Video: "World War" student animation by Vincent Chai

"World War" is a fun final degree project from Vincent Chai, a student of 3D animation at University of Hertfordshire. It manages to supersede typically derivative transforming robot kung-fu shorts by having a good sense of humor, which gives it all a bit of breathing room. Plus I like the notion of WWII-era vehicles as robots.

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4 Responses to Video: "World War" student animation by Vincent Chai

  1. technogeek says:

    There’s some good stuff on the rest of that show real too. Worth browsing through.

    We definitely seem to have reached the point where computer animators can mostly focus on telling the story rather than inventing tools and hard-coding every scene. Though I do know someone who is so sensitive at pattern matching that repeated fragments of motion script jump out and spoil the illusion… And some specific effects, such as fire and explosions, are still less than convincing.

  2. Garr says:

    @Technogeek

    Being an animation student myself, I’d like to add my 2 cents worth of comment:

    Computer animators in a professional and large environment always focus on storytelling. It’s only smaller studios where animators have to pick up work normally done by TDs, modelers, or lighting TDs.
    But in this case (this being a student project), it’s basically one guy doing everything, in a very limited time frame. Barring the audio aspect, the student has to complete everything from modeling, texture, lighting, rigging and animation of the whole scene by himself.
    I know from my own experience that you can plan ahead as much as you like, you always end up rushing to meet the deadline. You learn to estimate work load and -time by experience, so a student always ends up miscalculating. So all the nifty little things you wanted to add later in post simply get done sloppier, easier, less detailed and most importantly: faster.
    That is probably why the “special effects” here looked little convincing, which is totally OK. Depending on how specialised his course is, tutors will focus on the animation part of his work, which is quite good for a student. Even the modeling and lighting looked good for the most part. And while there are tons of other student work out there that look superior, are far better animated and what not, this one had a really nice, short and up to point story to tell. The pacing wasn’t perfect, but the poìnte was quite good.

  3. technogeek says:

    #1: Of course I meant “show reel”. Fingers are sometimes faster than the mind…

    #2: Actually, my comment re effects was intended to refer to the pro efforts. There’s one particular explosion, for example, which is so recognizable (and recognizably fake, when it’s used in a live-action film) that it could almost be that animation studio’s trademark.

    But, yes, my other point was that the student efforts are Pretty Darned Impressive. Remember when we were all blown away by Luxo Junior because it was not only good rendering and motion scripting but decent storytelling? Even a student can now attempt far more complex graphics, and can do so while having enough attention to spare to do something interesting with the script. We’ve come a VERY long way in the last 20 years, and while part of it is faster machines the other part is more sophisticated (and easier to use) software.

    I’m envious.

  4. technogeek says:

    #1: Of course I meant “show reel”. Fingers are sometimes faster than the mind…

    #2: Actually, my comment re effects was intended to refer to the pro efforts. There’s one particular explosion, for example, which is so recognizable (and recognizably fake, when it’s used in a live-action film) that it could almost be that animation studio’s trademark.

    But, yes, my other point was that the student efforts are Pretty Darned Impressive. Remember when we were all blown away by Luxo Junior because it was not only good rendering and motion scripting but decent storytelling? Even a student can now attempt far more complex graphics, and can do so while having enough attention to spare to do something interesting with the script. We’ve come a VERY long way in the last 20 years, and while part of it is faster machines the other part is more sophisticated (and easier to use) software.

    I’m envious.

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