Stitch Fan Art: Character Animation Workflow

Wilhem Durand discussed his animation workflow for the Stitch fan art, shared his approach to translating the character's emotions, and named his favorite tools used in the production.


My name is Wilhem Durand, I am a young graduate in 2019 at New3dge (Paris), I am a 3D animator. During my last year of my Master’s degree, my team and I presented our final project called SmashOut: Arena. We wrote an article about it.

Just after getting my Master, I was later hired at Lightbulb Crew to join the animation team on the Othercide game. This experience was very enriching professionally and socially. Now, I am working at Spiders.

I am fascinated by the animation work of the Toys for Bob and Airship Syndicate teams who offer original, dynamic, and enjoyable gameplay animations, and above all made by enthusiasts.

Stitch’s Animation

For me, the animation is bringing life to a character, making him/her alive, and transmitting emotions.

I wanted to perfect my skills in Keyframe animation. That’s why I looked for a nice rig that would inspire me with emotions. However, I wanted to start with a short and simple but instructive animation instead of making a long and complicated animation, to begin with.

While browsing Artstation, I stumbled upon this Stitch: Model by Stef Walker and rig by Gaethan Bracke, whom I thank for his advice.

To get this project off to a good start, I watched the cartoon in order to immerse myself in the character.

Then, I started by doing a classic walking cycle of the character. It’s a fundamental exercise in animation that seems simple at first glance but is subtle, the whole body is in perpetual motion. I found it relevant to practice this kind of exercise in order to perfect myself.

You can guess the character’s personality by his looks. And that’s why the most important thing is the rhythm: it’s what gives the state of mind of the character. For example, to get the right rhythm for the jumping walk, I did a test with a ball.

Then, I continued the exercise by doing other walking cycles whose objective was to transmit emotions.

We notice that the Angry Walk animation is much more dynamic than the Sad walk: the bust is bent, the arms swing quickly, and the pace is determined. On the other hand, in the Sad walk, the legs drag slightly and hardly lift, the hands are joined, and the general movement is slow.

The juggling animation allowed me to understand the constraints in Maya better and to animate a character with moving objects.


In the beginning, I was doing my renderings in Marmoset, but it didn’t make the character look good. Moreover, on Artstation the animators are rare and little put forward.

So I made a neutral scene in Unreal with the help of my friend Enguerrand Michelin to make better renderings. With a Master Material, the scene is fully customizable and will be useful for my next renderings.

Little subtlety! I added a blue Rim light. I didn’t want it to light up the floor, though. Enguerrand advised me to put the character and the light in a separate light channel from the floor. That’s why the Rim light only lights Stitch without lighting the floor.

In my opinion, the most important thing in a personal project is to enjoy yourself first. Having fun to animate, trying things, making mistakes, taking the time to learn, that’s the philosophy I adopted for this project and those to come.

Wilhem Durand, 3D Animator

Interview conducted by Arti Sergeev

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