Metabee - MV.ARTZ

Awesome Metabee Model And 3D Animation

Nostalgic inspiration

Do you ever wish you could go back to the good old days and watch your favorite cartoon character one more time? One of my favorite shows was Medabots, the young boy Ikki and Metabee were such an amazing duo. Metabee a robot with an extreme temper and mind of his own, made him a perfect character for animation!

Feeling nostalgic is nothing to be apologetic for, not even for those ‘childish’ cartoons. Draw inspiration from this as an artist. Why not, give a beloved character a new life, or put your spin on it by changing some of the proportions.  

This is exactly what bulletproofturtleman did to one of my childhood favorites. 


Metabee - MV.ARTZ
MVARTZ interpretation of Metabee

Feeling sparked by drawing from bulletproofturtleman on DeviantArt. I set out to model Metabee in 3D. 

Metabee by bulletproofturtleman
Metabee by bulletproofturtleman

See, if you’re any familiar with Medabots, you know that some of the animations are stylized. Suddenly they are striking a pose, that in reality should have broken the poor thing. Metal parts that unexpectedly bend to get the action needed. On the other hand, stylizing animation is probably what makes it so appealing.
However, this was something I wanted to improve, model Metabee closer to reality. (Keeping my skill level in mind, at that time)


If you’re tackling a new technique, just like I was, or just began learning to model, consider modeling a 3d robot. 
These models are built in sections, think of it in this way, a car manufacturer doesn’t mold his car directly in one piece. No, they build up panels, that’ll allow you to focus on smaller sections. 
Even better you don’t need to worry about deformations. For now, all you can focus on is getting those parts as perfect as possible. Don’t obsess off course, but work hard.

The model was starting to look appealing. When the rush of endorphins faded, I began to see some issues, which back then felt like the end of the world. If I’m honest, I nearly gave up on the project. 
The knee couldn’t possibly bend the number of degrees I needed for a walk cycle. 

I tried to fix it, by adding an extra layer of hydraulic presses. Back then I was satisfied, I wanted to move on to rigging, so I could finally animate this childhood hero.

Looking back that’s something I would’ve done differently. Sometimes parts of the model aren’t working. In those cases, it’s best to revisit a part we thought was already finished, for the sake of the bigger picture.

All forms of art, so modeling as well, are iterative processes.

To illustrate this, some well-known painters have a completely different painting under the first layer. They just painted over and over until they had something they were content with, even if that meant ‘deleting’ the old parts of the painting.

Animation Cycles

Relieved from modeling I rushed my way to animation. It was a blast, learning tons of new things, and doing cloth sims. Soon I began to recognize I rust my way through the foundational phases. Now I saw the fundamental flaws I made earlier in the process.

All the animations were referenced from ‘the animator’s survival kit’ by Richard Williams.

Sure, the rig couldn’t freely move in all directions, but I could work with such limitations. 

Until I had to struggle through this animation, Metabee did a simple benchpress.

Normally that would have been a problem, using an IK arm rig. 
Anyway,  maybe you’ve noticed, but Metabee’s arm is not a usual socket joint. Most rigs that are shown online are based on that type of joint. So I tried to make this work, but unfortunately, it didn’t work, I wanted to see this animation through, but I had only one remaining option. Yes, I did the whole animation with the FK-arm rig.

Instead, I’ve should’ve combined a universal joint rig and then later added on an IK arm setup. This is the best tutorial I found on such a rig. 


Designing a functional robot is harder than it looks.

This is something I had to learn the hard way, Metabee, a character very near to my heart ended up pretty much unused. His rig was limited in movement, because of how the model was made. And that can be okay, but it has to be a conscious choice.

I would encourage myself, and you, to keep designing with movement in the back of our heads. Constantly, make sure the model is capable of hitting the striking poses we love to see in animation.

Over on youtube, I made a beginners series, where I create an Iron-suit for this Scott character. Working towards an animation, I meanwhile I share tips I use every day in the production of similar shots.

After writing this I feel reminiscent of the project, which makes me want to revisit this project and finish it properly. Maybe, I release the character rig for anyone to test out.
I need some encouragement, should I finish the Metabee model?