José Vaz – Toma Creators
José Vaz, also known by his internet moniker Zez, is a freelance 2D animator and director based in Porto, Portugal. With over ten years of remote work experience, he leads a small team at Toma Creators in producing animated explainers and music videos. In addition to commercial projects, Zez creates personal projects in the form of animated series, podcasts, video games, and comics. His specialty is 2D animation, and he finds enjoyment in realizing his ideas with an artistic composition that has been carefully curated.
The team at Toma Creators create explainer videos for various industries and serve clients that offer goods and services worldwide. The showcased screenshots demonstrate the company’s ability to tell succinct stories in under a minute. The person in charge of the upcoming project began using Cartoon Animator (CTA) to bring it to life and eventually utilized CTA for the first time in the production of a short film named “Walter Precipitous,” after receiving the project brief.
The following is an interview of José and Toma Creator’s about their work on Walter Preciptous.
Q: Greetings, José. Congratulations on being the inaugural 2D participant in the Reallusion Pitch & Produce program. Firstly, can you tell us a little about your character, Walter Precipitous, and walk us through his 2D character creation process?
Walter is a water molecule that transforms between solid, liquid, and gas states. However, we primarily see him as a big-headed droplet. After discovering CTA’s 360 head rotation tutorial, which featured an angry bird-like character, I knew CTA would be the perfect software to make Walter come alive. My 2D character designs are heavily influenced by Cartoon Network, and I quickly drew sketches of the characters that were inspired by its shows. Using Procreate on my iPad, I drew the characters in a neutral position with all the necessary facial features for the film. Later, in Photoshop, I added colors and prepared the models for CTA.
The story contains many emotional scenes, prompting me to create two sets of mouth syllables conveying sadness 😔 and happiness 😃. In CTA, Crystal’s character was animated as a green screen body, with the intricate texture added in post-production using After Effects. I must say, the creation of characters in Cartoon Animator was both enjoyable and efficient. Once character models were complete, animating them was a breath of fresh air.
Q: Thank you for sharing your experience! Could you please provide further details on your typical creation workflow with Cartoon Animator and other tools?
Typically, I draw my characters using Procreate and add carefully selected colors in Photoshop. Once character creation is finished, I bring the models to Cartoon Animator for animation. In “Walter Precipitous”, there were several lip-sync sequences that would have stumped most facial animators. I’m just so grateful that Cartoon Animator simplified the process and made facial and lip-sync animation more manageable using their intuitive built-in functions.
Once I complete the character animations, I bring them into After Effects, a software that I’m already familiar and comfortable with. After Effects is where I add most of the background images and handle post-production. This is also where I add textures to some of the characters, and I’m thrilled to see how my past experiences have had an impact on the vividness of the characters.
Q: In what ways did Cartoon Animator 5 contribute to enhancing the animation’s liveliness for this project?
Cartoon Animator is a fantastic software for both indie and professional animators. With the latest update of Cartoon Animator 5, we were able to incorporate many new features, allowing us to give Walter and Crystal more personality. One of the new features we used was the FFD effect for secondary animations. This feature allows us to squash and stretch the characters to create intricate effects reminiscent of classic animation. In my story, Walter is portrayed as a bubbly character with a dream to explore the world. The FFD effect was a game-changer, helping us animate Walter with attitude and create more cartoony motions.
The Spring Effect enables new physics possibilities. I used the Spring Editor to animate an otter with bounciness and tail motion. Pre-set animations are available and can be added to character bones for testing. Reallusion provides free tutorials with sample animations, and playing with tested secondary animations can improve final results. The ability to use vector graphic files was important for me because many of my illustrations were vector files in the first place. Cartoon Animator 5 allows users to import vector graphics from other online libraries or obtain them from Reallusion’s free, embedded vector characters.
Q: Could you describe your communication and coordination process with your team for this project? Additionally, do you face any difficulties when collaborating remotely on team projects?
Effective communication is crucial for success, especially in larger projects. Having worked together on various projects for a few years, I am familiar with Mariana’s and Andre’s capabilities and workflow, which can be surprising and innovative. Toblerusse, the Canadian creator and producer, was easy to work with and gave us creative freedom. Although we all live in Porto, Portugal, we worked remotely, which was natural for us. To promote good communication, it helps to work with nice colleagues and be supportive. Our collaboration on this project was inspiring, and remote work created new opportunities for teamwork that weren’t available before.
Q: We’re delighted that your team successfully completed and delivered an excellent project. Can you share your future plans for the Walter Precipitous Project?
The team had a great time working on Walter Precipitous and is continuing with the creation of more educational content. To keep things organized, a landing page called Walter Teaches Kids has been established, featuring upcoming material such as water and science videos, a regularly updated YouTube channel, and a Teachers Pay Teachers profile. Backed by remarkable synergy, the team looks forward to introducing new characters and short films.
Follow Jose and Walter Precipitous:
Walter’s Teacher’s Pays Teacher website:
This was very cool. The software is able to do so much, it’s wild. Watched the Walter Precipitous movie with my niece and nephew and they loved it. Had so many questions after. Great stuff.