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Medusa by Nick DiLiberto

Nick DiLiberto is an animator currently working in Japan. He recently completed a fully animated 2D short film and just uploaded it to YouTube. He sent it to us with this note:

“I’m a really big fan of Cartoon Brew and was hoping you could watch my film and tell me what you think and, if you like it, I would be honored if you would be willing to post it on your site for others to watch. If you or your readers have any questions I would love to answer them.”

I like it – and I think our readers will dig it too:

  • AltredEgo

    wow….just wow.

  • Pud

    Very good! I love the colors, they all go nicely together.

  • Class

  • Beautiful work!

  • Jushy

    OH. MY. GOD.
    ..someone hire him to do SOMETHING. ANYTHING.

  • Really cool!! I like it…
    This must have taken him ages.
    what program did he use?


    Wow!That was going to be my word…someone beat me to it.
    Impressive work. Very well organized and staged fight scene. Lot of very hard work which paid off very well. Love to see more from Nick.

  • absolutely phenomenal!!! 5 stars

  • Paul D

    I worked with Nick years ago at a game company called Bioware. When I met him he was fresh out of school with a passion for 2D. I believe he did this movie in his spare time while learning to speak Japanese. Says a lot about what you can do if you just do it.

  • That was remarkable! The style reminded me a wee bit of Aaron Springer’s Korgoth. I would love to see this Medusa film turned into an Adult Swim show. Of course Adult Swim dropped the ball on Springer’s Korgoth so who knows.

  • jordan reichek

    that was a trip! nice job!

  • Amazing film! Loved it!!!!

  • Great job, Nick! I’m just wondering what your workflow was. Animate in Toonboom/Flash, do paints in photoshop, composite in After Effects?

  • I’d love to know what the process was like on this. How long did this project take!? Amazing work!

  • Sam

    Wow, do you have any kind of a work in progress/ behind the scene for how you did this? I would be very curious to watch that. Also, what are the main softwares you used for this?

    Amazing work!

  • Hal

    Now THAT is what I’m talking about – what a great film. Far more dynamic and inventive than anything in that recent CLASH movie, way to take the mythological to a fantastic visceral level.

  • YEAH! Way to go! That was an amazing little short!

  • Dave Knott

    Very dynamic! Great movement! Creative shots! Love it!

  • Awesome short, great animation! Was it done in flash?

  • peter wassink

    Fantastic dynamic animation and lovely use ofcolor and shadow.

    I enjoyed it thoroughly!

    It looks to me like it was drawn on paper.
    Or did you use TVPaint?

  • looniINmiami

    Amazing. Only two minutes and better than the New CLash of The Titans.

  • Since WOW has been used already, I’ll say AMAZING!!! Fantastic!!! Superific!!! I hope you’ll take this in the way it is intended but I hope no one hires you. We’ve seen what happens to great talent once it’s put into the industry. I’d much rather see you go the way of Bill Plympton! =)

  • VelaPulsar


  • Kevin

    According to Nick, “You’re looking at a fully 2D classically animated film. lots of Pencils and paper.”

  • This is great! It’s looks like it was a lot of fun to make. I don’t think the audio is on par with the visuals though, it seems like an afterthought.

  • superfantabulous!

  • superfantabuloulous!

  • Eric

    Sound design was awful. Should be redone. Animation AMAZING.

  • Fantastic, There’s so much to like about it. But the light from medusa’s face is a great idea. The movement and colours… Love it.
    Would like to see more please.

  • Beautiful, dynamic and FUN! Can’t wait to hear the how and the how long of it all. CONGRATULATIONS.

  • purin

    That was so crazy! The different takes on elements of the fight between Medusa and Perseus were odd and new, but they still made sense somehow.

  • Love it.

  • this is how fight scenes should be done

    one man fighting against the elements to bring down his foe, rather than two anime characters shooting lasers at each other while the camera dances from angle to angle

  • Amazing animation! Great design too

  • J.M.

    Wonderful and animation and — eff the critics — I liked the sound, too! Murky and lo-fi is good, y’all.

  • Very Nice! And very Inspiring.
    Glad to see 2D is still continuing to be done and impress.

  • Oh man, sweet work. The mice, the emotion of the hero, and that fantastic scene with the lights from Medusa’s eyes playing on the rock; that’s great cartooning.

  • Ben K.

    Simply amazing work!

  • FP

    Goddam. Everything is right about this.

  • Very cool. Like the sequence from Clash of the Titans, but better.

  • Matt Sullivan

    I love it. REALLY original

  • amazing!!

  • Jay Taylor

    This guy needs to make a feature!

  • Gummo

    Ditto to everything said so far, but I also have to comment on the facial expressions, which told as much of the story as the action itself.

    Great great stuff.

  • In the basements and garages far from the big studios we know, this is where the next generation of Master Animators hone their craft in their own spare time. Good Job Nick, I hope you keep the flame alive and burn down the current industrial mediocracy in a firestorm of talent and creative freedom.


  • Rupe

    holy KaBlam! that was beautiful

  • Rooniman

    Great colors.
    Great animation.
    Great staging.
    Great design.

    It’s overall GREAT!!!

  • Really fantastic!

  • Ridd

    Gorgeous. Amazing work, man. I’ll be watching this a few hundred times. Any chance we can get a hi def version at some point?

  • Nic Orizaga

    I like it a lot…the design reminds me a lot of Thomas Herpich (

    that’s not a bad thing…great job!!

