Monday 7 November 2011

Making of Streamschool

A little girl has an adventure with water as she travels from a small brook to the sea. A tale of growing up based on a Hungarian poem.

      Streamschool was my graduation film in BA Animation at Moholy- Nagy University of Arts and Design. I chose the poem from a Hungarian contemporary poet called Zsolt Miklya to make a short film for children.
The production was only two months long because at the same time I was attending an animation course called ASF (Animation Sans Frontieres) and the rest of that term was really short.

      When I had the final idea in mind I asked my friend Kati Egely to do the backgrounds for my film (she makes beautiful pictures and puppets using different textiles). We planned out the timing and the storyboard roughly together and then she sewed the backgrounds. Then I designed the main character "Dora" who travels through and explores this beautiful imaginary world.

Dora the main character

Final pictures

      After the tests the production has started. I used the Dragon stop motion software to shoot the film which is an amazingly helpful software and the best to make stop motion. To be able to animate the characters and the backgrounds on more layers I built a small layered glass table.
My aim was to make all the effects in stop motion instead of using computer generated ones. The simplest and the most spectacular idea which came into my mind one day while swimming was that I put an old jar under the camera to create the effects of the under water scene. As I rolled the jar frame by frame it caused a distortion which gave this amazing wavering effect. Check it out here:

Process from the shooting until the final result.

      Another important choice was that at the beginning Dora (the little girl) wasn't planned to be in the film's beginning and I didn't want to re shoot the previous scenes so I animated Dora over the already done stop motion backgrounds in flash. When all the scenes were finished I could start working on the sound design and the composition.

      My biggest inspirations in the animation style and mood were two films; the well known Her morning elegance and another great cut-out music video called Hello Antenna
Because I wanted to be fast but still have a professional result at the end I made test animations in flash for the more complicated parts to use them as a guide animating under the stop motion camera. Here are two of them: "fish jumping" and "big waves coming".

      Making sounds is an entertaining and creative work that I enjoy all the time; making them, finding them and even copying parts from other movies to put all them together to get a totally new and unique result...
      I was quite fortunate finding this beautiful piece of music which became the theme of the film. The composer and also graphic designer is a talented guy called Ábris Gryllus known as YVEIN MONQ.
The Hungarian narration of the film was told by Piroska Molnár one of the most famous actress in Hungary. I wanted her to narrate it because she has such a strong but still warm character like a grandmother and a huge experience in her past.
My friend JOSEPH WALLACE (a talented British filmmaker) made the English translation and THOMAS VILLEMONTEIX the French which was narrated by the actress MURIEL RACINE.

      I could finish the film blissfully at the end of May just before my graduation was. It was greeted quite well at the animation department in MOME. It has visited 10 international festivals, small and big ones.
I plan to continue this project as a series of poem animations (after I graduated in MA) using and developing this wonderful spectacle and technique to let both children and adults wonder and explore in new exciting and imaginary worlds.

Monday 24 October 2011

Peter playing in the bed (Hotel Comfort, Ludwigsburg)

    On the first day morning of my staying in Ludwigsburg I nicely made my bed in the hotel. In the afternoon I noticed that the Room service wasn't satisfied with it and they changed the bedding in THEIR way.
    So I was wondering how would they react if I'd do some silly compositions using the pillow and blanket day after day – well as you can see quite the same...
It was a nice way of visual communication between me and the room service. I hope they enjoyed it too.

Sunday 23 October 2011

My first COMIC

I've been studying animation since 4 years, and before that I studied graphic design for another 4 years...
So after 8 years of drawing, illustrating and making animated films I drew my first comic for the birthday of a friend of mine Endre, and right after that I drew the second one to another friend Pityu... (It's in Hungarian so sorry if you don't understand it - but I hope the images will be enough)

Saturday 25 June 2011

Final Project "The Boy and the Bear"

We had the last 4 week of the Pro 3D animation workshop with Erik C. Schmidt. The aim was to direct a short scene around 30 sec. I ended up with more than a minute long scene. Here comes the Film and how I made it. Enjoy!

Compare to the previous weeks (10 sec in 2 weeks) it was more challenging and not just because it was longer animation but we also had to make a more detailed storyboard, concentrate on modeling the sets and props, setting up the lights and render and to record and do the sound design - making a whole Film.

Idea and Story
We already started to work on characters and stories a month before on a weekend with the actor/teacher Philip Watt so some of us kept and developed the ideas we got there. My final idea came only one day before we started the final project (just in time…)
The inspiration was one of my older illustration and the scene I did for the Dialogue (Bandit Hat). Then I started to work on the storyboard which improved every time when I talked about it with Erik and my classmates.

first inspiration

Reference videos
As the story changed or widened I recorded more and more reference videos that helped me a lot in the animation as well. Here you can watch two of them:

Visual research
I used the Norman rig that I re-modeled. The result somehow looked like me : ).
For the final look of the attic I collected few attic photos then modeled the attic gave a little wooden texture and put a few objects to set the mood.


Final look

Wednesday 15 June 2011

2nd two-week assignment - Dialogue

The second 2-week's assignment was the Dialogue animation also with Michelle Meeker.
We had to choose a 10 sec audio. I found an energetic one in Fantastic Mr. Fox where Ash freaks out because his father didn't involve him in his chicken stealing plan.

Bandit hat from Peter Vacz on Vimeo.

