Watch Surrealist Artist Cleverly Bring Life to Images with Cartoon Animator

Tom Jantol is a professional and seasoned filmmaker/animator specializing in image animation with a particular emphasis on surrealist style, usually consisting of circuses, antique toys, deserted factories, and strange attics. 


Tom believes that discovering invisible stories is a duty for everyone involved in art-making. So like a journalist in pursuit of important news, he looks around for something subtle that can later be the inspiration for a future creation. In this article, we reveal Tom’s latest creation  – “Poem is dreaming” as an example, and an opportunity, to have a closer look behind Tom’s method of animation as he turns the bizarre into a surreal world with the help of Cartoon Animator (CTA).

The Design 

In this amazing creation Tom generated the illusion of a “dream within a dream”, making characters out of different objects to recite a poem. He cleverly composed irrelevant objects and formed talking faces in an unconventional way. The structure of each scene is based on an inner logic that seemingly doesn’t make sense, yet in the end it’s balanced in the overall design.

The Workflow

Composite all the elements in Photoshop

To make the composition visually satisfying, Tom gathers all the graphic materials and arranges them in Photoshop, with every animatable object in a different layer.

Make Images Move in Cartoon Animator

Then Tom sends a PSD file to Cartoon Animator where he applies bones to each part of the graphics he plans to animate. With an optimized pipeline to connect Photoshop to CTA, users can send and update graphics layers back and forth, while preserving layers.

Create a Talking Head in Cartoon Animator

To make object talk like humans, Tom employs a collection of features in Cartoon Animator like: Face Fitting Editor to locate eyes, nose, and mouth on abstract objects. Along with the Face Puppet Tool to animate with a mouse. Next, he applies an automatic lipsync to some parts via TTS, through voice recording or audio file, to animate a talking face.

Post-production in After Effects

When finishing the most crucial part – image animation – in Cartoon Animator, Tom exports the animation as image sequences to AfterEffects via the “Cartoon Animator to After Effects” plug-in. This skips any hassle of cropping out or rearranging layers. In After Effects, he adds filters, effects, particles, and more to give a finished look to the animation. And that’s everything. Job done.

The Software

To handle the structure of a scene and make it come to life; Cartoon Animator immediately becomes the best possible answer. As in Cartoon Animator, creators can make talkable characters out of literally anything, by easily and effortlessly lip-syncing to create an illusionary actor out of the chair, tree, flower or Edgar Allan Poe in no time. 

For beginners, CTA is more approachable as its animation usability and practicality are at the core of the application. No other software can do bone-rigging and lip-syncing so fast and so intuitively. 


“It’s a smooth workflow from Photoshop to Cartoon Animator to After Effects for image animation, as they work well together. “Of all the software I ever used, only Cartoon Animator is intuitive-to-use enough to keep up with the chaotic speed of my newly born ideas, which gives me the freedom and luxury of not thinking about it. So that all my attention goes where it belongs – to the final render. ”

Tom Jantol – 2D / 3D Animator

Quick ways to animate 2D cartoons with 3D motions using ActorCore, iClone and Cartoon Animator

My name is Warwick Hays and I’ve been creating content for Cartoon Animator for many years now. I am a featured content developer on the Reallusion’s Content Store and I love combining 2D with 3D assets to make things a little different.


I created the above video with the help of Reallusion’s ActorCore, iClone and Cartoon Animator. So let’s run through how I did it.

Create Cool Caricatures Quickly with This Powerful 3D Tool

Discover how Character Creator, Headshot plug-in and SkinGen plug-in can easily generate brilliant caricatures.

(Image credit: Peter Alexander)

The Headshot plug-in for Reallusion’s Character Creator allows users to generate 3D animated digital humans from one photo, and the SkinGen tool provides the most intuitive way to generate realistic skin details. SkinGen not only makes up for the photo resolution, but introduces more handy tools to inspire artists’ creativity.

In this article, Peter Alexander, digital freelancer, uses Character Creator, Headshot and the newest SkinGen tool to produce a likeness and caricature of Jack Nicholson with the goal of showcasing the latest features Reallusion has to offer.

Download a free trial of Headshot plug-in here, and learn how to easily create a fully animatable 3D caricature model from just a single photo.

MasterClass #5: Realtime Digital Double with Character Creator and Texturing.xyz

In this 5 part series for – Master Class “Realtime Digital Double with Character Creator and Texturing.xyz”, Sefki Ibrahim shares his tips and tricks on how to take advantage of Character Creator and Texturing.xyz multi-channel face textures to create a real-time character (Ed Harris), and animate Ed’s face and body easily in Unreal Engine.

Sefki Ibrahim is a freelance character artist that specializes in photorealistic digital human works. 
He is familiar with employing Texturing.xyz material maps, and has been selected as “2019 Artist of the Year” by Texturing.xyz.

Part #5: Animating in iClone for Unreal Engine

MasterClass #4: Realtime Digital Double with Character Creator and Texturing.xyz

In this 5 part series for – Master Class “Realtime Digital Double with Character Creator and Texturing.xyz”, Sefki Ibrahim shares his tips and tricks on how to take advantage of Character Creator and Texturing.xyz multi-channel face textures to create a real-time character (Ed Harris), and animate Ed’s face and body easily in Unreal Engine.

Sefki Ibrahim is a freelance character artist that specializes in photorealistic digital human works. 
He is familiar with employing Texturing.xyz material maps, and has been selected as “2019 Artist of the Year” by Texturing.xyz.

Part #4: Dynamic Texture Editing with Character Creator SkinGen

MasterClass #3: Realtime Digital Double with Character Creator and Texturing.xyz

In this 5 part series for – Master Class “Realtime Digital Double with Character Creator and Texturing.xyz” , Sefki Ibrahim shares his tips and tricks on how to take advantage of Character Creator and Texturing.xyz multi-channel face textures to create a real-time character (Ed Harris), and animate Ed’s face and body easily in Unreal Engine.

Sefki Ibrahim is a freelance character artist that specializes in photorealistic digital human works. 
He is familiar with employing Texturing.xyz material maps, and has been selected as “2019 Artist of the Year” by Texturing.xyz.

Part #3: Hair Card Generation

Transforming a 2D Image into a 3D Character: 9 Top Tips

Discover how Headshot generates a 3D animated Pennywise from a photo.

Film-inspired fan art is nothing new. But, as many digital artists will attest, reimagining a movie character in 3D is a huge undertaking. Until now, that is. 

Headshot plug-in for Character Creator software enables artists to quickly generate human 3D models from 2D images. In this article, digital artist Peter Alexander reveals how to take a photo of Pennywise the clown from hit horror film IT, and easily transform it into a complex 3D model using Headshot, ZBrush and Blender. 

Alexander’s guide covers everything you need to know go get started, including photo selection and preparation, using the bake, edit mesh and sculpting tools native to Character Creator 3, manually adjusting Headshot masks in Photoshop, how to fix symmetry using ZBrush, and, finally, a crash-course on creating hair with a third-party Blender add-on called Hair Tool.

Download a free trial of Headshot plug-in here, and learn how to easily create a fully animatable 3D Pennywise model from just a single 2D image.

iClone MasterClass #5 – Customizing Characters for Realtime Animation

Experienced Video Director/Animator – Benny Dee shares a detailed tutorial on how to customize characters for realtime animation in  iClone 7.

Hello in this iClone tutorial I will show you how to create your custom characters for real time animation. This tutorial is part of the Master Class series to help iClone users improve and level up their creative skills.

HOW-TO: Generating a 3D Animated Gollum From a Single Photo

The Headshot plug-in for Reallusion’s Character Creator allows users to generate 3d animated digital humans from one photo. You can download a free trial here, and learn how to create a classic movie character like Gollum without any 3d skills.

To find out more about the process, we invited Peter Alexander to walk us through it. Alexander is a digital freelancer specialized in illustration, graphic design, and 3d modeling. He develops content assets for various digital marketplaces.

Peter Alexander

In this video and text below, Alexander explains how to create a fantasy movie character by using Headshot for Character Creator 3. He touches on how to choose a quality reference, overcome an open-mouthed reference image, choose appropriate masking features, and block proportions for the head and body using the “bake” feature. Alexander also covers the Mesh Editor tool, which can be used for a variety of purposes, and in this article will be used to customize a hair asset.

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