Digital-Tutors training used by Reel FX to help create The Book of Life

Since the release of Reel FX's The Book of Life in late 2014, the animated film has received much applause and many accolades, including a Golden Globe nomination. Despite all of the acclaim this ground-breaking film has seen, it took a team artists and animators thousands of hours to complete. The Book of Life features a unique visual style that sets it apart from other recent animated films. With this new animation style comes new workflows, software and other tools. To help the artists overcome this huge learning curve, Reel FX turned to our training library. We had the opportunity to interview the CG Supervisor for the film, Glo Minaya, to discuss how Digital-Tutors has helped them in the creation of their successful film. Land of the Remembered

Can you tell us a little about yourself, Reel FX and your role within Reel FX?

Hello, my name is Glo Minaya. I’ve worked in the animation industry for 23 years, first in commercial work, then at Disney and now most recently at Reel FX. Even after all that time, I still have a passion for creating beautiful images in the most efficient and elegant way. I use my artistic and technical sides to work hand-in-hand to help me create.

In 2013, Reel FX launched Reel FX Animation Studios. After years of service work, including short and long form films, ride projects and commercial work, the studio created a banner to develop and produce our own films. We have been successful in this with the latest film being The Book of Life (20th Century Fox), which we are very proud of and it seems so are the critics as it has been nominated for many awards, including several Annies (winning for Character Design) and a Golden Globe.

At Reel FX, I’ve had the pleasure of serving both artistic and technical roles. I was the Digital Supervisor on a stereoscopic 3D presentation for the Radio City Rockettes which integrated with live dancers.

In that role, I oversaw the entire show, working closely with the client, our internal supervisors and artists to get the look of the project just right to create the style and feel the client was after all while making sure the tech was going to work with their stereoscopic projection system. Most recently, I was the back-end CG Supervisor on The Book of Life.

We built an entirely new pipeline for the back-end for this show so my job included not only the execution and optimization of the surfacing, lighting and rendering, but also the guiding, testing and implementation of the new pipeline and tools.


How does your organization use our training?

We have a site license and all employees have access to it. Employees are encouraged to further their training if they have any downtime.



How has Digital-Tutors helped your employees?

Fast and easy access to Digital-Tutors has help our artists quickly learn the basics of any new software we are implementing into our studio. Recently we used MARI, Houdini and Mantra to surface, light and render the Book of Life and it really helped our artists lay a foundation to get started in these software. When learning new software, our artists love it. It really gets their feet wet and gets them rolling.


What drew your organization to using Digital-Tutors?

Reel FX is always trying to find efficient ways of helping keep our artists trained in the latest technology. Ease of access, having a site license setup and having all that info available for all employees was a strong factor in drawing Reel FX to Digital-Tutors.



Would you recommend Digital-Tutors to other schools/businesses and why?

Absolutely! The fact that all that knowledge and training is at your fingertips is invaluable. And there is so much variety to the offering that it is a good way to for students to explore and have exposure to the many different disciplines within the CG industry.


What are some of the benefits you’ve found from Digital-Tutors training?

I love Digital-Tutors!  I love to learn and this site is a gold mine for someone like me. Being in the industry for as long as I have, I have seen many technologies come and go and Digital-Tutors affords me handy access to learn new tools and techniques.

I will also access your tutorials to open my mind to different ways to execute CG. This leads to playing new videos not necessary in my specialty just for fun, and helps to widen my understanding of the CG process. I also LOVE it that you are working with more coding training sites. I intend to spend some time this weekend checking out coding offerings.

I love that you are widening your training to include more coding since that is an important and powerful skill to learn or improve when you are in this industry.


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