Freelance animator Alek Vacura’s short film “Without Arms” follows the Venus de Milo’s journey to get her “hands” on some arms. Here, Alek tells us about his process and what’s coming up in 2010.
Channel Frederator: What gave you the idea for “Without Arms”?
Alek Vacura: The idea for Without Arms came to me as I was falling asleep one night. I think some of the best ideas come when you’re not consciously trying to create them. I have always had a fascination with statues, and studied marble sculpture in Italy a few years earlier, so it seemed fitting that my thesis animation would head in that direction.
CF: What was the most challenging part of making it?
AV: Honestly, every aspect was a giant challenge. Before this animation, I had only worked on class exercises and small projects. I had never worked on a project of this scale. Everyone kept calling me crazy for wanting to make a 3 minute animation all by myself. Back when the story was being developed, it was turning into a 5-7 minute piece. There were parts involving the Venus knocking over a suit of armor and wearing its arms, as well as a T-Rex skeleton. So I had to cut it way down and keep it as simple as possible.
CF: What programs did you use?
AV: I created all the 3D elements with Maya and used The Setup Machine plug-in to rig the characters. I used ZBrush for some of the modeling and to paint the main statues. Everything else was textured with Photoshop. All the compositing was done in After Effects and the editing was done in Final Cut.
CF: Any stories or legends you’d like to animate one day?
AV: Perhaps a prequel to show how Winged Victory lost her arms and head in the first place.
CF: Are you working on anything new you can tell us about?
AV: I have been meaning to find time to start on the next project, I have some stories I’d like to see come to life as soon as I can start.
CF: New Year’s resolution?
AV: To unglue myself from the screen and get more exercise. Also to learn XSI and Nuke.
Thanks for the interview, Alek! Check out “Without Arms” right here on Channel Frederator.