Dom Fred’s Journey: From Action Choreographer to 3D Animated Film Director

Dom Fred’s Journey: From Action Choreographer to 3D Animated Film Director

Introducing Dom Fred: Action Director, Film Producer, and 3D Animator Extraordinaire. Dom Fred, the creative genius behind “Space Agents: The Mysterious Ax,” an animated film brought to life using Unreal Engine and Reallusion’s iClone and Character Creator.


In this exclusive interview, Dom Fred takes us on a captivating journey, unravelling his passion for martial arts and divulging the remarkable story of how he and his indie team made this cinematic film a reality.

What initially piqued your fascination with martial arts during your early years? Could you elaborate on the various martial arts disciplines you’ve achieved mastery in?


First of all, thank you for the opportunity you gave me.
My love of martial arts was born from my early childhood, I grew up with Asian films from the Shaolin era and my father’s friend who also loved martial arts, had a special VHS video club subscription for action cinema.

And we always got the latest martial arts movie news from karate, taekwondo, judo, kung fu and more…

Passionate about all combat disciplines from a very young age, I ended up taking karate, Kung-fu and aikido lessons at the age of 6.

Knowing that at the time, martial arts clubs were less popular than today. The desire to learn and discover several disciplines encourages me to continue.

Today, I have regularly practiced Taekwondo, Karate, Aikido and Kung-fu for several years.

It is true that no man can have absolute knowledge but, experience and oriented advice, allow us to be effective in our respective disciplines.

What led you to delve into the realm of 3D animation, and what motivated you to blend this medium with your martial arts expertise?


I have been passionate about video game graphics since my childhood, and I spent hours in front of the screen playing and witnessing the evolution of graphics on different video game consoles of the time.
The most common games I played often were war, combat, and spy.
At the age of 11, with our family camcorder, I already filmed fight scenes with my cousins, and I reproduced some sequences from an action film seen on TV (It wasn’t as detailed but, There was already a passion emerging.


That’s when I understood that I really wanted to make it my career later.


The presence of martial arts was evident in the creation of animations and the production of action scenes which had always featured heroes and superheroes.
So, I understood that I could mix my passion for digital creation and martial arts.

Can you tell us about your experience using your skills as an action director and animator in the advertising industry?


The mastery I have in action staging and 3D animation allowed me to stage my two experiences on one of my latest projects The Soldier which is both an advertisement for the Reallusion brand which offers high-tech real-time 3D software like Iclone 8, Character Creator and also, with a significant element of martial arts.

The inspiration for your film ‘Space Agents’ is intriguing. Could you talk about what sparked this idea and share your experience wearing multiple hats as the director, action choreographer, and producer for the film?


What I can say from my experience in this completely independent project is about the time factor of production.
I had to find methods that would help me produce this film with the tools, the means that I had at the start of the project.


I already had strong experience in independent productions of short action films that I produced at the time.


Starting from the production, the team direction and the staging of fights, my team and I have put in place an elaborate strategy for the success of this film when faced with the COVID situation in 2020.


It is therefore an animated film project which is far from the known traditional methods.

Is there a specific martial arts discipline incorporated into the action sequences of ‘Space Agents’?


The martial arts techniques that we have in our film Space Agents come from several combinations Teakwondo, Kung-fu, Self defenses.
There was no specific choice but, in the fantasy and science fiction universe, Kung-fu is often highlighted by the use of swords and the acrobatic jumps that exist in this discipline.

What specific technologies and software were utilized in the creation of ‘Space Agents’? Additionally, could you provide insights into the overall timeline from the start of pre-production to the completion of post-production for this project?


Pre-production began exactly at the end of 2020. And during 2021, we started animations and some 3D rendering tests. We started with a final rendering with editor Arnold.

At the same time, Unreal Engine 5 was about to be released and I had already done a lot of testing on version 4 for an alternative rendering time and also a budget reality, since we are an independent production.
I had some reservations about introducing version 4 into my production pipeline, but with version 5 of the Unreal Engine, I had a set of assets that perfectly met the needs of production.


This was a big challenge for me, because I had to transfer all the scenes from Maya to Unreal as well as the animations with the different existing bridges.


The strong point that motivated us to work with Unreal was to see in real time the rendering of the characters, the armor, the light that reacted in the settings and even the special effects during the animations…


It was a big relief for us to have Unreal for our film. For the workflow we used Daz 3d, Maya for characters, costumes, animatics for scene previews, sets and assets. iClone 8 allowed us to directly recover the Motions captured from Actorcore, adjust the movements and transfer the characters to Unreal Engine for the final rendering. The important point we noted on iClone during production was being able to assign any motion capture coming from Rokoko, Mixamo or Actorcore without having to recalibrate our rigs. A simple drag and drop made the workflow easier given the complexity of the scenes and number of characters

Could you explain the reasoning behind choosing Unreal Engine for bringing the ‘Space Agents’ project to life? 


Space Agents is an independent film and self-financed from creation to production.

Unreal 5 in 2021 highlighted the possibility of making high-definition renderings for animated cinema and VFX, having touched the tool and given the budgetary reality, we decided to take the gamble.


We were therefore able to follow the evolution of tools in the marketplace and indeed many products in our film come from unreal marketplaces with licenses.
It’s a powerful tool for independent producers like us.

Can you provide some insights into the team that worked on ‘Space Agents’ and their respective contributions to the film?


We are a small team on this film. And the names that can be underlined are:

Director / Animator: Dom Fred 

Screenplay: Alick Macaire 

Music and SFX: Ben Jacquier 

Actors: Eli Harris, Jennifer Tra, Edwin Beale, Alden Schoeneberg, Janet Peters.


More than 100 people worked on this project and the credits highlight the incredible work of everyone.

We say thank you to everyone!

From your experience, what are some of the best practices filmmakers can adopt to stay motivated and committed throughout the process of bringing their film to life?


What I can share with other filmmakers about motivation and commitment throughout the process of making their films is to believe in themselves above all, and always trust your team.
there is no miracle recipe but, each production is different, you must above all believe in yourself from the beginning of the idea to the production of the film.

What advice do you have for aspiring artists who dream of becoming filmmakers in the future?


Dreaming is allowed to everyone but, the only difference between those who dream and those who make their dreams come true; It’s action!

We must be active to see with our own eyes the possibility that the dream can become reality, especially in our profession as creators.

Dreaming is allowed to everyone but, the only difference between those who dream and those who make their dreams come true; It's action!

What is your perspective on the integration of A.I. in the animation and VFX industry, and how do you believe it can be advantageous for independent filmmakers in their filmmaking endeavors?


This is a big question and today I think it is still very early to have an objective conclusion on the question of AI in the cinema industry.
For my part, I would say that we still need to give new technologies time to prove themselves in the field.
The human being is always behind the machines of the creation chain and digital production.
I think we will have answers within a few years about “AI”. THANK YOU

Thank you DOM for sharing your experience with our readers. 


You can get more info or Get in touch with Dom Fred on the following links: 




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.”

1 Comment

  • Rolf Nguié
    October 7, 2023

    Magnifique mon Yaya, mon mentor, continue à briller pour la fierté du septième art et du peuple congolais 🇨🇬🔥🎬 lumière sur la suite

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