Teenagers create computer-animated film shorts at UCL Engineering

5 August 2013

17 talented college students from across Britain have gathered in a computer room at UCL. Their mission: to script, model and animate two minute-long films in just 7 days. Using the resources of UCL Computer Science and the hub of nearby creative agencies they are learning what it takes to be part of a film-making team, and gaining experience of the techniques they would need to find a job in this competitive industry. See the films they produced here:

Blue team: “Summer never comes”

Red team: “Hook, line and summer”

This is the second year that the 3Dami program has been run by Tom SF Haines, (UCL Computer Science) and Peter Kemp, a sixth-form college tutor, this year with help from SAE, NESTA, and UCL Engineering. Aged 15 to 18, the students were selected as a result of their excellent portfolio work, and are now being given the opportunity to develop their independently-developed skills with the benefit of an in-house render farm, UCL’s highly specced student computer labs, and visits from industry specialists and computer graphics researchers. They will take their skills back to their studies of art, technology, computer science and more, and potentially onward to a career in computer animation.

After a brief review of film theory and storyboarding, the students were encouraged to think about what makes a good movie, and come up with their own ideas for one. Appointing their own directors and project managers, the teams have to manage their own production schedules, using Blender to model, rig and animate their own animated shorts. During the week, they’ll visit sights around UCL and the Soho creative quarter, including the UCL ReaCTor virtual reality system. On Friday the 2nd of August, their creations will be screened to an exclusive audience of UCL staff, their parents, and friends of the project, at UCL.

Tom Haines, one of the project organisers, says:

“The United Kingdom has one of the world’s largest digital arts and games industries. Despite this there is little formal education available in these subjects, and limited awareness outside the industry of how to break in. 3Dami encourages, mentors and celebrates the talents of young 3D content creators, providing them with the resources and experience to develop towards becoming professionals.” 

Samuel Martin, student director of one of the short films:

“I’ve always wanted to get into animation, and this event jumped out for me. When completing the tutorials I learn a lot about how much time and skill it takes to animate, and found 3D animation was something I really enjoyed.  I’ve learned a lot about how to work in teams and what the industry are looking for in an artist.  This week has taught me a lot about Blender: from the basics of modeling through to character design and organising workflows. I’m really looking forward to furthering these skills and hope I can work in this industry in the future.” 

For insight into the work that went into the films, here’s the ‘Making of’ video, produced by Jiggy Creationz:

More information about the 3Dami programme and how to join it here:

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