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"Thank you."                 - 3D Character Animation by Florina Minea

"Thank you." - 3D Character Animation by Florina Minea

Florina Minea
by florinaminea on 31 May 2021 for Rookie Awards 2021

Welcome to my first entry for The Rookie Awards 2021! I created this 3D Character Animation Demo Reel project in only two weeks during my education at PIXL VISN, media arts academy in Cologne, Germany. - I loved working on it, hope you like it too :)

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Round of applause for our sponsors

"Thank you." - (Dinner scene)

After watching Netflix‘s new movie called Malcolm & Marie starring Zendaya and John David Washington, it was pretty clear that I have to animate an acting shot from this incredible film. The acting of both actors was glorious. I also loved the timelessness of the black and white. 


Her boyfriend Malcolm made a movie partially based on her life and couldn’t even be bothered to give her credit in public. That's why I named my artwork "Thank you." All she ever wanted was to get some recognition and receive that simple "Thank you, Marie."

First steps

At first, I started with the block out of my scene. Set the camera and started animating her key poses. For this step, I used the original movie reference. ( YouTube )                                    

But there was still something missing. The animation seemed too subtle so I added the wineglass to make the character appear as alive as possible. After videotaping myself with a wineglass I started to change the key poses again. Parenting the wineglass to her hand controller made everything much easier. 

Cup Rig by Mothman TD - Carlos Contreras


Before I started to animate her facial expressions, I modified the rig a little bit. I scaled her nose smaller and changed her eye position and hairstyle. I was quite impressed by how much these few changes could affect her outcome. You really can feel and see her attitude now. 

Dana Rig by Gabriel Salas

Animation study

I also studied my reflection in the mirror to see how every facial muscle would react. Especially the tongue and the eyebrows.  I knew that former Disney 2D animators used this technique, so I gave it a try!

I only can recommend you this tip! Filming reference or searching on the web for it is key, for a realistic result. :) 

Creating her dress

To make my shot a bit more interesting I had some fun in Substance Painter where I created her glamourous dress and gave her some glitter eyeshadow. I created a glitter material by using a glass material and adding the MatFinish Powder Coated filter on top of it.  

Zee Dress by Aliette 


As soon as I was happy with my animation and lighting setup, I started rendering my shot in Maya with V-Ray.  It rendered a whole weekend on my school PC. 

Last finish

In compositing, I was finally able to see the whole result. I added a background and blurred it. I also gave my character an edge blur. I wanted to add her eyeshadow some glint and glow. So I did a Roto on her eyelids and adjusted the intensity of my nodes. 

Last words

Since this was my first try in 3D character acting animation. I am really happy with the end result.  Besides learning a lot about animation, I had a lot of fun working on it and it showed me again that this is exactly what I want to do in the future. It was a quite fulfilling feeling. 

Let me know if I could bring you a bit closer to the magic of 3D Animation ;)  Would love to hear your feedback!

Cheers! - Florina





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