Skylanders: Giants

After the release of my short film 'Devils, Angels and Dating' I was just putting my name out there as a potential Animation Director when I came across this unique opportunity in New York. Panda Panther was recruiting for animators for their next big Skylanders job. After a conversation with the Directors it was clear there was a good opportunity here for me to help them at a high level and I was hired as an Animation Director. There were a few related projects around the franchise and the first was a number of cinematic sequences for the XBox 360, PS3 and Wii games due out before Christmas. I took a Lead role alongside a good number of other talented Leads, heading up two of the twelve sequences...

Skylanders: Giants (3DS)

Hot off the completion of the main Skylanders Giants cinematics we were tasked with a set of four new cinematics for a different Nintendo 3DS game based on the Skylanders characters. This time we had to work in Stereoscopic 3D, which was actually new territory for me. I understood a lot of the fundamentals from following the business and taking some lectures from experts, but I'd yet to spend much time practicing it. There was no time to worry about it though and we dived in...

Rock Band 2: Cinematic

I started at Passion Pictures and I was working on a really cool project which gave me plenty of room to flex my film making and animation skills. I'm a huge fan of the various styles of Passion Pictures portfolio and a few of my friends from MPC made the move too for various other projects, so it was fun. The first Rock Band cinematic was very...

Megaman: Maverick Hunter

During my two years at Armature as their Lead Animator I worked on a number of, as yet, unannounced prototype games for a variety of publishers. This evolution of the Megaman franchise surfaced on various games news sites and video portals in 2013.

Kameo: Thorn Beats Kameo

There were plenty of animatics created that dug into the story elements of the game with characters that actually needed to have performances, but this was probably the first one that I made with full animation. Previous to this all the FMV work had been cheated comic book style (semi-animated) scenes or the evolve scenes that were more spectacle than performance...

Skylanders Giants: Trailer

This trailer was updated and had some new shots added after we completed the main cinematics for the game.

Kameo: Title Screen

This group shot plays under the Title/Start screen and shows off all the characters the player can play. It went through many iterations over the years...

Red vs Blue: Season 10

I returned to Rooster Teeth for another stint on Red vs Blue, this time kicking off the new Maya department for Season 10. Previously Poser had been their primary 3D package and it was still in use for this season too, but it was becoming obvious that they'd need to develop a more widely adopted package for most things in order to expand the goals of the show. I headed up the initial stages of that, built up a team, techniques, tools, work flow etc...

Red vs Blue: Season 9

Red vs Blue is a spin off comedy web series created in and around the Halo game universe. Much of the footage is captured from the game itself with voices added, and that's how it started. But nine seasons later it's developed into ...

Kameo: Intro

Funnily enough this sequence was originally conceived for the purposes of a trailer. Nick and I (our concept artist and a past animator) both felt strongly that it was time we did an advert that eluded to the story of the game rather than just quick cuts of the gameplay. So after a meeting about what we wanted, I designed this idea of seeing mini pivotal scenes from throughout the story glimced briefly in the clouds before the camera sweeps down to the castle below to start showing off the characters in action. It was enormously effective and ...

Rock Band 2: Teaser

Part of the same project to work on the cinematic for Rockband 2, this teaser presented some unique challenges. It's much shorter than the cinematic and the second half is all new shots. It was a combination of ...

Kameo: End of Game

The magnum-opus of the entire game. This huge sequence had to top everything you'd seen, push the capabilities of Kameo beyond what you'd previously experienced, draw together numerous story threads, introduce a twist in the plot and give the player a satisfactory ending. It was developed towards the end of the game's development so was under pressure to be completed fast and there were other...

Tales from the Borderlands

I briefly worked on this Borderlands sequel doing rigging and test animation.

Kameo: Evolve Pummel Weed

All the Evolve scenes were very complex pieces that required a lot of R&D, but they presented fantastic opportunities to do something imaginative. The only rules were that it had to start with the baby monster and it had to transform into the adult monster, ideally through a method that reflected their elemental theme. I've included an earlier version of this Evolve cinematic developed for the original Xbox. I later decided to upgrade all the FMVs to HD resolution at the same time as changing the characters to match their new Xbox 360 designs.

Banjo Kazooie: Character Design

Character designs, creatures, costumes and vehicles by Michael Cawood for a prototype XBox 360 game that was later cancelled, then later re-imaged as 'Nut's and Bolts'.

Perfect Dark Zero: Walk through trailer

This is an edit I made for promotional purposes. It highlights a co-operative walk through of a level.

Perfect Dark Zero: DLC Trailer

This short edit shows off the new multi-player levels you can download online. It was based on the title movie used as the attract mode in the game. The music from this and the general format guided my edits as I laid various key shots over the top and integrated them using a number of techniques to make them feel like they were originally designed to be there.

