Robots! What move and are textured.

So here is a test animation of the Stompatron robot for Stackopolis. Changes not shown here include the delay of the final stomp which I have made happen as soon as the crazy spinning stops and of course the IKs on the leg which lead to the foot clipping into the world. The design of the robot makes it a bit difficult to fix this and make the animation look right but I have some ideas.

Anyway I'm proud of this fellah for now. I took him from design to modelling, texturing, rigging and animation. It was a difficult trip as I'm not very well versed with rigging but I learned a lot from this guy and I enjoyed it, so the time it will take to really get a grip on rigging seems a little less daunting.

Stompatron Ultimate STOMP! from Simon Ashbery on Vimeo.



Work on Stackopolis is steaming along and now we have a solid alpha of the game we're putting the story together.

To provide a reason for all the building that needs to be done I offered forth a suggestion of including one of my favorite things in the whole wide world in the game. BIG STOMPY ROBOTS!

So here are a handful of sketches for the robot (in reverse order of development) which will be causing all manner of havoc in Stackopolis.

Some art deco robots because why the hell not

I was worried the one on the left was too serious looking but everyone liked it so yay. Design influences from ye olde Gundam series.

Some development sketches on a few choice thumbnails.

A few choice thumbnails.



So as most of you know I have a job. I work as a "creative" for Bloc Media http://www.blocmedia.com/ an awesome media/games studio based in Shoreditch.

Some time a go they created the excellently addictive http://www.stackopolis.com/flash.html

Soon after i came on board, we started working on a new version of the game for the mobile phone market, using the retardedly easy to use unity 3D engine, seriously this engine is the shit.

At the moment there are three of us working on the game and everything is coming along nicely.

Just so I can show off what I've been doing and hopefully drum up some interested for the game amongst my friends.

So here are some quick renders of the four different worlds I've created the artwork for.

They are:

Classic City

Neon Punk

Sunken Atlantis

Lunar Station City

and the textures I've been painting. All very low res, a maximum of 256x256


Net Neutrality.

I thought I'd provide a dump for my e-mails to Ed Vaizey. His proposition to do away with Net Neutrality in the UK angered me as well as many people around the country and I felt compelled to email him.

I got a response after my initial questions which led me to hope for a discussion on the matter but he never replied to my response. Either he felt argued into a corner or the sheer weight of people pissed off at him has him cowering under a desk in Whitehall, sucking his thumb and wanking into a Union Jack.

Why am I putting my e-mails here? Because I think I'm super awesome? Well we all have an ego,but I put my feelings about net neutrality quite succinctly into my e-mails and figured I may as well post them up to see how other people felt.

So what are your thoughts?



"Just a few points.

"good for business,"

1: It's good for large established businesses as they can afford to pay for priority service. Not for any web- entrepreneurs.

"good for the economy"

2: The most accessible and widespread venue for new businesses is the internet. If you stack it against the smaller, startup companies you're effectively killing off the generation of new companies and ideas in the UK.

"good for people"

3: Apart from the aforementioned entrepreneurs losing out, the general public will be funneled through an effectively smaller internet, with a choice between well served large websites or struggling through smaller potentially more interesting sites. How exactly is this good for them? They're losing out on the service they already get.

"Content and service providers should have the ability to innovate and, most importantly, to reach users,"

4: This is the complete opposite of what should be done to promote innovation.

No I don't expect a response. But this really is just silly.



"Have you read the whole speech?

Ed Vaizey MP
Minister for Culture
Member of Parliament for Wantage & Didcot

Sent from my iPhone"



The only answers to my questions in the speech are promises that the management would be regulated. That the companies wouldn't be allowed to degrade service too much and that everything they do would be transparent.

This is great on paper of course but in practice such regulation is not guaranteed to be utterly water-tight. Who's to say that companies wont push it as far as they can? Slowly pushing the boundaries back? Who's definition of fair use will be employed? Will it be the same as mine? Will the regulating body be utterly infallible? Even if the transparency works and I can see exactly what my choices are who's to say there will be an option which suits me?

