Animation Students Find Ideal Habitat for Producing ‘Sticky’
A young chameleon is learning how to blend in with his environment in a new short film from UT Dallas’ Arts and Technology (ATEC) program.
Sticky is the brainchild of 32 undergraduate and graduate students who spent two semesters planning, drafting, building and editing the short. The multidisciplinary production team consisted of various types of artists, animators and designers. Overseeing the students were assistant professor Eric Farrar and associate professor Todd Fechter.
“It takes a year to complete a project of this size. We start at zero,” Farrar said. “Students pitch ideas, storylines, and after we select one story to work on, we spend time refining the narrative. The next steps involve building everything from scratch — the characters, the characters’ environment, the texture, lighting. It takes a long time to achieve a final product.”
Farrar and Fechter bring years of industry experience that helps guide the long process. Farrar worked on the films Night at the Museum and The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, and Fechter has worked on the television series The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius on Nickelodeon.
This is the second project that has emerged from the two-semester animation studio course. Last year, students released FrightLite, a film about a boy who grapples to overcome his fear of monsters. This time around, Farrar said the makeup of the students altered the outcome of the project.
“Each class has a slightly different concentration of skills and talents among the students. This year, our animation, the movements, are perhaps a bit simpler, but the look and feel is more sophisticated,” Farrar said.
“The openness of the space invites students to gather on their own to meet and solve problems. People are more likely to run into each other here. The quality of the building certainly adds to the success of our projects.”
Students said the class was centered on building and maintaining positive relationships among one another.
“Just like in any successful studio, this class is all about teamwork, respect, dedication and hard work,” said Huda Hashim, who is pursuing a master’s degree. “When talented students collaborate on the creation of an animated short, you realize that there is always more room to learn and improve to become the best that you can.”
“This class creates an energetic environment for dedicated students to explore and learn new 3-D techniques, and the ability to connect with other students and professors was beneficial,” she said.
Hashim said she is enrolled in the third iteration of the class, which started this semester, to remain motivated and challenged.
While working on Sticky, students were, for the first time, housed in the new Edith O’Donnell Arts and Technology Building. Farrar said the new space provided new places for students to work together outside of class time.
“The openness of the space invites students to gather on their own to meet and solve problems,” said Farrar. “People are more likely to run into each other here. The quality of the building certainly adds to the success of our projects.”