BBC: Meet CG animator Paulo Machado, the man who has lived in hospital for 45 years


…Because the pair have been living in the hospital for so long, they are allowed to decorate their room with their own possessions. Zagui’s side is filled with dolls and books - and being a confirmed cinephile, Machado’s is full of film memorabilia. He also has two powerful computers, as he has been able to train in hospital as a computer animator.

In May this year he reached his target - $65,000 (£44,000) - in an online campaign to raise finance for a 3D animated film series called The Adventures of Leca and her Friends, based on a book that Zagui wrote which he will direct"


Is the bad animation forgiven/not mentioned just b/c of their sad physical state?


OUCH…Ouch oh man, OUCH.



Well, I’ll admit this isn’t the kind of show I’d like to see but:

Even if the technique or theme isn’t the best or the most exciting. The fact is you’re sometimes dealt a poor hand and you still have to make the play.

At the very least the pair will have done something with their lives.


Any particular reason for this to be in GD and not in News? It’d probably be a bit of a stretch in news as well…
Is the idea to have a discussion on how CG specifically can give severely constrained hospitalized people a bigger incentive to live than pretty much any outward facing creative activity? (only case in which this would be GD material).


What, exactly, is an “outward facing creative activity?”


Ouch what? This cult of personality/sob story thing on the internet has gotten completely out of hand. If someone makes terrible work but they’re handicapped, how should it be viewed? Purely as a charity case, which is perfectly fine, but you’ve posted it on a CG discussion area and the CG isn’t being discussed. Setting creators up to be free from criticism by telling a sympathetic backstory is disingenuous.


A creative activity intended to have an audience, potentially connecting the author to it as well, as opposed to one you’d only do for the sake of itself, or for your own edification.
Admittely way wankier than I ever might have intended it to be. My apologies for that.


Geez, some of you guys are pretty heartless…

Yeah, maybe the guy technique is not the best, but how many of us would have the will power to do this in his situation? I’m happy for him.


I kinda feel bad about saying this, but I agree with malcolmvexxed. Kudos for trying and making the most of a bad situation. However, bad is still bad.

I love my nephew and cherish all of his drawings, but I hold him to a different standard than I would somebody like Stahlberg simply because the kid’s only 5yo. Similarly, I think (as a society) we often have a different metric for success when it comes to certain challenged or disadvantaged groups.

There’s nothing inherently wrong with that, as an apple can never be an orange. Still, let’s at least acknowledge that there are two sets of rules and that things might play out mighty different if suddenly everybody were held to the same objective scrutiny.

It reminds me of why I don’t watch “Dancing with the Stars”. People heap praise on how well these D-listers tango or quickstep when, in fact, the professional partners are usually doing most of the work. For non-professionals with no training and little prep, they dance very well. Compared to anybody with actual training, experience, and talent, they all kinda suck though.

I don’t see it as heartless, personally. The truth isn’t always about happy puppy dogs and sparkly rainbows. Isn’t that why we seek critique anyway? Honesty is way more important, imo, than pandering & stock compliments.

Again, I commend this guy for doing something with himself and reaching toward something greater. Do I personally think that his work is great? Well, there’s the art in MOMA and then there’s the awesome art my nephew makes that I stick on the fridge. I’m pretty sure that says it all.


Well, but the point of the article it was more about his willpower and the power of art to give the guy meaning. No one was calling him the next best thing.

And you have to think that not only he has these serious health problems, but he’s also poor and lives in a developing country, my home country of Brazil (where we don’t have a serious animation Industry, where the wages in the private sector are very low and computers cost three times more than in the US, thanks to stupid protectionist taxes). I’m not even sure if he knows English (which makes much harder to learn anything CGI related)

Those are all facts that get in his way but he was still able to learn his craft, even if not in a high level and to crowdfund a personal project. Kudos to him.

I don’t know how you guys can read this story and instead of thinking “Ow, awesome how our art can give this guy meaning and direction!”. Instead you think “Oh, lame art. I can do better.”



Maybe because these human interest stories are a dime a dozen. I’m not trying to be cruel. I’m not trying to devalue what he’s doing. I’m not trying to underestimate the power of the human will to survive, thrive, and create.

While categorizing this a “sob story”, as malcolmvexxed put it, sounds harsh, it’s hard to deny that this is exactly how the media treats them. Tug at the heart strings and get people to cry. There’s certain inspiration to be found through these stories. I won’t deny that. However, such stories aren’t particularly unique or all that new.

