They are cared for by the Sikari. It is believed that centuries ago that the herd was vast and populated the whole mountain.

The Sikari prospered as a thriving civilisation, however they became careless and allowed the herd to almost be wiped out. The Sikari were then punished and the forest consumed the cities. Later the Devoid threatened to eradicate them but offered them redemption if they could rebuild the herd then they may rebuild their society.

They are worshiped because wherever they graze will flourish with natural life.

They decorate the cattle with the same red thread in their hair as a symbol of protection and kinship connecting them to the forest.





They are a tribe of hunters charged with the preservation of the Kyr. They are led by the higher families within the tribe. Each family is charged with a designation serving to preserve the people or the cattle.

They are heavily superstitious and practice native magic and blessings and have based every aspect of their culture on accessing more powerful spells.

Their young are trained from very early on to one day take over a job from the older generations. The more essential the job, the more prosperity their family will have.

Their clothing is richly made from the cattle and the native resources found at the bottom of the mountain, they waste nothing and .

They have brutal laws against killing (particularly of the herd) and stealing. The accused are offered up to the Devoid of the Red Wood and are never seen again. They believe they are taken and turned into a Ghast and doomed to wander the mountain.




The name Okahn Is derived from Mōcana – मोचन a Nepali word meaning ‘liberation’ and ‘redemption’. The village is built using mainly the red bark trees surrounding the settlement. Each individual building is carved and decorated with unique superstitious heraldry with historic meanings that echo stories from past generations

Every building presents runes that are specific to each family, they are bound together using ancient woven fabrics. This symbolises the oath taken centuries ago to rebuild the lifeblood of the mountain.

Within the redwood is an elusive portal. What is within?

Kala will have to find out.

5 Weeks Story Board

balloon story board1.png

For the first vfx post production brief we are asked to create a teaser trailer to a new anthology series based on the works of Jules Verne.

•Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea
•Journey to the Centre of the Earth
•From the Earth to the Moon
•Around the World in Eighty Days
•The Mysterious Island
•Five Weeks in a Balloon

I liked the concept of a balloon as a focal to a short scene integrating into a title. I considered what kind of imagery each title would convey and could be interpreted by an audience and I thought Five Weeks seemed to have a strong focal point (that of a balloon) that could be worked onto a world – I would only have to use a few elements to tell the essence of the story and give enough information to speculate on a narrative but also hold back and encourage the audience to want to find out more.

This is an early idea on how I could introduce imagery in a cinematic way using few elements that could be layered with blending effects and create something otherworldly.

Beauty Shot Trials. Vol 2

For the animated aspect of the shot Rosie drew up a story board of some creatures flying through the scene away from something bigger then have a giant eye open to suggest the awakening of whatever may be dwelling there. The camera will seem to be creeping into the scene as an observer as it is encountering this new environment for the first time.

We then sculpted the creature borrowing an asset I’d already built then morphing it and also the preset bat wings in the Maya sculpting preset meshes.

A challenge for all of us is the texturing – we had to balance a stylised aesthetic by designing appropriate textures or modifying the Maya and Mental Ray presets. The presets are much quicker to apply but some look out of place. To overcome this, we had many attempts at bringing assets into Mudbox and painting directly onto them which worked out very well and helped in bringing atmosphere to a rather basic wall texture. we tried to add stones and crevasses and even veins of crystal  however the scene couldn’t render and would abort.

Putting veins into the walls worked very well on the initial import, unfortunate the render had issues executing the full render. Given more time we hope to correct this and give real depth to make the walls appear weathered and damp. I really enjoyed the control you get in Mudbox to fully customise the detail and will be exploring it for future projects.

A large part of this build was figuring out how to light a scene like this one because with all the freedom it gives for not having any ‘daylight’ you have to compensate in effectively illuminating the ambiance from another source. The light cone was a great way to highlight assets within the scene. The light is a Mental Ray light fog effect that is designed to look like moonlight. The cone primitive used in  a previous version didn’t react at all when the creatures passed through it unlike the new beam that casts shadows and dust particles.

The some assets were removed in the final version as rendering caused a fatal error every time, I thought removing some of the geometry using a ‘material_x’ would reduce the information the machine had to process with light. It was finally discovered that this wasn’t the issue and there was a corruption  with an object light within the eyeball. With this fixed it was a little late to re-build the other objects. This seemed to work out for the better with the scene having come out much darker than expected.

Beauty Shot Trials. Vol 1

Beginning with an idea of what kind of image we wanted for our source we compile a few artists and projects that could influence the direction of our designs.

Image result for beksinski

This is one of Beksinski’s portal paintings. I love how this works as interesting physical architecture and encourages you in an attempt to build the geometry to then find it is impossible. As a group are working of developing something that gives us pieces of a story with an element of the bizarre.

Milly’s stage designs

My value tests to get composition ideas.


build the scene so far…

Ideas we have discussed about texturing and lighting have been interesting when working out how to stylize the scene effectively with the geometric architecture. Keeping the design fairly clean-cut also has made navigating the UV far more efficient.

In a texturing and lighting tutorial we looked at the X material for mental ray. This has presets that recreate very sharp reflective textures that seem perfect for blending to create a range of gems. The ability to mix these effects resulted in some very interesting reflective surfaces and mimicked precious gems very well.

Early conversations about some of the featured in our scene were to have the gems pulse with light. The results of early tests have been difficult to get any kind of effective refraction and this is the closest I have gotten to a glowing gem:

With some direction from my group, I made some assets to populate a dark ceremonial cavern with evidence of a long buried tomb.

cave concept02.png

The altar has also taken on a few design styles – here are the early builds. We felt this was a little too sharp and over cumbersome to the scene. An altar is often more refined and I then looked to Mayan and Aztec architecture for some ideas for cleaner geometry.

Here is the process of building a creature skull and some sacrificial tools.

The creature skull developed into a major idea for the furniture of the scene – i built another creature and added some bones to frame the altar with large imposing idols that allow the audience to conjure up some beasts that may exist in this world.

Using some tutorials I worked out how to use a 3D fluid node and created fire for the burner on the table.

Currently, I hope to get some effective light beams using a volume box and light fog.