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    How to Build a Realistic Character in Maya

    André Jukebox © Jonathan W. Rodegher

    The artwork, André Jukebox, was created by Jonathan W. Rodegher from Argentina, who is currently working in Ireland as Lead Sequence Lighter for a feature film, and rendered with Fox Renderfarm, the leading cloud rendering services provider in the CG industry.

    This video has been made as a technical test for his short film, André Jukebox. It tells a story about André, a busker, who intends to pursue a life doing music, his main passion, despite being born and raised in the marginality.

    This is the first of the last array of renders that will close this phase, reaching an important milestone in the animation project. Following this, there will be a number of updates rolled out for the character, including new skin shader/textures, eyes improved, cloth new shaders and textures, a much better-improved rigging system, etc.

    Here’s the interview between Jonathan and Fox Renderfarm, in which we can find out how he came up with the idea and created this wonderful video.

    Jonathan W. Rodegher

    Fox Renderfarm: Hi Jonathan, thank you so much for accepting our interview! Could you briefly introduce yourself?

    Jonathan: Hi! Thank you for interviewing me. My name is Jonathan, I’m from Argentina and currently working in Ireland as Lead Sequence Lighter for a feature film. I’m also a bit of a music nerd and lately, I’ve been going into filmmaking and storytelling.

    Fox Renderfarm: Now we can see the beautiful shot concept of André Jukebox, including a video as the technical test, could you give a brief introduction about the whole story?

    Jonathan: Well André is a busker who, despite being born and raised in the marginality, intends to pursue a life doing music, his main passion. Along with JD, a friend from childhood, they both try to survive and help each other try to build a better life, far from a drug-infested neighborhood.

    The artwork André Jukebox -1

    Fox Renderfarm: What’s your inspiration for the short film?

    Jonathan: The Wire is a big one, storytelling and tone wise. Narc, the movie is another one. Visually though, Seven, Pear Ciders and Cigarettes and Into the Spiderverse. Very different sources that I intend to mix somehow.

    Fox Renderfarm: In the video, we see the cloth and hair motion is realistic, how did you do that?

    Jonathan: I just did the sims and then load them up as alembics, using modifiers to apply wind-like motion. For such a short clip, these little tricks are often good enough.

    The artwork André Jukebox

    André Jukebox © Jonathan W. Rodegher

    Fox Renderfarm: When did the project start? And when will the film be released which we are looking forward to?

    Jonathan: I started building the character, from design to final model, about 2 and a half years ago. By then I already had a few written ideas. After that, it’s been iterations and iterations of improvements, be it technical or visual. I just put in some hours now and then when the inspiration hit or when new ideas came up.

    The artwork André Jukebox

    Fox Renderfarm: What’s the most interesting or unforgettable thing during the process?

    Jonathan: For sure the learning side of it is the most interesting. For example, I had to learn how to actually build cloth, and shoes. Also, how many times you think you’re done and happy with, and keep finding ways to improve your assets.

    The artwork André Jukebox

    The artwork André Jukebox

    The artwork André Jukebox

    Fox Renderfarm: Have you met any difficulty in the creation? How did you overcome it?

    Jonathan: Yeah, naturally. Many different issues during all this time. The way to overcome it is to test, test and test. Also do a lot of solid research. Taking a day or two away from the problem is a really good technique too, given you have the time. Way too many times I found myself stuck in an issue, and I just needed a fresh look into it.

    The artwork André Jukebox

    The artwork André Jukebox

    The artwork André Jukebox

    Fox Renderfarm: The video is the milestone in your project, so what’s your next step for the project?

    Jonathan: Right now there’s a teaser/proof of concept on the works. The next step is to gather all the needed assets/rigs up to pace so the animation team can start with final animation. In the meantime there’s quite a bit of pipeline and other processes being developed as we go, as well as finishing with the rigging, recording of voices, music, touching up the edit, etc.

    The artwork André Jukebox

    The artwork André Jukebox

    The artwork André Jukebox

    The artwork André Jukebox

    André Jukebox © Jonathan W. Rodegher

    Fox Renderfarm: When did you encounter CG? Could you briefly tell us the story of your educational and work experience along your CG journey?

    Jonathan: I found a VFX school in Argentina, around 2001, and that was the first time I got the idea that I could actually work on it, in a user computer. Having always had the knack for drawing and animation, and also a huge interest in computers, I found that 3d animation was quite ideal. So I started there, with a very basic and informative 6 months training. And not too long after that, I started working on tv ads. Around that time, lucky for me, 3d animation was wildly popular for ads. Not too long after that I was working on animation full time.

    Fox Renderfarm: What do you do to enhance your professional skills?

    Jonathan: I’m usually keeping an eye open for any new training material I can come across. Especially if it comes from artists I admire/respect. The other thing that’s very important is to keep working on your stuff, and be brutally honest about your results. Your instincts are pretty good at telling you what you don’t wanna hear/see.

    Fox Renderfarm: Anyone or any artwork inspires you the most in this industry?

    Jonathan: Lately, I’ve found the work from Alberto Mielgo super interesting. His stuff looks amazing. Also, Zac Rets, his art direction is pretty stunning too.

    Fox Renderfarm: How do you feel about Fox Renderfarm’s cloud rendering services?

    Jonathan: It’s been a real pleasure to work with. Everyone seems eager to make the whole thing go as smoothly as possible, not to mention how friendly the attention is. If my project can afford it, it’s a no brainer!

    Fox Renderfarm: Any other things you wanna share with CG enthusiasts?

    Jonathan: Be humble, there’s at least one very very useful thing you can learn from anyone in the team. Also, take more time learning the fundamentals, I’ve seen a lack of this over the years. A software might take a couple of weeks to get used to, fundamentals? You’ll be perfecting forever. It’s the fastest way to make your work look really good.

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