Once we decided to enter the world of 3D animation, we thought that we had to create a complete scene from scratch simply to learn the basics of the crafts nessesary to create a full animated movie.

Then we remembered our earlier half-an-hour experiment with the walking cartoon Santa. It didn't look too complicated. A small scene like that...

From start to finish it took more than a year, but we did indeed learn quite a bit about 3D animation. Below are some extracts from the learning process
The rest of Santa was to be covered by clothes, so we we used a simple skin color there
First we needed a model of Santa himself.
To walk, our Santa needed a skeleton
Just to see what would happen we added some motion capture data to Santa.
Then we added his eyes
(even though we didn't plan to animate them)
We used the skin tones of this lovely young lady for Santa's head
We added a bump map to his face to make the skin look more real
Dressing Santa wasn't all that simple. We performed lots of experiments with parameters for cloth simulation
An early test of Santa's coat with fur trimmings
Now, if you thought clothes simulation might be difficult, you should try creating believable hair
Not surprisingly, the first hair animation tests did not look all that great
The still images of the simulated hair looked quite good
Going back to basics, we performed several simple hair simulations to see how different simulation parameters worked
More wind and turbulence tests of Santa's hair
Putting it all together: Santa now has hair and is walking with his clothes on
The background containing showy hills, junipers and clouds is built separately
The foreground contains junipers, a snowfield and Santa himself
Adding snow to the foreground
Combining the foreground and background
The final result of all our labours. This video contains a copyrighted soundtrack and thus may not be available everywhere.