View Full Version : Spider/Fly Animation

08 August 2005, 03:35 PM
Hey everyone,

Well...this is the first project I've completed while working for MAKE (

The idea was to create a quick 8-second shot combining a spider, a fly and a jetpack. Personally I would have liked to extend the shot's length and therefore give the viewer a bit more to see....but having to work within such tight shot-length constraints was a good challenge.

Everything was created in 3dsmax 7, was rendered with the default scanline renderer, and was composited in AfterEffects. The DOF was achieved using the Frischluft plugins for AfterEffects.

Credit goes to Danny Robashkin for DOF effects and some of the compositing (and the long hours he put in getting the renderfarm working! ;)).

Spider/Fly (Quicktime, 2.5mb) (

Mirror (

*Edit: I should mention that a version with sound effects should be coming soon (if I have the time) :)

08 August 2005, 03:55 PM
Wow, good stuff man!

I laughed so hard when I saw that piece, the jet packs totally caught me off guard (I watched the vid before I read your entry)

No crits from me :thumbsup: :applause:

08 August 2005, 04:40 PM
Jaw dropping goodness. Great timing throughout. Excellent animation and photoreal final product. 4 stars from me :buttrock:

08 August 2005, 10:04 PM
You never cease to amaze me.

08 August 2005, 12:35 AM
Really good quality. Congratulations. Really realistic. And a bit funny.

08 August 2005, 05:04 AM
GREAT!!! 5 stars

08 August 2005, 10:01 AM
that was a 3D spider? Damn!

08 August 2005, 11:15 AM
man, this is a kick a$$ animation. very realistic. :applause:

Harry Sanchez
08 August 2005, 12:31 PM
SwEEt....hahaha..Kracks me up. When the fly just dips...funny stuff. Awesome animation!!

08 August 2005, 12:34 PM
another great animation man !!!:eek:

5 stars !!!:buttrock:

08 August 2005, 12:51 PM
inspiring... to say the least. excellent work!

08 August 2005, 01:30 PM
One of the most photorealistic animations I have ever seen.
Simply stunning. :thumbsup:

08 August 2005, 01:46 PM
really really good

and u are working now, that's great news

hope u make more kickass animations in the future (like carcrash fxwars)

08 August 2005, 01:54 PM
and ofcourse it's first page material

08 August 2005, 02:26 PM
amazing !! 5/5!! the spider was so realistic, it owns itself a 6/5 @.@! good job!

08 August 2005, 03:08 PM
Hey everyone....thanks a lot! I appreciate your comments!

08 August 2005, 03:58 PM
Very impresive, man!

Great work, looks fantastic (and real!).

Keep on!

08 August 2005, 07:33 PM
very nice, excellent work. the only slightly off thing seems the fly'smotion in flight, a little too rapid somehow.

08 August 2005, 07:48 PM
how long did it take you to finish? 4 hours? :D

08 August 2005, 08:01 PM
Not quite ;)

08 August 2005, 08:01 PM
Hey another great piece from you.

And i do agree with you willing to extend it a bit longer. A couple of seconds would make it even better or should i say more finished. At least to see how the spider would fall of the branch. Anyway great stuff and 5 stars from me.

08 August 2005, 08:48 PM
Cool looking. 5 stars.

08 August 2005, 09:29 PM
MAN this is the best!!
Can't tell it from the real thing. Too bad it had to be in 8 sec, but I give it 5/5 anyways.

08 August 2005, 10:52 PM
Another great nature animation. I remember the sparrow animation you did. I am always impressed with your quick little clips; but you really nailed it with the spider in this one.
It's hard to believe he's not the real McCoy.
:applause: :applause: :applause: :applause: :applause:

08 August 2005, 01:53 AM
Just because Ali is from the middle east and he doesn't understand freedom, ignore him and keep up the good work man!!!

He was joking. If you don't know what a joke is then look in the mirror.

08 August 2005, 03:07 AM
really good work!

08 August 2005, 07:11 AM
God I hate you :DDD

Awesome as usual!

Maybe the afterburner flame was a bit too yellow though, minor crit anyways.

08 August 2005, 10:20 AM
Just because Ali is from the middle east and he doesn't understand freedom, ignore him and keep up the good work man!!!

This is your last warning. Please stop the personal attacks and the inappropriate comments.

