CSU, Chico News

Animation Students Place Third In National Film Competition

Date: 10-20-2014

Sarah Langford
Public Affairs
John Pozzi, Lecturer
Computer Animation and Game Development Program

Animation design students at California State University, Chico placed third in a national competition that asked them to create a 30-second film in just 24 hours.

Two teams of students in CSU, Chico’s Computer Animation and Game Development Program participated in the seventh annual 24-Hour Animation Contest for Students held in San Jose, California, Sept. 26-27.

The contest, themed “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others” from George Orwell’s Animal Farm, gave students exactly 24 hours to submit a 30-second animated short created from scratch. Competitors learned about the theme at 5 p.m. Sept. 26 and had until 5 p.m. Sept. 27 to submit their films.

Both CSU, Chico teams completed and submitted films before the deadline. The team headed by senior Brittany Keyes captured third place for its film, Mathamanimals, a 3-D short that depicts the inequality between jungle animals against a background of ironic music.

To create their videos, the students brainstormed and storyboarded the plot, and then went to work designing the characters and modeling them into 3-D on their computers. Once the characters were rigged for animation and textured, the students set up the 3-D environment, animated the characters, added sound, and exported the files to a viewable media form. After working on the projects all night, both teams finished ahead of the deadline.

Keyes’ team included Sean Roberts, Kevin Hand, Todd Olson and Zachary Polic. The team headed by senior Tina Backlund included Aaron Luts, Nnamdi Johnson-Kanu, Nick Goodrich and Kiljan Cochran. Both teams were guided by CSU, Chico computer animation and game design lecturer John Pozzi.

“It was our first year competing and we were up against 53 films from 15 schools and 3 countries,” Pozzi said. “If you can imagine theatre in a software environment, it’s just like that. You have to set up lights and cameras [in the computer program]. There’s so much involved.”

For their efforts, Keyes’ team won five $250 scholarships to CSU Summer Arts 2015, a two- to four-week summer school program held at CSU, Monterey Bay, as well as animation design software and accessories.

Contest sponsors included Walt Disney Animation Studios and Dreamworks Animation, among others. Competing schools included Cal State San Jose, CSU, Fullerton, Long Beach State, CSU, Northridge, and one school each from Australia and Canada.

“We’re a 3-D-heavy school, and we were competing against a lot of 2-D schools,” Pozzi explained. “In 3-D design, everything’s done in a software package and has to be built and constructed. They’re doing a lot less drawing and a lot more technical work. So we knew we needed a technically diverse team.

“Only four or five 3-D pieces were submitted, and two of them were ours.”

CSU, Chico’s Computer Animation and Game Development Program is part of the College of Engineering, Computer Science, and Construction Management. The program aims to provide students with the tools they need to lead successful careers in the computer animation and game development industries. It strives to provide an academic experience that is collaborative and creative and uses applied learning in a lab-classroom environment. Learn more about the program at www.csuchico.edu/acg.