Student project - Adam Ruffley


Hi, I will be posting updates on my student project here. I’d love to hear any feedback or insights you may have.

This project is a vfx project, with a total of 12 weeks of production time. For now, let’s start with the premise.

Aliens are invading your city and landing in your back yard.

This project will consist of a number of shots IRL and two alien robots for the actor to interact with. I will keep this thread updated when possible.



This is the blockout model for a probe concept I have done. The probe will ‘unfurl’ into this position.


This was a breakdown of how the model will ‘unfurl’ into it’s final position.


This is a 3D model I made for the project. This was a proof of concept model, so it lacks a lot of polish and detail. I’m pretty happy with it. It’s meant to be a robot that is invading from outer space. It seems suitably creepy and menacing.


I am currently working on some additional aspects of the project, on one hand I am trying to use Photogrammetry to scan a shell. If anyone knows of a good tutorial that would be very helpful. I am using 3ds Max & an Android phone.

I also need to make a limb for the alien that should be able to move, sort of like a sea slug or octopus. So if anyone has any tips or tutorials about tentacles or rigs that can ‘stretch’ a model, that would be fantastic.

My updates have been a bit slow as there has been some confusion over the story and what I am meant to be working on. Hopefully I have it nailed down now so I can start work in earnest.


The past couple of weeks, due to some confusion with the primary project direction, I have focused on my personal project work and collaboration work.

My current project has been put on hold due to scope issues until a simplified story can be put together. While this happens I am working on photogrammertry and one of the previously proposed models as a personal project.

I have also now finished my collaboration work for this trimester, which was around 25 voxel models for a game another group is working on.




This is the second attempt at photogrammetry, it turned out alright but not great and there is a major issue with one side of the shell due to discoloration on the actual shell. I have gone out and found some new, larger shells that hopefully will not have this issue. However I did already try a different shell which failed completely as it’s cream colour was too similar to the walls of the room where I took the photos so the software seemed unable to decipher the difference between the two.

The shell is important as it will be the basis for the new creature I am creating.


I managed to get the photogrammetry working well, and have done the re-topology and mesh fixes in Zbrush.

However, I have encountered a problem with keeping the texture files from Meshroom for the model. As it seems that the process of importing to Zbrush and remeshing changes the topology, as intended, but, as a result, the old texture no longer works.

I have spent some time trying to find a solution to this, however, none was found. It’s made slightly more complicated since the Meshroom Textures came as 3 seperate textures (tex multi).

At this point, I don’t have a lot of time remaining to finalize this model, so I will probably go ahead to unwrapping and texturing. I will probably do the texturing in Substance Painter. I have managed to preserve the displacement map.


Update; I found a solution, after finalising the model in Zbrush I brought it over to Substance painter so I could start on the texture. I then exported this as Vray preset to test in 3DS Max. Lo and behold - it didnt work. Why? I delved a bit deeper and found that it was probably a model or unwrapping issue. Then I realised I was using the model I had originally exported from Zbrush, that hadnt been unwrapped for this texture. After exported the newly unwrapped model it seems to be working fine. Did some render tests, giving me a glimpse at the rendering time, which is frankly a bit scary. I found that the texture I had done for the eyestalks had one issue with the opacity on one of the eyes, the smaller eye seemed to have opacity all the way through, even once the lens was in place. Thus far I have fixed the opacity in Substance but have yet to test it today. So instead of taking a day to do the texturing as I had hoped, it has now been three days. I need to do my renders this weekend if I’m going to meet the deadline so that is my current goal.


Due to setbacks with approvals from lecturer as well as personal / family issues I have been delayed from where I want to be. At this point I may have to begin proceeding regardless of approvals due to the time constraints. As I need to deliver a finished product. I also redid all of my texture work so far in the past two days which was a huge amount of work.


The results of my work. Now I just need to animate and render the shots before editing in After Effects. I need to be done by the 3rd of September.


At the moment I am in the process of finalising animations and editing and CG and doing renders so I may not have another update until I finish all that. However, I did work on a poster that you can see here:


Hi everyone, my final video released today on the youtube channel

There is also a questionnaire in the description, and it would be great if you could fill that out for me.

There is also a ‘Making of’ video in the same youtube channel if you want to check that out too.