Bafang is the last thing I see–Marjorie’s Final Animation

“Bafang is the last thing I see”
The Unity Build
The Idea

Most of my work is integrated into virtual reality. Especially in the past semester, I have found that integrating different technologies results in a more immersive, more compelling experience for the user. Thus, when our class was given our final animation assignment, I knew that I wanted to combine two mediums I enjoy creating in–animation and virtual reality and see what would come out.
My favorite technique of animation is drawing frame-by-frame animation with a computer mouse using Adobe Animate. My artwork generally lacks polish, but retains some sort of charm, which lends well to my preferred style of animation. I wanted to stray away from my usual VR environment design style: low-poly 3D models, brightly colored textures, and relatively detailed to increase user realism. Thus, I decided to use a minimalistic black-and-white, 2D style for my loops and place the animations around the player at differing distances, to give a sense of depth.
The narrative is as follows: I am on the roof of my apartment, 27 stories up. When I look down, I see and hear the city of Shanghai below me. When I look up, I see twinkling stars. Timed with the music, the stars begin to form constellations in the shape of flowers. The flowers become more and more dense, until the sky is filled.

The Process
Movie Texture

To achieve this, I used Unity3D, C#, HTC Vive, Adobe Animate, and Adobe Photoshop.
The technical aspect of the project changed quite a bit, as I found that many techniques I thought would work, looked absolutely horrendous.
To add the animated loops, I converted my video clips into .ogg format, imported them into Unity, and created a movie texture. Then, I added a plane gameObject to the scene, and placed the movie texture on the plane as the material. There is a short script required to play the video, that I attached onto each plane.

My original idea was to create three different scenes in Unity3D, one for the city, one for the stars, and one for the flowers. However, I ran into problems of scene load and audio. When the user is in the headset, and the scene changes, they see a navy loading screen that breaks the immersion. Furthermore, the audio would cut abruptly. To combat this, I put all the animations into a single scene. The animations would be instantiated with a timer.

C# Script
Now that I was only dealing with one scene, I wrote a C# script to manage the instantiation of the different clips. The script did a few jobs. I wanted the user to begin by looking at the city, and then once they turned their head up to look at the stars, or turned around, it would trigger the instantiation of the music and the flowers as synced with the audio. To achieve this, I (with the help of Sean) turned the user into a unicorn. (This is because I’m not good at scripting and I didn’t want to learn how to raycast properly). I parented an elongated rectangular prism onto the user’s HTC Vive headset, and set it as a trigger. Then, I placed a cube above and behind the player. Because the objects were colliders, once the player’s unicorn horn hit either cubes, the timer would begin.
The timer begins to run. At certain intervals of time, transform objects would be instantiated. To ensure that the script did not instantiate objects infinitely at a given time, I created a boolean that would set as true after the object instantiates.

For the city animation, I thought I would be able to take a photo from my rooftop, trace over it, and have a somewhat 3D-looking scene, as the perspective would be correct. Oh boy was I wrong. Once I placed the image onto a plane into Unity, it was clear that the city was a flat image. After a consultation with Tim, we decided to try to take the four foreground buildings out of the image onto separate planes and have them be transparent images. This worked really nicely, as user testers were no longer distracted by the obvious 2D-ness of my city.

Chroma Key
At this point, I was facing a major problem that took three weeks to resolve. My original idea was to use transparent videos for my animated loops so I could give a sense of depth to my stars and to place the flowers on top of the stars without obscuring them. However, Unity3D personal edition does not support transparent videos (the software does support transparent images) so I attempted to chroma key out the black in my videos, leaving just the white, resulting in a transparent video. This proved very difficult, as I was unfamiliar with using shaders in unity. I created a standard shader, put in my chroma key shader script, and proceeded to attach the shader in the wrong menu for three weeks. It was only two days before the project was due, that I realized my error, rendering the rest of the project smooth sailing.

Did I achieve what I sought out to?
Through this process, I learned a lot about Unity, about designing for virtual reality, using layers and animation loops, and C# scripting, which was my goal in creating a 2D, frame-by-frame animation in virtual reality. I wanted to test whether 2D placed in 3D could give a sense of immersive 3D. In the end, feedback that I received give the impression that the project was successful.

What would I do differently?
If I had more time, I would place more stars in the scene, having them further away, drawing more variety of constellations. I would put the stars and flowers more carefully around the player, to minimize overlap errors. I see now why Unity is trying so hard to create a platform for creating VR in VR. It is tedious to constantly move an object, play the scene, and put on the headset to check if it’s placed correctly.
I would also like to focus more on the transitions between the elements on the scene, fading away from the city to the stars, and giving more indication to the user that the narrative is changing.
Next steps for the concept: Playing around with having animations as the textures of 3D modeled objects; removing the unicorn and recording a 360 video in Unity for the animation to be viewable on mobile VR; using the loops I have now to create a traditional animation.

Thanks to:
Lei Ban for the incredible soundtrack.
Sean Kelly for endless technical support.
Tim Szetela for fixing nearly all my non-scripting problems.


1) Title of Short: Barco
2) Screen Shot 2017-05-21 at 10.59.12 PM


4) Barco is a 2D hand drawn animation that blends in the 3D world as well. It is a story about discovery and about encountering something that you have never encountered before.
5) Ben Lei Sound Design
7) My story for animation was first inspired by a book that i was reading called sapiens, It’s a book about human evolution, I was fascinated by thinking of the moments that humans learned or realized that doing things differently could bring new discoveries. For example the first person who ever thought about floating something on water and therefore being able to travel on water, I was planning on creating a short about this moment how I imagined it would be like for the first ever homo sapien. My plan ended up shifting at the end and i took it more bear bones and made it abstract a discovery among two worlds the 2D and 3D mediums representation of the discovery between man and water.
8) The technique used to make this animation was hand drawn frame by frame animation with pencil and then scanned into after effects. Also an eraser might have been used lol. After effects was a huge player and i used trapcode form to create the 3D assets and particles.
9) Learned so much but the best thing was learning how to take something that exist in our world like a pencil drawing and giving it life, i had only previously done 3D animations before but never more “Artistic” explorations like pencil animation in 2D.

Week14: Final Film – “Dinner” by Tian (Tim)


by Jingtian Zong


Description: Escape into a world of imagination from the dinner table.

Credit to: Yaming Xu & Jingyi Wang for acting in original footages, Jianghao Hu for piano.


The Story:

The story is about diving into a world of fantasy while having dinner with alcoholics. I originally wanted to present how depressed one can be when he/she cannot be part of others who are all having fun, but it ended up open why the person has that fantasy since I didn’t include the sound of other people talking. I kind of like it to be open but I know that some audience might be confused. In the future it might be better to find a balance between leaving space for audience and making the story clear. The structure of the film didn’t change much, still traveling from real world to imagination and back to the real world.


The softwares I used were Animate, Illustrator, After Effects, Reaper and Premiere. Most pre-production was completed in Animate, drawn frame by frame and they took a very long time. Some of the stills were drawn separately in Illustrator. I applied rotoscope partly for drawing and referred to some tutorial on motion when drawing the bird and the feather. After that I imported swf and ai files into After Effects and made more timeline animation, adding masks and inverting color. My audios were a mix of recorded foley sounds (for example the bird’s wing was created with a flag) and sounds I found online. I recorded the piano piece with my friend Jianghao playing. I edited and manipulated some sounds in Reaper, cutting them to the length I want, adjusting the speed, adjusting the pitch so it would fit in with my clip and atmosphere. Finally I imported the integrated clips and audio file into Premiere to do final editing.

And More:

I learnt a lot about drawing frame by frame, especially about motion and transformation. I learnt different softwares especially After Effects which allow me to loop, invert, and time remap footages. It was my first time to edit a whole film (although short) by myself, I think I learnt also a lot about how to pacing the film, how to edit creatively and how to utilize audio to expand the world of my film and present things not in the frame. There are still a lot I want to explore in animation such as design, color, the movement of frame and different strategy to tell a story. Looking forward to creating more animation in the future!

