"HAMSA" (2020)

Daniela Dwek: Director, Story, Character TD, Character FX TD

My Responsibilities include: Story Development, Character Modeling, Rigging, Lookdev, Grooming, Tech Anim/Shot Work, Sim, Crowd Creation & Control, Python Tools, Compositing


Tech Anim / Shot Work

by Daniela Dwek

Having so many responsibilities meant I had to be efficient with how I spent my time. So I rigged my characters as thoroughly as possible, with the notion that I will need to do some shot-sculpting. This basically means that after the animation has been done, I go into the cache and fix errors shot by shot.

Here is an example of that, with the before and after.

Python Tools

by Daniela Dwek

As a TD, I have found the importance and fun in writing scripts to accelerate our pipeline process and solve problems.

My friends call me the CG Doctor, because of it.

On the right, you can see a Toolbox I have created for every step of the pipeline. It includes the tools I use the most as well as some aspects that are specific to my workflow, in order to accelerate the whole process.

As problems would arise, I’d create new toolboxes to solve them.

For instance, in the alembic caching pipeline, we were encountering an issue where, if two objects would combine, the texture would not transfer, notably with the eyes.

So I decided to make a Pink Eye Medicine (notice the medical puns ><).

Here is the result we were getting as well as the tool box I created to fix it per-character.

Modeling the Characters

by Daniela Dwek

Just like with any project, my first step was research. I knew what I wanted the characters to look like in terms of their stylisation, but as I did not have solid concept art to work from, so I compiled references together, and then went straight to 3D to discover the characters and reflect their personalities through their individual designs.

As part of my iteration process, I like to draw over my work or mish mash with some photoshop, in order to get a better idea of what can be better and/or to visualise what I want in the end.

Nour (Left), Tikvah (Middle), and Ora (Right)

Character Look Dev & Grooming

by Daniela Dwek

When it came to the look development process, my goal was to create appealing and believable characters. My first hurdle was to figure out how to shade and texture skin. Here are some iterations I went through, while simultaneously changing the character model to fit the world I had envisioned:

 My next obstacle was hair. Having curly hair, I could use myself as reference, and I wanted to represent a culture that is often not represented on screen.


With Nour, I wnated to push the boundaries of what is considered appealing. 


by Daniela Dwek

When it comes to rigging, I have a similar process where I like to establish what works or doesn’t work, and how I can make the use of the rig the easiest possible. I also asked my animator, Maya, to do a Face Calisthenics to get a better understanding of the character, as well as to test the rig and how the groom is affected by it.


Animation by Maya Mendonça

Lighting by Chrisy Baek

After Maya recruited an army of animators, it is time to get to production and do dailies, which involve reviewing the animation and giving notes to keep the overall appeal and keep the animation consistent. 


by Daniela Dwek

Here is some of my process for the crowd:

I started off with 4 rigs with a base body type ( Male and Female Stout and Thin). Then I sculpted 6 face variations per rig, which gives me at least 24 basic crowds to work with.

To further add diversity to the crowd, I made what I call an ID Control. As you can see in the video, this gives my team the control to personalize clothes and various accessories.

Not only do I feel like this will diversify the crowd, it will also help us art direct it rather than randomize it and risking having multiple same characters in one scene. I am also planning to vary up colour and patterns on the clothes and skin to further vary the crowd.