Erika Back

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Holiday E-Card

The holiday of 2020 presented a very different landscape. Under COVID-19 stay-at-home orders, the importance of connection and family during the holidays had a more significant part in our lives.

Erika Back
Storyboarding, 3D modeling, Animation
Lead Designer, storyboarding, production

brief & idea

While considering the wasteful practices of the holidays, I  decided an e-card would be an excellent way to distribute seasons’ greetings. As a way to develop my Rhino 3D and Cinema 4D skills, I would develop a video to fit the digital medium.

I took inspiration from the traditional feelings of the Holidays, coziness, warmth, and cheer: all sentiments that have been enhanced during COVID. Drawing visual cues from the animated film Klaus, I would incorporate mixed media.

I started by defining my storyboard: it would include typical winter imagery, cardinals, crackling fires, and gentle snow.

Using Rhino 3D, I developed simple object that would help make the scene more realistic.

After developing simple objects, I expanded my abilities by developing the main character, the cardinal. In order to later animate these pieces in Cinema 4D, I would need to keep the pieces separate.

After importing the 3D models into Cinema 4D, I was able to start animating the scene. I began by getting the snow to fall softly around the exterior of the home. I also used watercolor to develop the background of the exterior.

Once the pieces were in place, it was time to animate the camera.

To develop the set, I animated the fireplace and candle. I also taught myself to make a flickering light effect so the shadows would be realistic.


Through creating this video I was able to learn new techniques to enhance the set. From flickering flames, to steaming cups of coffee, the details made for a more realistic world.