Spot And Friends

Spot And Friends

Brandon Golding
by goldingbrandon on 31 May 2020 for Rookie Awards 2020

Hey! I'm Brandon and I'm a visual effects student at Centennial College in Toronto, Canada. I want to be a 3D assets artist when I get into the industry.

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Demo Reel

I tried to model my reel after Henning and Morten's (of FlippedNormals) reels. I absolutely love the way they presented their work and, although I can't yet match the quality of the work itself, I'm happy with the way the presentation turned out.


I first got the idea to model Boston Dynamic's Spot after watching one of Corridor Digital's hilarious "Bosstown" Dynamics videos. The humanoid robot seemed a bit too complex for me, and I didn't want to do exactly what they did, so I did Spot instead. Turns out, they did Spot in one of their later videos!

Each piece was textured individually, with loving care, in Substance Painter.
I originally intended to dive into Mari with this project, but I decided to save that for the next one. Texturing is actually fun in Substance and I'm still fairly new to it, so I figured I would just hone my skills in that rather than start a new program entirely.

I'm no animator or compositor, but...

I had to.
When I was searching for references, I came across a video Boston Dynamics posted of Spot dancing to Uptown Funk. It made me laugh so hard. Originally, I was just going to do a walk cycle with Spot, but that was just boring in comparison.

Animating is hard.
So is rigging. But I still had fun trying this. We've had minimal classes on rigging/animating because mine isn't an animation program, so this was more of a personal endeavor.

As for compositing...
It's also hard, but more of our classes are focused on it. I did all of the compositing in Nuke. I did my best to match the lighting intensity, saturation, sharpness, and grain. This is still tricky for me, though, and I need to train my eye more.

And lighting...
I shot multiple RAW photos, converted them to HDRIs in Photoshop, and stitched them together in PTGui to create a skydome light that I could use in Arnold. And to set the scene up accurately in Maya, I took a bunch of measurements in my backyard.


You never forget your first.
This was the first 3D project I ever created that wasn't a tutorial. Like many, I started out in Blender - specifically with everyone's favourite donut tutorial. I completed a few more before tackling this project. It ended up being one of the main portfolio pieces in my college application, and one of the main reasons I was accepted!

Everything was done in Blender. I used textures that I bought from Poliigon.

Beretta M9A1

"Intro" modeling project.
This was our final project for our Intro 3D course in first semester. It seemed a bit challenging, considering the previous semester only had to model a chair. I was more than happy to try it, though I can't say the same for most of my classmates.

The gun was my first project textured in Substance Painter. I rendered it in Iray because I hadn't yet figured out how to properly export the textures for Arnold.

Now that I've made it this far.
Next, I plan on diving into the world of sculpting with ZBrush. I also want to give Meshroom a try and see what photogrammetry is all about.

If they happen to see this, I want to thank Henning Sanden, Morten Jaeger, and Andrew Hodgson. I've learned so many useful tricks and techniques from their videos, blogs, and streams over this past year.

And thank you, too.

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