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Creature Reel Michael Nguyen

Creature Reel Michael Nguyen

Michael Nguyen
by michael1nguyen on 31 May 2021 for Rookie Awards 2021

This is my showreel for my last year at Escape Studying VFX.

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This is my showreel I made for my last year at Escape Studios learning VFX.


This is a specialism project for my university degree in Escape Studios. I wanted to make a hyena for this project because I wanted to explore the creature pipeline and look into the areas of the pipeline I feel unfamiliar with like facial expressions of a creature and muscles simulations.

In the modelling phase of this project, I used the dog base mesh to start off and made the muscles from scratch using spheres and the move brush. I also did this with the skeleton for the hyena as well. I used a lot of references to the hyena and I used dog anatomy too because It was similar to a hyena. 

For the UVs I made sure to optimised areas that didn't have much fur and make areas like the face and give it more texel density. After the uvs I textured the hyena and made it a navy like colour after seeing a lot of references I noticed it was a little navy and a little grey because of the dryness of the nose and slime drying up on the nose. I also gave the nose a crunchy texture like a dogs nose. For the fur, I used Yeti and using references of hyenas I looked at how the fur flows and made it as close to the way my references fur flowed and how messy it is. For the environment, I used paint fx and painted them on the ground plane then enabled grass wind and made it subtle by making the settings low for the grass wind.

Kiwi's Dream 

 Group Project (

This is a group project where I had to collaborate with animations students. In this project, I had to model a kiwi using concept art. I also had to make the crane wings and create blendshapes for it when it folds in and folds out. I was also given the task to make the plane, paper fold rig and book with the page fx.

Personal Projects


In this project, I wanted to make a creature using a concept and so I found a concept art by Andrew Domachowski. I looked for references of old people and successful creatures in films that were similar to the one I was doing so I used Maw from Avengers Infinity War as well as Thanos and I looked at what made those characters successful in CGI live-action. I wanted to focus on areas I thought were the most important, like the face and the body's overall proportions. I also practised anatomy and looked at Maw's anatomy and human anatomy and used old people and a human lanky body type. For the clothes, I wanted to explore how drapery clothes were made to imitate the concept art and looked at references in lord of the rings and long garments in general. Overall I like how it turned out.


For this project, I wanted to make an elephant and looking into wrinkled creatures and skin. I looked at references in lion king and real-life elephants as well. I gave it a fantasy look as well by adding extra tusk too. I also looked at the anatomy of an elephant and where the muscles are for an elephant. I really like how the trunk turned out and I think I would improve on the skin details. My next step would be to texture the elephant in Mari and make an environment for the elephant in the final render.

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