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The Future of Animation: Six SCAD Picks

University’s diverse and innovative undergraduate and graduate short films were produced by teams of up to 12 students collaborating on writing, directing, animating, designing, editing, scoring and voice acting.

The next generation of animation is here. Check out six new projects by SCAD 2021 animation alumni. From the son of a lumberjack making friends with an imperiled woodpecker, to a new kid in town boogieing with neon fembots, and a pirate teaching his next of kin how to drive the ship, these character-driven narrative shorts represent animated storytelling at its best.

As SCAD animation department chair Chris Gallagher says, “At SCAD, we’re serious about animation. When our students graduate, they understand what a true range of careers in animation can mean, and how to make their passion their professional reality. It’s a joy to see this exemplary student work and know that we’re embracing incredible diversity among both the students and the work itself.”

SCAD is recognized as a Toon Boom Centre of Excellence, and its alumni are employed at studios including Cartoon Network, Pixar, DreamWorks Animation, Walt Disney Animation Studios, and Warner Bros. SCAD animation students embrace a wide range of animation styles (2D, 3D, stop-motion) and techniques including digital modeling, rigging, lighting, and look development.

These undergraduate (B.F.A.) and graduate (M.F.A.) projects were the work of collaborative teams of up to a dozen SCAD students, including directors, writers, animators, character designers, compositors, storyboard artists, world designers, illustrators, sound designers, and voiceover actors. Many of these films will soon make the rounds at film and animation festivals.

SCAD is proud to present these six projects of outstanding merit by 2021 animation alumni.

Project: Treasure
Director: Xuanbei (Bai) Huang (M.F.A., animation, 2021)

Description: Treasure is a 3D animation that tells the story of Jun, a male character in a virtual game world, who goes through many obstacles to obtain special in-game awards. Encounters with game glitches that resemble his daughter's favorite objects help him realize that the real treasure is not virtual, but the love of his daughter and his everyday life.

Project: The Lumberjack and the Woodpecker
Director: Connor J. Bushoven (B.F.A., animation, 2021)

Description: The Lumberjack and the Woodpecker is a CG animated short that explores the relationship between Forrest the lumberjack and his son Woody. On a daily venture into the pine forest, Forrest spies a magnificent cedar tree that he decides to chop down. Meanwhile, Woody encounters Chip, a frightened woodpecker chick who has fallen out of his nest. Woody realizes that the tree Forrest wants to cut down is the same one Chip and his family live in, and he becomes determined to save Chip’s family just as the tree begins to shake.

Project: Peach!
Director: Christina Su (B.F.A., animation, 2021)

Description: Peach! is the story of Kiki, an energetic little monkey who finds a giant peach and is eager to taste it. When a sudden shake makes him fall into a dark forest, Kiki chases after his peach. Kiki soon finds a giant panda, Tai, standing over him. Kiki scrambles to run away, but with Tai following closely behind, it becomes harder and harder for Kiki to enjoy his peach.

Project: Epochal Juice
Director: Aly O’Neal (B.F.A., animation, 2021)

Description: What if the most important moment of your life was your most embarrassing one? Kimathi is an anxious foreign exchange student, new to this city and his friend group. All he wants to do is prove he is cool enough to hang. As they walk through the city, Kim spots an ad for Epochal Juice, the fortune-telling VR juicery that shows your most defining moment "through the sip of a straw." This leads to a nightmarish trip that may or may not have some traumatizing side effects for our poor protagonist. The film uses bright, supersaturated colors for a futuristic tone.

Project: Timmy’s Monster
Director: Agnes Ho (B.F.A., animation, 2021)

Description: Timmy’s Monster is a 2D animated short that takes inspiration from children's novels and the natural world. The story is set in a fictional village where sprout beings are born together with a life-long monster companion. These companions are meant to symbolize a yin and yang connection between two life forms bonded to one another. The film follows a boy named Timmy who, born the strongest and tallest out of his siblings, expects his monster companion to share his same mighty qualities. To his disbelief, Timmy ends up with the tiniest monster possible, and must learn to embrace the consequences of his arrogance.

Project: Pirate Lesson
Director: Sofia Azpe (B.F.A., animation, 2021)

Description: Pirate Lesson is a 3D animated action-packed comedy adventure short that follows a fierce captain commanding his ship into battle with a trusty bird crew. This captain is, however, also a loving father who thinks the battle is a perfect opportunity for a driving lesson for his son, Mr. Meatball the Third. The uninformed bird crew turns to shambles as they put their fate in the hands of an empty-headed child learning the ropes. Together they must survive the chaotic world around them and, even more dangerously, endure the patience of a loving father to his son. Pirate Lesson features 3D characters and environments with a 2D painterly look and effects, and was selected Best in Show at SCAD Animation Showcase Spring 2021.

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Dan Sarto is Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Animation World Network.