Maëlle Gressé-Denois - Student Works 2020

Maëlle Gressé-Denois - Student Works 2020

Maëlle Gressé-Denois
by maellegdart on 22 May 2020 for Rookie Awards 2020

Let me share with you my best student works of 2019 - 2020. I had the opportunity to go deeper into CG during this school year at ESMA. I wanted to show different aspects of my abilities. This year has been important to me since I really enjoyed animation. I did all the aspects of each project. Please enjoy!

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All the animations were made with one unique rig, as it is the one I chose for my final year exam (we had to train using it). It was made by ESMA students for the short movie "The Box" (2018).

Most of the animations were done in six hours, on Autodesk Maya.

~ Surprise ~

The character had to walk normally, and then stop, with one leg up before hiding behind a table (here a cube) to contemplate a small object.

~ Parkour ~

The goal of this animation was to handle properly the weight and the dynamic movements of the parkour. We had a video reference we had to analyze and then reproduce it with a cartoon style.

~ Scottish dance  ~

This animation project has been done with a more simple character, as the goal was to work more on the weight with the squash and stretch on a folklore dance.


This year, the rendering projects always included modeling, texturing, shading, rendering and compositing. It was a great opportunity to discover edge flow for organic models and all the fine details needed to show the realism of the picture.

~ Insect ~

This rendering was the first full animal I did on CG from scratch. The modeling was done on Autodesk Maya, the shading and sculpting on Autodesk Mudbox, the textures on Adobe Photoshop, the rendering with Pixar Renderman. The two composited videos were made on Nuke (The Foundry).

This project last three months.

~ Facade : Old Toy workshop ~

This project was the first part of the final year exam/project.

We had to create a stylized facade, with a cartoon design, but with realistic textures. The concept art was done on Adobe Photoshop, the modeling on Autodesk Maya, the shading on Autodesk Mudbox and Photoshop, the rendering on Pixar Renderman. 

In this environment, a character will evolve, according to a scenario I've written during the year. The final phase is the animation of the character, of the different assets of the facade which have to move a bit and its rendering. The short movie must last twenty seconds maximum. The first image with the tinsels is the final environment for my animation.

This project started in December and will end in June.

Concept art : one month ;

Modeling  : one month ;
Shading and lighting : one month.

~ Animal  ~

This project was the final one of the year and it was on FUR. I chose an animal I'm close to (the lynx) which I had to cartoon a bit. The modeling was done once again on Autodesk Maya. The posing required a simple rig, also done on Maya. The grooming has been realized with xGen, the shading with Autodesk Mudbox and Adobe Photoshop. The rendering had been done with Pixar Renderman. Finally, the backgrounds have been added with Photoshop.

From the concept art to the final render : four months.

~ Shoes ~

This non-organic project was shorter than the others, but still quite complex as my shoes had strass and zippers. It has been a great occasion to learn about MASH on Maya. The shading and the compositing has been made with Adobe Photoshop and the render engine was Pixar Renderman.

Modeling done in one month ; Shading and Compositing done in one month.


This year was the first time I did compositing on videos with Nuke (the Foundry). I discovered this new tool and all its possibilities, such as matte painting, creating 3D effects from a 2D image, green screen or the creation of procedural images from scratch.

~ Entering a painting  ~

On this project, I chose the painting "Das Eismeer" by C. D. Friedrich (1823-1824). The goal was to feel we could enter the image/painting, and add some effects to emphasize the sensation of 3D.

This result took about 3 weeks on Nuke.

~ Magic glyph  ~

This magic glyph was done entirely on Nuke. This exercise had been very interesting on procedural creation on the software. The bonus was to animate it and add a 3D object, moving at its centre.

It last about one month.


This year, I really wanted to let go during the creation of my character designs. Every subject was done with Adobe Photoshop and my graphic tablet (Wacom Intuos Pro).

~ Gardner Robot ~

In one hour, the goal was to draw several designs of a gardening robot. The garden tools had to be seen. During the final hour, I cleaned the final design, did the colour and the lighting. The background had to be simple, to keep the design visible.

Done in two hours.

~ Pirate ~

Aye capn't ! I focused more the illustration part on this character design and tried something more cartoon compared to what I used to draw.

Done in one week.


This illustration/concept art courses were more focused on landscapes, as another course was centered on the characters. As for the character designs, all the projects were done with Adobe Photoshop and my graphic tablet (Wacom Intuos Pro).

~ Japanese Garden ~

The inspiration asked by the teacher was the Ghibli Studios and the world of Hayao Miyazaki. The painting style had be quite close from it, and the goal was to imagine a scene that could be in one of his movies.

Done in two weeks. 

~ Giant statue in a cave ~

The subject was to draw an illustration of a giant statue. I chose a magic universe and to represent a goddess-like, holding a sword, as if she was frozen in time, waiting for the Chosen One, owner of the sacred blade she's keeping.

Done in seven weeks.

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