My name is Ferenc Vincze, and I am a freelance animator and videographer. I was originally born and raised in Hungary, but am currently living in Germany. My profession is Agricultural Engineering, and I have made animations and short films since 2004.
I’ve learned communication technology and I have been working as a freelancer for 6 years. I made several broadcast designs for local television channels, produced experimental short films and 3D animations until I founded my own business called Rendered-frames.com, where I use iClone‘s animation suite, with motion capture, and Character Creator.
“I highly recommend Character Creator and iClone Motion LIVE for professionals and indies, because this software package has the best price/value ratio.” – Ferenc Vincze / 3D Animator
Q: Hello Fery! Thank you for being part of our Reallusion Feature Stories. Please tell us a bit about your background and education.
Thank you for the opportunity to introduce my life and my current project. My long journey in the world of animation started exactly 20 years ago, when I got my first PC. Since then I was “addicted” to playing video games, but soon I discovered that editing and designing my own levels for various titles was much more entertaining than the game itself.
The big step was in my first university semester as a Communication-technology Engineer, where I started to learn 3ds Max and video editing. A year later I dropped out of college, but I always had the passion to make animations, so I started to work as a freelancer 3D generalist.
Over the past few years I have made hundreds of broadcast designs, TV spots, advertisements for the local cable TV stations and advertising agencies. In the meantime I studied as an Agronomist and absolved a university degree. This was a hard time for me and I felt burnt out, I had no creative ideas and motivation anymore, so I decided to take a break.
I started to work in Germany as a horse breeder. Maybe after a year I realized, that agriculture is not my world and I felt, that the passion to make 3D is missing so much for me. So I started making animations again. I think I am a good storyteller and 3D animation helps me visualize, whats in my mind. With my mouse I can create worlds in the virtual space, like a God.
Q: You feature length film ‘The Chest’ was featured on Epic Game’s Spotlight. Can you share a little about this project and the festivals it was recognized in?
The Chest is an animated film-noir, with a strong mystical storyline. The story is situated in my Eastern-European home country, Hungary. It takes place in the 1960’s, but in a post-modern scenery. I really like expressionism and abstract arts, so I pushed the visual atmosphere into this direction. The 1960’s is my favorite decade from the last century: the most beautiful cars, shiny neon light, cool fashion, the dawn of modern spy technologies.
The story itself has a special place in my heart, as it dated back to one of my childhood memories — I was 8 years old, and we moved into an old house with my family. One day in the attic I found an old wooden chest. I wasn’t really brave enough to open it, and I often had nightmares about this chest. You can imagine how I was curious about what was inside it, but I was too terrified to try to open it.
A few months later I had the courage to open it and I realized, that it was empty the entire time. After a few years, we moved and I totally forgot everything about my childhood memories of this chest. Then in 2005, on a long train ride, I had an idea thunderstrike me… to write a story about my long forgotten memories about this chest, mixed with dark, black and white noir aesthetics.
So earlier this year I showed a 3-minute animatic trailer at the European Unreal Fest to various animators, professionals and Unreal Engine representatives. This was the first public reveal of my film and I
surprisingly got a very positive feedback.
Then in the summer I was visited to the well known Annecy International Animation Film Festival. I showed this mood trailer to various faces from the animation industry. Everybody thought that I was a director in a bigger animation studio. It was quite funny, but later I told them, that I was a solo developer and received so much great advice from famous directors there.
Q: Congratulations on winning a Unreal Dev Grant with ‘The Chest’. How did this happen, and how can other developers aim for this grant?
Thank you! You know, I always knew that my film project was unique, but I didn’t have so much self-confidence with it. I never really thought that I could make a successful career again in the animation industry. The turning point was at the European Unreal Fest in Berlin, in 2018. Because of the warm welcome and lots of positive feedbacks I felt again, that I was walking on the right path. So, shortly after the festival I decided to apply to the Unreal Dev Grant with “The Chest”. Luckily I found myself on the winners list! I am very grateful to Epic Games, because this company is the first sponsor for my dream project. And that means a lot.
