Zem was created by Ty Shapira (Animator, TD) and Yaniv Shimoni(Designer). Ty created Zem as an after-hours project at Broadcast Post Production in Tel aviv, Israel, because he wanted to practice using RenderMan and other tools. He also produced other images and an animated clip tracked with Maya Live. The character is inspired by a classic mythical creature "Zem" from various sci-fi literature, although the design itself is original.
Ty Shapira's background is in both computer programming and life-arts/drawing. He is currently teaching Maya at the Bezalel academy of arts in Jerusalem, Israel, and hopes to pursue a career in Character Technical Setup/directing, and working on ambitious projects.
Zem was built in Maya 3 (see wireframe below.) The model is a mix of various tools- including a NURBS body and face, Polygonal arms and props, and ears and eyes made from Subdivision Surfaces.
The creature was initially textured in Maya, and then was brought piece by piece into the Renderman via MTOR. The reflection is a Renderman Cubic Reflection Map, created by taking photographs of the set, and then converting them into a renderman map. "I've been dreaming of doing this since T2! :)" says Ty.
The creature was composited over a background, which was flipped backwards "because the composition looks better this way," which also to made the logo in the background more subtle. Ty also says that he has grown accustomed to backwards images from various movie posters around his studio, which are printed backwards for display through video store windows.
In the end, this project resulted in a match-moving test, in which the statue comes to life and starts to perform various Karate moves. There is currently no web address for Ty, but you can e-mail him at Tyshapira@email.com.