Animation – Final Project: Photoshop Tool Basics (feat. Pacman)

Title: Photoshop Tool Basics (feat. Pacman)



Link to my animation:

Description: Learn how to use tools in Adobe Photoshop with Pacman!

Credit: music: Rags 2 Riches Rag – Audionautix on Youtube audio library
sound effects: all from, public domain

My blog:


Actually my idea changed a lot throughout the second half semester. Initially I wanted to simulate a side-scrolling game, but extra actor of the main character would be needed to help me finish the animation and having someone that wasn’t enrolled in this class spend much time for my animation seemed to be impractical. Therefore, I changed my mind and decided to do an animation about color mismatch, but due to a property accident there wasn’t enough time left for me to shoot some scenes, and I also found that it was hard to keep consistency between different takes of the same scene because they were filmed in different days and time (and I didn’t use dragonframe). So I kind of kept the idea of doing something interesting as well as having a weird/mismatch feeling and finalized my idea —  to do a photoshop tutorial with paper cutouts simulating effects of different photoshop tools. I expected that after a short time of normal demo, things will go wild and become funny. I received feedback that I could use pacman as the character fighting against the cursor in order not to be photoshoped. I didn’t mean to let pacman interact with cursor, but I thought it would be really funny to do so, so I took this idea and developed my final story.

IMG_1427 (I can’t rotate it 🙁 )

For my animation I mainly used Dragon Frame to shoot frame by frame stop motion animation (the canvas) and scanned the paper collage Photoshop UI as the workspace. I used Premiere to edit, stabilize and merge Dragon Frame video clips, Photoshop to draw cursors and tool icons, crop out useful items (such as mac close buttons) from photos, and do other photo editing, and After Effects to composite my final animation and add sounds to it. I thought shooting photos would take up the most time, but the fact is I spent several times more time on After Effects. I need to take care of many subtle changes and details to make it look like what we actually do when we are using photoshop. For example, cursor is different when it’s on the canvas or on the workspace. Every time I switch to another tool, the tool bar should be replaced to the version where this tool is selected.

One of the most important thing I learned is to try to look at the bigger picture from the very beginning of a huge project. I changed my idea twice because I found new problems as I did the animation. If I could think over the potential obstacles and problems beforehand, some of the unnecessary trials could be avoided. Apart from that, I really learned a lot about AE. Before this course I knew nothing about it. But now I start to get familiar with it and learned how to organize files / compositions for a big project so that I won’t mess up when I want to modify only part of it. The last but not least thing I learned is sound really helps a lot tell the story in animation. In my animation if there were no sound effects, mouse clicking and character actions would not be highlighted, and audience wouldn’t have that strong immersive feeling.

Animation | Final Project | Gao Yang



A story of a blind cat



FullSizeRender 10




A 1-2 sentence short description of your project

The animation is a story of a blind cat. It starts from summer when the little cat was born and cannot see. But it can see clearly in the end in spring.


 Credit to any collaborators and/or media sources


Link to your project development site/blog/moodboard

(You can go to the process category to see how I made this animation. The ‘All about the cat’, ‘Spring’, ‘Summer’, ‘Autumn’ and ‘Winter’ categories are the material I found before starting the animation. )

A paragraph describing the development of your concept/story/idea

At first, I want to make an animation that is cute and I want my main character to be a cat. And then I enrich my story by enriching many plots—the cat was blind at the beginning, the cat can see in the end, etc. Also, I chose Adobe Illustrator and Adobe After Effect to make the animation since illustrator can make the style like an illustration. Wanting to indicate the time goes by, so I chose four seasons to make that happen—summer, autumn, winter and spring. Since in spring there’re a lot of flowers have come to bloom, which I can use to be the background of spring. The different things that happen to the cat can cause many interesting reactions.

A paragraph describing the materials/techniques/technology you used

I used AI and AE to make my animation. I used AI to draw the basic character. As my animation is cute style, so I draw everything very cute in AI. After that, I use AE to animate the character. AE is really powerful, even though I have used it for almost half semester, I still feel that I cannot get 10% of it. After Animation class, I still want to explain more in AE. In addition, AE can also draw some simple shape, so if the image is not that difficult, sometimes I chose to draw it in AE. Most drawings are by mouse and some of them are by sketchbook.

