Each year we take a break from the steady grind of projects and create something fun for our clients and friends. This past holiday season we took one of our characters and dressed him in a holiday red suit. He was very excited to be staring in a very special holiday animation. He may try to claim a slot in this year's holiday animation but will have to give all the characters an opportunity to be in the animation.

How did you do that?

The first process of the animation starts with the story. We want to be able to be to tell our story in about 45 secs. without the character saying anything. Once we have discussed the actions of the story we quickly rough out a story board so we can see what the actions will be look like through the camera. Once we are happy with the story boards we start building all the models and assigning textures to them. We only have to build what will be seen by the camera.

Now that all the models that been built, we put the character in scene and work on the lighting and shadows. We also have to set up the dynamics for the hat and fur on the character's suit. This is important so that once we start to animate the character, the hat and fur will react to the animation automatically! Then we set up the controls for the character's skeleton structure. This enables the animator to move the wrist, ankles, hips and head and the skeleton will follow just like in a real person.

The best part of the animation is acting it out here at the studio. We act out the scene to see how the character should react to the situation. We animate the character and refer to the story boards and then create wireframe previews so we can quickly watch the animation! The animator will start off with the primary movements and then work down to the detailed motions. The final process is to render the animation sequence, composite in the falling snow, music and sound effects.

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