Tremors (1990)

'The phones are dead, the roads are out... we're on our own!' - The 90s horror/comedy flick Tremors (1990) is a pleasant example of the classic B-movie genre.

The plot follows the strange deaths of residents and animals in the secluded settlement of the Nevada desert. Our heroes Valentine McKee and Earl Basset soon discover the cause to be from giant, underground wormlike creatures that are able to tunnel at great speeds. Cut-off from the outside world, the settlement is left to fend for themselves as they try to escape from the terror that lies below.

The underground creatures bear the hallmarks of 50s horror creatures reminiscent to the ants in Them! (1954) being overgrown mutated creatures - in this case, worms. This is further highlighted particularly when the cast begins to debate the origin of the creatures forming theories of atomic radiation and even space, to even considering naming the them only to come up with 'graboids' for some authentic B-movie dialogue.

Essentially, this is shining premise of the film, successfully walking between the fine line of comedy and horror, with amusing exchanges between the diverse set of characters, to rather genuinely nail-biting moments as the unseen worms race underground to devour hapless victims. It makes for a great combination that one critic suggests is guideline for these type of films in that you should 'care about your material, but don't lose your sense of humor' [1].

Overall, the original Tremors is full of charm in its B-movie plot and humour that is thoroughly enjoyable, where some critics lead to suggest that the film is 'the pinnacle of recent B-monster movies' [2]. Its popularity also led to several sequels and even a prequel, which unfortunately were not as successful. The trailer the original film sums up the plot quite nicely, complete with B-movie charm.

KLED Animations Update #2

Hot in production, our animation trailer for The Day of the Chainsaw Wielding Baby has been taking shape. We've approached this by identifying a hierarchy of props needed for key scenes and environments in our trailer, and delegated tasks respectively to form a clear list of objectives in mind.

With our tasks outlined for us, we needed to ensure a system of sharing and accessing each others' files was in place in order to work efficiently with production. As such, we've established a sharing system using Dropbox to sync our project files together, where each member also maintains a local backup to work from in case of any lost/corrupted files.

My main areas of focus were creating the Previs/Blocktest to further refine pacing and camera shots, Set Dressing the environments together with the modelled props as well as taking responsibility of the Baby himself from modelling to texturing.

Here is the Previs of our animation trailer, developing from our initial animatic.

Apologies for any inconsistencies with sound as the audio is not yet final.

My work-in-progress of our Chainsaw wielding baby, using the orthographic provided by studio team member Kin.

The nature of our characters exist in a very stylised world, consequently, he may look a little on the wide side at the moment, but I'm sure that once the head is in place the proportions will start to fit more naturally. The chainsaws will be modelled once the 'human' model of the body is in place. Its still a work in progress, but is hopefully headed in the right direction. See more after the link.

There's still much to do as we near the end of production, so wish us luck! You can keep track of our progress at

Conclusion of 'Soundscape 17'

Here's a long overdue update from summer project 'Soundscape 17'. The winners were announced just over a week ago - and I'm thrilled to bits to have found out my project was the winning entry. The grand prize was a shiny new Wacom Intuos 4 tablet, which I safely managed to get safely through the snow. I really like the new customisable function keys on the tablet particularly the touch ring, and the new pen simply feels great.

Congratulations also go to my fellow classmates Jolanta, taking 3rd place, and Jordan, taking 2nd place - both winning Amazon vouchers of £25 and £50 respectively. Be sure to check out a summary of their projects here and here!

You can find a general summary of my experience with the Summer Project here, otherwise feel free to use the 1 Becomes 2 label to explore the journey of the project. I've posted a pdf version of the 'Art of' book below for your viewing pleasure. Enjoy!

Maya Character Workshop #05 - Controls

With the rig bound to the character, we continue to add controls to the character to prep the model for animating. Its quite a tricky process to get to grips with, parenting and grouping controls all over the place. Although, I'm sure this will become more familiar in time.

Maya Character Workshop #04 - Skinning

With the rig in place, next we moved on to skinning the character to the rig using the component editor method with a smooth bind.

Car Modelling - Mustang 08

Adding front details to the car.

End of Unit 2 - The Making of Renatus

Unit 2 Character Design project has come to a close. I can present to you the character design bible for Renatus.

