Craig the Blue Crab

Craig the Blue Crab

Kwabena Kyei
by KwabsK and SerennaColligan on 30 May 2023 for Rookie Awards 2023

This project started off as a crab sculpt and then further developed into a crab animation in an underwater environment.

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My Blue Crab

About the crab

This is a special piece to me because I did not have a good experience with crabs years ago. I used this as an opportunity to better understand crabs and to rewrite my experience with them. The goal was to create the best-looking Blue Crab I could within a timeframe. For this project I bought a live crab so I could get a better understanding of the Blue Crabs anatomy and to take high quality pictures of the crab so I could use it for texturing in Mari 3D. I spent about 4 weeks sculpting the crab and 2-3 weeks making the first pass of the crab. I then took a break from the crab to expand my knowledge in Mari 3D by following online tutorials. With the information I gained from other tutorials I was able to improve my texturing skills by rigging the crab and then collaborating with my friend, and animator, Serenna Colligan who gave so much life to the crab! -Kwabena Kyei

Crab Animation

Making the crab come to life was very enjoyable for me. It took a lot of research to figure out how to animate a blue crab realistically. Working on this project alongside Kwabena Kyei has given me a lot of new insights. I animated the crab using forward and inward kinematic to give it a lifelike movement. This project motivated me to work with others more and produce additional animations. -Serenna Colligan



I spent majority of my time painting the crabs' textures in Mari 3D by projection painting, creating alphas to represent certain patterns in the crab, mixing different colors to achieve the colors I wanted and also focusing on textures for tertiary details such as little bumps on the crab. Here is an example of what the nodes looked like for the shell -Kwabena Kyei


The Compositing was created in Nuke. I fine-tuned passes on the crab and the environment using roughness, specular, and light select AOV’s. I also added particles in front and behind the crab by importing the maya scene camera into nuke and putting the particles in nuke to gage the distance of the big and small particles. -Kwabena Kyei


When creating the rig, I tried to keep it very simple. I mainly used IK Rotate plane solvers to connect the top parts of the leg and IK Single Chain Solvers to connect the feet to the rest of the legs. For other body parts such as the eyes, I used aim constraints and for other body parts I used parent constraints and orient constraints. To connect the body to the center of gravity, Transform and World control, I parented the body to the controls using the parent constraint and then created attributes and set keys to better control them. -Kwabena Kyei

Turntables and Wireframe



Kwabena Kyei

Serenna Colligan

Grateful for support and encouragement from my friends throughout this project, it would not be the same without them. 

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