The Lego Ninjago Movie

Story Artist for The Lego Ninjago Movie

Devils, Angels & Dating

In 2006 I started developing a short computer generated film called 'Devils, Angels and Dating'. This film was made with the internet in mind, fully aware of modern trends. I was inspired by modern dating trends and let those themes influence the core ideas behind the film.

The Wrong Rock

Short Film Pitch

Napoleon: The Ticket

Michael Cawood helped Matt Berenty 'plus' the story, then came on board to implement the changes in Layout and Previs Animation.

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...

Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb – Previs

Previsualization for a few sequences in Night at the Museum 3

Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb – Postvis

Postvis for a few sequences in Night at the Museum 3

Singapore Navy: Be Somebody

This Television advert for the Singapore Navy was an interesting piece of work. The brief was; the buildings come to life and head out to sea to engage in battle with office themed projectiles, we then cut back to a man waking up in his office before we see the tag lines.

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.

Devils, Angels & Dating: Trailer

During the development of 'Devils, Angels & Dating' I knew it was going to be very important to create a strong trailer to attract talent to work on the project. So the trailer was planned out early in the process. Storyboards from the film were cut together and a score was created so that we could plan around those shots getting done first. It was updated almost as often as the main film itself so that the team could see how it was coming along. It was completed about six months ahead of the completion of the final film.

Lostopolis

I was an Animation Director for the company and did a little character design and rigging supervision in the early stages of production.

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.

Green Team – Mobile Rebates

Commercial / Product Demo HEROmation Director (Visuals) 2013 / 2014 Storyboards 26959 0 26959 0 26959 0 26959 0 26959 0 26959 0 27943 0 27943 0 27943 0 27943 0 27943 0 27943 0 27943 0 Storyboards and Previs Copyright © Green Team Energy 2014

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...

Monkey King: Theme Park Attraction

This is a test piece of animation made to showcase a new version of a classic character. I was given the character model. After a few tweaks to the model, I rigged him and animated this short sequence of action in a tightly styled way. It was very quick turn around but good fun.

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 ...

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.

Tenkai Knights: Website Intro

I'd worked with the client a couple of times before for some pitches, and this interactive website was one of the ones that got commissioned. I was able to work from home, which made for a nice change. There was a good number of ...

Parkour: Personal Project

I'd wanted to do something acrobatic like this since my University years but when Disney's Tarzan came out I opted not to do it as I figured it would be seen as a rip off, since then Spiderman has also achieved similar feats. Well, in 2007, I felt it was time to have a go anyway...

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.

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.

Dogs on a Seesaw

I started this pet project with the intention of doing some four legged animation, with a jump and some balance/weight issues to address. It began with the dog jumping onto a seesaw with a weight on the other side reacting to the seesaw tilting. Then it occurred to me that the dog’s action wasn’t as interesting as what the weight was doing as it flew up, bounced and rocked around....

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.

Tenkai Knights: Product Demo

This is a test product demo for the Tenkai Knights toy. Later there were other toys given the same treatment to show how they can be constructed by the user.

Animation Reel

Michael Cawood's Animation Demoreel

Generalist Reel

Animated Filmmaker, Michael Cawood's, generalist reel.

Rigging

Animated Filmmaker, Michael Cawood's, rigging portfolio.