MadMicrobe’s work on Morgan featured in CGSociety

Meleah Maynard and I recently discussed the process of creating some CG science shots  for the film Morgan, which was released this past September.

The article is featured on CGSociety if you are interested in reading it:

Read The Article on CGSociety

Below are some stills and clips of some of our work:



Thanks for looking!

What is Morgan?

We at MadMicrobe recently had the opportunity to work on some cg bio-viz shots for the VFX house Fugitive Studios  for the upcoming Ridley Scott-produced, and Luke Scott-directed sci-fi thriller Morgan. I was quite pleased to discover both shots made it into the trailer.

I handled design, modeling, rigging, texturing, lighting and animation, as well as initial compositing on the shots along with Cinema 4D extraordinaire Jon Bosley who helped set up and rig the injection shot. Fugitive finished the shots adding the FUI components and grading as well as some last minute animation changes to the neuron shot.

Fugitive handled many of the vfx shots in the trailer as well as titles and FUI design.
I think they did a great job and the film is looking like it might be a winner.

I hope to share more information on the project after the film is released.

Thanks for looking.

MadMicrobe: Wonders Within

Its been quite a busy and exciting year, which unfortunately meant that the blog got neglected a “little”. Well, I’m back again, with not only some new work to share, but an updated look and feel, as well as the new blog name.

Joel•O•tron has finally run its course and I have now decided to change the name of the blog here to MadMograph to better coordinate with my Animation Studio, MadMicrobe. The URL will change very soon as well.

MicroFloaties is still accessible here in the menu above, and hopefully I’ll have a slight update to the little buggers as well in the coming weeks.

Now on to the Animation.


Throughout the past year, in between projects, I got the idea to create a new custom showreel for my Bio Viz company/studio MadMicrobe. I chose to approach this reel as a series of cohesive custom built shots rather than the typical batch of unrelated clips of past work, which is how a showreel is usually presented. I wanted to create this peice with a nod to films like Inner Space or Fantastic Voyage, ie: a journey through various systems and processes in the human body at a microscopic and sometimes molecular level, and present the reel as if it were the opening title sequence to a fictional film or tv series.

One of the challenges I was faced with after deciding to approach this as a title sequence was what/who would the content of the credits be? I soon realized that I had about 25 shots to create on-screen credits for and it would be difficult to invent something for each shot. After trying a few things I decided I would simply research what scientists were responsible for the discoveries of the elements (cells, molecules, tissue, technology) showcased in each shot. I then thought this could be a fun puzzle for people to figure out by googling the names on their own. I also knew that the more astute science professionals and geeks alike might recognize the names and their associations to the science shown.


The shots were all mostly custom built, by me or in some cases were models I purchased and customized. Everything was created, rigged, lit, textured, and animated with Cinema 4D, using the Physical Renderer for most shots and a few shots rendered using the Arnold render engine, C4DtoA. Each shot got quite a bit of post work in After Effects, and tons of color correction. I’m a sucker for rich color contrast.


I am inspired by contemporary film title sequence, so I did quite a bit of research of various typography treatments using resources like Art of theTitle and others, as well as different motion graphics techniques. Due to time constraints as well as not wanting the piece to become too visually busy, I decided to go with a stark clean typography approach and hold back on things like 3D tracking layering 2D graphic element and instead keep things simple.
The result is WONDERS WITHIN, which I’m pleased to share with you below
Thanks for looking!

Happy New Year!

Wishing all a happy and healthy 2016.

I’ve been working on some new shots for a new reel for MadMicrobe.

This one depicts a tight bombing run and pull out over space squids a dendritic cell; a component of the immune system whose role is to process any harmful antigens it comes in contact with, and then present fragments of those antigens on its surface (the little dummied-down spheres) to T-cells which. Through a cacade of events,  these T-cells will trigger the production of antibodies from plasma cells, which will then help the immune system seek out and destroy these antigens.


In other news, I have picked up a few new bits of software that I am excited to add to the creative arsenal.  I am working with Solid Angle’s Arnold Renderer using the plugin for Cinema 4D and loving it so far. Will post some images when I have something worth sharing. I’ve also finally gotten TurbulenceFD which is one I’ve been wanting to get for quite awhile. Still much to learn.

Cesar Vonc has released an update to his useful and fun Pro3durale plugin for Cinema. Proc3durale 2 has many more features and is much faster than before. Here is a sort of stylized depiction of trabecular/spongy bone which I was able to create after  about 30 minutes of play. Thanks for looking.



Fall 2015 catch-up!

The gaps between postings are getting longer and longer.

For those who might have come back to check on the blog now and then, I apologize for this! 2015 has been quite a whirlwind. After starting Mad Microbe Studios, I’ve found myself buried in work. Which is a GOOD thing, however, its also nice to have a moment to come up for air and just do some fun things here and there.

In the past 7 months we’ve gotten to work on several shots ranging from 4K to 8K for a Nat Geo full dome/planetarium  film that will be running at various science museums around the US, about 200 40 foot hologram animations for an event in Spain celebrating the launch of a new pharmaceutical company, a few science animations and some micro medical shots which will be used in an upcoming Sci Fi feature film. I hope to be able to share more about some of these projects here and on my company website Mad Microbe Studios.

Until then, here is a hodge-podge of  experiments I’ve posted on Vimeo over the past few months. Most involve my favorite Cinema 4D plugin: X-Particles….

X-particles worms. Just a test using particles emitted from the coiled tubes. Particles are traced using the xpTrail obect. And then I applied the xpSplineMesher to the trails to get the worm-like tendrils. Light/shadow settings and SSS could be better. Its a bit flickery!


Golden Crown. After downloading some great metal shaders from Donavan Keith at Cineversity, I tried my hand at molten gold. I also happened to catch up on Game of Thrones last spring  🙂 (prior to creating this). X-particles liquids.

Here are the shaders. You may need a Cineversity Subscription.


Another x-particles spline mesher test. xpSplineMenher is one of my favorite tools in XP3.


Very annoying cloned hand animation. Play it loud.


ARNOLD for C4D! Here is the first and last test I’ve had a chance to try using the great new Arnod for C4D render engine along with x-particles. Your usual fare of swirling particles. Really want to sink my teeth into Arnold some more.


A little XP landscape flyover with growing XP-trails that I had fun with.


And one last test using trails to wrap onto the surface of an asteroid.

Will post more as soon as possible.

Thanks for coming by!

MAXON NAB: Build a complex immune cell using X-Particles and Cinema 4D


I’ve returned from the wonderland that is Las Vegas and back into the grind.
It was great getting to meet and hang with so many great artists as well as the Maxon US gang.

I am now very happy to be able to share my presentation at NAB this past April.
A special thanks to Maxon USA and Cineversity for making this and all of the other fantastic artist presentations available to the public.
In this presentation, I walk you through how to use the fantastic plugin X-Particles 3 to build a complex immune cell, specifically a B-Lymphocyte or B-cell.

I prepared a short clip of the finished piece (below) that I break down in the tutorial:


Be sure to also check out Nucleus Medical Media artists Heidi Sinzel and Elizabeth MacDonald’s great presentation as well.

And many more inspiring demos from a number of artists can be found here from
Michael Rosen, Alan Demafiles (Demafleez), Steven Messing, Craig Whitaker, Mike Sentfen (The Monkey), Colin Sebastyen (MoveCraft)