About Nanda van Dijk
Hi, my name is Nanda van Dijk, and I’m a freelance character artist. My company website Anim.nl. I’ve been working in the animation industry for over seven years now. My specialties are character animation, illustration, modeling, rigging, layout animation and storyboarding. After working on television commercials, video games, and feature films, I now like to share some of my knowledge to help my fellow artists. If you want to see my latest work be sure to check out my Demo Reel at the bottom of this page.
Why I became a All-round Character Artist
Then I was still in school my dream was to work in one of the big Hollywood Animation studio’s and I worked really hard to study animation. I tried to apply for an internship at all the studio’s but this was really hard and I wasn’t able to get one. So I had to prepare to find an internship in the Netherlands.
Soon learned that if I wanted to get a job in the Netherlands I would have to be able to do a lot more than just animate. Animation is just a small part of working for a commercial production studio. So during my internships, I had to work on all the aspects of a production. I learned how to model, make UV maps, texturing, rigging and rendering. I learned a lot during my internships and I found a new passion for everything that had to do with creating characters, not just animation.
Because I was able to do more than just animated I became a strong asset to the companies I worked for. I never had trouble finding work because I could look for jobs in a lot of different areas. I have worked on TV commercials, online interactive branding campaign’s, games, and feature films. And I had jobs as a modeler, rigger, animator, storyboard artist, layout artist and illustrator.
Introduction into the Game industry
Because I was able to model, rig and animate characters, I was able to switch from post production to the game industry. It was hard to find character related projects to work on for commercials at that time so being able to switch opened a lot of doors for me. The game industry is a growing industry with a lot of potentials. I know that a lot of game developers are looking for good character artists and animators. So learning to how to model Low Poly characters, creating rigs that you can export for game engines and animating actions for games can really improve your chances to finding work.
Disney’s – Duckworld
My first big introduction in to the game industry was the game Duckworld. It is a game with a lot of minigames staring Donald Duck and his friends. I animated all the in-game animations, I riged a lot of the characters and I modeled some of the characters including Donalds nephews Huey, Dewey en Louie. I worked on this game as a freelancer for Sanoma, the company that developed Duckworld for Disney. The game is only in Dutch for now. If your interested in this game, go to this website: http://www.duckworld.com
This game is a crazy Partygame on steam. I was one of the people who helped develop this game. This project started at the Global Game Jam in 2015. We won the price for best GGJ game from Holland for that year. The game was still called Paradox in Paradise back then. We decided to finish the game. We decided to change the name to Marooners. I was in charge of the characters. I designed, modeled, rigged and animated them. Marooners is developed by the studio M2H. To learn more about this game, go to this website: http://www.maroonersgame.com/
Want to learn about game development?
Another reason why I wanted to become an all-round artist was because when I just started as an animator, where weren’t a lot of free rigs available. And the rigs that were free were not so nice to look at or horrible to animate with. Appeal is one of the basic principles of animation and I didn’t want to animate characters that just weren’t appealing. So I wanted to be able to make and animate my own characters. To me, there is nothing so great as to bring to life your own characters.
Animating my own Character Designs
Are you interested in following a course in developing characters for games?
You can let me know in the form below. If there are enough people interested, I will create a course especially for game development. If you sign up here you will also be the first to here when this course will be released.
When I was still in school I used to go every year to the animation festival in Annecy, France, where I talked to a lot of recruiters from the big studios. At that time the only online animation school was Animation Mentor. The students for this school were great and made a lot of beautiful animations. I was very impressed with the quality. The only problem was that all these students were using the same rig, the BISHOP rig. Back then this was the most impressive rig out there. The animations were beautiful and the rig was appealing but the recruiters told me that they were all bored with seeing the same character over and over again. My animations were really not that good back then, but I always got compliments on the way my demo reel looked. I never used basic rigs, and if I did I changed their appearance so that they would look totally different.
Nowadays there are a lot more good rigs to pick from so it isn’t as big of an issue anymore. But I do think that it can still be a big advantage to have your own designs in your demo reel to stand out. Recruiters see so many demo reels that you really have to stand out for them to notice you.
I Love to share my knowledge and help my fellow character artists. This is the reason I created the Character Creation Guide. I enjoy making tutorials and giving workshops. When I was working for the feature film, The Little Vampire, I made tutorial video’s for my co-workers and I helped some of them with their animations. I also give animation workshops sometimes. The photo’s you see here are taken when I gave a two-week introduction workshop on animation at the Film Academy in Amsterdam.
Questions? We love to hear from you!
I hope you like the courses that I created for you. If you have questions for me about the Character Creation Guide or requests for future courses and tutorials, then please let me know in the contact form below.
If you want to contact me about freelance work, please visit my website: WWW.ANIM.NL