Crafting Creatures | Spotlight on The Mill’s Michael Kash

Michael Kash is a VFX Artist, based at The Mill's Los Angeles studio.
Thought April 16, 2020

What is your role at The Mill?

I’m a modeler, sculptor and texture artist.

 

Tell us about crafting CG creatures, how do you do do it?

When I craft a creature I actually imagine I am breathing life into its being. I study the attachments of the muscles to the bones, how the skin lays on top. If I put myself into the mind of the animal, I find things I might not have seen.

 

What drew you to focus on creature work?

Ever since I was a child I’ve always had a huge love for animals. I would often spend my time at the local zoo drawing with pastels.

Xfinity ‘Slowskys | Snail Mail’

What are the benefits of crafting fully-CG creatures?

With CG creatures you can create things that are larger than life like King Kong. You can push anatomy and details in ways you could never get shooting live.

 

Talk us through the most memorable CG creature projects you’ve worked on?

I really enjoyed working on The Slowsky’s for Comcast, it’s always fun to be able to do something that’s both comical as well as being grounded in reality. I love finding the balance between those two worlds and using it in my work.

 

Xfinity ‘Slowskys | Maps’

What are some of the most challenging creatures to craft?

Cats are very challenging to sculpt and animate. They’re very expressive creatures, and if not done right, you can easily find yourself in uncanny valley territory.

 

How does advancing technology enhance what you can do when it comes to creating true to life CG creatures?

I recently got a VR headset and have been playing with some of the sculpting apps out there. The tech is still getting there, but to be able to see your model in a 3D space, as you’re working, is huge for me.

 

Favorite creatures in tv/film/pop culture?

Anything Jim Henson. From the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to everything Star Wars.