It’s unfortunate that we live in a culture that says that everybody’s special and that everybody’s a winner. To quote Roberto, “OUCH…Ouch oh man, OUCH.” I know. We’re not all special though. Not everybody is or can be a winner. I look at this guy, what he’s overcome, & what he’s accomplished and say, “He’s found something that makes him happy. He’s found a way to make the best of his situation. Good for him.”

I’m just struggling to find out what makes his story more special than the next guy’s. Without getting too personal, I can safely say that a number of us here on this board have overcome some pretty stiff odds to be where we are today. Whatever our origins and circumstances, here we are - still standing and, hopefully, thriving.

We’ve all got a story; some more dramatic than others, but still. The story is not that life knocked you down, but that you got up again. That’s the human condition. We either sink or find ways to swim. Thankfully, most of us are swimmers.

Put to paper, some of us here would seem as interesting or inspirational, if not more so. This struggle over adversity is all too common. This guy’s story is interesting, but no more or less special.

We’re not all made the same. I understand this all too well. I have a 26 year old cousin. She was born physically disabled and is mentally no older than a 3 or 4 year old. I fully acknowledge that there’s a different set of standards for her than there is for her other cousins. She’s her own best metric. When she accomplishes something above and beyond her known limitations, I’m happy for her. It’s a “good for her” situation.

Similarly, when I look at this guy, I too say, “Good for him.” Even so, I have to acknowledge that he’s being judged by a different set of rules. The moment somebody puts him up as a source of inspiration for everybody else, the rules change.

Like I said, I love my nephew’s art. It’s got a permanent place on the refrigerator. In that context, I’ll always judge him against himself. However, the moment I decide to hang his piece next to everybody else’s in a gallery, I know that he’s going to be judged against them. The bar gets raised and how his blue mowhawked stick figure men stand against everything else changes.

You can’t offer up a story like this for public consumption without opening it to public scrutiny.

Honestly, how many of you would chime in and offer him some friendly tips and advice if you met him? Again, that’s how we grow and get better. I’m sure that he wants to be treated like everybody else. If that’s the case, we should be happy to constructively critique him as we would everybody else. That’s the sort of thing these sites are built around, not ego stroking.

Good for him, but still… I believe that we should strive for some semblance of equality, regardless of race, economics, or physical challenge. We may not be all made the same, but we can certainly strive to be treated the same. Love it or hate it, that comes with as many downsides as upsides.

If that makes me heartless then I’m sorry.

(FWIW, though I won’t apologize for having an opinion, I do apologize if it has offended. I’m not trying to rub people the wrong way.)


Am I missing something? I see the 3 panels which must come from this book they keep mentioning and then the section of storyboard at the bottom. Where is this bad animation?


What a spectacularly horrid post. Where do you even see his animation work to have an opinion on it?

This isn’t a “sob story” as you so heartlessly put it, it’s actually, on the contrary, a story about how a guy in an extraordinarily difficult position is using a creative outlet to deal with his life. It’s a very positive story and frankly I think it’s a story that’s always worth telling, as creativity can be an incredible cartharsis. I don’t think the quality of the result is even relevant here, the story is that someone is actually doing something constructive with his time instead of wasting away in a hospital bed. And at any rate, he has plenty of time to practice his craft and improve.

Do you also go around trashing five year old children’s drawings?


I couldn’t agree more.

I’ve now seen more CG artwork from this hospital bound guy than some users who have been posting on this forum for 11 years.


That’s the thing. I think that, in this messed up world, these stories are important to hear. In moderation.

Just as you can become desensitized to tragedy by watching the news all day, you can just as easily become bored of the more uplifting stories. Worse yet, it can color your world view. By doing the former, you can become convinced that the entire world sucks. By doing the latter, you can become convinced that there’s a happy ending and silver linings around every corner. It’s never quite that clear cut and life is far more complex.

And that’s really one element of my earlier point. Constructive critique is good and we shouldn’t be afraid of it, regardless of whether the person is perfectly healthy or infirmed. Maybe it’s just that I lack tact or something, but I’ve never been one to shy away from saying what’s on my mind.

FTR, I was referring to his thumbnails, not the 3D shots. Just so that we’re clear. They’re serviceable, but only just. I still think that the visual narrative could be punched up some, allowing for a cleaner read.