Work in progress

These two sketches were my first ideas for two different audios. Finally I've chosen the more energetic one. Then I recorded the reference video very quickly as the first acting impression came and then worked out the poses on the paper to understand and memorize them as much I can.
The process went quite the same as the Mime animation, except that we had the lip sync as well to animate.

Thumbnail poses from the reference video

Monday 6 June 2011

Postcards 2

Here are the new post cards that I sent home to Hungary.

my brother Bernát

my sister Rózsi

my Grandfather

my brother Milán

Kati and Luca

Sunday 29 May 2011

1st two-week assignment - Mime

My 10 sec mime animation idea was about this really dunk guy in a house Party who grabs the wrong bottle filled with toxic and drinks from it...

Work in progress

The Idea

The Thumbnail "storyboard"

After I got the clear idea I went to shoot the reference video which helped me to define the movements. Of course it is not about trying to copy frame by frame but get the feeling of it.

Animation with Michelle Mikker

Wohoo... Things are going really fast here in Viborg.
We had Michelle Mikker for 4 weeks to teach us animation. She worked at Dreamworks on Shrek, in Lord of the rings on Gollum and she is also a mentor at the Animation Mentor online workshop.
She gave us very interesting lectures every second day about rules of animation, ways of working with the character compare to the story. I'll attach some of my note pages because they are really clear principals for every animator.
On the other days we had dailies where we got feedback. Michelle had this funny idea that the class had to decide and vote after every dailies for the best animation. The winner got this Twinkie (american cookie) keeper toy, and had to write something on a paper and put it in the toy and then give it to the next winner. From the 10 occasion my lovely classmates voted for me 5 times. Thank you : )

The Twinkie award
The Process of the 4 week

We got our assignment on the first day. We had to come up with a 10 sec long mime idea where something happens with the character. We also had to involve an object that the character could interact with.
Michelle said that she had two best friends while animating in Maya: "the Reference video and the Graph Editor". So we drew the thumbnail storyboard and then shoot the Reference video - it proved very useful and my acting skills worked quite well. I also helped some of my other classmates to act out their scenes. For 3D animation you really need those little details and have to understand the poses.

Sunday 15 May 2011


Here in The Animation Workshop people have the great chance to go to croqui sessions twice a week for 2 hours of drawing.
Why is it so cool?
We have papers, many different kind of drawing and painting tools, and good models for free.
I like when the model doesn't try to do "amazing poses" but imagine him/herself in real situations and acts them out… Then I'll have a very strong impression of the pose, filled up with a character. (Unfortunately that isn't always like this.)

I love the strong simplicity of Picasso's and Henri Matisse's drawings. Their works influence me a lot when I'm drawing.




Sunday 8 May 2011


Since I`m here I got used to send special post cards...


Monday 2 May 2011

Birthday present

I made this short film in my free time for my girlfriend's birthday. First animated one of her graphic then recorded a few live action footage around the school in Viborg then composited them together. This was my first time using AEffects and I really enjoyed it.  Also many of my classmates helped me. Thank you guys! She was really happy on her birthday : )

Sunday 1 May 2011


There is this guy Bjarne in the school who organizes IMPRO workshops with other guys every second Wednesday. I really like acting. When I saw this poster "impro makes people happy" I liked it a lot so I went to the next workshop and took part of it. There was also audience, the other students of the school. It was great and a lot of fun doing all these brain refreshing games, creating characters and running into a weird story where funny unexpected situations happened that you'd never get into by yourself. 
The audience enjoyed it a lot… so did I.

Doing Impro means being able to laugh at yourself without feeling ashamed, being able to relax your mind and think crazy and let others idea guide you. A big focus on everyone.

I also undertook the duty to make the poster for the next IMPRO DUKEOUT.

Tuesday 19 April 2011

4 weeks of 3D Anim with Erik C. Schmidt

After the first 3 weeks of "introduction to Maya" we got a great teacher called Erik C. Schmidt. He was born in Denmark. Then he moved to America and worked there in many films (Spirit, Eldorado, Bolt, etc.) as a professional animator and supervising animator both in 2D and 3D in such studios like Disney and Dreamworks.
Erik C. Schmidt
He has a very good sense to teach and to give motivating critics. The structure of the 4-week animation was very well built so at the end we`ve learnt how to use the different tools in Maya to be able to build up and keep our animation in hand.

Week 1
We started the animation basics with simple objects like the Pixo lamp and the floursack. At the beginning we only had one day for every animation. It was quite fun and sattisfying to animate the lamp because you can get a result very fast. The assignment was to animate: sniffing, laughing, and looking around. We had to animate the floursack (I did a ballet spinning) dancing and jumping off somewhere.

Here are some of the daily animations:

Week 2-4
The following 3 weeks we get into character animation first just making poses to express different emotions. Mostly used Hogan rig, because it is quite simple. Then we did little pieces like weight shifting, a take, a bow, lifting weight and the last week the walk and run cycle. During these tasks we learned how to use the graph editor and a specific workflow. These are Erik's good advices to be aware when you are animating in 3d. They were very useful.

Monday 28 March 2011

3D modeling in Maya

We started the first 3 weeks with Steve Ford. He taught us the basics of Maya. Mostly modeling and a little bit of rigging and skinning. We've chosen one of our own character to start modeling. My character is a complex animal Mikka Makka from a Hungarian tale that I adapted.