Creature and Character Animator

Published by CG Channel web site on may 15th 2009. My short film Zzzzleeping Beauty won CG Channel's first animation contest.

Tell us about yourself. Did you study 3D animation at school? How did you first start out?

Hi, my name is Marcos Meneghetti. I’m a freelancer character animator. I was born in Porto Alegre, Brazil, but  I have been living in France since 2004 with my wife Karine.
When I was kid, I used to watch many cartoons: from Disney to Bugs Bunny. I loved it very much. But it was only in 94 that I had my first contact with an animation software, called 3D Studio DOS (now 3DS Max). I modeled little things and animated my first bouncing ball and I said “waaaooh, I’m animator”. So I decided to make my first short film. After some weeks, I realised that making a film was not so easy. Little disappointed, I decided to make others simple things. In 96, I made a workshop with Otto Guerra (brazilian animation film producer). I showed him some of my little animations and he invited me to work with him, not as animator, but as digital compositing animator. I worked at Otto Desenhos Animados almost 8 years, and I learnt many things about animation. We produced many commercials and short films. My last work there was a feature film called “Wood & Stock, Sex, Oregano and Rock’n’Roll”.
In 2004, I decided to go and live in France. This country is in 3rd place in the world for animation production and has a lot of animation schools (2D and 3D). So I thought it would be a good idea to take 3D lessons here. As I didn’t have a job yet, I looked for some scholarships to help me to pay my school. So, in 2005 I started at Itecom Art Design in Paris to study 3D. During 2 years, I made 2 short films: Sidestepping and Zzzzleeping Beauty (you can find both of them on my site PERSONAL WORKS - SHORT FILMS).
After the school, I worked 11 months as CG generalist for Claudius City. It’s a 3D chat with flash interface where the characters make gestures and poses as you wish while you chat with your friend. I made everything about 3d: modeling, texture, lighting and animation.

What was your process for creating Zzzzzzleeping Beauty?

Zzzzleeping Beauty (ZB) was my final project at school. The process for creating ZB was a quite funny. The idea of the film appeared when I was at home watching tv and our cat Zoe woke up from sleep and came by my side yawning near my face. It was a teeeeeerrible bad breath. “Woooooow, God, with a bad breath like this, no one can live happy, hein” I told it to my wife and suddenly I thought of the classic fairy tale Sleeping Beauty from Disney. And thanks our cat, ZB was born.
To make ZB I used 3DS Max and Photoshop; Zbrush just for some normal maps; Sound forge for the sound and After effects for the editing.
I used Biped for the rigging and some extra bones with springs to make follow through while the character makes movements.
For the lighting, I used scanline render. Just 6 points of lights with one raytrace shadows. The texture was just diffuse, bump and specular. Some particles for the breath of the princess.

Are you working on another short animation now?

For the moment, I don’t have any other short animation in process. Just some ideas, but nothing defined.

Did you have a team of animators or CG artists working on Zzzzzzleeping Beauty?

No, I made everything on my own: from story to editing. The production took 7 months. In the morning, I worked on the project at school but in the afternoon, I had to work at Studio Matamore on other projects. So at night, when my wife prepared the dinner (thanks my love) and after, I worked on the film again until midnight. A lot of weekends without going out, tv, walking in the nature...Just work and work and work. It was hard, but at same time full of pleasure, because I made the thing that I really like so much.
During the production, I did all the voices, but with my portuguese-french accent, no one could understand what the characters said. Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to finish all the animations for the exam but the jury liked the film even so and advised me to finish it after the school time. That’s what a did. I called some french friends to do the voices and the definitive music: Nicolas Planchais as narrator, Laetitia Lefebvre as princess and Olivier Lafuma for the music and some sound effects.

What are your goals for the future?

For the future, I would like to work as animator in a company where I can find great ambience and good friends with whom I can change many informations. Animation is a lot of work and great pleasure also, and I hope to keep going as much as I can. It’s like giving birth to something inanimated, and for me it’s so great. As Doctor Frankenstein said: “it’s alive, it’s alive” that’s the same feeling when I finish any animation I do.
I’m available now. I’m looking for work in the animation industry (films, series or games) and if I have a chance to find a great job thanks to my film Zzzzzleeping Beauty here in CGChannel, I will live happily and have many children with my princess...

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