Animating an Aztec Myth with the Music of Tchaikovski

The three-minute film follows a jaguar god on a mission to awaken a volcano and bring the underworld to the surface.

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Jan 10 2017, 4:10pm

Screencaps by the author, via

In the Nahuatl and Mexica cultures of pre-Hispanic Mexico, the god of war, Tezcatlipoca, took on many transfigurations to make sure that his worlds were in order. From a warrior with an obsidian disk on his chest to a jaguar, he was the god of time, the nocturnal sky, and the embodiment of change through conflict. Tezcatlipoca was fundamental to the cultural and natural phenomena justified by religion at the time. In Tezcatlipoca, a short animation by Robin George, now hosted by FNX First Nations Experience, the artist matched Pyotr Tchaikovsky's "Swan Lake" to the Aztec myth of a deity who descends from heaven in the form of an animal.

In the tradition of Walt Disneys’ Fantasia, the film combines elements of both professional classical musicians and highly skilled animators. The three-minute film follows the journey the jaguar god takes through mountains and volcanoes, determining the movements of nature, on a mission to awaken the volcano and bring the underworld to the surface.

Says George, “Tezcatlipoca is my graduating project from Southern Adventist University's School of Visual Art and Design. It took about a year and a half to take from conception to completion as a solo project. It has been a huge learning experience for me as I inched through each phase; I started with storyboards and animatic, then moved to modeling, rigging, texturing, and preliminary set design, then eventually moved to character animation and ultimately to final sets, backgrounds, lighting, rendering and finally compositing."

See the Robin George's fantastical result below:

Tezcatlipoca from FNX First Nations Experience on Vimeo.

This article originally appeared on The Creators Project Mexico. 

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