A paragraph describing what you learned from the process and how this could influence future work or projects (related to animation and/or other art/tech/design).

I am so glad that I take animation this semester with a fantastic professor. Animation really opens up a new door for me. I will keep explore After Effects for sure. And during this animation, I also want to learn something about design and how to harmonize color. I realize it is so nice to see comfortable drawings. In addition, I am also happy to study with lots of talent classmates, I can learn a lot of things from them.

Animation: Final Project “Squiggle”, Ashley Friedland

For my project, I depicted a little creature popping out of a mug, bouncing over to some glasses, interacting with them, then hopping onto my bed to get to sleep. I used Animate to make four different scenes. I then exported all the drawings to After Effects where I composited the Animate files with pictures and sound. I took all the photos and recorded all the sounds. When animating, I used keyframes – having the two bookends of the sequences then drawing the middle, then continuing to work the middles until the sequence was complete. I drew out on paper my whole jump sequence so I could reference it whenever. I originally was going to have 8 different pictures to watch Squiggle jump onto the floor and climb up the bed but was given the advice that doing so was too many transitions and made it too crazy to watch. I, therefore, chopped it down to the four I have: the mug, the glasses, the covers, and the pillow. I enjoyed animating Squiggle as I’ve been drawing him for years and now had the chance to bring him to life. I learned a lot about frame rate, sound timing, and exporting through this process.

Final Animation Documentation || Kevin Pham

Title: Surprise! I’m not black.Screen Shot 2017-05-21 at 3.25.38 AM


Description: I am Vietnamese, but apparently my name and face doesn’t make it obvious.

Collaborators: Huge thank you to Tim Szetela and the Animation class for it has opened up a new medium to me and it is something I am really hoping to continue working with. Special shout out to “sWooZie” and “Stuff By David” channels on Youtube because their styles of drawing and story telling inspired my own aesthetic.
Here are the songs I used for the video. Copyright Free.

Mood Board:

Idea Development: So my idea started with me being interested in telling a story about my life in college. I guess I had always been interested in those vlog style stories and I wanted to do something in the same manner. I knew that I was absolute trash at drawing, but I realized that was actually something that could work in my project. I am a big fan of the ugly aesthetic of terrible drawings as I think the content is more important. The visuals just serve as ways to enhance a story. And I wanted to keep it simple with the drawings. From there I also have been fascinated with the idea of drawing on live videos for a while (big reason why I took the class) so I thought I wanted to try a bit of that. That idea eventually led to rotoscoping. So it became a part for me where I could combine a technical skill I wanted to learn along with doing something I could already do.
As for the story aspect, this came quick because I was thinking about what I wanted to tell that was just short and sweet, straight to the point. I had been getting pretty tan of late so I remembered instances in which I had been mistaken for being black, so I figured why not tell a story that way.
That led me to my final idea of starting off with rotoscoping to signal an animated project was in the works and then animating the story, intertwined with live video of me talking.

Screen Shot 2017-05-21 at 5.41.45 AM

Technical Aspects: For my animation, I worked primarily with Adobe Animate and Adobe Premiere Pro. I also worked with Adobe After Effects. I also used my Canon 70D  and a Tascam DR-40 along with a shotgun mic in order to produce my real time video aspect of the project.
So how I went about it was I first used Adobe After Effects so I could get used to the drawing on video and I wanted to see what it looked like. It ended up working fine, so then I would later move onto Adobe Animate.
For the video part, I filmed my story and then I edited it in Premiere Pro. After that I exported the video and imported it into Animate so that I could work on the animation. I first did rotoscoping with my intro to the project, and then drawing in my animation for the story part. Afterwards I put it all into Premiere Pro and synced it with the audio.