Y’know… Whenever I get a drawing from my 5yo nephew… Here’s what I do.

First off, I commend him and thank him. He’s obviously got a passion for art and loves to do what his father and uncle do.

Second, I try to offer him some helpful tips. Naturally, I’ll phrase it in a funny way like, “Hey! Since when is my head that big? Did you give me green skin and a mohawk?” (Kid loves his mohawks. :)) He laughs and he tries something different next time. Usually something even weirder. :stuck_out_tongue: He’s still having fun so that’s all that matters.

I won’t ever discourage him. I won’t ever be cruel and tear him down. He’s pretty much got unfettered access to my Cintiq and Sketchbook Pro whenever he wants. I just realize that, yeah, I’m dealing with a 5 year old. HOW I handle him is different, but my critiques themselves really aren’t.

I think that it’s important for children to learn to handle honest criticism. The earlier the better. Not to sound like an old man, but this generation of kids is kinda soft. It’s important to encourage and uplift, but not to outright lie.

I always see parents telling kids that they can be whatever they want and that they’re good at everything. That’s just not realistic or even true. Hey. I suck at geography and history. I will never be a cartographer or archaeologist. I get lost in thought and can’t remember what I ate for breakfast. :wink: I accept that I have limitations. I try to transcend them, but there are certain things I will never be great at. Instead, I’d much rather focus on my natural aptitudes. That’s why my parents strongly encouraged my explorations in the maths and sciences.

It bothers me when every kid gets a trophy in a sporting event and they’re all winners. I don’t get that. How can you savor victory when you’ve never known defeat? Call me old fashioned, but trophies are only for winners, not participants.

That brings me back to the story at hand. I commend this guy for transcending his physical limitations. I commend him for pursuing something he’s passionate about. However, given that he’s still on a journey, I think that it’s a bit early to write epic ballads in his honor. Sorry, Chewie. No medal for you this day. Kudos for joining the party though.


Where is anybody handing out trophies to this guy and calling him a winner?

I personally hate the “everyone is a special snowflake” culture too, but I don’t see that in this particular case. Not even remotely. Honestly, I can’t help wondering whether Cookepuss and Malcomvexxed even read the article, because his animation project is mentioned only near the bottom and is not the focus of the article.


I was referring to the overabundance of human interest stories and the near automatic and predictable stance people take. It’s nearly impossible to criticize somebody in one of these stories without looking like a mustache twirling bad guy.

Goodness forbid that the person dies. They automatically become an untouchable and flawless saint at that point. (Notice how when young people die that they were always A students? :slight_smile: As a kid, I used to joke that my key to immortality would be a solid C average. … Yeah. I got smacked across the head for that… hard. :stuck_out_tongue: Needless to say, I did well in school.)

My point being, the message being sent when you can’t say that something isn’t perfect is that, in fact, it is. Those with kinder hearts might just say that the quality doesn’t matter and isn’t the point. That’s kind of a cop out. Quality should always matter.

Regardless, I’ll just leave this off with a quote from the nurse:

“My heart is full of happiness that he could achieve one of his objectives”

I’m a firm believer in the idea that quality and completion should always go hand in hand. However, I do feel that people DO have something to learn from this. Set goals for yourself and actively pursue them. To me, more than the triumph of the human spirit, that is the take away.

Yes. I did read the article. However, given that this is a CG oriented board, do you really expect us not to even address that aspect?

Like I said, I’m not going to flame this guy. I’m sure the end results will speak for themselves. Maybe I’m just being too hard on what is simply work product, which isn’t always pretty. My comments stand, but I will lighten up. Don’t worry. I’m not trying to troll or anything.


FWIW, here’s one of his current WIPs.

Not too bad. I can see a few things that look pretty wonky, but I’ll reserve further comment until the full thing is finished. I’m liking his page on FB anyway.


How can you address something when you have absolutely nothing to go on? I mean, sure you went and dug up a shot that shows a viewport now, but the original article shows absolutely nothing of his CG work, yet you and Malcomvexxed just had to come out and criticise the guy pre-emptively. What’s wrong with you?

Regardless of the quality of this guy’s work, which remains entirely to be seen (the article can’t even seem to make up its mind about whether it’s going to be CG or stop motion, so we don’t even know what medium it’s going to be), at least he’s doing something with his life. What are you doing, apart from slagging off disabled people on a web forum, eh? Big Internet Tough Guy, hiding behind anonymity.