The only water tight method of ensuring the system stays fair is to maintain net neutrality, that way the discussion of fair use is binary, either it is or it isn't.

"We should tread very carefully. In order for the

Internet to continue as the open, innovative force for good

that it has been over the past 20 years"

How do you propose to maintain the internets openness by reducing how open it is? Even if your proposed regulations work perfectly the fact remains that even the slightest management of service in the suggested way reduces how open it is. Open internet is the definition of net neutrality.

Which leads me onto my final point,

"People don’t even agree what is

meant by net neutrality. It is a term which means different

things to different people. "

This trope has been doing the rounds amongst politicians and business people alike for a long time now. Net Neutrality is clearly defined. Besides which it's name leaves little to interpretation, Net Neutrality, neutrality of the net.

Here is the original paper on net neutrality by Tim Wu, the man who coined the term "Net Neutrality:"



Sack RIG! (but only a test for now)

Sack Rig Test from Simon Ashbery on Vimeo.

I completely ran out of steam with my modelling. I've been trudging environment models for a while now and without any variety I feel a bit burnt out with modelling in general. The reason for the manic focus on environment art is because I've always preferred character modelling but felt I hadn't done any environment modelling for a while so I should focus on that.

Well I went to do some character modelling and whilst I got a decent bit of work done it wasn't quite what I was hoping for.

So I've decided to look at some areas of CG which aren't my usual cup of tea. In my third year at uni I had a bit of a trial by fire with rigging and rendering. I enjoyed it but it was very much a bodge job from start to finish. With that in mind my new project is to create a rig for a sack character and refine what I learned into a really usable skill.

I'm sure most people who've animated at some point in their lives know all about the sack, I know everyone on my course does. I want to revisit the fundamentals of animation later down the line, and I think having my very own sack rig would be great.

This is just a test. It's FK only and a pretty simple skeleton, but I just wanted to re-familiarise myself with using the joint tool and the connection editor.


WIP Comic.

I've always wanted to draw a comic. I mean, I've drawn them before, I imagine most people have probably jotted something down in the back of their school books before. I've even had slightly more serious forays which never quite went anywhere. But the one thing I've never managed to do is make a credible web comic.

The reason I've always wanted to have a crack at it is because, since the late 90's I've been reading Penny-Arcade, Mac-Hall, Applegeeks and so on. All of these comics were a great read and they painted a (somewhat idealised) view of a world of geekery and nerdisimo shared between friends that I wanted to be a part of. It would be no exaggeration to say that I've partly modelled my life around these comics in the same way people emnulate their heroes.

I'm older now. Probably about the age a lot of these cartoonists were when I was reading their awesome work. I have no intention of becoming a successful full-time web cartoonist and artist (as many of my heroes have.) It's not what I want to do and I doubt I'd have the patience anyway. I just want to have a go and see how I fare.

So here is a WIP of the first page of a (very) short comic about one of my experiences at work. I just want to get a feeling for how I'd like to draw comic. Testing myself to see if I could actually make something half good in a reasonable amount of time.



Bit of modelling work. I'm pushing myself to get back into modelling regularly again. I've been trying to find a job for the last two weeks and I have some leads so I think i'll get on with my folio


Train carriage.

Ok I'm happier with it now. after some good crits from the guys over at grand games and of course from my good friend Craig "i'm a complete and utter arse candle!" Yates, I changed a few things.

I also made good on my promise to create various levels of damage in the textures.

Also I'm trying out a new less busy portfolio theme. I like It and will update my folio soon.


Train Carriage Finished (kind of)

I have to wait for the guys over at Grand Games to give me any feedback as to what needs changing and there are one or two things I've decided I dislike now that I've rendered everything out. But for all intents and purposes this is the finished article.

currently the texture maps are at 2048x2048 but I will resize that when it comes to putting it into Unreal.

Aside from the colour variations I'm also going to create different levels of decay.


Train Carriage

I've been looking for some mod work to bolster up my portfolio and I was asked to create a test model for http://www.grand-games.com/

It's a flat-bed for transporting shipping containers by rail. There was remarkably little reference material so I had to sort of piece this together from many different designs and images.

2,184 polygons


The wait.

I emailed my applications off last night, so now it's the waiting game. I originally said I was going to take some time off to enjoy being home with my family. Then, eventually, i'd start working on other projects, but as I was hitting send last night I started thinking about the weaknesses of my portfolio, specifically when it came to environment art.

So now I'm stuck looking down the barrel end of the mod scene.

I wanted to put an image up of the last mod work I did but it's since been removed from CS Banana. Lame. It was effin' years a go.

Oh well. No rest for the wicked.



Ok it looked like knobs and was too busy. New CV:


Folio Pains!

I'm sitting here waiting for my smegging turntables to render and I'm bored. So I figured I would make an update here since I've been silent for a few days and everyone knows how much I like to drone on and on. About myself mostly...did you know I can walk on my hands? Zounds! I love that word.

Anyway I have my portfolio ready to roll. Just need to sort my show-reel and I'm there. Time to try for jobs. But before then here are the last couple of models I made as well as my snazzy CV.


Stone Arch Mk2

Continuing the remake theme I redid the stone arch, though it's not an upgrade like the funk mobile but an entirely new model. the original one was a test, just so i could learn Zbrush. I was impressed with it at the time but in hindsight it was a bit pap. It's shape made no sense and the texture was a bit bland.

I'm getting used to working with textured brushes now but I need to practice more at being more precise with my painting.

I think I should get off the computer and get my sketchbook out. Well...maybe after another couple of models.


The Funk Mobile. MK 2

Finished this bad boy off. Getting faster at texturing though there is some stuff I may go back and redo.

I think I may start applying to places. Ya know.... for a job?


The Funk-Mobile MK II (teaser)

It's been a mad couple of weeks. Graduating, moving home, catching, or rather trying and failing to catch, up with old friends and spending quality time with the family.

As such I've had little time to crack on with my folio and with the desire to find a job and get on with my life burning in me (though that may be the gonorrhea) I decided to get down and dirty with what I have (in terms of work, not STDs.)

So the model I was most pleased with for my work on the Pure Funk was the funk mobile but I decided I couldn't put any wire-frames of it on my folio because of how horrible inefficient it's mesh was! So for a while I was content to just have high quality beauty render of it instead.

Well that's just lazy and stupid isn't it? So I decided to spend a day optimising the mesh to something closer in-line with current gen vehicles (10 - 15 k ish) once I did that I figured I may as well go the whole hog. Re-UV, normals and finally texture maps.

So here is a teaser of my progress. It's the sculpt I created in Zbrush including details like bolts holding together hastily attached plates of metal and lots of rust and paint damage.



Finished Rifle.

So I've finished it. My ability with realistic textures has certainly improved but I still have a lot to work on. At the end of the model I see many things I would have done differently but then, hey that's learning right?

Anyway here's the final piece. I'll put up some wire-frames later.

I aimed for around 6,000 tris and and after optimising from around 8,000 I finished with 6,338, I give myself a 10% deviation on poly limits so I hit my mark.

If anyone see's anything I should fix please say so. For now I need a break till my next project.


Rifle Update

working on the texture. i need to do a lot more work on realistic textures. some feedback would be welcome.


WIP Baker Rifle

Finished the base mesh for the main rifle. I'm saving the flintlock mechanism for last since it's going to be a tricky model to pull off.


WIP Baker rifle

Just a small update on modelling progress. It's a deceptively tricky model to get right I initially thought that the main wooden body was pretty much one straight piece but it actually curves and undulates in lots of fascinatingly difficult ways.
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