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BlenderNation Exclusive Interview - Nita Ravalji On Moana


Nita has been creating the most adorable renders for a while now, and just recently she made Moana after watching the movie.

This render has been everywhere! Facebook, Artstation, Instagram, Twitter, you name it. After sharing her work here, I asked if you guys were interested in an interview. You guys were, so here comes the delivery!

P.S. I added a link to a file she is sharing from Moana, so check it out.

Give us an introduction, who are you, how old are you, what do you do, where do you do it?
Hello i'm Nita Ravalji. I am a cg generalist but mostly I like to work on a look development. I have a studio,, in Mumbai, India, which is fully open source. we mostly work on Blender, gimp etc.  Our work includes commercials, short movies, motion graphics , open source movies (for self-learning purposes) which you will find on the website.

What is your learning history?

I learned CG software (Max & Maya) from MAAC, in 2006. In 2010 I was introduced to Blender, which was the coolest thing ever and I made my first art around in 2011 or 2012 for the Blender Guru competition. I believe me taking part in such competitions made me improve my art day by day. I learned Blender mostly from Pratik Solanki, my faculties , online tutorials, forums and most importantly RnD. Now it's been 5 years since i'm creating personal art works.

You create some of the cutest art out there. I am curious though, do you plan on trying different styles, like scary for example?

Hahaha yes believe me I tried creating some serious art works like scary ones, but it turns out to be cute. I wish I can make scary artwork. We do try out different styles while doing weybec's projects. However, I never tried on personal work. Though, in my latest work "Moana" I went for a more toony-like style with touch of realism, which turned out pretty good.

I will get right to it, I am in love with your latest work, Moana. What inspired you to create it in that style?

Every time it's the same.  After watching any movie my inner voice just says "damn it make it in 3D" and i'm like "hello I don't have time"  :P. This time after watching Moana I was full charged to make an artwork, and luckily there was a competition going on, on weekly CG challenge on Facebook . As soon as I saw the topic "Music" , thoughts came up "music, Moana, Hawaii , ukulele, Hawaiian dance" and there it was.. The art was in my mind. I wanted it to be simplified with minimalist details. However, as I went along with it I ended up making everything detailed. I wanted to make the hair out of polygons but my damn inner voice (hey hey HEY let's try particle hair system, just once) and I loved it. Either way I was sure about the face. I wanted the characters to have dotted eyes and 2D mouths. Everything else was in shape of toon but had realistic textures. I was satisfied with the final look.

Could you give us an in-depth (or a quick step to step) on how you created it?

Before I start making an artwork, I like to do blocking with very basic elements. This gives the idea of composition and the scene.

I start with the most time consuming part first, and it's the character design.

I always like to finish the modelling part first and do a basic lighting set-up, that way I know how much texture details I have to do in far away objects. The further the objects get, less details are added as it is going to get blurred anyway. (poor rejected polygon hair :/ )

Time for some Background details , final pose, particle hair and cloth image. I then start texturing everything. 

I used Micro displacement for the sand details.

What was the biggest difficulty you had with this art? How would you have done it differently now that you went though it?
Well, the most difficult part was to create an ocean and wet sand. I can not get the part right where ocean meets sand, it's still not perfect. As for the ocean, it was never easy to use just water material, so I had to paint the depth.

The tricky part was to create wet sand near the ocean.For that I painted specular map and mixed it with diffuse.

Why do you use Blender as opposed to different 3D softwares?

Blender is the only software I know fully. Before Blender, I was an animator. When I started learning blender, I learned everything except rigging, I hate it. Blender is the most user friendly out of them for me, plus the community support is amazing.

What are your ambitions?

I want to create wonderful art my whole life :). I also want our studio to grow successfully, and hope to create an awesome movie some day.

What do you do to take a break from art? How do you refill your artistic energy?

Movies. I like watching movies. I get most of the inspirations from it. Believe me there was a time when I used to watch 4-5 movies a day (when I was jobless). Apart from that I mostly visit Pinterest and Behance for motivation and art references. Otherwise I watch useless videos on Youtube and think "what the hack am I doing with my life?"... Come on everyone does that!

Any favorite artists?

One person will be really happy now, if I say I like Dragoneex, my Yoda . He inspires me most of the time.
Goro fujita, I love his unique approach of art and and the beauty he draws is brilliant.

Guzz soares, Gabriel soares , Cory Loftis , Pedro Conti, there are so many artist I adore and are my favorite.

What can we expect from you in the future?

I will tell you when I know, LOL. I will definitely keep making more art works. As for Weybec studio, there are few projects to be released this year so wait for it :).

Any tips to artists out there?

I am not very good at giving tips. but yes as everyone says never give up. The problem with most of us today is we start a new project with good amount of energy. but at some point we think it's useless and we scrap our project, NEVER DO THAT. If you are stuck somewhere call 911... Haha discuss it with the community or other artist, find a way to complete it. Go on Pinterest and you will find so much inspiration and beautiful references.

One thing though, if you have an idea, don't just jump on making the project. Always spend a good amount of time refining your idea and searching for proper references. Otherwise your scrape folder will be like "Feed me master".

And last words?


Nita has been super cool to answer all of these questions and give us a quick step by step on her process with Moana. Say hi to her in the comment section below!

Don't forget, if you have any questions that are not answered here, let us know. Finally, you get to help choose the next artists that will be interviewed in BlenderNation, so don't miss the chance in giving propositions down below!

"The Hook" from Moana Blend File  -  /  -  Nita's Artstation Link


  1. Moana is a stunning and beautiful animation, and your work is awesome.
    I don't have art skills, but im trying to learn, and you work is beautiful.
    Thanks for the inspiration Nita Ravalji <3

  2. Some great cartoon images! I didn't realize all these images and Monkaa came from the same source. I also remember seeing that sweet Nickelodeon piece that Weybec did about a year ago.

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