Takeaways: I really wish I had a) more time b) less responsibilities. I wish I had time where I could just strictly work on animating because I have found it to be, while really challenging, quite a fun thing to do. I don’t like having to sink in so much time into something as slow as rotoscoping, especially since my drawings are awful, but it actually feels so good to look at it afterwards. That is something I am proud of, me learning how to better work rotoscoping and programs Animate and After Effects. While AE definitely needs more work, I am quite comfortable with Animate at this point so I am really happy about that. As for future application, this is something I definitely want to stay with and continue working on. Perhaps not animating stories like this, but combining certain techniques and programs and seeing if they can add in additional layers of creativity to videos that I will be producing in the future. I am a video-orientated person and I want to make sure animation is in my future with this as well. Thank you for a great semester.

The Next Station

A video installation about “life review” phenomena based on 2017 Saint Petersburg Metro bombing.
Thank you to free silhouettes pictures on Google and sounds from

7) From the beginning I knew that I want to make a video installtion with a train about bombing but I didn’t really know what to do for sure and what will happen at that moment. After talking with my friends about it, I got an idea from one friend that everything is stopping and that moment and becomes slower. Another friend said maybe all the life of the person flashes before his/her eyes. I decided to go with these ideas.

I knew from the beginning that I would use black background and black silhouettes because I like how black screen merges with a wall in a classroom almost becoming part of it. The most difficult part was to actually design the train, making  desicions what things to hide and what things to highlight, I wanted to make it look minimalistic and happy in the with a design I chose of only white windows, which are adopted to Saint-Peterburg subway cars’ style. In the beginning I wanted to install my project in the small booth, projecting  on all four walls, so the train will move from one wall to another around the viewer in the circle but I decided to get rid of this idea, not being sure that I will have time to build a booth. After lots of designing decision I made decision to put projectors linear near each other, to represent 3 carriages of the train, with emphasize on the middle on, so that after the bombing it will be clear that the middle carriage  is broken and not available anymore and the other two are still moving.



I designed the background and the train in the Illustrator, I downloaded some silhouettes from google free sources and some I drew on my own in Photoshop. Thought the process I  always went to 9th floor to see how everything would look on the projector. Broken and falling window I also separated into layers  in Photoshop. I composed everything in Adobe Aftereffects, using different tools and effects. The most used tools were position and puppet tool, which is really hard to control and I spent a lot of time on it, and I think I could do it somehow easier and faster. Then I composed sounds, trying to find the most interesting sounds for subway announcements and different sound effects. After that I finally got three projectors and tried setting up two of them to see how it would look together. There was a problem that one projector in the end was not the same as other two and I wasn’t sure how to play all of them at the same time.

r_YiJvRSCVw z7VjZCnAMSw ZHFb_sfJ09A
I learned a lot about animation in this class and I’m so happy I got a chance to take it in the end. I learned many different animation tools and techniques. I did’t use them all in my final project because I wanted to focus on learning Adobe After Effects. As for the final project itself I learned how to not to give up on original idea even if you are experiencing difficulties and stay with it (there were few times I just really  wanted to change idea). Also how to be able to simplify original ideas based on equipment and time available. I learned that even 2 mins can require looots of work. I’m happy with what I got in the end and I only wish I could make it longer if I had time. This class will definitely be useful for my internship in Moscow with light shows and interactive installations, I’m so happy I learned basics of After effects and I wanna learn more of it this summer. Thank you so much to Tim and all the classmates whose amazing work helped me to push myself harder.



Animation Week 14: Final Project Documentation (Szetela)


City Life






Link to Youtube


The final project City Life describes a world where organs become normal parts of the city. The main character walks through the city and interacts with those organs in a peaceful way.


All the sound effects come from

The background music in the scene of claw machine is <오락실> by V.A..

Link to Moodboard


My original story was about an illustrator whose drawings became alive. Later I found that my classmate had a similar idea, so I planned to make it weirder. In my moodboard I mentioned that I was so impressed by the scene of eyes appearing on the wall in the Japanese cartoon Hell Girl that it became the primary concept of my project. Based on this setting, I added more organs to my story, and distributed them into the city. So generally my animated film was made up of several independent scenes and each one had an organ. However, later when I tried to combine those pieces, I had trouble in transitions. In the end, I decided to set up a main character and let her connect the story line. Also, in course of arranging the scenes, I adjusted some organs depending on my inspirations. I replaced mouth with brain because I felt that a story of brain might be more interesting and meaningful.

