Gram Glueypaws

Gram Glueypaws in a T-Pose (Work in Progress)


Once upon a time there was a mouse named Gram Glueypaws who lived in the manor house of a rich granny, Beatrice Sparklington. Every day Gram would leave his burrow, from under the mahogany staircase, to steal some shiny jewels granny Beatrice left around the house.

Until one day, Beatrice saw Gram plodding along her persian carpet with her best string of pearls. Beatrice shrieked and called her servants to find the rodent. Her servants searched and dug inside the house with pickaxes and shovels. They made many holes and made Beatrice furious.

Until finally, they discovered Gram’s treasure trove. He had collected hundreds of jewels and pearls to decorate his home for his wife and newly born baby mouse, Stephen. Beatrice’s heart melted, remembering her past youth and unrequited wish to have children. She forgave Gram and his grubby paws.

Ever since that day, Beatrice and Gram have been the best of friends. Gram decorates Beatrice’s home, which now looks like swiss cheese, and she helps his family with spare food and jewelry.

The moral of the story is: Never judge someone’s actions, because you don’t know the whole truth.

Technical Details

Gram is a work in progress character, but here are some technical details that might help you create and render your own characters.

Gram was modelled in Autodesk Maya 2018 and rendered with Arnold Renderer. The face count is 223 360. The materials used were mostly aiStandardSurface, an Arnold specific material, which allows presets like Skin, for realistic skin effects. Purple shades were added in the Subsurface Colour sections of the material, with the Skin Preset activated. For the eyes, a circular colour ramp was used to create the iris and pupil.

Lighting was done with four Arnold Area Lights, two on the sides, one on top and one at the bottom of the character. Intensities had to be over 500 for them to take the desired effect. The background is two thirds of a box in Smooth mode, with its normals reversed. It was lit using a Directional Light, that had its link broken with the mesh. This is to ensure the light doesn’t affect the character, but lights up the background instead. In the Renderer Settings, under the Arnold Renderer tab, the Camera and Diffuse samples were set to 5 to remove potential noise from the image.

Lighting setup (left) and mesh topology for Gram’s head (right)

Note: Gram is part of the tutorials I created for 3D Character Development, a unit part of the BSc Character Animation and VFX course at Manchester Metropolitan University.

Abstract Mark


Mark is self-isolating. In the silence of his home his mind becomes abstract, as thoughts soar for a brighter future. Mark feels empty. Pieces of himself vanish day by day. Light will soon shine through the emptiness he once knew and loneliness will become a distant memory.

Technical Details

Abstract Mark started as an experiment with basic tools in Houdini. Elements like extracting the wireframe from edges and voxelization allowed the creation of a cage-like structure for the geometry. Mark’s 3D head model was created in Maya through edge modelling techniques.

Spacey Meets Alec

Spacey is a character modelled by following Justin Marshall’s tutorial on Modelling Your First Character on Pluralsight. In his shiny boots and colourful suit, Spacey is ready for a new adventure. He’s just arrived on Mr. Alec’s planet, actually. The green, blobby alien greets him with a big toothy smile! Spacey is just a bit confused…

Spacey meets Alec the alien.