Modelling a Vending Machine

Update: This didn’t end up in the scene as it was a little big and it would have been too much having the water dispenser and vending machine.

I creating  the vending machine as one mesh. The plan is to have it UV mapped and textures added in on the front as a sign.


UV Mapping



Designing a short Story

What makes a good short Story?

  • Simplicity
  •  Interesting characters
  • Conflict
  • Emotion
  •  Originality
  •  Filmic quality
  •  The deeper meaning

What should you reflect on?

  • Who are the main characters? – Protagonist/Antagonist?
  • What are their main relationships?
  •  What do they want?
  •  Where is the conflict/problem?
  • How does the conflict erupt?
  •  What drives the action of the story forward?

For the writer, ideas remain abstract until written

  • What is it about?
  •  What’s the genre?
  •  Who is the protagonist? [how is he/she/it involved in this story now? what do they want and why?]
  •  What is the driving action of your story?
  • Who or what opposes the protagonist – antagonist/conflict

“A hero who wants something takes action meets with conflict that leads to a climax and a resolution” Cowgill want – why – need [characters drive the story]


  • It provides the important information the audience needs to get the story moving.
  •  The short film should accomplish all this right up front
  •  Focus only on what is essential
  • Main point: establish the conflict

Main exposition

  • Dialogue or action
  •  Narration
  •  Written presentation
  •  Visual dramatisation
  • In short – it needs to come early and fast

Rising action – Developing the conflict

  • What the protagonist does to achieve his goal, the conflict he meets and how this action affects him along the way
  • Escalation of tension
  • Conflict rises in waves
  • Action & reaction


  • The plan A Problem ->> Leads to ->> Hero formulates a plan of action and starts implementing it
  • Obstacles it is the clearest form of conflict man, society, nature or the character himself
  • Antagonist [opposes the protagonist, opposite goal and needs]
  •  physical obstructions
  •  inner obstacles [intellectual, emotional or psychological problems the protagonist must overcome]
  •  mystic forces [bad luck, moral choices etc.]
  • crisis [point of conflict in the action]
  •  complications [they cause a change in the action]
  • Mid-Point Something happens that has consequences. These consequences will drive the action towards the main climax Main crisis Conflict should intensify and increase before the climax Climax & resolution The conflict must finally be resolved Plot is a series of interrelated actions that progresses through a struggle of opposing forces to a climax and resolution that defines the meaning of the work Opening the Short
  •  Point of decision (life changing events)
  • Change in environment
  •  Intro of the protagonist Middle section strategies • Surprise • Reversal [spins the story in the opposite direction]
  •  Suspense
  •  Dreadful alternative
  •  Pseudo-solution Revelation
  •  Striking disclosure of something not previously known or realised.
  •  More powerful if linked with another element like reversal or crisis.
  •  Must have a direct relationship to the main exposition of the film.

Example of short stories that show these steps:

Presentation Feedback

Our feedback from the BBC was overall Positive. They explained how we have gotten a difficult script and they had actually doubted using it as if could be rather offensive. They liked how we have addressed the sex discrimination in a way that does not stereotype  certain people. They liked how we looked at aids awareness posters and created our own for the animation.  We were critique on camera angles and how we could have more movement and angles to make it more interested. Also the camera angle showing the two characters interacting was not reading well. Things to consider:

  • More camera movement
  • Perceptive of character interactions
  • Perhaps show passage of time to show the character has been waiting to be seen for a long time.
  • Consider different ways for the receptionist to ‘Gave in’ to the policy change
  • Do not be afraid of offending someone (to an extent)

Sculpting an elephant

Since I plan to do a stylised elephant I was lucky enough to come across a tutorial creating an elephant in Zbrush. Isaac Oster was kind enough to do a 5 part video tutorial from start to finish showing how he created his elephants. This was so helpful and I learnt so much watching his videos.

To begin with I used the Z sphere and roughly created the shape of the elephant. Hitting ‘A’ and then shift F allowed me to see the mesh shape of the elephant and look at the topology, ensuring that there was no clipping or polygons out of shape. From that point I started using the Move brush to shape out the elephant.



From here I started using the Clay tube brush to build up shape. I looked at references of a baby elephant to see what muscles or bones were more pronounced. I started giving more detail in the face using build up and flatten aswell as smooth. For the creases I used Dam-standard brush. To make the wave shape on the ears I used the inflate brush. The eyes I brought in separately as sphere and placed them in the head.

For this to be my very first sculpt ever I am rather pleased with myself, and have found something that I thoroughly enjoy.


Learning to 3D sculpt

I have absolutely no experience on Zbrush and if I am honest I was pushing back doing task 3 because I it seems a little over whelming. I began by watching a few tutorials for beginners on YouTube. The book that I purchased on Zbrush creatures was for people with a little experience, so I will look back at it further down the line when I have better understanding. Below are just some of the video tutorials I watched. I started learning about the layout of zbrush and how to navigate. I then learnt the different brushes and what they do, taking notes. I took some time with just a simple sphere and practiced using these brushes.