Kameo: Attract Mode Trailer

Here it is, the last of my Kameo edits. I've effectively had several dry runs at this particular format as you can see from the other videos on this website, so it wasn't a stretch to know exactly what was needed. I put together a plan on paper that highlighted all the major themes, features and scenes we wanted to cover...

Kameo: DLC Trailer

This short edit highlights the new demo and downloadable content for Kameo, including character skins and free online co-operative play. It presented an interesting challenge, featuring so much content in only 30 seconds and print so much text onscreen in so many languages.

Kameo: Evolve Flex

Like all the evolve scenes Flex was a unique problem. He had to look like water and be completely malleable. So this required looking into water and water shaders, and some hand painted frames to blend between elements. There was another water themed scene, but I've not included it here because I only did a polish job on the effects and final look of it and the animation was done by Neil. Both scenes turned out pretty well though and I was lucky that they didn't change too much when the rest of the characters were being updated (spikes wouldn't have looked good on water!). Here's the animatic for the Flex scene.

Kameo: Evolve Rubble

This was a scene that was initially worked on my my friend Neil, but when we decided to revamp all the cut-scenes for the Xbox 360 Neil had moved onto another team. So I polished up the first half without changing too much and started the second half again from scratch. The original version was done at a time when we were taking a lot of shortcuts as part of the style of the scenes, but we'd taken all the other scenes a lot further and it was time to do something equally impressive for this.

Kameo: Evolve Cloud Monster

This was one of the more imaginative characters in the game. Unfortunately after this cut-scene was finished the character proved too hard technically to implement in the game and we were beginning to realize we didn't need so many characters so he got the chop. But this scene was made available to view as an unlock-able extra (along with the animatic below) and featured in some of the early trailers for the game.

Banjo Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts

I spent a couple of months working on an early version of Bank Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts. I did a number of pre-production related tasks on this one including idea development, concept artwork, character designs, storyboards, pre-visualization and editing an animatic to showcase what the game might look like.

The Club

I arrived just as this project was nearing completion so all I did was help where I was needed for a couple of months until it was all done. It was a mixture of scene setup with mocap performances. Mocap fixing, and full hand animated replacement where the mocap wasn't providing the necessary performance. I also animated a lot of hands and faces since the mocap doesn't provide that. Then there was lighting and rendering, and a bit of editing and titles work.

Kameo: Evolve Thermite

Evolve Thermite animatic for Kameo : Elements of Power

Kameo: History Introduction

An alternate version of how the game could have started.

Kameo: Cailem Leads Trolls

Not actually a scene itself, this video just shows you some of the cloth and hair solutions we developed to make some of the characters more convincing. All of the characters used joints to control their hair and clothes, but in order to make them flow naturally I looked into using Maya cloth with buttons mounted on it that drove the joints. This worked very well in most places. The result was baked to the joints and any glitches were fixed by hand. Amazingly the programmers managed to create something similar in game... in real time.

Kameo: Cloth and Hair

Not actually a scene itself, this video just shows you some of the cloth and hair solutions we developed to make some of the characters more convincing. All of the characters used joints to control their hair and clothes, but in order to make them flow naturally I looked into using Maya cloth with buttons mounted on it that drove the joints. This worked very well in most places. The result was baked to the joints and any glitches were fixed by hand. Amazingly the programmers managed to create something similar in game... in real time.

Kameo: Evolve Whirly Bird

Evolve Whirly Bird animatic for Kameo : Elements of Power

Viva Piñata: Trouble in Paradise

I spent a month or so working on in-game animations for this game. I’d been busy with numerous departments whilst I was writing up pitch documents for a dozen game ideas and I decided I wanted to find something focused to do while I was waiting for these projects to work their way through the management pipeline. I volunteered my time on the new Asset Creation Team that was currently creating animations for new characters.

Kameo: Character Design

Character designs, sketches, creatures and costumes by Michael Cawood for Kameo: Elements of Power (XBox 360 Game).

Kameo: X04 Trailer

Not quite as powerful as the X03 teaser trailer, this version actually had an early version completely done before we looked at it and decided to completely re-plan it. There were certain points we wanted to get across that we needed to highlight. One of those elements was the ability to tackle any given situation in a number of different ways by choosing ...

Kameo: Theena Gives Book

This deleted sequence started life like most of the others as an animatic. But at this stage storyboards and animatics were fairly new to the team and they liked them so much they thought we didn't really need to do any animation. This wasn't initially a popular decision with the animators but ...

