Thursday, July 18, 2013

3D Blitz

At the Full Sail 3D Foundations course, Computer Animation and Game Art students get a crash course in the entire animation pipeline. Over four weeks, they learn how to do pre-production, model, rig, animate, light, and render a 3D scene. It's a lot to do in a month, especially for students new to the Maya software. Some former students came up with the idea of doing a scene in just 24 hours to see just how far they had come.

That was the challenge of last month's first-ever 3D Blitz event. Computer Animation and Game Art students spent 24 hours creating a 3D character and bringing it to life in a six second animated 3D scene. Organized by Rigging Basics Lab Specialist Jennifer Conley, the event was created to get 3D Arts students working together and sharpening their skills. "We all know as we move through the program that our skills get better, but very rarely do we take the time to really see how far we've come," says Jennifer. "3D Blitz essentially takes the 3D Foundations class and turns it into a 24-hour sprint." Steve Gold was assisting Jennifer and he gave me a run down on the event.

Minutes before the Blitz began, students were given an overall theme of prehistoric. They each then were randomly given a genre that they had to incorporate into their scene, anything from romance to action to mystery. I went in to sketch and see how many students were up to the challenge. The Auditorium was buzzing with activity. Storyboards were complete and many students were modeling characters and one student was already rigging a character to move. Alec Small, who had just taken my 2D Animation, the course, showed me his story boards. He had a caveman lifting a huge Terra dactyl egg. A baby Terra dactyl looks at him quizzically and he puts the egg down, feeling guilty. The egg then hatches. Matthew was modeling a human character basing it on Andrew Loomis, ideal proportions. He said he would add Cro-Magnon features after the ideal character was modeled.

The next 24 hours were a marathon of sketching, modeling, and animating. About half the students made it to the finish line. When the Blitz ended on Sunday afternoon, students had a pizza party and watched the 12 video projects that were submitted on the projection screen in the Entertainment Business Auditorium.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

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