08 August 2005, 01:30 PM
Great job Tyson. Another solid piece. Good use of camera shake, DOF, and cuts to make the shot more dynamic.

Art :thumbsup:

08 August 2005, 04:37 PM
really want to take u off my mind, how could u do such a beautiful work....:twisted: , i am serious.

could u tell me where and how long had u been studied max?

08 August 2005, 07:37 PM
Hi azloha,

I've been using 3dsmax for about 4.5 years now :)


08 August 2005, 01:01 AM
superb work once again tyson! :)

you capture such natural movements!

everything is top notch!

keep it up!


::Rotten Apple::
08 August 2005, 01:51 AM
O... o?! what the...!!;;; what a great think!!

08 August 2005, 02:27 PM
Most excellent, as usual :thumbsup: :eek:

I'm a big fan of LOR (Lots Of Robots (, so that ending part was very tasty :buttrock:

08 August 2005, 04:01 PM
Well you already know what I think of it! Just to let you know that I showed it to the guys at work - they were all equally impressed! Heh, and as a result I got to learn a new Thai expression for "That's damn excellent!"

08 August 2005, 04:52 PM
Once again you demonstrated some great skills of observation and of course animation:)

My only crit about the idea behind the animation is that the fly basically flies slower with the rocket activated than without it. I think having it be simply a flame thrower that would have caused the spider to fall down would have been better, on a technical level:p

08 August 2005, 12:26 PM
man..ur too fuken crazy! :bowdown: 5 stars, nuff said!

08 August 2005, 01:50 PM
Wow!~very nice!

08 August 2005, 10:02 AM
lol....i think can see spider eat the fly great idea. did u use sss on that spider, look realistik spider

sorry 4 my bad english

08 August 2005, 12:14 PM
impressive work!
amazing skills you have. congratulations.

08 August 2005, 09:36 PM
Great work Tyson! Very realistic. I agree that the flame is a little too yellow though.
I interned at MAKE earlier this year, great to see some cool stuff coming out of there.

08 August 2005, 11:07 AM
wow that jet pack came out of nowhere :)

08 August 2005, 09:28 PM
That can't be fake... It is so real!
9/10 needs some sound to get top grade...But you are alredy working on that :)

08 August 2005, 12:22 AM
Hey man! Absolutely mind blowing!

Do you realize how unusual it is for a guy at your age and with your experience to have his own style?
As I said I'll keep watching your stuff and learning from them.

There are a couple of things that puzzle me:
How did you fake that SSS on the spider's legs?
-which hides an even bigger question of what methode are you using for the shaders? are these 100% self illuminated shaders with a light-Shadow falloff to have better control over the shadow colors ect.? How do you do it?!
What tool did you use to do the fur?
How did you do that back-light edge-burn effect on the fur? is it composition?
Finally what most interests me is how many layers did you use in the composition and what were they.

I'd appreciate it if you could answer these questions but I will understand if you decide not to.

Maybe one critique:
It looks like the movement is about 150% faster than natural, atleast the spider's. I think if you'd slow it down it would add more tension and would give the viewer more time to watch that increadibly photoreal creature and environment.

Once again - Great job! I can't wait to see what's next :)

08 August 2005, 01:04 AM
Hey thoughtcriminal, thanks for your comments and questions! I'll try to respond to them :)

The SSS on the spiders legs/body is done with a standard material, and "translucency" as the shader (remember...everything is scanline rendered so there's not really any other SSS solution)

The look you see came with a TON of tweaking....but mostly a combo of a bit of self-illumination, specular and lots of translucency as described above (usually set within a mask, using a falloff "light/shadow" map to get around any shading problems)

The fur is a good question. All of the "fur" on the spider is simply tiny cone-objects scattered over its surface (using the scatter compound object). Each cone has a material with translucency and VERY high specular on you get those nice "light shining through translucent hair" effects.

That being said, the fly used to have the same kind of hair on it....but due to the limitations of the scatter compound object in max, and the closeness of some of the shots on the fly, it simply looked terrible. the end we used the hairfx plugins for the fly's hair...and it looks 1000x better IMO (the original renders without the hair plugin on the fly looked EMBARRASINGLY bad!)

As for's pretty much just the base beauty layer combined with several adjustment layers, dust layers, ambient occlusion in one shot (if I remember correctly) etc etc....nothing too's not like were rendering shadows on one pass, and then diffuse on another and specular on another etc etc etc.

