Work in Progress, Part 4

Fantasy Castle

So last time we saw my castle piece, I had finished modeling it.


For the look of the castle I wanted a combination of a Middle Eastern and Florence Renaissance inspired designs.


Here you can see what I worked out for the textures. Continue reading “Work in Progress, Part 4”

Work in Progress, Part 3

Fantasy Castle

So, now I need to flesh out my castle itself. I need to figure out it’s structure and layout. My original Concept looks like this.

castle_sketchI need to figure out it’s form. I usually compile a large folder of reference images. I’ll scour the web and my reference library (physical books and what I’ve got on my computer). I’m looking for any and all inspiration, whether real historical places or other concepts from movies and games. Then I will compile a reference sheet that have various elements I may want to incorporate.

ref_sheet1Some I’ll use and some I won’t. Continue reading “Work in Progress, Part 3”

Work in Progress, Part 1

The Fantasy Castle

I’ve had this idea for a fantasy type castle piece.


I wanted to try a different workflow for it. The mountain hills were to be a type of butte style landmass like out in Arizona/Utah. I didn’t have a program, E-on’s Vue on my home computer yet, so I decided to try using World Machine to initially sketch out some land masses. It is a procedural terrain creator.


Using filters and different parameters like the “Erosion” filter Continue reading “Work in Progress, Part 1”

New Paths


With a layoff of over 500 people and closing of one of our facilities at Dreamworks, I was laid off at end of January. There had been signs for DW that major shifts were happening and changes were needed to reflect these shifts. There was no problems or issues with my performance or the performance of the other 499 people; Dreamworks just needed to reduce it’s workforce in huge numbers in order to continue running. Due to the severity of the layoff, severance packages were handed out. Everyone had different contracts to what this meant and I had certain savings banked up for just this very thing, so I am not worried.

Change is a good thing.

Now the compelling question was: what did I want to do next? Working in Animation for over nine years was an amazing and enriching experience. I was able to work on such stellar films as How to Train your Dragon 2, Kung Fu Panda, Rise of the Guardians and numerous others. Now is the time to switch gears. If I wanted to delve into Live Action VFX work, I’d need to re-develop a “photo-realistic” portfolio.

Training up on new tools and software is crucial as Matte Painting has evolved more into a cg digital environments arena. I also have some small projects that have been on the back burner for several years. I know I can’t finish all of this at once but what I could do is create a medley of my projects to combine into a singular goal.

Change allows for growth.

My grand experiment is I will use the time re-honing my skills and work on these projects to be a platform to showcase new work. It will be several months before I begin to contemplate looking for new work—roughly mid Summer. Afterwards, I will begin looking for work, while wrapping up these projects. Now, don’t get me wrong if a plum contract comes up I’d consider taking it, but I figure when will I have another time where my schedule is completely clear to create content of my choosing.

This blog will chronicle my efforts. If you would like to watch the ride, please click to follow my blog. My aim is to post weekly every Monday morning. I hope you enjoy this journey.

To end with, my favorite Robert Frost poem:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.