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The most challenging part was learning how light interacts with AiToon Shaders. I have never worked with that material before in Maya, and so I had to do a ton of research and tests to get the film looking just right. 

Here are some links to forums and example images that I found online which helped me understand it better:

I learned that a lot of the lighting depends on the shader tone ramp. Adjusting the colors and where the gradients start and end was what helped create depth and preserve shadows. I also really learned how to work with the Hypershade and its nodes to control the tonemap ramps. Finding out that the colors on the ramp can be animated was actually really exciting to discover because it gave us more control and added complexity to the scene.

Tools : 
Maya |  Arnold  |  Photoshop

About the Project:

"Flocked" is a captivating senior animation film that entered production during my second year at SCAD. Under the astute supervision of Troy A. Gustafson, a SCAD Professor and former Disney Animator specializing in Special Effects, this project began to take shape.

The storyline of "Flocked" revolves around Aaron, a character seeking solace during his lunchtime, only to be unexpectedly besieged by a swarm of pigeons, confronting his impending demise. Fortunately, it turns out to be just a nightmare, providing a momentary respite for Aaron.

I had the privilege of being recommended to contribute to this project by one of my fellow animation peers at SCAD. This opportunity granted me the chance to collaborate with an exceptional group of animators, texture artists, and storytellers. Working alongside these immensely talented individuals proved to be an invaluable experience that enriched my own artistic growth and development.


My contribution: 

I am responsible for creating two different lighting rigs for the two main moods of the film: daytime (reality) and the nightmare. I collaborated with the texture artist to create a stylized HDR for the sky to match the look of the film. I also created the aiToonShader animation for the mood change in the alleyway shot. I added emission on the large pigeon's eyes so that they could glow. I helped troubleshoot some rendering camera issues as well. 


ai toon ball.JPG


Attribute Editor

Final Thoughts:

For being my first experience working on an animation team for a short film, I really enjoyed it. It was awesome to work on a team and be credited on a film. Long nights of troubleshooting and figuring out the most effective and beautiful way to light this film was very worth it in the end because Flocked went on to win the Bronze Achievement in Animation Award at the SCAD Animation Showcase in 2019. I was very proud that I had a chance to work on an award winning student animation film.  

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