Graduate Researcher – MFA Thesis Project
Completed in 2012
Maria Palazzi, advisor
Wonder is a short animated film about finding the fantastic within the mundane. It is about creating wonder through imagination and letting yourself believe in the impossible by embracing your inner child. An urban cityscape comes to life as Sage realizes that she, like the rest of us, only needs a small spark to ignite a playful sense of wonder and adventure.
Two- and three-dimensional animation techniques were combined to produce Wonder. Both the cityscape and main character, Sage, were modeled and animated using Autodesk Maya 3D animation software. Textures and outlines were constructed with the intention to simulate a look of watercolor and ink. These strategies included hand drawn textures which switched between light and dark versions, dependent on the amount of light hitting the objects. While the outlines in the set were created using Maya Toon Lines modified to simulate a brushstroke, Sage's outline was created using a secondary mesh with inversed normals, which had more consistent results with organic, moving shapes. The 2D animations were drawn using Adobe Photoshop and a Wacom tablet. Compositing the 2D and 3D effects together was accomplished using Adobe After Effects.
Festival Screenings & Awards
Flickers: Rhode Island International Film Festival | Official Selection, 2013
Ohio Independent Film Festival | Official Selection, 2013
La Femme International Film Festival | Official Selection, 2013
Philadelphia Film & Animation Festival | Official Selection, 2013
Director's Bio - Nikki Lemon
Nikki completed her MFA studies at The Ohio State University's Advanced Computing Center for the Arts and Design (ACCAD), where she earned her degree from the Design Department in Digital Animation and Interactive Media (DAIM) in 2012. As part of her studies, Nikki collaborated as a Graduate Research Assistant on projects that included modeling and animation for 3D projection mapping, and modeling for real-time interactive environments, among other tasks. She has also worked summers as a mentor for ACCAD's Women in Technology animation and game creation summer camps for middle and high-school aged girls. She has also been a student volunteer at SIGGRAPH, and is now looking for positions in layout or previs in computer animated filmmaking.