Production – step by step

The production of the 3d animated short Fish for Life is based on a very complex workflow that requires a lot of teamwork. Let’s take a look in detail.


A lot of research, concept art, story, sound concept & planning every step.


Creating a good and functional workflow with a lot of different software programms.


Compositing, color correction, special effects and final details.


In the beginning, everything revolved around the story. So, the four filmmakers came together to develop the plot of the animated short. Shortly afterward the storyboard was made. In the summer of 2017, the animatic of Fish for Life was presented.

Lisa created the concept art, using pencil on paper and later Adobe Photoshop. In the meanwhile, Victoria started with the sound concept and Lukas began the huge research for water animation.


After finishing the last feedback work on the animatic, Kerstin started to set the cameras in Autodesk Maya. Then, the sculpting and modelling process started. Kerstin sculpted the model of the main character Manolin in zBrush with great detail. Lisa did the same with the fish. Afterwards, they did the re-topography in Autodesk Maya. Lukas modelled the boat of Manolin in 3dsMax. 

To give the model its texture Lisa used Substance Painter – and in some cases Substance Designer. With Substance, Lisa was able to paint directly on the model. Afterwards, the exporting texture maps build the foundation of a complex shading network in Autodesk Maya.

For the animation, the filmmakers used Autodesk Maya. Lukas prepares the water animation for the stormy shots first. As an extern help, Markus Hadinger made all the rigs needed. Then Kerstin or Lisa animates the characters based on the reference videos the filmmakers made in early 2018. After the animation, Kerstin and Victoria did the lighting of the scenes.


The postproduction started in the summer of 2018. Therefore, Victoria and Kerstin used Nuke (compositing), Houdini (VFX), DaVinci (color correction) AfterEffects (adding special effects), and Premiere (final cut).In the meanwhile, Lisa did the matte painting in Adobe Photoshop. Lukas worked on the final details of the waves and water deformations of the sea.

© Fish for Life