of my lil Baron character in various poses. They were tests done today after getting him textured, lit, rigged, and set up to render in Maya (using Mental Ray). The next step is an animation. I'm thinking showing him mid-flight. I like the idea of him doing barrel rolls and the smoke trails following accordingly. So far, he is made up of a basic color, AO, and depth pass... I'll get more hands on for the final renders, but for now I'm happy where he's heading! Enjoy!

Update! Here's another lil play with the Baron in post. I was testing to see what I can get away with in terms of rendering, and what sort of treatment to the final look I could use. I think I'm happy with the flexibility of the render layers I'm pumping out, but as much as I like the treatment here, it won't be a final look. I think. Maybe... we'll see. First I gotta animate that sucker. Enjoy!

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

The Baron... Take Off!

Hey All! Here's a lil something that I began some time ago but lost interest in. It wasn't til the other day that I remembered it, had a bunch of new ideas for him, and decided to rework him. 'The Baron' takes on a steampunk-ish feel and revolves around this idea that the Red Baron, shot down and left for dead on a deserted island, builds a 'propeller pack' from his destroyed plane. (Whether he not he fits the old guns to his pack is yet to be decided). The whole mechanism runs via cabling (which is still to be created) that allows the Baron to control at what angle the rear of the propeller pack sits at. This, in turn, allows the Baron to control himself in the air. I'm thinking this guy might work nicely for a reel intro... Original pack built in Maya, original Baron made in Mudbox, and reworked 'everything' created in Zbrush! His equipment is yet to be textured, and is currently coloured with Polypaint. Rendered in Zbrush and comped in AE. Enjoy!