  • Brilliant!

  • Bravo!! Was that traditional or CG traditional?

    Nontheless excellent work. Timing, smoothness in animation and colours really popped out at me. Congrats!

  • Incredibly fun, frantic and tense. Love the design and use of color. Using the stone mice to climb the ledge was inspired!

    Can’t wait to see more from Nick.

  • Wow! Excellent ! Carry on Nick D! More like this !

  • Mr. Dominex

    I like the way that Medusa’s face gives off some kind of petrifying radiation, and the wormlike organs or alien appendages on her head could have been interpreted by the ancients as “snakes.” Also the ruse Perseus uses at the end to fake her out with one of the statues of her former victims is a great idea. The action is great, but a little too consistently furious. It would have been nice to build up to it with some quiet eerie stuff of Perseus walking through a sculpture garden made of guys who came there to kill her before he did and failed.

  • Love the colors, though in the end she’s clearly staring at Perseus… how does he not turn to stone?

    • timmyelliot

      Because they only turn to stone if they look directly at Medusa. Perseus’ eyes were closed. There are other stories of that battle where he’s able to find her by looking at her indirectly through her reflection in his shield (or a mirror).

  • It plays really well with ‘The Hours Film Score’ by Phillip Glass

  • w


    Since no one seemed to ask any questions here, I’ll point you to a quick interview bite w/ Nick. A week ago at Canadian Animation, Nick was kind enough to go through our ‘8 Second Exposure’ and answered – you guessed it – eight quick questions.


    Wonderful work, Nick! Keep going!

    • Sam

      I asked the following above:
      “Wow, do you have any kind of a work in progress/ behind the scene for how you did this? I would be very curious to watch that. Also, what are the main softwares you used for this?”

      Except I got no answer. I think people don’t read through all the comments is all. I guess half my question is answered with the ‘lots of papers and pencil’

  • the Gee

    Well, despite the flaw that was pointed out that the hero probably should have turned to stone given he didn’t use the shield to protect himself from her gaze after she was beheaded, it is an epic piece of animation.

    It is an interesting choice to start at that point in an established story and just tackle it.
    The animation is certainly engaging. The stuff you added is quite clever (the mice and their use in moving the scene along) And, in weird way it is a satisfying piece of animation. Perhaps it shouldn’t be given we always want beginning, middle and end, but it holds up. I can only guess and speak for myself in that may be because I know the story well enough to forgive just watching part of it.

    To, bring up a side point, watching this reminded me that in The Incredibles, the remains of the fallen heroes on Syndrome’s island were similar to the warriors who tried to defeat Medusa, and those who tried defeating other mythical foes, like maybe that bull-headed thing who’s name my brain can’t figure out how to spell. Mini-tar?…Minotaur. But that is just an aside.
    Congrats on making an enjoyable bit of animation.

  • Jimbo2K7

    My first impression was that this was an homage to Don Bluth’s Dragon’s Lair – the continuous jumping from hazard to threat to cliffhanger had me looking for the telltale flash so I would know which way to flick my joystick.

  • Great imagination and smooth animating, but mostly the lightning and directing! Thumbs UP!

  • So Great. Loved this!

  • E. L. Kelly II

    YEEEEEAH! The great result of GOING FOR IT!!!
    Now, if only I could do the same…

  • Silent Otto

    Since the praise seems universally gushing and well deserved too, I will offer a caveat.
    The film seems to be missing one key scene, around the middle of the film.

    Our hero’s fortunes turn for the worse..grasps for sword, miss…again, miss…he sees it third time, then its in his hand. For me you are missing the key moment, a close shot of the hand reaching for the sword, then finally grabbing it. This is the dramatic ‘reversal-of-fortune’ moment in the arc of your story, and so should be shown.

    Overall an excellent piece of work, though.
    That its hand drawn makes it jaw-dropping.

  • Jukeboxer John

    First time I’ve been compelled to comment. This was amazing, absolutely epic!

  • Hey Guys thanks for all the great comments! I`m so happy your all enjoying the film!

    As for the animation it was all done traditionally, pencil an paper on the good old fashion lightup box. The film took around a year and a half I’d say. I did it while I was studing Japanese in Japan and unless I had a test coming up or a school trip, I would be animating, colouring, making sound effects, music, ect all the time.

    I found a good working process is to have various jobs going at the same time. so if your haveing a bad animation day you can start painting or if you dont want to paint there is a scene ready to be cleaned up waiting for you.

    I am honoured to be reciveing these types of reactions from all of you.
    Thanks so much!

    • Japan!! that’s exciting. Do you work there now? and have you managed the language? I had to watch Medusa twice, right away. I love it! You could still work on the audio I think, it’s not half as good as the visuals. I made a movie where the audio was weak, and it’s really unsatisfying when the sound isn’t doing the pictures proper justice. Any way I’m very inspired by your film, thanks for sharing it!

  • Terrific! Love the clash/melding of cultures, influences and styles to create something unique

  • Amazing! Great color, design, and movement!

  • Dave O.

    This is goddamn wonderful.

  • I’ve watched this 3 times! It’s a superbly dynamic action set piece. Bravo, Nick. Your work is unique and appealing.

    I hope things work out for the best in Japan. Cheers.

  • Very cool Mr. DiLiberto! I want to go draw swords and snakes and rats and stuff now! Inspiring :)