Renatus Character Design Bible

Its been a fun project in developing a range of character archetypes, yet it has also been an enlightening one with much constructive criticism and feedback to take on board. It seems my arrow strayed from its mark, as my hero and villain appeared somewhat lacking, where my sidekick character was well received.

In hindsight, perhaps this is due to the fact that I may have stayed within the confines of the theme soldier/cyborgs too much, which in itself is a very generic topic. With the hero, I focused on the details of his technology while giving him a straightforward silhouette as a soldier for the audience to be able to relate to his humanity. Consequently, this may have led to his somewhat lacking overall design. Where, with the villain, I moved away from the typical villain that overwhelms himself with power and technology, to a sly, cunning manipulative villain as a female to contrast the male dominated genre of soldiers. Admittedly, I may not have captured this quite so well in my final design, where the action poses begin to capture a glimpse of this. My sidekick became successful as it strayed from the generic forms that I conceived in my hero and villain, as a small quirky robot.

Additionally, I focused on using paper rather than digital mediums as not only was this stated at the beginning of the project, but I also wanted to focus on the basics of character design.

Essentially, I guess I made some poor design choices along the way that have had a significant impact on the outcome of my designs. Its something I will definitely take on board which will serve to refine my creative designs. In the mean time, its onwards and upwards for the Retro-Fest project that is still hot in production.

Character Development - Colour

Colour versions of the final character designs.

Character Silhouette

Silhouette of each character - Servo, Hero and the Empress.

This was the initial silhouette at the earlier stages of the character design process.

Character Development - Empress

More developments to the Empress' design, which has been the most challenging for me throughout the project. Hopefully, I've managed to capture the sense of power and awe of a villain with an intriguing design. The Empress wields cybernetic implants which enhances her perceptual abilities to an almost supernatural level, where she is also able to generate energy surges through her hands for an electric/shock type of attack. Her technology is powered by a more rudimentary form of the energy core that pumps raw energy throughout her body.

Final design

The last two sketches help capture her in action, with the first showing her seated on a throne-like chair while she is connected to further cybernetic systems through her crown headpiece.

The later captures her intimidating presence towering over Hero and Servo in a sort of poster format for the cartoon show.

Character Development - Servo

Made some refinements to the overall design of Servo (sidekick), hopefully I've managed to capture his quirky personality with his relatively simple design. With a mechanical limb with a variety of tools housed within himself, Servo is more than useful to Hero in his battle against the Empress' forces.

Character Development - Hero

Some additional refinements to Hero with a closer look at his mounted weapon as well as a turnaround sheet. I've also sketched out some poses with Hero in action, with one or two also featuring his trusty sidekick Servo.

Character Design Development #2

Some developments with the character design project. Refer to character profiles/narrative and previous character designs.


Following my previous designs of Hero, the main emphasis was to keep his cybernetic parts visible rather than hidden, as this is his defining characteristic. As such, two main designs have developed including a casual appearance with a simple tank top and trousers, to a battle attire where Hero would suit up for battle with a chest and back armour piece. I've also designed the expression sheet for Hero displaying his range of emotions. However, I made the mistake of covering a broad range of emotions rather than the particular ones he would express, so the bottom row of expressions are 'extreme' exceptions.


Sidekick - 'Servo'

I decided to use a spherical form for the sidekick to contrast the two humanoid characters. As such, it is necessary to capture some extra details that would help add to his round silhouette.
The centre/energy core of Servo will act as his 'eye', twitching and refocusing similarly to a camera lens for added expression and personality. The exterior panels will also animate to further emphasise his expression. Another concept I'm beginning to explore includes a small mechanical limb that retracts from the bottom, allowing Servo to interact with the environment in assisting Hero.


Villain - 'Empress'

Defining the villain as a cold, calculating and regal Empress, I've tried to capture this in her design with her cybernetic implants. I've struggled with this character so far, with the designs being too busy and quite simply not intriguing enough to capture the power and awe of a villain. Needless to say, the character needs some work, where Justin has further suggested going back to the basic shape of the character to capture the weight and intent, while also considering some of the lore and meaning behind her character to better influence the design as a whole. Hopefully, I will be able to achieve this.