Interview with Fabricio Moraes – Winner of Endless Engines Challenge

Interview with Fabricio Moraes – Winner of Endless Engines Challenge

Meet Fabricio Moraes, Partner and Creative Director at Gingerpic. And also the Winner of the Endless Engines Challenge by Clinton Jones. (Pwnisher on  YouTube).

From your personal life, who opened the doors to the world of design and what were your key inspirations to enter the field?


I am very fortunate since my parents gave me a good education and the necessary gear to study computer graphics. My interest in this field started when I watched Toy Story and Jurassic Park. At the time, I was training in karate, and my teacher worked with animation. He gave me directions as to which college I should apply to. After that, I met good people that helped me with my first job interview and hired me to begin my career as a 3d artist. I can’t say I have a key inspiration because it comes from many different sources, like movies, animations, video games, illustrations, etc.

Did you have a formal education as a designer or 3d artist, and how necessary is it in today’s industry?


I graduated as a designer and took a few CGI courses, and it was beneficial to learn the process and techniques. Still, I have yet to see a case where having a formal education is mandatory to enter the industry. From my experience, what truly matters is the artist’s experience, expertise, and portfolio.


What is your personal approach toward 3d modeling and specifically character design?


Aside from all technical aspects regarding 3d modeling, it is mainly about observation. Translating or reinterpreting details to a 3d mesh requires a lot of practice, patience, and organization. Gathering references about the subject you want to create is essential. Starting with simple shapes to block out your model is always an excellent way to begin. I use this approach either for characters, assets, or environments. With my entry for Endless Engines, I tried a slightly different approach. I limited the number of references, and I remembered some from previous projects and kept them just in my memory. I didn’t look at it. Otherwise, I would automatically try to copy it. So combining the references I gathered with the others in my memory, I created the characters and environment lighting for this animation. It was a fun exercise.

What was your source of inspiration for your character and environment composition in the endless engines challenge?

The main idea for this animation came from the movie “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids”. A small person riding a giant ant in a huge garden amuses me. Then I thought of something mechanic and remembered the game Horizon Zero Dawn. I also took inspiration from previous projects of mine.

What was the point of focus in your endless engines challenge that audiences might have missed?


My main focus was to make the animation as clear as possible. Reading the feedback from the community and watching the judge’s comments on the live stream showed me that the audience got everything I wanted to be noticed in my entry. So I don’t believe there was anything missed.

As a note to aspiring 3d art students, how important is it to take part in such online challenges and what could it teach them outside a formal learning space?


Joining online challenges has many benefits. It motivates you to finish a project by a deadline, which is the core of this profession. Putting yourself in a competitive environment helps you to push your technical boundaries and find solutions to optimize your work to achieve your goals faster. It is a great way to do networking and interact with other artists. I learned so much from this amazing experience of meeting so many fantastic artists and chatting with them.


Having officially won this challenge, will we see you participating in more future challenges?


I joined the Endless Engines challenge because I liked the theme and saw the chance to have fun doing something I like. Winning this challenge was a huge surprise. I would love to participate in more challenges if I come up with an idea I enjoy and have enough time to make it. Time will tell.

Knowing you come from a very diverse background in 3d with a career spanning from animation, to games and advertising, please can you explain the importance of being flexible as a 3d artist?


I always believed that being a good problem solver is some of the best aspects of an artist. Knowing many disciplines helps you think outside the box and find solutions for daily issues. In my case, I love to do different stuff and learn new things. It helps keep everything fresh.

Could you please share one particular challenge you faced when working across multiple industries and how you overcame it?


I faced so many challenges throughout my career that it isn’t easy to point to a specific one. Each project has its own set of challenges, and all of them are due to deadlines. When bidding for a project, you must determine how long it will take to finish, according to your experience and the client’s need, but it is impossible to predict every issue you will face. Sometimes the client has a launch window for his product that can’t be postponed, and you need to deal with it to get it done on time. I think the most difficult aspect is finding the balance between what can be done and what must be done with the time you have to complete the task.

Seeing major improvements and affordability in technology like motion capture for common people, what is your opinion on how decentralized the animation industry may become in the near future?


Technology is constantly evolving, and it can’t be stopped. It has a massive democratization of production resources like hardware, software, AI applications, new techniques, etc. This way, small companies, and solo content creators can produce much more. Decentralizing specific productions from big studios allowed artists like myself to create projects only possible with big teams and expensive render farms a few years ago.


What are your words to aspiring students who hesitate to send in their portfolios despite showing great art prowess? How can they overcome such fears?


Self-critic is very important. It is good to push yourself to improve as an artist, and sometimes it is normal to think your work is not good enough. You need to have a good sense of reality and ask people what they think about your work when showing a project on social media, pay attention to their reaction. You also need to take a leap of faith sometimes and trust your skills. The overcome might be way better than you think, but you will only figure this out if you try.

As animators we spend more screen time than the average individual. What are your personal tips and hacks for maintaining a healthy work-life balance?


To be honest, I am still trying to figure this out. Finding the balance between personal life, leisure, and work, especially on a work crunch, is one of my most difficult things. We need to be responsible and disciplined to complete daily tasks but also know when to step back. One good thing to do is to take short breaks during the day. Every hour try to look away from your screen for at least a minute; each couple of hours, stand up, stretch yourself and take a walk, even if it is just to the bathroom or to have some water; have a coffee break during the day to talk with someone else and relax; and of course, organize yourself and try the best as you can to not work too much after hours or weekends when possible. Working with deadlines usually puts us in very stressful situations, and often, they are not avoidable, but your creativity and productivity diminish very much when burning out.

About the author

  • Mohammad Khalikh

    Based in India. Khalikh is a Previs and Cinematic Designer with over 6 years of experience in the Indian Film Industry. His passion for films and animation led him to the city of dreams, Mumbai, and he found the world of filmmaking. He loves to share knowledge and he believes what J.M. Cornwell has rightly said "“Knowledge is wasted when it isn't shared.”

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