Danse Macabre- A short film by Andreanne Dussault

Danse Macabre- A short film by Andreanne Dussault

by AndreanneDussault on 1 Jun 2021 for Rookie Awards 2021

This is my thesis film that I've worked on during my years at Dawson College. All of the 3D work was done within the last year.

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Danse Macabre - A Short Film By Andreanne Dussault

Too much time left to die.

This is my thesis film during which I mainly worked on the 3D aspects within the past year. 

All of the assets are my own except for the main character, Lizzie (the old lady) which is a modified version of Josh Sobel's "Kayla Rig" to which I have purchased a commercial licence. I sculpted over the Kayla rig to create my own character. The animation of this character is completely done by myself.

Here is the full short film!

Here's the trailer to my short film.

The Process

The creation for this short story began back in my first semester when we had the assignment to create an animatic with this theme: "escape".  After several long bus rides from school and back I came up with this prompt: someone escapes death - literally. Over the course of six semesters this story has changed a lot from its original animatic to become the short it is today. Here's some work I did to create it!

Here is the poster created for my school vernissage. 

The Characters

Here are the character designs! While I wanted death to resemble the classic "grim reaper" look, I really wanted him to represent that Lizzie's time is up. What's better than him actually resembling a grandfather clock then?

Lizzie's rig is originally Josh Sobel's "KaylaRig" for which I purchased a commercial lisence. I used blendshapes to change her mesh and bring to life the old Lizzie that we now know. Death was rigged by myself using a advanced skeleton. 

The Environments

Here's some of the environment! I was heavily inspired by San Fransisco. I knew I needed a city with lots of hills and cable carts and San Fransisco filled both of those needs!


As I am trying to be an animator in the industry, this is definitely the part of the film I spent the most time on overall. I really wanted my character's reactions to be believable despite the silliness of this story. Filming references was a big part of my process which I think overall helped my animation. Here's a video showing how I'd reference different actions and then choose which fits best.

Lighting & Comp 

I used maya arnold to light and render my scenes. To speed up render times I would do render layers and comp in nuke.

I did a couple of lighting iterations as I was animating, this colour/lighting script is one close to being final.

This film is very dear to me. Having worked a solid year on this (the idea may have come to me years ago but I only really focused on it in this last year) I am pleased to see what I've been able to create. I hope that the world will enjoy watching it as much as I have enjoyed working on it!

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