Kameo: Evolve 40 Below

I originally created the Snowman Evolve scene with a more snowball like theme but as the character designs all changed this scene had to be updated as well. All the characters were generally made to look more detailed and aggressive, mostly through the addition of bumpy surfaces and spikes. In this particular case I actually preferred the original 'Snowman' design and I think he lost his snowball qualities in the update. So you can see both the final and the original versions here, along with the animatic I originally story-boarded below.

Kameo: Evolve Tree Monster

Evolve Tree Monster animatic for Kameo : Elements of Power

Kameo: X03 Trailer

This is my personal favourite Kameo trailer up to this point. I've done a number of these and this is the one where everything just came together to form something beautiful (well I think so, judge for yourself). I found myself with a one month deadline to pull something really special together.

Kameo: E3 Trailer

This early 'feel good' trailer was one of two videos released at the time (May 2003) featuring the same footage and music. This one was edited by me and was made available on the Rare website. It features a number of scenes that I worked on as an animator, that I'm still relatively pleased with.

Starfox Adventures: TRex Boss

Although I did a number of tasks over the years on this one, I was predominantly responsible for the real-time cut-scenes. There are about two to three hours of the stuff in this game! I spent an awful amount of time with the characters of this world, bringing them to life. I didn't really have much of a clue what to do with them when I started...

Starfox Adventures: Other Sequences

Although I did a number of tasks over the years on this one, I was predominantly responsible for the real-time cut-scenes. There are about two to three hours of the stuff in this game! I spent an awful amount of time with the characters of this world, bringing them to life. I didn't really have much of a clue what to do with them when I started...

Starfox Adventures: Arwing

Although I did a number of tasks over the years on this one, I was predominantly responsible for the real-time cut-scenes. There are about two to three hours of the stuff in this game! I spent an awful amount of time with the characters of this world, bringing them to life. I didn't really have much of a clue what to do with them when I started...

Starfox Adventures: Starfox and his Staff

Although I did a number of tasks over the years on this one, I was predominantly responsible for the real-time cut-scenes. There are about two to three hours of the stuff in this game! I spent an awful amount of time with the characters of this world, bringing them to life. I didn't really have much of a clue what to do with them when I started...

Starfox Adventures: The End of Andross

Although I did a number of tasks over the years on this one, I was predominantly responsible for the real-time cut-scenes. There are about two to three hours of the stuff in this game! I spent an awful amount of time with the characters of this world, bringing them to life. I didn't really have much of a clue what to do with them when I started...

Starfox Adventures: Meeting Tricky

Although I did a number of tasks over the years on this one, I was predominantly responsible for the real-time cut-scenes. There are about two to three hours of the stuff in this game! I spent an awful amount of time with the characters of this world, bringing them to life. I didn't really have much of a clue what to do with them when I started...

Starfox Adventures: Krystal is Captured

Although I did a number of tasks over the years on this one, I was predominantly responsible for the real-time cut-scenes. There are about two to three hours of the stuff in this game! I spent an awful amount of time with the characters of this world, bringing them to life. I didn't really have much of a clue what to do with them when I started...

Starfox Adventures: Lightfoot

Although I did a number of tasks over the years on this one, I was predominantly responsible for the real-time cut-scenes. There are about two to three hours of the stuff in this game! I spent an awful amount of time with the characters of this world, bringing them to life. I didn't really have much of a clue what to do with them when I started...

Starfox Adventures: Drakor Boss

Although I did a number of tasks over the years on this one, I was predominantly responsible for the real-time cut-scenes. There are about two to three hours of the stuff in this game! I spent an awful amount of time with the characters of this world, bringing them to life. I didn't really have much of a clue what to do with them when I started...

Starfox Adventures: Queen Earthwalker

Although I did a number of tasks over the years on this one, I was predominantly responsible for the real-time cut-scenes. There are about two to three hours of the stuff in this game! I spent an awful amount of time with the characters of this world, bringing them to life. I didn't really have much of a clue what to do with them when I started...

Starfox Adventures: Krystal and the Warrior

Although I did a number of tasks over the years on this one, I was predominantly responsible for the real-time cut-scenes. There are about two to three hours of the stuff in this game! I spent an awful amount of time with the characters of this world, bringing them to life. I didn't really have much of a clue what to do with them when I started...

Starfox Adventures: Introduction to Andross

Although I did a number of tasks over the years on this one, I was predominantly responsible for the real-time cut-scenes. There are about two to three hours of the stuff in this game! I spent an awful amount of time with the characters of this world, bringing them to life. I didn't really have much of a clue what to do with them when I started...

Starfox Adventures: Scales Threatens the Queen

Although I did a number of tasks over the years on this one, I was predominantly responsible for the real-time cut-scenes. There are about two to three hours of the stuff in this game! I spent an awful amount of time with the characters of this world, bringing them to life. I didn't really have much of a clue what to do with them when I started...