When Benjamin Ortiz first saw RWBY, he knew he wanted to learn to create anime.
"I have been using Poser ever since my Dad bought it for me on my birthday in 2015 after watching the advertisement and seeing the opening episode for RWBY (pronounced "Ruby") volume 3. I have loved it ever since," Ortiz said.
Since 2015, Ortiz has learned Poser and launched ColdFire Productions with his brother Abraham. Together they created an animatic called "Assassin vs. Knight," using Poser backgrounds and models to map out each of the frames.
"And my brother drew the final render of the frames using those 3d assets as reference," Ortiz said.
When RWBY launched as a web series in 2013, creator Rooster Teeth's Director of Animation Monty Oum said he wanted a two-dimensional, toon look with the complexity of 3D animation. To get that look, he turned to Poser, which Rooster Teeth Productions used to animate its YouTube series "Red vs. Blue."
"It has the perfect balance of quality, efficiency and tools that allows us to deliver our story in a timely and cost-effective production," Oum said in an interview with Yahoo Finance.
For more check out ColdFire Productions' YouTube channel.
How long have you been creating digital art and why did you start?
Ortiz: I have been creating digital art since the middle of 2018, so I am very much a beginner. I did have Poser Pro 11 three years prior to that, but the main problem for me was figuring out for myself what kind of art I wanted to create. I knew I wanted to create something impactful and inspiring, but I just didn't know what.
It took a while, until finally, I thought of a story: Assassin vs Knight (AVK). I wanted to create a dramatic action story, but with a cool visual format. Poser had just the thing.
What is your favorite thing to design?
Ortiz: I have personally been found of medieval designs, basically anything with a sword and armor. But, when it comes to making poses, I love making people that are doing some form of action, like running, jumping, or kicking. I can't make something stand still, which is why I have been practicing most with action posing.
What inspires you?
Ortiz: There are two main things that inspire me: my brother and my desire to make a quality story. Every form of art, especially visual art, has a story to it. Whether it is just one picture or a five-minute video, there is a message that comes from the creator that is being made manifest in the art piece. For AVK, the message I wanted to give was one of quality and hard work (as shown in the visuals), and one of challenging a person's ideals (as shown in the story and dialogue).
My brother has been a great help in this. One of the great things I love about Poser is how you can be an absolute beginner with no beginning art skills and still make something great. I have no clue how to draw, but my brother did, and with good teamwork and discussion, we were able to create a video all on our own.
I would layout the backgrounds and the characters poses, while he turned it into an expressive animatic with his drawing. His encouragement also helps me to move forward with my visual story, which is why I am still working on more parts of AVK today.
Where did the idea for AVK come from? What inspired it?
Ortiz: The inspiration for AVK came from two things: my constant viewing of cartoons and anime and Poser itself.
Regarding cartoons and Anime, I noticed that there were a lot of main characters that were a form of Pacifist. Many main characters would refuse to kill the main bad guy, and since they did this, the bad guy would suddenly become friends or die due to nature or a more evil bad guy. In any case, the Pacifist good guy has an easy time keeping his morals while still defeating the main enemy.
I thought to myself, “Is it really this easy to be a Pacifist? What if it wasn't so easy?” That is when I came up with two characters. There was a Knight, who promised to protect justice who has sworn by the Knight's code to also protect all life, no matter how evil they are. There was an Assassin, whose goal is to make the Knight break his vow by making the Knight kill the Assassin himself. And, as shown by the story, the Knight does not have an easy time with his decision.
I chose to make them a Knight and an Assassin because I challenged myself to make this story of a Pacifist and Anti-Pacifist using only the 3D assets I had already. On the day of conception, I had Michael 4, Hiro 4, medieval clothing for both of them, and a chasm called Alchemy Chasm.
How do you and your brother collaborate?
Ortiz: My brother, Abe, and I both live in the same house and share the same office, so it is quite easy to collaborate with each other. We basically exchange feedback with each other's work.
When I create a shot in Poser, Abe will look at it and see if the camera has a good angle or if the pose is strong enough. When he draws the shot, I make sure that the drawings stay consistent with each other and that the facial expressions are conveying the emotion that I want for that shot.
It wasn't easy though. We, as brothers, naturally butt heads with each others, but we made it through and created a product that we can both be proud of.
What was the workflow for creating AVK?
Ortiz: The workflow was pretty interesting, since it was mainly just Abe and myself. Above that, this was the first time to do something like this.
1. Script – I wrote the script. I didn't put it in a traditional script format, but rather in the form of a novel. That way, I can tell myself what emotion and background I wanted for a specific line. Once completed, I would constantly read it aloud with my brother, making sure it sounded right and flowed well in the story.
2. Storyboard/pre-visualization – This is where Poser came in. I used the assets I already had to create the scene. I uploaded all the backgrounds and placed the camera where I wanted it to go, based on the mood of the shot. Then, I placed the 3D model of Assassin (Michael 4) and Knight (Hiro 4) in the right place and posed them accordingly. My brother, who knows much more about character posing and anatomy than me, would review the shot and gave critique and corrections for the placement of cameras and posing. Once a consensus was made (or in other cases, once somebody won the argument), the shot was rendered using Preview Render. This acted as our storyboard and our pre-visualization for the final product.
3. Drawing and Color – This part was mainly done by Abe. He would take the shot and use it to draw the scene. He told me that having the 3D backgrounds and the posing characters helped a lot. However, the main challenge was the faces. It took a while for us to decide on a style for each character's face, going through some redraws. I would also give critique and correction to how I wanted the face to look. That way it would give the emotion I envisioned while working on the script. We also decided to give color on only the first and last shot of the story. Picking those took a few, uh, discussions as well.
4. Sound and Music – While Abe was finishing up the drawings, we asked our cousin Jonathan to help us make the music for this video. He plays the flute and Abe plays the piano. Using a video editing software, Abe and my cousin would time their performances to the pacing of the video. Because I am not that musical, I didn't really do much in this part. Jonathan was also our voice director. We were all new to this, but it was also the most fun, because we spent three days in a closet, giving it our all, to voice these lines over and over.
5. Editing – Lastly, there was the editing. Abe did the most of this. It was basically all about timing everything together: the music, the shots, and the voices. We gave ourselves a deadline of May 31. Suffice to say that through some hard work, he was able to get it all together and uploaded into YouTube within 18 minutes of our deadline.
We definitely learned a lot from this project. It wasn't easy. There were a lot of discussions, but it all came through with teamwork.
Poser offers users the ability to use interactive 3D figure design to create art, illustration, animation, comics, web, print, education, medical, games, story boarding, and more. Using the program, creators can bring their stories, dreams and fantasies to life. From historic to contemporary, sci-fi to fantasy, Poser is the 3D graphics software tool used by professionals and hobbyists alike.
That's why we want to take a closer look at some of the creators who leverage the power of Poser to create. Email us at email@example.com if you would like to participate in the Creator Series.
What can you create? Let us know on Twitter at @poserpro, using #CreateWithPoser