What you see in the finished shot is surprisingly close to the original raw render...the MAIN difference between raw render and final shot is the DOF (ie...there is no DOF in the raw renders)

Hope that helps!

08 August 2005, 01:58 AM
Thanks man!

Of course it helps! I'll check all of the methodes you mentioned - I've never put too much thought into shaders technology and tricks and that's one of the things which I'm trying to improve right now. In your case it's clear that you do not only have the technical skill but also an eye for detail and esthetics.

One more Q:

how long took each frame to render? I understand you used a render farm?
And about the dirt map and ambiant occlusion - I didn't know there is a dirt map in 3DSM scanline render... (?)

08 August 2005, 02:20 AM
Hey man,

I believe the average frame time was 2 minutes. That was the case mostly because we used object motion blur instead of image motion blur to get more correct results and less motion smudging (ie...we wanted crispness).

Btw....I guess my memory was confusing this shot with the ladybug shot for a moment....I checked the aftereffects files and it turns out that we never did give this shot an ambient occlusion pass. It was just the beauty, dust (and smoke) passes that were rendered after all. Sorry bout that ;)

08 August 2005, 09:56 AM
Hay man, after pulling something like this out (BTW how much time did you spend making it?), if there's anyone who should be sorry for anything, it's me, for not being able to do it myself... ;-)

I'm seriously thinking of giving away the little spare time I've got left since starting to work at Snowball, for getting better and matching your current capabilities, hehe, I wonder - by the time I get there, where will YOU be...

Well I can allways become that snowboarding champion I've allways wanted to become... Who am I kidding, I'm talking to a canadian, and we've got this tiny 800m mountain up north with one meter of snow for about 3 weeks a year... I'm going nowhere... hehe I might have gone too far with it, haven't I?

08 August 2005, 02:39 PM
Hey man...don't give up on account of anything I do!!!

Btw....I'm ashamed to say that the spider/fly shot took about 1.5 weeks...which was WAAAY too long IMO...but I'm not kidding when I say that probably 5-7 days out of that were dedicated entirely to fixing the DOF (which we were having major problems with, due to some of the limitations of the Frischluft plugin) and to fixing the renderfarm (another major headache until we got it going).

Originally it was only supposed to take around 4-5 days, including all of the modelling and rendering etc.

08 August 2005, 02:46 PM
By the way...I checked out Snowball's VFX reel and they've got some really cool stuff on it!

08 August 2005, 04:26 PM
thats ultra real looking, love it very much, well done

08 August 2005, 06:07 PM
Yeah I have to agree with you on that one. And the new stuff is even better (those thing on the reel are pretty old), but I've been recruited not too long ago and I haven't done any VFX yet (I'm currently working on max-scripts for our feature film pipeline).

I was wondering if maybe you got more than 24 hours a day up north over there, cause I can't find any other reasonable explanation for the speed of your work and that steep learning curve.
How many hours a day did you put in learning 3DSM since starting back at 2000?
Were you kicked out of school for not attending classes?
Have you ever worked in 3D before joining Make?

I'm simply trying to calm myself down... I'm still pretty nervous... ;-)

08 August 2005, 09:22 PM
Hey man...well I pretty much didn't use max that much up until around 2002....that's when I really decided that I wanted to do this for the rest of my life ;)

As for how many hours a the last 1.5 years I'd say my average is around 4-10 hours per day but before that it was around 1-2.

I've never been kicked out of school though...finished highschool with honours and even managed to fit a year of Bible college in after that ;)

Besides this job here at MAKE that I arrived at approx. 3 weeks ago, my only other job-related experience I've gotten is through freelance work that I took on every so often.

08 August 2005, 11:45 PM
Well that's inspiring man...

Keep on learning and doing those amazing stuff you do.
What is this sequence for? can you share that? is it another one of your researchs or is it something else?

When are you going to edit all your cool stuff and post your showreel here? I hope you understand that the top studios are going to stand on their feettrying to hire you (at least I would if I were they)

08 August 2005, 12:40 AM
This was actually a sequence specifically designed for the company's VFX reel.

As for me...yeah some day I guess I'll have to get around to putting together a reel eh ;)

08 August 2005, 03:04 AM
one word.. SWEET!!

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