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3D Blitz Recap: Students Create a Complete Animated Sequence in 24 Hours

In the 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 pre-pro, model, rig, animate, light, and render a short 3D scene. It's a lot to do in a month, especially for students new to the Maya software. But what if they had to do all of that in just 24 hours? That was the challenge of last month's first-ever 3D Blitz event.

Similar to a game jam (except no teams, every student worked on their own), 3D Arts students spent 24 hours creating a 2D character and bringing it to life in a short, 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."

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. The next 24 hours was a marathon of sketching, modeling, and animating. 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.

matthew ullrey animation

Matthew Ullrey, Computer Animation: "My animation had the themes pre-historic, resisting temptation, and fleeing from a large object. I modeled and animated a caveman who walks by a large nest with a dinosaur egg. He gets excited, but then waves his hands as it to ward the temptation to take it. He then squats down to touch it and the mother dinosaur appears and he trips while trying to get away. The most challenging part was the time management on each portion of the pipeline, especially the character modeling. It was fun and rewarding, and the social aspect of meeting other students in different stages of the program was very nice."

Spencer Fitch, Computer Animation: "The random theme I was given was joyful, so I figured a joyful T-Rex looking to play with a human would be good. I knew I wanted a forest and trees in the scene, and I kept my character as a simple base mesh. I haven't taken a Rigging course yet, so that part of the pipeline was difficult. Being able to think like a 3D Foundations student again was refreshing. Everything felt really natural and I would love to do this again."

pre-historic image

Ryan Abriani, Computer Animation: "The theme I drew was horror and the action I picked was someone getting hit by a car. I started brainstorming what I wanted to happen, and since we only had 24 hours I had to move fast. I wanted to make a simple environment, but give good detail to the animation and actions. The most challenge part was building a good, quick rig with effective controls to make the animation phase easier. I lost four hours going back to my rig and adding more controls. The funnest part was laughing with friends, making new ones, and watching everyone's submissions. If you compare my original 3D Foundations project that took me a month, and the one from the Blitz, there is a definite improvement in my overall skills and workflow."

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