Moho Featured Artist: Gustaf Lindström
Mario Quinones @
This week our Moho Featured Artist is the talented Swedish animator Gustaf Lindström and his series Black Death streamed by FX's variety show Cake! 🔥 Gustaf uses Moho as his main 2D animation software ✨
Tell us about yourself
My greatest claim to fame is probably my two animated comedy sketch series I’ve done for FX’s variety show Cake. One is called Drifters and is this 3D animated show that follows the casual conversations between various planktonic sea organisms. The other one is a fantasy comedy called Black Death, which ended up being my introduction to Moho. I like to do chatty, dialogue-driven comedies where the voice talent gets to improvise and bounce off each other. Besides all of that, I’m a freelance CG Artist and Generalist, and as such, I’ve worked on everything from 3D to puppets to stop motion. That experience has made me somewhat of an animation style agnostic, as in, the ends justify the means.
Where do you get inspiration?
I like to get inspiration from outside cartoons and animation. We animators like to look at the greats, like Tax Avery, Hayao Miyazaki, you name it, and carry on that tradition. Me, personally, I think there’s a lot to gain from finding unexpected sources for ideas. In Drifters, for instance, my inspiration was underwater macro photography, and I did loads of research looking at documentaries about sea urchins and krill to inform the visual language. In Black Death, I spent a lot of time with medieval manuscripts, drolleries, and tapestries — that sort of thing. My Tax Avery, if you will, was Hieronymus Bosch... So, you know, instead of my characters dropping an anvil on their toe they might get burnt to a crisp by a giant fire-spouting eagle as they scream in agony.
What’s your hardware setup?
I'm currently using my trusty old 2019 15-inch MacBook Pro with an 8-core 2.4 GHz Intel Core i9 processor. The graphics are powered by an Intel UHD Graphics 630 chipset, which offers up to 1536 MB of dedicated video memory. In terms of memory, I have 32 GB of 2400 MHz DDR4 RAM.
What do you like best about Moho?
The most exciting aspect of Moho by far — and I’m sure you hear this a lot — are the rigging capabilities. That’s definitely what drew me in, and there’s something so satisfying about making a really responsive rig. Like when you nail a perfect head turn — chef’s kiss! But I could go on; for instance, the bone physics system is fabulous and a lot of fun.
How has Moho helped you in your creative process?
As I’m into dialogue-driven comedy, it’s been important to find an animation language that isn’t pose-to-pose and exaggerated, but rather quite fluid and subtle. As the characters interact, I wanted to see those fine changes in their facial expressions as they chat and listen to each other. The bone-based rigging setup Moho provides allowed us to accomplish this, as it’s quick and easy to move a smart bone here and there, nudging an eyebrow or tilting a head slightly.
Can you talk about the “Black Death" series and how it is made using Moho?
Black Death is an anthology of dark and twisted fairy tales that reflect on modern issues in a satirical and relatable way. The voice cast is rich with some of the UK’s greatest comedy talents such as Jamie and Natasha Dimitriou, Emma Sidi, Ellie White and many others. I got into Moho
because I thought a puppet-style animation approach would really fit the medieval art style. The kind of detail and texture that you can get with a rigged character is just unbeatable.
How has Moho improved your pipeline workflow?
As someone whose background is in CGI, the Moho pipeline really spoke to me. I treated the character rigs in Black Death like I would a 3D character, with one single rig for each character that’s meant to be versatile enough to carry the character through every single shot in the story. The idea was for the animators to never have to touch a single vertex, but only Bones and Smart Bones. In 3D software, such as Maya, you use Joints and Blend Shapes, and it’s all very similar, so I felt right at home.
Where can we find you?
You can check out my website at www.gustaflindstrom.com and follow me on Twitter where my handle is gglindstrom. Black Death can be found on Hulu https://www.hulu.com/series/black-death-8218e71d-0fcb-4559-9861-ff30aee41177