Of course I have some advice for those, who also aim for this grant. First of all, it might sound cliché — but you have to believe in your project. It is not bad if you are just an enthusiast, but follow your instincts. There will be peaks and valleys, and you just have to keep on working on your project that you have always been dreaming about!
This grant is for helping talented creators upgrade their projects to higher levels. Without sufficient resources, nobody can make Dreamworks-quality animations or AAA type visuals in their games. But if you have a clear vision, and your project has a very strong spirit, with a catchy atmosphere, then feel free to show it! If you have a good concept, an industry professional will immediately realize that within a minute. Story is king!
My film trailer for The Chest was also featured on the Unreal Engine Livestream YouTube channel where they showcased it as a community spotlight for the Artistic Lighting & Spring Kickoff.
Q: For your project, you chose to use Reallusion tools. What software did you use in your film, how did you discover it, and what are the advantages of using them?
We are a very small team, as I am the only 3D animator in this project. I am quite a good modeler and level designer, but I have some weaknesses.
So when I started, the hardest part was finding a way to do all the character rigging and animation which gave me a lot of headaches and sleepless nights. At first it was okay to do simple prototyping by using Mixamo with Auto Rigger, but soon I realized that this was not enough to produce high-quality life-like animations. I remember hearing about Character Creator (CC) from Reallusion, and after learning about the latest version, I had no doubt that this was the tool I needed.
“Good and flawless character animations are one of the most important ingredients in the storytelling. I didn’t want to make compromises, so I began to search for a much more advanced solution until I found Character Creator.” – Ferenc Vincze / 3D Animator
My workflow is very simple —- there are 5 main characters in the story, which I originally made them with DAZ3D content. This is very important as it saves you days, because you don’t have to waste time with all the facial rigging, as all characters are skinned and rigged by default. I can easily import my DAZ characters into the Character Creator 3 to combine them with other CC3 custom clothes and accessories. (you can also choose to just make your characters inside CC3 from the start as they have lots of high-quality human packs with 4K textures.)
This is very important because with Character Creator 3, I can save DAZ and Poser character morphs, outfits, shoes, hair and materials as Character Creator assets — to later combine with other CC3 characters. Doing this gives me more creative options while guaranteeing that I can motion capture all my characters with iClone.
When I am ready, with a single-click I then send my characters to iClone to animate. And with a few more clicks I can choose to export my characters with animations into the Unreal Editor. Believe me, it’s as easy as ABC to learn the basics with iClone, because you can find a lot of free tutorials on the Reallusion YouTube Channel. That’s a huge plus!
Q: You use iClone’s Motion LIVE and all of its tools. Please tell us why you decided to use these and what are your suggestions for other indie game devs.
As a solo dev, speed and efficiency are the two main pillars in my workflow. My biggest fear was always the facial motion capture. I tried several animation methods, but I never really got good results. I was really hopeless, until the moment I tried iClone’s Motion LIVE with the LIVE FACE app from Reallusion
One the first try, I got excellent results! So I was really happy the moment I realized that I myself could animate an entire feature length film, with my own affordable DIY solution.
Then I used Noitom’s Perception Neuron body motion capture suit in combination with the LIVE FACE app. After a quick setup process, you can instantly record both face and body motions in parallel with the iClone Motion LIVE plugin platform. It’s very precise and accurate, as you don’t need to spend many-many hours with the cleaning of the mocap data.
For example: on a good day, I can easily produce several 1-minute, high quality animations with 3 ~ 5 actors in the scene, which are excellent results for a solo team.
This iClone mocap platform also supports many other motion capture devices from different brands. I highly recommend iClone Motion LIVE platform for professionals and indies, because this software package has the best price/value ratio. So don’t hesitate, to give it a try as you won’t be disappointed!
Thank you for reading my story.
To see more of Ferenc’s work, please visit: