José Vaz – Toma Creators
Hi, I’m Zez. I’m a freelance 2D Animator and Director from Porto, Portugal, working remotely for over 10 years. I manage a small team of creatives at my studio Toma Creators. We make full production for Animated Explainers and Music Videos, and the studio was involved with it. Apart from commercial work, I’ve always been involved in personal projects, such as creating Animated Series, Podcasts, Video Games, Comics, and more. 2D animation is my armory, and I like to turn all my embedded idea into reality, because I know I can achieve it with the right amount of artistic composition.
Our explainer videos were made for many industries, and you can find our customers representing all types of goods and services worldwide. Below are a few screenshots that I made for my customers, and each of them told their story precisely in less than a minute. From then, I started using Cartoon Animator (CTA) because I wanted to bring to life an upcoming project. Eventually, I got a brief for a story called ‘Walter Precipitous’ and ended up trying CTA for the first time on the short film.
Q: Hello Jose, and congratulations on being the first 2D entry of the Reallusion Pitch & Produce program. To start with, kindly tell us a bit about your character Walter, and share your 2D character creation process with Walter.
Walter is a water molecule. He changes forms from solid to liquid and gas but most of the time we’re seeing him as a big-headed droplet. When I saw CTA’s 360 head rotation tutorial with an angry bird sort of character, I knew Walter would work great on the software. My 2D character design style is highly inspired by Cartoon Network. I drew some sketches of the characters and quickly brought those to the iPad where I used Procreate to draw them in a neutral position with all the facial features I would need throughout the film. I brought the drawings into Photoshop where I added the colors and prepared the models for CTA.
There are a lot of emotions in the story, so I created, for example, two sets of mouth syllables, one sad 😔, and another happy 😃. Crystal’s character was animated as a green screen body in CTA which turns into this beautiful intricate texture in post-production in After Effects. The process of creating the characters on Cartoon Animator was fun and quick, and when the characters’ models were finished, animating them was a breeze of fresh air.
Q: Thanks for the nice sharing! To elaborate more, can you run us through your typical creation workflow with Cartoon Animator and other tools?
I usually use Procreate to draw my characters, then I take them to Photoshop to add the right colors. Once I am done with the 2D character creation, then I will take the model to Cartoon Animator for animation. In Walter Precipitous, there are a lot of lip sync movements involved, and I know most of the facial animators, regardless of 2D or 3D find it troublesome. So I am glad that Cartoon Animator streamlined the process and made my facial animation and lip-syncing animation process easier with their intuitive built-in functions.
When I’m finished with the character animations, I bring them to After Effects, a software I already felt comfortable with. I add most of the background images and post-production on AE. Here, I also textured some characters, and I am very pleased that my past experiences were put to work and you can see the characters are more vivid.
Q: Speaking of making the animation more vivid, how did Cartoon Animator 5 exactly help in this project?
Cartoon Animator is already a handy software for both indie and professional animators. With Cartoon Animator 5’s latest update, we were able to execute many new features and give Walter and Crystal more character. The first feature involved was one of the secondary animations: FFD effect. This allows us to squash and stretch the characters, and works brilliantly, and easily creating intricate effects straight out of classic animation’s rule book. In my story, Walter is portrayed as a bubbly character with a dream to explore the world. This feature truly helped us to animate Walter with an attitude and creates more cartoony motions.
The Spring Effect creates physics that was not possible before. In the project, I used Spring Editor to effectively animate the otter, trying to recreate the bounciness and simulate the tail motion. There are many pre-set included, and I suggest that you can always drag and drop them into your character bone and test it out. Reallusion already demonstrated it with a couple of samples in their FREE tutorials, and sometimes you just have to play with some tested secondary animation before the final results. Finally, the chance to use Vector Graphic Files was a big deal for me, since so many of the illustrations I work with are vector designs. This also allows users to import any vector graphics coming from any other online libraries. You can also get the vector files from Reallusion, or find the FREE vector characters embedded in Cartoon Animator 5.
Q: The project was a team effort. Can you share how you communicate and coordinate with them? Also, do you find it challenging to work remotely on team projects?
Communication is key, especially in bigger projects. The team has been working together for a few years on several projects. I know what Mariana (Illustrator) and Andre (Sound Designer) are capable of and their workflow. I know they are both capable of surprising me and pushing the envelope. Toblerusse, the creator and producer of the story, who lives in Canada, was just a pleasure to work with. He was very understanding and very much let us take creative freedoms. Even though Mariana, Andre, and I live in the same city (Porto, Portugal) we mostly worked remotely the whole time which we are all very much used to by now and so it’s become very natural. For communication to flow I would advise surrounding yourself with nice humans and try being helpful to your co-workers. I guess everyone involved was inspired by the story and had something meaningful to add to it. The big lesson is that remote work opened up a world of possibilities and collaborations that weren’t available before.
Q: We are very glad that your team pulled it out and delivered a nice project. Tell us about your future plans with Walter Precipitous Project!
Walter Precipitous was such a blast that the team is determined to keep going! So we created the landing page Walter Teaches Kids for all upcoming material. We’re creating more videos about water and science, a YouTube channel that we will be updating regularly and a Teachers Pay Teachers profile with more educational material. Hopefully, new characters and new short films will emerge from this!
Follow Jose and Walter Precipitous:
Walter’s Teacher’s Pays Teacher website: