Recently I joined a community of CG artists who do a biweekly challenge to create a piece of digital work around a provided theme.

The theme of the first of these challenges that I took part in was ‘music’. After a bit of brainstorming I decided to create a very minimalist animation of various instruments transforming into each other.

I started out drawing a guitar, using the mask tool rather than the shape tool as I felt this gave me more control. In my experience masks are easier to animate, and, in addition to the stroke effect, masks also gave me the option to enhance the designs using Video Copilot’s awesome Saber plugin to give the designs a cool neon glow.. Originally I was going to just make outlines of the various instruments, but in the end I decided to add a little detail to make them more recognizable.


I used 14 masks in total on the guitar:

  • One shape¬†for the outline (17 vertexes)
  • One circle for the sound hole (4 vertexes)
  • 6 circles for the turning pegs (4 vertexes each)
  • 6 lines for the strings ¬†(2 vertexes each)

This gave me a sum total of 57 vertexes across 14 lines to draw every other instrument. While I could have easily added more lines/vertexes, I made it a personal challenge to depict the other instruments with these limitations. While doing so made my life quite difficult with more complex instruments, especially in the brass family (specifically the tuba…), I am very pleased with how each instrument turned out.

Lastly, to drive home the central theme of music, and to give the piece a feeling of symmetry, I added a few notes and a treble clef on a stave to the beginning and end.


The community encourages members to share their works in progress and give each other suggestions and feedback to improve their entries. When I did this for my piece I was contacted by a fellow member, Alexander Weidner, a composer. He offered to put together a little soundtrack to go with the piece, and I am very happy with what he did. Alexander works on a lot of interesting projects; you can learn more about his work on his website.

You can see the final piece below. The other entries to the challenge can be found here. I recommend checking them out, there’s some really impressive work among them.

While Cadenza didn’t make the top 3 entries I had a lot of fun working on it, especially in drawing the various instruments. On the whole a very rewarding experience and I’m looking forward to more of these challenges to come!



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