In making their virtual reality thesis film, Emily Haldeman and Tim Stringer — 2019 alumni of the Animation option in the Film and Animation BFA — used myriad resources to execute the innovative project. Much of their research and development was done in MAGIC Spell Studios and its well-equipped VR lab. Their film, “Fluffed,” is an animated, immersive VR experience that merges storytelling and interactivity.
“It’s great to be in an environment where there are so many different ideas and different people, which, I feel, we benefit more from than other art schools,” Stringer said. “We were looking to combine our backgrounds in storytelling in film and this medium of VR, where you can actually be interactive and the viewer is an active member of the story.”
The quality of their film led to being hired by Rochester-based production company Optic Sky. They showed it to Optic Sky’s founder, Aaron Gordon ’13 (Film and Animation), at RIT’s annual Creative Industry Day and shortly after were hired as VR developers on the company’s new VR team.
Haldeman did a deep dive into VR while at RIT. She collaborated with students and faculty in the School of Interactive Games and Media (IGM) on projects ranging from creating game assets to VR ventures. Her broadened skill set, made possible by the ease of multidisciplinary studies at RIT, paid dividends when making “Fluffed.”
“RIT having a wide range of majors and things I could dip my toes into prepared me for Optic Sky,” Haldeman said. “Especially with VR, because now I have that background with IGM, working with gaming and coding. I feel like if I went to just an art school there is no way I would have gotten that.”