Daniel Moreno is a freelance character animator and FX TD who has been creating digital magic for more than a decade. With experience in animation, modeling, scripting and FX, he possesses a diverse set of skills that have come in handy on more than one occasion. Recently, I was able to talk with him about his work and how he got his foot in the door of this competitive industry.
When did you first become interested in VFX and 3D?
It mostly started because I had a lot of interest in computer games and graphics; I spent much of my childhood playing video games and computer games. When FF7 was released, I decided that was what I wanted to do for a living.
How did you land your first gig?
My first job was for a TV commercial in Rio de Janeiro. I modeled some handcuffs that would go with a background speech. I went there for an interview, showed my studies up until then, and about 2 weeks later they called me.
Still from Moreno's 3D Commercial Reel (2012)
What do you love most about your job?
I love what I do in every aspect, but mostly because its fun and rewarding and pushes you to try and make the best of each task. I also like planning the workflow and thats a task to think about before even going to a computer.
Is there anything that you don't love about your job?
I dont like when the deadlines are short, its very stressful.
Tell us something about the thought process behind your work.
Well, most of my past work consists of character animation and effects creation using particles, scripting and such. Each case is handled separately. For every job I put a lot of thought into the process behind it; what I plan to do, and how to achieve it. I dont believe in a process where you go straight to the computer and try random things. Everything must fit, and must be doable by the deadline.
What's your favorite piece of software, and why?
I like working in Maya because it's the software that I'm most used to. Everything in it feels natural, I can somewhat predict even some things I havent tried yet. I became most interested in it for its character animation capabilities (back in 2000) so I switched over from 3D Studio Max at the time. Also, studying at Gnomon was also a stepping stone to learn Maya, as the classes were taught on the software.
What's the most exciting thing that's ever happened to you?
The most exciting this that has happened was to see my work on a feature film. That is clearly the most rewarding thing I think one can have.
Do you have any advice for aspiring Character Animators / TD?
My advice would be to always look deeply into the fundamentals of what you are trying to do. It can be really enlighting to look at solutions that people came up with before some higher level calculations were possible (due to faster processors, more RAM and such). Judge the "feel" of an effect more from an artistic perspective than from a mathematical perspective. More important than being correct (this is not a pre-requisite), it should be beautiful.
For more information about Daniel, visit his website at http://www.danmoreno.com/