View Full Version : The Journey Begins Challenge (3D) Entry: Michael Crinnion

02 February 2006, 12:28 PM
Michael Crinnion is entered in the "The Journey Begins Challenge" update: View Challenge Page (

Latest Update: Modeling: Alien body WIP (

02 February 2006, 12:37 PM
Hi everyone, this will be my third CG challenge entry, although the first only made it as far as one model and the second never even got as far as a concept. This time though I mean business! My skills have improved alot recently in character modelling so hopefully that will enable me to actually finish thisa challenge, and who knows... even win something?

(How i crave one of thos little trophy's under my name!)

I have an idea for what I want to do for this, i'll try and get a concept sketch up later!

02 February 2006, 11:15 PM (

Ok so heres my initial concept, it's obviously going to need some work on composition but this give a rough idea of what I'm reying to portray.

The aliens have crash landed on Earth in the dessert and don't really know what to do about it, there's an intention to have a sort of comedic value to the image which hasn't come across here all that well. They are tiny as you can see and have a loooooong way before they can meet the locals. I intend to improve on the comedic side with little touches like a rought guide to earth manual and other little touches.

There are two main areas of focus the crash scene with our characters and the distant cityscape. Dividing the two is a vast VAST amount of baron desert.

Let me know what you think people... I'm gonna do another sketch i think to work out composition before I start modelling, suggestions on the compostion would be helpful.

Cheers, Crin.

02 February 2006, 11:42 PM
Hehe, funny idea. I agree that the composition needs some work, but the idea is great :D. I like how the one alien is laying there holding his head, haha.

Keep it up!

03 March 2006, 10:39 AM
Thanks flaming, i'm gonna try and do some work on the composition later today.

Anyone got any suggestions as to what would make this a better piece? Changes are alot easier to implement early on I find! ;)

03 March 2006, 10:48 AM
Good luck Michael !


03 March 2006, 11:04 AM
Thanks Laeticia, any other thoughts?

And before anyone says anything I am aware that the aliens look like Clive in my Av but I won't be using this model although they will probably still look like him. I will be remodelling from the start, will this be ok rules wise?

03 March 2006, 12:07 PM
great idea you got here!!
good luck for the challenge

03 March 2006, 12:10 PM (

I think with there being so much emphasis in this challenge on representing the depth and scale that it is important that you consider final composition early. So that is what I have done, I have kept the main elements but tidyed them up using well known composition techniques, there is now ONE main focus, two smaller sub-focuses and a strong "leading the viewer" into the image feel to the composition.

03 March 2006, 12:10 PM
nice concept. :) can really feel sorry for those guys and their journey.

03 March 2006, 02:13 PM
Thanks Makaron, yeah I want a real sense of pity for the little guys, but at the same time I'm gonna try and give it a comedic edge though little details.

03 March 2006, 04:53 PM (

Nothing much new, just a first attempt at blocking out the scene. The road needs to be wider proably about three times wider.

03 March 2006, 07:17 PM
great start michael :D i like the concept very much :D

03 March 2006, 07:22 PM
Thanks man, i'm currently thinking up ways to add the comdey I want. I've started work on modelling the ship, I think it's going to have go faster stripes!

03 March 2006, 01:05 AM
Good Start man, Keep it up.......:bounce:

03 March 2006, 01:50 AM (

Ok, so I started modelling, I couldn't resist. This is the current state of affairs with regards to the Alien ship. I'm going for a kinda of 70's sci-fi charm to help fuel the comedic theme I want to convey, think Barbarella. Obviously this is only a WIP but critiques are always appreciated.

03 March 2006, 01:54 AM
nice i like the style... ur going in the same direction as me in terms of.. the journey isnt over when you reach your destination, its just begun. Would like to see some concepts of the aliens though because they are really an integral part of the composition.


03 March 2006, 01:58 AM
how cute that is... :bounce: if a spaceship can be called cute :p

03 March 2006, 02:04 AM
makaron >> YAY! Spot on! that's what I wanted! *grins*

These little guys were just out on a space "sunday drive" in there spaceship equivilant of a cinqcento and ended up stuck on earth in the middle of the dessert, poor little things! I reckon when it's textured it may even have some stripes.

dimi16 >> Expect a concept sketch of the aliens soon, think Clive (my avatar) but cuter, bugier, shorter (i think) and probably with little Barbarella style space suits.

03 March 2006, 02:32 AM
You need to put some fins on that spaceship :D

03 March 2006, 03:19 AM
Hey this is cool!

Good luck to you:)

03 March 2006, 04:44 AM
Great concept, I think you might need something in the forground to show just how small they are, maybe grass and rocks are enough tho. Can't wait to see more...

03 March 2006, 06:30 AM
Great concept, I think you might need something in the forground to show just how small they are, maybe grass and rocks are enough tho. Can't wait to see more...
The cigarette butts from your initial concept would be great to show scale. From your 1st sketch I had the impression that the alien on the ground was being lazy and just relaxing in the sun (as opposed to being injured) while the other was all, "we gotta go get help!"

Great concept, and the ship model is looking pretty good too!

Good Luck! :beer:

03 March 2006, 08:30 AM
nice start modelling the ship michael :D looking good

03 March 2006, 11:13 AM
Agamemnwn >> Thanks man, I've got work to do today (damn those bills and there need to be paid) but hopefully I'll get a chance to do some more work on it later.

Wintermute >> Yeah the cigarette butts will still feature, I think there the best way of showing the scale in the foreground, another idea my girlfriends had was to replace the rock in the foreground with a coke tin or something similar, I haven't decided yet.

MOSS >> See above

OberonX >> I've considered that actually, I think when I get back to modelling I'll extend the small fin shape on the top and add them in the places I've not yet on the sides. I'll probably do a couple of versions to see what people prefer.

Thanks to everyone for the encouragement and feedback! :thumbsup:

03 March 2006, 02:08 PM
good work so far buddy, looking forward to this one.... keep up the good work!!

03 March 2006, 02:19 PM
Good start Michael! Funny.. :thumbsup:

If you let those aliens crash on the road itself and you set the camera on the road on the seperation line, so that the white line on the road covers the whole width of your bottomsection that you will render, these fella's will be very very small, so then it will have them make a longer Journey to the city. The more small you will make these aliens, the more Journey there will be for them..

Looking good, I'll keep lurking here from ti to ti..

03 March 2006, 02:24 PM
Nice idea, I'm not sure about weather it might make the majority of the foreground quite dull though if it's just road. I'll play about with it once i'm finished on the ship model. I don't want them to seem like there in immediate danger, which of course they would be slap bang in the middle of the road. We'll see, thanks for your time and suggestions.

03 March 2006, 06:55 PM
Fun concept, I really like the spaceship model.

cheers, good luck.

03 March 2006, 10:30 PM
Thanks Soapy, hopefully tomorrow I will have made enough progress on the model to make it worth posting another WIP.

03 March 2006, 08:56 AM
cool idea and good beginning :) good luck !

03 March 2006, 06:57 PM (

Ok so an update on the alien ship. Crits would be appreciated! :D

03 March 2006, 07:17 PM
still a spaceship to die for.. so cute :bounce: gonna be any windows?

03 March 2006, 07:27 PM
Really nice space ship :) Like how its so "round" and not flat, as most UFO desigs I've seen.
Keep it up!

03 March 2006, 08:01 PM
Really like the spaceships -Look really clean and original. They actually look like these could be escape capsules ejected from a the main craft which adds to the concept. Good job!


03 March 2006, 08:25 PM
Pete2003 >> Thanks, it's times like this that being a product designer my trade works to your advantage. :D

Lady Medusa >> Glad you like it, I've deliberately avoided that whole "flying saucer" thing. It's such a clich

makaron >> Maybe one day you can have one of your own? In pink? :thumbsup: As for windows I've been toying with the idea of putting two small round windows on the front, I think they'll add to the cuteness but I don't want to over complicate the deign. I'll try it and see.

I'm not sure if I'm gonna finish the ship before i go into developing the characters or not. I know pretty much what there going to look like in my head. We'll see how I feel next time Max is open! :scream:

03 March 2006, 08:44 PM
two small windows sounds good to me.. and if the ship dont get any... no wonder they been crash-landing :eek:

and I start to save now... :p sign me up for one in pink with goldflakes... :bounce:

03 March 2006, 09:25 PM
skills slick,.... looking good does it hover or is it gonna have landing tackle??.... keep it up ..

