Steampunk Myths and Legends Entry: Gary Jones


Gary Jones is entered in the “Steampunk Myths and Legends” update: View Challenge Page

Latest Update: Storyboards / pre-visualization: Bad pre-vis to get things going


Joining this a little late. I have been thinking about it in the back of my mind pretty well since the challenge was posted but unfortunately the course at Escape Studios didn’t finish until close to Christmas and I still haven’t managed to finish the end of course project.

I did some playing around with nCloth over the Christmas and New Year period as I intended to use it quite heavily in the project just to see if I could pick it up. Wasn’t too bad and I think it will help me reduce the amount of modeling I have to do.

So, the myth, Heracles/Hercules descent into hell to tackle Cerberus the 3 headed dog. Originally I planned on doing the dog heavily in steampunk style and make a big scene of the fight. This has changed do to the time constraints. Much more about him getting to the main entrance to hell after hitching a lift from Charon along with a bunch of souls on the boat across.

The steampunk elements are going to be anything that is related to hell, Charon (although I am still going to clothe him in a cloak like the more recent depictions of him), his boat (being a cross between an old steamer up the mississippi and a rowing boat), the iris/diaphram from the main gates to hell including all gears etc associated with opening it.

I noted from having a quick look at things that there might not be enough steampunk elements so instead of having Hercules descend down some stairs I might have him use some kind of steampunk style lift mechanism.

I started a full previs of all the shots to give me an idea for scale and timing but this was drainging a lot of time. It did help me decide on a couple of things and help me realise where I can skip a few bits and save time. Currently plan on putting it to the classic and admittedly cliche’d ‘O Fortuna’ from Carmina Burana which makes the sequence about 2min 30s. Rendering in 2:1 aspect ratio to give it a truely epic kind of look (and should help reduce the rendering times as I only need to render 640x320 instead of 640x480 which is 2/3’s the size.

Rendering with Renderman (although I only have licenses for 4 processors) with some narrow DoF shots and loads of displacements from ZBrush. Full asset list coming next and shot breakdown.



Ok, here’s an asset list I have drawn up from what I have done on the previs so far:

Main sculpt
Lion buckle (Kinda hommage to Scott Eaton’s shield sculpt as this will be a bad smaller version and it is his symbol from defeating the Nimmean Lion from an earlier quest)
Helmet (Will be kept on for most of the sequence to reduce facial rigging and texturing headaches)
Cloak (nCloth)
Skirt (nCloth)
(Full’ish rig)

Overall cloak (nCloth)
Mechanical bits
(Basic rig)

General shape
Steam cloud (or mechanical animation)

General shape (nCloth)
(Simple rig/control points)

Hell’s entrance
Main dome room
Skulls & Bones for alpha
Dynamics from skull and bones to make alpha for main dome

Iris/Diaphram for actual door to next part of hell

River Styx
Main river for boat to travel over (shouldn’t be too difficult but check how it renders in renderman)

Other stuff
Fire eye’s (Maya Fluids)
Torch lights (Maya Fluids w/ maybe some particles thrown in for how the torches looked in 300)


Software: Maya

I previs I threw together to give myself an idea of timings and camera positions. A few things came out of it including how little I like the stairs idea and how little time the steampunk elements have on screen so I intend to fix that as I go along.

Hard to explain what is happening as a lot of the shots which look like there is nothing happening there’s either ghosts flying around which was going to take too long to previs, or there was subtle things going on with either Charon or Hercules.

Anyway, hope it fulfill’s the previs requirement despite being rather shabby with loads of clipping problems do to large clipping planes and distances used.


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