After a while I discovered that my reluctance to start my sculpting was silly, and Zbrush was actually really enjoyable. I moved on from a sphere and started making shapes using the Zsphere which I found really helpful when wanting to create limbs etc. Another way of creating a shape was having and image plane. The sphere turned transparent and using the move brush I was able to shape it into the silhouette of the reference. I used Dynamesh with this and added more polygons so that it did not stretch too much.




Today we presented our ideas and concepts to the class and the BBC.


After our introduction we started off with showing the 2D Animatic


After showing the animatic Samantha explained our initial ideas of the animation and why we decided to change. Our original idea doing birds as characters was asked about, wanting to explain why we went with humans. I tried to explain how we would have trouble with making it obvious that he is a ‘boy bird’ and getting the point across to the audience that it is about sex discrimination. Also we were worried it would cause us trouble down the line when it came to rigging and animating such a complex character. Samantha also spoke about the idea of having time transition from a young boy to and older man who always wanted to be cabin crew. She explained how this idea relied too much on the audio to explain what was happening instead of visually. bbc-rewind-2

Samantha then spoke about our story inspirations and how we looked at other sex discrimination movies. We found that it was mostly woman being discriminated which is still the case this day, as cabin crew woman are forced to wear very tight fitting uniform, mostly short skirts and high heels. This is why we wanted to include the legs in our animation.


I spoke about how we finally came to our final character design that Niamh created. Although homosexuality is mentioned in the report we did not want to stereotype our character, so we made him quite plain. As for the receptionist, she is the embodiment of the policy. She is stubborn and takes no nonsense and has been that way for many years (which is why she is middle ages). She looks like a character that would be tough and not so easily swayed. When she finally gives in that would be resembling the policy change.


Aids was a big scare in the 80s so it wasn’t very hard to find inspirational posters. I had a look at several and created our own using some of these for examples.


Using the references we will have these posters and leaflets scattered around the reception room so that they are visually in the animation.


To end our presentation we showed our 3d animatic.


3D Pre- Visualisation

For the presentation we were asked to include a 3D pre – visualisation of our animation. For better understanding in what that should include  I did some research. Alec showed us an example from the year before to see how they did theirs:

The purpose of a pre-visualisation is to have an idea of what it will look like finished. This way the client or audience can give feedback before we have put alot of time and effort finalising the animation, any changes needed will not be an issue. So with that in mind we did our 3D animatic after our 2D was completed. Admittedly we spent more time doing the 2D and I think it reads better than this, but this is early days and we will be doing another 3D animatic with more animation. For now here is what we have so far:

Change of Plan

After discussing with Mike our story concept it became apparent that it would not visually represent the story of the BBC script. Mike believed that we were relying too much on the audio to explain what was going on when it should be clear from just watching. So with this in mind we scrapped the idea of the young boy and then the man trying to get through the door. In hindsight and after discussing it with several class mates I can see where the confusion could be.

New Plan! Mike give an example of showing alot of woman in the room waiting on getting the job and only one man. I questioned that it would be too much work if we had to model all those people and he suggested just showing the legs. I had an idea of them sitting in a row in the waiting room, the camera panning across all these woman in short skirts and heels then it would come to a pair of legs in trousers and sitting like a dude. The camera would then zoom in and pan up at the mans face, who is the main character. He has been waiting there a while and no one has called him so he approaches the desk to ask what is going on, to which he is ignored. He notices that women are entering the recruitment room and questions this. The receptionist would point to a sign that says woman only. The next part I found tricky as there is not alot of time to get the point across that they are going to change there policy. I discussed with my team and there was several ideas with someone changing the sign, or the sign falling of the wall etc. We evidently went with the sign being changed by the receptionists after giving in to the persistent man. This will happen at the same time as the audio explaining about policy change.

We will have a story board/ animatic and a 3D priv done for Tuesdays presentation, hopefully the narrative will be clearer to the audience.


Final Character Concepts

After doing a slight tweak on the main character after some feedback, Naimh design the two characters that will be in our animation.

The main character is the man that wants to apply for a job as cabin crew. In the BBC report the real reason they do not want to employ men is because they do not want gay men working for them. However, we did not want to stereotype the character in fear of offending someone, so the character is fairly plain as far as character personality goes, but not too boring.


The receptionist is a different story. We wanted her to be the embodiment of the policy that does not allow men to work as cabin crew. She has been like this for the past 30 years (which is in accordance with the script) so she is a middle aged woman. She is stern looking and takes no nonsense. I love how Niamh took some characteristics from the Slug woman from monsters inc. Niamh wanted her to be a little hard  to look at, which really shows in her very coloured and umm unique outfit and make up. The policy is ridiculous, so we show that through her.