03 March 2006, 09:37 PM
makaron >> Well i was thinking maybe they had sat nav! :D Pink it is!

Dean >> I was thinking about landing gear but seeing as they've crashed landed it's gonna be half buried so I don't thik it's worth doing any. That said, I reckon the ship may just hover in a normal situation anyways!

03 March 2006, 12:33 AM
This ship tottaly cracks me up..:D...awesome...oh and windows!!...put round windows..:applause:

03 March 2006, 07:41 AM
hiya Crin......... just checking up on your WIP. Great concept and start. Feel sorry already for those little fellas........!! :thumbsup:

03 March 2006, 05:14 PM
Dimitris >> Thanks, I'm glad the funny/cute thing is coming off well, I'm hoping it won't lose this when I texture it, I'm undecided on what colours to go with yet, any suggestions?

Claireabella >> Nice to see you again! Thanks for droping by my thread, glad you like the idea and my start! I'll be keeping tabs on your progress to y'know! We both have to finish for once, no excuses this time!

03 March 2006, 05:34 PM
Nice little spaceships!

landing gear indeed isn't what ya need.. they crashed, right? :D
I know it's an early stage, but are those ships gonna look banged up?

Don't stop now!

03 March 2006, 05:37 PM
nice style you've set for ships...very classic

03 March 2006, 05:41 PM
Yeah man there definitely going to be dented and stuff but i figured it would be better to model them as they would look and then add the dents afterwards. In all honestly I haven't yet decided on the orientation of the shot in the crash site yet so I don't know how much "crash deformation" I'm going to need to do, if there facing away then most of it will be hidden so I won't bother modelling that.

03 March 2006, 03:21 PM
Great work, man! Exellent concept to!
Love your spaceships! Exited for more :)

03 March 2006, 03:35 PM
hey, after i saw your space ship model, i guess i gotta work a little more with my "space pod" sketches...good luck

03 March 2006, 03:52 PM
hi michael . great modelling . u can still use the landing geat u modell just change ita little and put it in the crash site just to show that they tried to land ok but couldnt

03 March 2006, 03:55 PM
Jonason >> Thanks for the feedback man. Just been doing some work on smaller objects this past few days, having a time out form the ships, check back later today I'll have posted again by then.

Agamemnwn >> Nice idea, not sure if it would even have landing gear though being a space ship, dunno, i'll model some up and see how it looks i think.

03 March 2006, 04:15 PM
Looking good so far! Definitely liking the ship style.

Keep up the good work!

03 March 2006, 11:51 PM (

Ok so a little more modelling and texturing too this time. The All important cigarette butts that will show how small the aliens are. These are soon to be joined by a bottle top too. Crits welcome!

03 March 2006, 02:25 AM
nice touch with the name! they look pretty dam real and thats froma 20 a day guy!!.. just the ends need a tinker me thinks but you know this already!

03 March 2006, 02:30 AM
from a non-smoker's view, those are looking pretty good. In addition to the burned/used aspect, a bit more dirt and grains of sand on there should make these fit in the environment a bit more. Maybe flattening them some more and adding more crumples to the paper.

keep it up! :beer:

03 March 2006, 09:57 AM
Wintermute >> Yeah they do need a bit more roughing up, I'm not sure how to add the creases in the paper, I tried bump mapping bu it looked awful, I guess it's going to either have to be displacement mapping or geometry, I'll revisit these a bit later on I think. There only small but there going to be pretty near the camera so I want them to look right.

Dean >> Thanks man, I think the stretched look at the burnt end is made worse by the burn smears, I'll shorten those and hopefully it won't look so stretched.

03 March 2006, 04:34 PM (

Ok so here's another item that I will be using for scale against the minature aliens. A nice Bottle'o'Crin bottle top! Mmmmmmm that's some drinkin' ;)

03 March 2006, 05:29 PM
wow, great realism...... i think i have seen the person on the top...not sure where though!!...nice work chief

03 March 2006, 05:43 PM
heh,very nice detail on such tiny props :)..the bottletops look great,would be nice to see a wire too if possible


03 March 2006, 06:12 PM
your alliens gonna love the landing :p both cigaretts and drinks :bounce: and those caps looks good too me...
so cheers :beer:with Bottle'o'Crin of course...

