Reallusion TV

Featured Developer - Athos Rojas

Athos Rojas

I live in Brazil, I am 40 years old, and I have been a 3D graphics and animation enthusiast for about 20 years.

In the past I worked in the largest Brazilian TV Network before I left to open my own video production company - Emotion Produtora.

3D Graphics & Animation Enthusiast

Q: Hello Athos, and welcome to the Reallusion Feature Stories. Please tell us a bit about yourself and your background.

OK, the history of my company is very connected to my history. I am 40 years old, and I have been a 3D graphics and animation enthusiast for about 20 years now. I live in Brazil, in the Northeastern part of Brazil, a region sometimes detached, with minimal access to technological news.

There is also the fact that back when I was a younger man, Brazil did not have many tech courses, certificates, or other educational materials in this area which motivated me to always be self-taught by following the news from U.S. magazines, originally imported in digital disks and other mediums as there was no internet during that time. (circa 1990-1994) Eventually I ended up buying an Amiga 500 Computer, which eventually landed me the title of "crazy" by my friends, as everything technology-related in Brazil back then was way too expensive. So this computer is what got me started in 2D and 3D animation, along with Deluxe Paint IV, Real3D, and the advent of the 386 VGA cards with 256 colors that came with 3D Studio for DOS. When I finally changed my Amiga500 to a PC, I was already a pioneer in the region. Using Windows NT, Adobe Premiere, After Effects and 3D Studio (3D Studio Max back then)

Fast forward into the future, and I have gradually gotten my hands on any new technology that would allow me to further enhance my production workflows. This would include both software enhancements and hardware like the Kinect Sensor mocap system.

Q: When, and how did you start your video production company?

Well, it was when I was working for the largest Brazilian TV system: TV Globe Network. I was an animation artist from 1997 to the year 2000. I eventually left the company to open my own video production company - Emotion Produtora. When left TV Globe I also started studying photography, video filmmaking with camcorders, lighting and 2D animation with After Effects. I've been working ever since, and about 3 years ago I started to follow the evolution of game engines. Visualizing them as a potential optimization for my 3D works.

Q: You seem to use iClone as part of your software toolset. Please share with us why you chose to work with iClone?

Since the beginning, I hated the Mental Ray tool back in 1997. The high render times on our outdated machines was just too much. Then I found Octane Render, and eventually iClone, as I always thought 3ds Max was way too complicated to animate characters with and I had already seen in iClone the possibility of making quality character animations given the ease-of-use and friendly interface of the too. So I started studying ways to increase my workflow with 3ds Max, Octane Render, and iClone 3D animation.

The possibility of using the character Genesis bases (which I already knew but DAZ was not good to animate with) was key to really making iClone my final choice. Later on I learned more about the software and its external companions like 3DXchange, which among several other things, really brought an advantage of simplifying the character rigging process from 3ds Max, allowing me to perfectly do work within iClone and making me fall in love with the software. The initial results of my own studio work, were culminated in the 3D animation I made "Batman vs. Superman", where I had not yet mastered iClone itself as an animation tool.

Another result of these studies was the animation I made for a client of mine - Atrevida Rental Equipment.

Currently, I am studying the possibilities of using Mudbox to create characters, new clothing and hair from a Character Creator base. My first negative experience with iClone was because everything coming out of 3DXchange was triangulated. This is an obstacle for a good job when creating and modeling in Mudbox. But it really did not make me stop loving iClone, as there are by far more advantages in it than disadvantages. Currently, I am very busy with my work but I am anxious to take time to further study iClone and its possibilities.

Q: In another conversation, you mentioned that you had and ambitious project involving iClone. We would love to hear more about this.

Jajaja, yes. Thank you for bringing this up! I do have some ambitious projects involving iClone. You see, here in Brazil we do not have a tradition in production of short or long 3D animations used in a commercial way because, believe it or not, work in 3D is often seen as voodoo magic, or black magic, or something involving secret knowledge. So it is very difficult to create a team needed for a long series of work like modelers, riggers, animators, vfx and renderers. I as a 3D generalist and an Octane Render user, see myself using iClone's extra power to create an animated 3D series with a minimal amount of crew, allowing my studio to lower costs without compromising quality.

Currently I have two ambitious projects and scripts already finalized. A short film titled "Guardians of the Light Order", and "Project Alvorada" an epic, sci-fi film inspired by the STARBLAZERS universe, which has been a great success in the USA and Brazil. This story would involves the Brazilian population as the only survivors to a nuclear holocaust thatnks to the intervention of aliens.

But again, the problem that we often have is that we live in Brazil and the market for this type of production is non-existent. So I have to take these projects on the sides as my company currently sources profits from 30-second, animated commercial making, or animation for architects (arch-viz).

Hopefully my projects will start taking shape and soon enough the 3D community will be able to take part in this animated adventure of ours!

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