Image & Data Visualisation

Head Sculpture

For the head sculpture assignment I started off using Maya but moved to Mudbox!

Here are the reference images of Siobhan:

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I used the tutorial below to learn about the brushes in Mudbox:


Here’s an early stage of the head sculpt:

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I was having a few issues with a few of the brushes, they didn’t seem to be having the same effect on the sculpture as they did in the tutorial but I tried my best to work round this.

Here is the finished head sculpture, it doesn’t have as much detail as I would have liked it to but I struggled with getting the brushes to cut detail into the model.

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Then I used the video below to help me with importing the sculpture into Mudbox to start retopology.


Here are some screenshots from this process:

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I really enjoyed this assignment but wish I could have worked out how to properly use the brushes. I am going to work on learning more about Mudbox over the summer and will hopefully improve!



Imaging & Data Visualisation Reflection

I have really enjoyed this module! It has taught me so much about using various programs such as Maya and Mudbox. It really helped to have this class alongside other modules because what I learned here could also be carried over to other projects, especially the animated short. I really like when modules involve group work as well as independent projects because I feel like it gives us a break from the constant group work.  I really struggled with the Floating City project because it was our first real attempt at making an animation and I felt like I was a bit out of my depth. Although I was happy with our groups designs and overall idea I felt that we couldn’t execute it to the standard that we wanted to. Furthermore, by the end of the year I have become much more confident with modelling, lighting with Arnold and animating as a whole, however I still struggle with rigging so I plan to work on this over the summer. The head sculpture assignment was really interesting! I really enjoyed learning how to work Mudbox although I wish I could have worked out the issues I was having with a few of the brushes but I think I just need a bit more practice. I plan to work on improving my skills with Mudbox over the summer so that I can incorporate what I learn into projects in second year.

Alec’s teaching made this class really enjoyable! He was always happy to help with any issues I was having with maya or rigging or modelling… (let me tell you there were a lot) and he was also very helpful with our animated short for our New Narratives module. I felt like I was constantly pestering him but he was always more than willing to help out (life saver!)



Sculpting a Head

I started looking back a last years first years blogs to see how they approached this project. I came across this tutorial:

I tried to follow this tutorial but I didn’t feel like I was doing the right thing so after talking to Alec I decided to use MudBox instead to sculpt the head.

Here was my progress in Maya:

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After I downloaded Mudbox I messed around with the brushes for a little while and had a fair idea what effect each of them created but wanted to really understand how you would go about sculpting a head so I watched a few tutorials which explained this. I came across a really good one which explained each of the brushes and how you would use them for the purpose of sculpting a head.

12 Principals of Animation & New Project

In this weeks class Alec showed us various animated shorts and asked us to give feedback on them. He didn’t tell us exactly what we were meant to be referring to when giving feedback so I talked about camera shots, lighting, colour, characters e.t.c

These are some of the shorts that he showed us:


Alec gave us around 5 minutes to give feedback on each short.

After this he told us that he wanted to see what we thought about when we were giving our feedback and if any of us mentioned the 12 Principals of Animation which are:

  1. Squash & Stretch
  2. Anticipation
  3. Staging
  4. Straight Ahead Action and Pose to Pose
  5. Follow Through and Overlapping Action
  6. Slow In and Slow Out
  7. Arc
  8. Secondary Action
  9. Timing
  10. Exaggeration
  11. Solid Drawing
  12. Appeal

He then showed us this video which quickly explained what each of the principals actually were which I found really helpful:

He also showed us these little short videos which explain each principal individually, these made it really easy to understand each of them.

Alec then showed us the Pixar intro and slowed it down so that he could point out just some of the principals used in it.

  • 1.Squash & Stretch (when Luxo Jr jumps on the letter i)
  • 2. Anticipation (when Luxo is preparing to jump)

Alec said something which really stuck in my head:

“Animation doesn’t need to be realistic, just believable”.

He said that the animation just needs to follow it’s own rules of physics in the world that it’s in. This makes so much sense! I’m definately going to keep this in mind when working on the animation project for new narratives.

Alec then told us that we had a new project which is to model a head using someone from the class as reference! I have been really enjoying learning maya and am excited to learn how to model someone as complex as a head.

Presentation Day


Due to time constraints we didn’t get the floating city finished for the presentation day which was really frustrating but Alec told us that the final hand in date isn’t until the 16th which is amazing! It means we can work on it more and getting it fully rendered.

When we rendered our floating city the first time the background changed colour and the quality wasn’t the best but we didn’t have time to render it again before the presentation.

Here’s the video:

I edited a little video together with our render and screen shots from render view of what ours was supposed to look like.

Here’s the video that we showed in our presentation:


Once the presentations were over we got started on finishing off the floating city for the hand in date. Siobhan found music to go over the final edit while I fixed the render. I first of all tried rendering it using Arnold but it was taking over 7 minutes to render one frame and we didn’t have that much time because we had over 600 frames to render in just 2 days! So we rendered it using Maya Hardware 2.0 which rendered in around an hour which was much better! Once it was rendered I used Final Cut Pro X to add in the music and the statistics.

Here is the royalty free track that Siobhan found for our Floating City:

Here is our final Floating City, although it’s not perfect I am much happier with this than the first render:


I feel like I learned a lot during this project especially about lighting and rendering a scene! This will definitely help me with future projects!

Portfolio Post

Here is all the work that I contributed to the floating city project.





Here are my maya models:


I used this video tutorial to help me model this landmark:

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City Hall

Here are some references images I used to model this:


(My own photograph)


(Photo from the internet)


(Photo from the internet)

My model:

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Queen’s Bridge

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Queen’s University

First Attempt:

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Second Attempt:

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Unfortunately the colour didn’t show up in the final render, maya block coloured the building.


Floating City Development

Our group has been working on the models for the Floating City over the past week and its going pretty well! However, are having some issues with some of the models and don’t know if we’ll be able to get them modelled for the hand in date. We decided to go with a design that focused more on the architecture of the city (city hall) and leave the idea of the hallelujah mountains behind.

Here is some of Siobhan’s concept work:


Siobhan had the amazing idea of incorporating a buoy into the design since one of the major parts of Belfast’s history and tourist attractions involves the Titanic. She also had the idea of incorporating the design of the Titanic museum into our city. We developed this into our city sitting on a buoy that was designed in a similar way to that of the City Hall, we are then planning to have four walls surrounding the city which have various meanings; the first being a physical representation of the North, South, East and West, the second being a representation of the peace walls within the city and the third being that the city is evolving into something much more modern, compared to the earlier structures seen on the buoy itself. Hopefully that makes sense!

We also had the idea of joining the walls with a loose rope to represent that there is still a division within the city but that it is slowly being brought together. This links well with the statistics that we have found that in two out of the four areas the inhabitants are fairly mixed.

Siobhan modelled the rope but we had difficultly with incorporating it into our final city so we had to leave the idea behind. Here is the rope:

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I went round the city today to get some reference images of some of the things that we are are modelling. Here are some of my new photos alongside some older ones that I had from our photography project in semester one:


cityhallalbert clock

Here are some of Siobhan’s models:

The Big Fish

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Botanic Gardens

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Albert Clock

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Harland & Wolff

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Core of Floating City & Titanic Walls:

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Here are some of my models:

City Hall

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Queen’s University

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Queen Elizabeth Bridge

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I wanted to model the Rise Sculpture in West Belfast so I found a video tutorial on YouTube which explained how to model a microphone grill which the closest thing I could find to the Rise Sculpture. Unfortunately I came across some issues along the way and couldn’t work out how to fix them. Here is my attempt:

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This is the video that I followed:


I started modelling my landmarks for the floating city project, since I am focusing on North Belfast and South Belfast I chose a landmark from each to make it easily recognisable as that area of the city.

North Belfast: Cavehill

I wasn’t sure how to model a mountain so I found a YouTube video which explained it to me.

Here’s the video tutorial:

I found this really helpful with the model. I am trying to make it look as much like the Cavehill as possible but am struggling a little with getting the shape right.

I also was having trouble with texturing so Alec helped me further understand it in class.

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South Belfast: Queens University

I started off my drawing a sketch of the building to better understand its design before I tried to model it:


This building is taking me a while to complete because the details are so intricate. I want to incorporate a similar style to that used by artist Keith Drury so I have tried to simplify it where I can by not adding quite as much detail as the actual building.

At first I was using various reference images from the internet but realised that I found it hard to see some of the detail in the windows and doorways so I went down to Queens and took a few of my own photographs to give myself a better idea of what shapes the building is made up of.

Here are some photos I found online:


Here are some of my own photos which show close ups of the details of the windows and doorways:

This was my first attempt at modelling the building, I was really not happy with the progress I was making so I started over.. I am so much happier with my second attempt!

First Attempt:

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Here is my second attempt (unfinished):

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Floating City

I wasn’t happy with the statistics that I found when previously researching so I decide to ring Belfasts Census Customer Services to get some more information. The girl on the phone helped me to find a link which allowed me to look up specific queries regarding statistics within Belfast.

As a group we have decided to focus more on the religious aspects of the city since this is still quite a big issue in regards to division within the community.

First of all we thought it was important to know the population of each of the areas of Belfast:

  • North
  • East
  • South
  • West


This table below gives clear population statistics for each of the areas and also gives the percentage increase or decrease since the last census in 2001.

This table is extremely helpful for furthering our research of Belfast.

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Since we are focusing mostly on the religious aspects of the city we of course had to look at the Religion category in the census. We are going to look at which religion (protestant/catholic/other) dominate which areas.

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East Belfast:

Population: 92,221

Protestant: 69,533

Catholic: 11,712

Other: 1,324

None: 9,652

From these stats we can determine that from a population of over 92,000 people the majority of people are protestant.


North Belfast:

Population: 102,531

Protestant: 46,821

Catholic: 48,126

Other: 1,066

None: 6,518

From these stats we can determine that North Belfast is fairly mixed in relation to the amount of catholic and protestant inhabitants.


South Belfast:

Population: 111,402

Protestant: 48,630

Catholic: 49,025

Other: 3,124

None: 10,623

From these stats on South Belfast we can determine that like North it is a fairly mixed area of Belfast in regards to protestant and catholic inhabitants.


West Belfast:

Population: 93,986

Protestant: 15,645

Catholic: 75,263

Other: 549

None: 2,529


City Centre:

According to Wikipedia Belfast City Centre is mostly populated by students and the elderly. I couldn’t find any statistics specific to the centre of Belfast in regards to religion.


From these stats on West Belfast we can determine that the majority of its inhabitants are of the catholic religion.


From this research I can conclude that out of the four areas of Belfast the East and the West are the most divided whereas North and South are more even when it comes to the amount of protestants/catholics.




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