03 March 2006, 06:30 PM
Hahaha Michael!
lovely detail on those bottletops, is you, right? :thumbsup:
good looking texturing.. ;)

03 March 2006, 01:10 AM
MichaelMotion >> Thanks man, yeah it's me, it's kinda of a joke between me and my girlfriend and thought it would make for a funny bottle top.

makaron >> You can enjoy your Bottle 'o' Crin while cruising in your pink Spaceship eh? mmmmmm that's some drinkin'! :beer:

Stefan_Morrell >> Thanks, high praise indeed from such a master of detail, I am honoured :bowdown: Although they are only small props, in my opinion, it's the details that make an image really beautiful.

Dean >> Thanks man, always ncie to have positive feedback from a fellow product designer and of course old friend.

03 March 2006, 12:56 AM
Incidentally, I modeled a bottle cap last night. I was rather surprised by how hard such a seemingly simple little item was to model. In the end, the polycount ended up being so high that I decided to scrub it. Cool work on them. I'll be watching. Generally, I like your style too ... heh

03 March 2006, 01:02 AM
Yeah, the poly count on those was a bit high for such a small object but it's going to be quite prominent in the scene so I decided it was worth it.

What sort of polycount do you reckon is a good benchmark for one of these finished scenes? I know that's a very open ended question becuase it depnds entirely on how complex the scene is but just roughly? 500'000? 1 million? 10 million? :shrug:

03 March 2006, 01:09 AM
You know, that's a good question. I rarely even pay attention to polycount until it's too late. I have as of recently been refining my modeling methods and making a concious effort to try to keep things down though. When I look back at some of my early models I'm amazed that my machine didn't catch on fire, it's embarassing.

03 March 2006, 01:26 AM
:argh: Mine are pretty high so far! And that's with making a concious effort to keep things low fat.

03 March 2006, 06:33 AM
makaron >> You can enjoy your Bottle 'o' Crin while cruising in your pink Spaceship eh? mmmmmm that's some drinkin'! :beer:
yeah! :p now we talking beginning of a epic journey... haha... :bounce: hoping that you show us an update soon...
BTW, my son had a nickname for me a couple years ago... he called me UFO :D

03 March 2006, 02:14 PM
Yeah something new soon hopefully, I'm a bit poorly at the moment which has put the brakes on this project for the shortterm, but once i'm back to full health it'll fire back up, don't you worry.

03 March 2006, 02:19 PM
Right now my scene is about 100,000 and my main character is 40000 (3500 faces but has a sub-d modifier on it which increases the number dramatically). Its the particle and texture effects which slow render time I think. I like the bottle caps. I don't think you really need to worry about this, since its an illustration. Will the alien in your avatar be in the scene?

03 March 2006, 02:23 PM
take care and hope you feel better soon, :) so we can see more updates...

03 March 2006, 02:23 PM
Well, not that exact alien seeing as he was done before the challenge began and I don't want to cheat! :) Anyways, that's Clive the Anxious Alien... you'd never get him this far away from home! :D

That said, the aliens idea was inspired by Clive and will no doubt have a look similar to his.

As for Polycounts, are those very low? Mine are considerably higher than the ones you have mentioned here. More like 200'000 for the ship for example.

P.s. Thanks Makaron! :)

03 March 2006, 02:25 PM
FYI ... I just checked my scene and it's coming in at about 72K ATM. That's just the characters with no environment.

Feeling poorly? What, you got the bird flu?

03 March 2006, 02:27 PM
I'm trying to keep mine low able to be animated on a single desktop. So yeah 200,000 for an object is a little high. Although if you use Sub-D's or Nurbs you could get away with complex shapes with less geometry. But high geometry is only an issue if you decide to layer tons of effects on it during the render. Like anti-aliasing, depth of field, motion blur, ambient occulusion and radiosity.

03 March 2006, 02:34 PM
Womball >> I model mostly everything using Sub-D so i guess i could knock off an iteration here and there, I'm a surface perfectionist but I can get away with that in my line of work as a product designer because there's usually only a couple of objects in the scene. I've never attempted something of this magnitude before.

