3D Animation, Illustration, Cinema4D

Every year just before Christmas, I like to take the opportunity to create something different than what I usually create every day and make something fun as a festive Christmas promo to send to my clients and friends.

Christmas 2013 was my first go at animating a 3D character and putting that character in videos of the real world. In 2014 I wanted to do something similar but show how my Cinema4D skills have improved since then.

I've added this to my portfolio, because I think it highlights a style of 3D design that I really enjoy creating.

I do love a bit of origami and wanted (as usual) to base my idea around Christmas time in Bristol. So I came up with a few short animation ideas, but settled on creating places in Bristol out of paper and have santa deliver presents. At the time of planning this, I was in the middle of developing a templating model for creating humanoid characters. As a test I made myself in 3D for a laugh and wanted to use him in my Christmas promo too. I changed the storyboard slightly so it was introduced and ended by my '3D Me', and here is the result.


I thought it might be interesting to explain how I created this animation, so below i;ve highlighted some of the techniques I used to create this festive video.

At the start, I already had each scene planned out on paper (so rough it's not worth showing), so my first task
was to create all the assets, models and studio parts that I would need.

I created simplified versions of well known places in Bristol such as, @Bristol, Park St, The SS Great Britain and the Clifton Suspension Bridge. Plus other objects I wanted to show such as the trees, snowmen, balloons and Santa.
Getting the paper textures right was tricky, as paper can be reflective at the right angle and has a grainy texture.

I wanted to use a range of papers (matte or shiny) as if I was creating it by hand in real life.

Wireframe 3D model

Wireframe 3D model

By now I already had '3D Me' ready to go and created a simple photographic studio setup for the stage, branded in my corporate Liquidlizard colours. This is probably the easiest part of the animation and this scene and the ball scenes are actually separate files and are composited later.

Photographic Studio Render

I had the idea of the spinning paper globe in my head, and how I would functionally make it work in 3D, but it wasn't tested.

This actually works the same way you might think, where each object like the bridge, is connected to the ground and rotates round to be revealed at the correct moment. But the globe obviously spins further than 360' so wouldn't you see the bridge again on it's second pass? Yes you would, so objects come into being on the bottom side of the globe just before they are needed and then removed once they are not.

The video below shows a different angle of the globe. Notice the moments when trees and objects appear and get removed out of frame.

Christmas Globe 3D Render

Turns out, the hardest put of the project was getting the timing of the animation right to work with the music track. In theory you can work out by number of frames per second, where you want actions to happen, but after the first draft render, half a second out here and there can feel really out of place.

After a couple of test run throughs, the various scenes of the animation were ready for HD rendering, which takes a total of at least 2 days! to render each frame. I think there is near to 2000 still frames to render, some being more complex than others.

The last task is editing the scenes together, adding the sound and colour correcting, resulting in the final video.

Final Animation