Exploring animation


Filmmaker Case Study – Exploring animation

Craig Rintoul, from Cambridge, Ontario, is an experienced writer and radio broadcaster who has recently started using machinima to create his own personal projects.

He started by making his own films, but has recently begun to focus more on making Moviestorm mods. He’s now specialising in animated mods.


Craig, 51, has some TV work to his credit, and has spent most of the last 30 years working in radio.  He started making Moviestorm mods in 2009. This was his first foray into modding; he had previously made some machinima in Unreal Tournament 2004, which he found to be a “long and frustrating process.” Then he discovered Moviestorm and says he hasn’t looked back.

He started modding purely because he needed to know how to make the things he needed. “My main motivation was simple. Camera tricks and re-purposing gestures etc can only work so long. There were specific animated tasks, especially in the vertical plane which were just too hard to fake. For my Thunderbirds Relaunch project I wanted an animation of the legs of Thunderbird Two rising up exposing the pod. Then the pod door would open and whatever International Rescue gizmo I needed could roll out.”

He also admits to the sheer pleasure of modding. “I get a kick out of seeing an in-animate object move. I know it is silly, but that’s just so cool to see happen. And to be honest, I get a kick out of people wanting to use my mods. It’s an ego boost, what can I say?  Static props are now easy as pie, which is why I am happy to knock one off for someone in under an hour, if I have the spare time. If I have made something and think that others might be interested, I share it. If it is something weird that I can’t see anyone else interested in, I don’t bother.”

It’s not all fun and games, though. “Right now I’m still learning. I am fairly patient, but when it doesn’t work on what seems like the 899th time, I get a bit testy. That’s when I turn to the forums and grovel. Happily the Moviestorm community and the guys at Moviestorm itself are really generous with lending a hand.”

Craig uses a variety of tools to create his mods. “I decided I would use Milkshape as my 3d animation program, though I do my actual designs in Google SketchUp or just use something from the warehouse. Sometimes it is a little of the first on something from the second. I once turned the dome of an orthodox church model into a bud of garlic.”

He comments wryly that modding can be time-consuming. “Does modding get in the way of making movies? Yes! And the rest of my life. My girlfriend calls herself a Moviestorm widow. I’ll be getting back to “Thunderbirds Relaunch” soon…really….no, really!”

This is a typical example of Craig’s work. It’s converted from a creature he found online, made by a modder called Psionic, and used by permission. He found it by looking for rigged Milkshape models, and used it as a basis for a Moviestorm mod.

This spider-like beastie is scalable (from Indiana Jones style bug on shoulder to terror of the city size), tints, takes an image. Craig notes that “apparently you can play a video on him, but frankly I haven’t tried that. Might give it a cool glow or electric effect I suppose. He’s also loaded with animations: walks, crawls, bites, stomps, crouches, head butts, jumps, attacks, takes damage, and dies.”

Other creatures Craig has made include dogs, cats, rats, ants, birds, and robots.



Watch the ‘Thunderbirds Relaunch’ by writerly

Or visit tha CraigARintoul YouTube channel