Augustus the Bone-Clawer eats people.
The part-frog, part-human, 100-per-cent-clay beast is a creation of Frankenstein-wannabe Cameron MacDonald.
Mr MacDonald is one of 10 UCOL bachelor of applied visual imaging students bringing to life a Roman-inspired creature of their own design at Te Manawa today and tomorrow.
They will craft the models in painstaking detail, to designs that previously existed only on paper and a screen.
"Basically I really wanted to create a big monster," Mr MacDonald said.
"He's kind of video-games inspired. I have always been pretty keen on games and movies but I'm probably more likely to end up in commercial design so this is something that I wouldn't do otherwise."
Before the students began creating their clay models, they drew their beasts' structures from multiple angles and animated them on screen. Illustration lecturer Steve Leurink said the process was a way of taking the students from traditional to digital and then back to traditional again.
"The main criteria is to create believability, to get that takes a massive amount of research - an understanding of anatomy, the muscle and bone - all of these things before you even start."
The assessment required the monsters to be fighting characters, sent from the gods to enhance and assist Spartacus battle scenes.
The Roman designs reflected Te Manawa's Roman Machines exhibition.
Mr Leurink said clay modelling was still important for those wanting a career in film, even in an age of computer animation. "If you go into the film industry they will be like, ‘Here is the design, bring it to life for me'," he said.
One of the students looking at getting into the film industry is William Bennett.
The third-year illustrator has already had talks with Weta Workshop, although a job could be a few years away yet.
"The scene for this sort of thing is starting to grow in Palmerston," Mr Bennett said.
"People don't usually get to see us actually doing it and if it inspires someone that's cool."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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