3D_Explorer >> So it looks like mines coming in pretty heavy, I'll wait to see how much detail will show due to distance from the camera on the various objects and adjust there Sub-D iterations accordingly. As for the poorlyness, I have good old British man flu plus this week I've finally come off the anti-anxiety medication I've been on for years and I'm having a few nasty withdrawal symptoms. Fun fun fun.

03 March 2006, 10:52 AM
Great modelling so far! I like the bottle tops especially. For the cigarettes, those white speckles look a bit obviously drawn with a round brush. Whether you need to add more detail or not depends on how close it'll be to the camera in the final image though.

Nice shape you got for the ship, but it might look a bit better with more detail to break it up.

I don't think you need to worry with the poly counts you've got. Doesn't really matter at rendertime, but if your comp starts slowing down you can always use stand-in objects or drop the iterations.:)

You're going great so far! Looking forward to seeing all those objects arranged in the actual composition.:thumbsup:

03 March 2006, 06:33 PM
Burpy >> Yeah, round brush, guilty as charged. I think I may peel a cig and scan it for that texture. As for the ship, I'm going to put in some rivets on the panles to break it up and then texture it obviously, so that should help. Thanks for all the feedback though man. :blush:

03 March 2006, 06:37 PM
If you're thinking about peeling a cig to scan, you may as well get a butt from a smoker friend (if you have any nearby), heck get a couple and stomp them into the ground for reference :D

Bottlecaps are looking great too! keep it up! :beer:

03 March 2006, 08:07 PM
Yeah I did actually use a cig butt for reference which is skanked form an ashtray at a bar I DJ in. Nice eh? It's bad enough having to touch a cig dimp that's been smoked though, I don't fancy peeling one too, i'll rob a fresh on off a mate next time I'm out.

03 March 2006, 08:24 PM
I like the design of the alien ships. Has a cool retro science-fiction look to them.

03 March 2006, 05:57 PM
Thanks, that was what I was going for, the aliens will hold that too. A kind of irony that what we thought things from the future would look like I the 70's was actually pretty accurate.

03 March 2006, 06:35 PM
Not bad for a MAX render ... LOL

03 March 2006, 12:13 AM
The bottle tops? That's not even a good render, you wait and see my friend! ;)

03 March 2006, 12:40 PM (

Ok so progress has been a bit slow over the past few days but I did find time to collect some reference imagery from the net and put it into a mood board type collage. This will help with my inspiration and generation of the landscape and general mood of the image.

03 March 2006, 05:56 PM
A mood board?, that's interesting, I'll try it!
I like the idea of the"ironic aliens' it's pretty funny. If you could pull off a realistic look, I'm quite positive this could be a very interesting image.

03 March 2006, 07:24 PM (

So finally a sketch of how I see the aliens! I know this is a very cartoony sketch but that's the only way I can draw organically. In 3D the aliens will be heavily stylised but less cartoony. That doesn't make much sense but you'll see what I mean.

The spacesuit reflects the design of the ship as you can see adding to the ironic retro humour approach I'm going for.

The face looks very human here, that's intentional, remember the 60's and 70's Star Trek and other programs aliens? They were pretty much human with green skin and funny shaped heads. That's what I want.

03 March 2006, 07:30 PM
like the dessert mood... and looking forward to see your alien match the spaceship... :)

hopefully we see those polys soon...

03 March 2006, 08:02 PM
Thanks Mona, hopefully I'll get to work on the alien soon, I've got alot of "proper" work on at the moment so I'm a bit short on spare time!

03 March 2006, 11:10 PM (

Well, the alien had to start somewhere and really enjoy eye's so here we go. I plan to convey the majority of the aliens emotion with the eyes so I made them very human in geometry with a somewhat exagerated look and massive pupils. Onto the head then!!

03 March 2006, 11:12 PM
well. you got yourself a good start with this beautiful eye...

carry on... :thumbsup:

03 March 2006, 11:15 PM
Wow that was fast Mona, sorry the progress is a bit slow this past few weeks but bills needs to be paid and that means lots of time spent on "proper work" instead of fun stuff like this. Thanks for the compliment on the eye, I'm pretty pleased with it, it's the halfway house between human and alien I was looking for, and it has that clean Pixar look to it which fits with the style of the image.