Materials /  Technology

Basically, I drew everything with the digital tablet in Adobe Photoshop, put frames together in Adobe Animate, and finally combined them in Adobe After Effects. For example, in the scene of the girl walking past eyes, I had five separated elements: the walking girl, three eyes, and the background. In terms of the walk cycle, I drew each frame of the movement in Photoshop, and imported these pieces of work to Animate so that they could become a video. Then I put the loop of the walking girl into After Effects, and created the feeling of walking by adjusting the xyz position and scale. Another typical example was about the claw in the claw machine. I divided the claw into four components: top, middle, left half claw, and right half. They were drawn as different layers in Photoshop, and I used After Effects to control each layer’s movement.


The most important lesson that I have learned from the project is choosing an appropriate method. Given a second chance, I would use rotoscope instead of creating everything by myself. Rotoscope is efficient as well as practical. The way in which I created my project is quite inefficient, and even restricts the development of the story. Once if I want to make any changes, I have to repeat the changes in three software, and cannot see the outcome directly. Moreover, I have learned that a good idea is worth more. Compared to my classmates’ works, I feel that good animated films always have obsessing stories or strong emotions. It encourages me to consider the balance between “what I want to convey” and “what audience want to see”. Such kind of profound thinking will probably help my future work.

Animation Final Project Documentation (Tim Szetela) by Zersh

1) Title: Adventure in Shanghai
2) Screenshot:屏幕快照 2017-05-20 下午9.32.08screenshot
屏幕快照 2017-05-20 下午9.33.48
3) Link
4) Description of the project
My animation is an introduction to some interesting feature of Shanghai but from a different and special perspective and narrative. It represents the perspective of someone who first visits Shanghai and shows some common encounters he would face. In my animation, I showed four typical cases about the delicious food, the incomprehensible Shanghainese, the terrible traffic, and the beautiful skyline.
5) Credit
Humen Sound and Authorization:
Girl sound credit to Yunling Hu
Other Music Music Resources:
6) Project Development Site
7) The development of concept/story/idea
Initially, my idea about my final project animation is to combine the reality and my animation because I really enjoyed the harmony of the colors between them.
I changed my idea when I was doing my Street Food project and visiting Wujiaochan. I found many interesting things in Shanghai, and I imagined the narratives when someone is first visiting Shanghai. What would he do, what would he eat, where would he visit, what interesting things would he encounter. So I wrote down the narratives I wanted to show to my audience, it is a travel narrative, but it is also a travel guide to those who first visit Shanghai.
8)The materials/techniques/technology I used
Basically, I used 5 Adobe Softwares: Photoshop, After Effect, Premiere, Animate, Illustrator. For most of my animation, I used After Effect and Animate.
The problem I faced when I was finishing my rough cut is the pixelation and the frame size. I set up the frame size as 1600*1200 as the ratio for 4:3. So as you can see I made the rough cut in 1600*1200. So for the final project, I resized all the scenes and converted them to 1920*1080. So for most of my scenes, I drew the characters and stuff in the Animate and then used the AE to add motion in it. Also for the background image, I used Photoshop and Illustrator to alter the color and style of the image.
9) Reflection and how this could influence future work or projects 
IMA is a very collaborated major, not only with the classmates and teammates in the same class but also with the other classes within the major. I got this idea because as I stated, my final project idea was inspired when I was doing my Street Food mapping project. I think this is so common in the IMA field because all of the classes I took were so creative and inspirational.
From my perspective, this class is the most interesting IMA course I took and I really learned a plenty of techniques and software. It is helpful for my future animation, design, and other projects. At the beginning of this course, I thought making animation would be easy with these advanced technologies in Adobe, however, throughout the process during the semester, I gradually found out what “make an animation” and how hard it is to alter every detail including the motion, the background image, the color, the music, the match….. to make a perfect animation. I would definitely take more courses related to animation in New York, and I want to continue my career in animation!!!