December 1996 – June 1998

One of the earliest renderings of the incomplete knight model

One of the earliest renderings of the incomplete knight model

Eroica was a personal project started while I was at Autodesk as a build engineer. I had 3D Studio Max 1.0 on my computer and I decided it was worth using it, not just compiling it.

After learning the basics with a short test animation of a drummer going crazy over a drum set, I embarked on a yearlong project that ended up being my second and, unfortunately, my last animation.

Eroica was selected for the 1998 Siggraph Electronic Theater and the 1999 New York Animation Festival.

Eroica was created entirely in 3D Studio Max 1.0/1.2 on a single Pentium Pro computer (render farms were not really an option at that time).

The development of Eroica took a long time because I was learning 3D Studio Max as I went along. I was also limited to working on it in the evening and often into the night. Rendering took a good chunk of time as well due to the limited hardware to which I had access.

The wallpaper of my old old old laptop

The wallpaper of my old old old laptop

When it came to the music, I tried to find a short piece of classical or Celtic music that could fit. Unfortunately, despite finding some excellent material, none of them really worked.

In the end, I decided to go the professional route and found an excellent composer who wrote and recorded the type of music I really wanted.

Eroica was selected for the 1998 Siggraph Electronic Theater (in a shorter form). I was very excited when I went to Siggraph and saw it in alongside the best pieces of that year, including Pixar’s amazing and inspiring Geri’s Game.

A few months later, I also traveled to New York to see it presented at the 1999 New York Animation Festival, this time, in its full length format.

Looking at it now, I can see its shortcomings, but I still think it was an achievement; I learned a new craft and I had fun doing it.


Promotional images

Some larger images I used to promote the animation.




The Animation


Animation Frames

Since the YouTube encoding is not that great, here are some frames in all their glorious quality.



  • Included in the Siggraph 98 Electronic Theatre and Video Review (Issue 125).
  • Featured at the 1999 New York Animation Festival
  • Images have been used by Autodesk for various promotions, and the animation was also included in the Autodesk Siggraph ’98 Demo Reel
  • Requested by French TV Canal+ for the Cyberculture show on Siggraph ’98.
  • Requested by the Canadian TV producer Zsplat for the animation show “Splat!”
  • Gold medal winner at the 3D-Ark Animation Contest.
  • Still images requested by the Japanese magazine Nikkei Computer Graphics for a Siggraph ’98 special
  • Featured at the Machida Museum’s computer animation show, Tokyo
  • Lecture about Eroica at the University of California Berkeley (February, ’99)
  • Lecture about Eroica at the University of San Francisco (April, ’99)
  • Featured at the ’99 Chunchon International ANITOWN Festival (CHIAF), Korea
  • Lecture at Silicon Valley College, Walnut Creek (June, ’99)
  • Requested by Global Japan (Japanese TV channel SF) for their short animations mini-show
  • Selected for Fantastic’Arts – Gérardmer Film Festival – France (Jan 2001)
  • Featured on – It was on the “Top 10 Rated of All Times” list for 2 months


Web page

The old web page

The old web page

Eroica had a dedicated web page for a few years, until the hosting site (Geocities) closed down.




The Music

The original music was written and performed by Mike Crowley. Additional performers Sean Folsom and Verlene Schermer.

A big thanks to Mike for capturing the essence of the story and matching the music to the almost-complete animation.


  1998 /  Last Updated April 12, 2013 by Roberto Ziche