Underwater Creature Project

Learn how this talented artist relies on LightWave 3D to create amazing underwater scene

Posted: Wed 24 May 2017

Expressing his creativity through this personal project, UK-based artist Gary Mellor used LightWave 3D to deliver his own vision. With a combination of MDD's, Bones, Instancing, Hypervoxels, Fogs and Volumetric Lighting, this talented artist shows all his power in this amazing underwater creature project.

Interview with Gary Mellor: 

I mostly create motion graphics and corporate work using LightWave 2015 and AfterEffects, so I get very little time to stretch my wings in a complex 3D way. Very few clients have the budget or relevant project to give me chance to really 'go to town' with LightWave, this is why I started a personal project to explore realistic movement and rendering, so I chose underwater life as it is a hard subject to produce realistically.

The first shot I worked on was a cross between a barnacle and a clam, which I call a Nublin. I used a combination of Morph Maps, keyframing, Bone deformation, normal displacement, nodal texturing, MDD data and instancing to create the main cluster of Nublins over a texture mapped 'rock' object. The smaller details were instanced too, all from one subject model and one rock model. I also used Hypervoxels to create subtle floating debris in the water and a volumetric light for the caustic effect.

I rendered everything 'in camera' with one pass and only used After Effects and Fusion to 'sweeten' the render with filters, and to add some camera shake. I really love LightWave's native instancer to populate huge detailed scenes in almost no time at all. Very quick to render too and of course LightWave's renderer always gives great results with the right settings. LightWave allows me a lot of scope to be creative, and as time allows, I intend to create a few more similar shots with different types of underwater creatures and create a small film.

Misc. Details

Gary first discovered LightWave 3.5 on the AMIGA the mid 90's and it has always been part of his toolset. He has worked for several production and marketing companies in his hometown of Sheffield, UK before starting his own business Bluespec Digital Media in 2001. He produces Motion Graphics, Animation and VFX for corporate and independent film projects. His latest VFX work using LightWave is a planetary shot for the upcoming movie THE RIZEN (2017).

Current best portfolio online is available here.

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