In the Fall of 2012, students were invited to participate in an immersive year-long course on 3D animation called The 3D Production Pipeline. The course was co-taught by Elona Van Gent (Stamps School of Art & Design) and UM3D Lab’s Eric Maslowski, Steffen Heise & Stephanie O’Malley. Students with varying levels of experience constructed their concept, characters, storyboards and renderings, tirelessly working together to create a short animated feature called Teleporter Troubles, which follows the (mis)adventures of Wesley, a shy, smart blogger who is convinced he can use a teleporter to make an important date— meeting his girlfriend’s parents for the first time.
By combining the talents and resources of The Stamps School of Art & Design and the UM3D lab, students were able to create high-quality work in an innovative and collaborative space using state-of-the-art technology. To begin their process, students first drew concept art (what they imagined theircharacters, sets, and props would look like), many using Wacom tablets to capture the gesture and style of hand-drawing. From there, they used Maya for modeling the individual components, ZBrush to add detail to the models, and 3D Studio Max to put it all into motion! In 3D Studio Max, students adjusted the ‘rigs’ of their components to make them move and behave as they wanted. A rig is the skeletal structure of an animated object (much like the connected parts of a marionette puppet) that animators manipulate to create the desired posture or facial expressions of their characters. Because the class required copious amounts of teamwork to create one animation, students and professors used TeamLab, an online resource for file sharing and messaging, allowing students to upload their work and discuss their ideas in one convenient place online. The use of this software enabled students to animate professionally and communicate efficiently. (For more details on the teamwork involved and the exhausting creative process of animating, visit Play Gallery’s post on the project.)
Teleporter Troubles was created over the course of a year by the following team of students:
Zoe Allen-Wickler, Ashley Marie Allis, J’Vion Armstrong, Ashley Boudrie, Stephanie Boxold, Anna Jonetta Brown, Jaclyn Caris, Emily Cedar, Annie Cheng, John Foley, Paris London Glickman, Molly Lester, Rich Liverance, Lonny Marino, Olivia Meadows, Thabiso O Mhlaba, Maggie Miller, Kaisa Ryding and Sarah Schwendeman.