03 March 2006, 11:19 PM
I know, Im fast sometimes... thats why my avatar and me goes well together... :p

and hope you have more time soon so we can see the rest of the alien :)

03 March 2006, 11:21 PM
I plan to get it moving as soon as I have some extra time, I had a number of people following this thread too but I think alot of them may have lost interest with the lack of progress recently, my bad.

03 March 2006, 11:45 PM
Nice eyeball ;)

03 March 2006, 09:44 AM
Thanks man, I know it's not much but the head is soon to follow.

03 March 2006, 10:12 AM
hi michael ,

been too busy and havent posted. I like the concept for the alien and the way u are going to make the background . looking good :D

03 March 2006, 09:14 PM (

Ok so another sketch of the head, this is pretty much how I want him to look. Don't worry though Poly to follow in a couple of minutes (or at least a start on them)

03 March 2006, 09:22 PM (

Hazaaaah! Wires for the head at last, I know it's no where near complete but as Plato once said... to begin is to be halfway there!

03 March 2006, 08:16 PM (

Ok so modelling on the head is complete, the material you see here is not the final one, just a quick procedural texture to make do for this image. I'm pleased with the emotion on the face, anxiety and fear, but with a comical edge.

03 March 2006, 08:18 PM
anxiety and fear, and you got that... looking good too :)

03 March 2006, 10:03 PM
Horay for Mona! The only person still intrested in my little entry! I'll keep ploughing on though just fo you! ;)

03 March 2006, 11:31 PM
Beautiful work on the expression.
I have yet to reach that hurdle but I know how hard it is to get it looking that good.
Love the alien dude, really well modelled and has such cool eyes :)
Nice work.

03 March 2006, 11:16 AM
Yeah it is tricky but I'm pretty pleased with the result, as you can see I wanted a human-esque alien, this makes it easier to portray emotion in my opinon. Thanks for the kind words. :)

03 March 2006, 11:54 AM
Damn good modell! I really like it, when it's little bit hard around the nose and eyes! Cool work, keep it up! Can't wait to see the body!

03 March 2006, 12:03 PM
Yeah nice job, he looks like he's being told off :D

03 March 2006, 01:12 PM
M477 >> Well I guess that's the right expression then, remember they've crashed in the middle of out most baron desserts and really aren't at all sure how there gonna get back home.

Jonason >> Thanks for the positive reply mate. The body is soon to follow, then it's back to modelling innocuous objects like rocks and pants i suppose *sigh*

03 March 2006, 01:14 PM
Horay for Mona! The only person still intrested in my little entry! I'll keep ploughing on though just fo you! ;)

naaa.. it seems that Im not the only one... :thumbsup: but Im gonna sit tight and watch you ploughing on :bounce:

03 March 2006, 03:07 PM
Yeah there was a sudden flurry of intrest! ;)

Your still my most loyal fan though! :)

03 March 2006, 08:04 PM
Wow some really nice progress here. Those bottle caps are stellar. The little alien gy is coming along nicely, he looks scared silly. hahah. I hope he is smart enough to stay off the highway...

03 March 2006, 09:09 PM
Yeah we don't want alien road kill! Thanks for the comments mate.

04 April 2006, 12:03 PM
nice stuff man, looks proper mint like

04 April 2006, 03:03 PM
Thanks man, I'm so busy at the moment I'm dying to get back into this.

04 April 2006, 09:59 PM
come back we want to see more! :wip:

04 April 2006, 01:25 PM
I've been so busy I've not had any time, I'm gonna try and get the alien finished soon though! Thanks for the support! :D

04 April 2006, 07:40 PM (

Ok, so was going to wait until I'd finished the Alien before I updated but seeing as I've beem so busy and I've been making such slow progress I might as well post a WIP for the body, hope I can finish in time, I was confident about this for a while. I guess only time will tell.

04 April 2006, 07:43 PM
*accidental double post*

05 May 2006, 11:10 AM
Well, once again despite my best efforts workloads have got the better of me and I'm not going to finish. Good luck to everyone and thanks for all the support!

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