At the beginning of every spring semester, all the 3D Digital Design majors get together to take part in a huge week-long competition to make the best animation due 100 hours after the project is announced. On the very first day of classes, the professors divided everyone in the major into teams with equal amounts of freshmen through seniors. The professors challenged us to create an animation based on Alexander Calder’s Circus, which were circus performances made out of trash.
All the third years, like myself, were in charge of leading the teams of 10 to produce the concept of their animation and bang out a fully functional and stylized video based on Calder’s Circus inspiration. What was really exciting about this whole experience was having the opportunity to help lead a team and see what everyone came up with!
When we finally sat down on Friday at 2pm, we were done and ready to present to the judges. It was a super awesome opportunity because the heads of our department were able to get Aaron Powell, a partner at Luna Digital, and Aaron Neibor from BrokenMyth Studios.
It was a totally fun experience leading the team alongside my fellow third year Alden Pedulla, as we both had strengths in different areas needed to get the project executed the way we wanted it. We ended up making an interactive first person game in Unreal Engine due to the ability to use Unreal’s realtime rending ability - which saves us time when there’s a quick deadline to meet. Together, our team of 10 students was able to fully conceptualize, model, texture, light and present our level, which was a circus made of trash found at an old, vintage style carnival.
It was very interesting making 3D models look old and trashy, yet have it all look as if it was made by hand. If we had more time, one area we’d definitely improve on was the overall lighting in Unreal Engine, which was slightly neglected with the time constraints. It was great to get feedback from people in the industry, and although we didn’t win first place, it was still to all of our benefits. A portion of our major’s funding was put aside so that the winners could choose a guest speaker to come talk to the major. Overall every year it’s a fantastic experience and I can’t wait till next year!
If you’d like to check out our project you’re more than welcome to do so here! https://vimeo.com/153621260