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Yaku and The Antigua Heroes - First 2D colombian series animated with Blender


jaguardigital writes:

Blender is a tool for making dreams come true. And for the Colombian company, Jaguar Digital, one of those dreams was to create a children's tv series animated entirely within Blender.

Yaku and The Antigua Heroes is a cut-out 2.5D animated adventure tv show for children between 7 and 11 years produced by Jaguar Digital with sponsorship from the ANTV (National Authority of Television in Colombia). It was selected as finalist at the Comkids – Iberoamerican Prix Jeunesse 2017 in the "fiction 7 to 11 years" category, and broadcasted through public television channels in Colombia

Although the character design & breakdown process was performed in Adobe Animate, the final drawings were exported as PNG spritesheets, rigged and animated in Blender, which proved challenging as they required to have 360° turn-arounds and a customized range of motion and expressions. The riggers had to create a unique setup to allow maximum flexibility for the animators to concentrate on their performances.

The production pipeline was tailored around blender's strengths, while seeking to create an ideal production environment where artists from any background could work on the show even if they didn't know Blender in the first place. Jaguar Digital took very seriously the task of training animators to become proficient in Blender so they could work on the production.

Most props and environment assets were modeled and textured inside blender while others were imported as image planes for the set-dressing. With the full power of 3D in mind, characters were placed to make full use of the spatial qualities of the scenarios to allow enough freedom for the camerawork.

Lastly all sets were illuminated & composited inside Blender so they could be rendered in BI with its final look and then sent to the editors who would put together almost 96 minutes of animation distributed between 8 episodes, employing a production crew of 65 persons, in a 6-month production.

You can visit Jaguar Digital web page here.

You will find here a behind the scenes documentary with the production crew (in spanish, press the Vimeo CC button to read the english subtitles):

And the 3rd chapter of the series (subtitled in english):


  1. Hi everyone! Here is our contribution to the adventure of doing 2d with blender.
    We made 2

    There are animated save the date. They are made out of painted artworks, which where scanned, modified (color corrected, cut into different body parts...) in affinity photo or photoshop, and riggged, animated, and color graded into blender.

    For the jungle, we missed the possibility to get depth of field. It did't work on transparent textures with Blender render.
    We used COA Tools to rig and animate the characters. A fantastic addon (to bad it wasn't available for blender 2.79).

    I think that it would have been much easier and faster to work with after effects, even if blender have a lot of strengths.

  2. Hi Tibal

    Good job. I like the naïve style of Tarzan & Jane.

    About the production issues you mention, we also experienced inconvenients with the depth of field and myst effects over transparent PNGs, but we later find out that we should have used Raytracing Transparency instead of Z transparency to overcome that limitation. As we figured that out late in the production, we weren't able to change it. But if the information works for you, I suggest you to use it.

    We also began with COA tools, but we wanted to rotate the characters to avoid an "egyptian" style where the characters couldn't turn around, because we had a lot of action scenes. That's why we developed our own rig to achieve this freedom, and we are very happy with the result.

    On the other side, before "Yaku..." we produced another 2D cutout series with After Effects (using the DUIK plugin) and I can assure you it was a lot more difficult, because the high resolution bitmaps of the characters turned so heavy that even working on a eighth of the full resolution, animators simply couldn't drag the timeline cursor to preview the animation. And the rendering was also considerably slower.

    Blender, altough more technical, allowed us to have even 30 characters at a time (with the 3D scene behind them) without having that impact on the machines' performance. For that reason I would never use After Effects again, at least not in this kind of series.



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