Ever since I started interning here at ASAP I have been part of our Student Engage Committee, or our Student Engagement Team. Everyone in the committee calls it the FUN committee. So while also working on the posts/animation I part take in weekly meetings with either everyone in the committee or just the head of the committee. Which is one of our own advisors Kelly Carmon who has taken on the role of figuring out how to engage our students and lower their stress that can accumulate during the semester. Kelly gave me and our designers the role to design the Escape room that was to happen during our Halloween event. It was our main attraction for the event besides the food. We took on the role of figuring out how to decorate and how to possible frighten 20 year olds. So we decided that we should focus more on the lore of the escape room and the riddles mixed into the escape room. We came up with 12 questions which were rotated based on which group would be attending the event. I used MAYA to create a small version to give an idea of how it should look when we go decorate on the day of the event itself. We used props and turned off all the lights in the basement of our building. Gave each group a limited amount of flashlights. We stood and tried to help our students solve the riddles within the 10 minutes that they were given. By using MAYA to give me an idea of how to light the basement made it perfect for creating the dark areas in the basement. Unfortunately we simply turned off all of the lights and let the students do the work with lighting. The escape room was focused on education while also focusing on Marvel. So the setting and story based around the escape room was Marvel themed, while the riddles and answers were educational while mixing in the infinity stones from the marvel movies. It turned out to be a huge success and our students really enjoyed their time there. So I am glad I was able to integrate MAYA into this escape room. I also dressed up with a plague doctor mask to engage the students and further the idea of the spooky darkness that they were about to enter.
While being the sole animator here on the animation team I realized that its rather hard to get help on certain techniques that I needed to learn during my internship. For example I made a cloud for the Halloween event poster/animation, and it was rather difficult to turn a regular polygonal circle into the shape of a cloud. Now the reason it was difficult is because clouds do not actually have a shape. As drawings people tend to go with a more sphere like shape. Its not a circle but more of a mix of shapes. Its rather hard to describe the shape of a cloud. So thankfully while learning how to deform a regular circle polygon into a cloud turned into a learning experience. I learned I can do it with other shapes as well, but to keep it simple I stood with circle. I asked around to get feedback and I was recommended to put the clouds into the background by making it seem smaller in the space provided. Again being the sole animator and being the only one who uses a 3D space to design things it was rather difficult. I decided to simply make the poster into a 2Dimensional position (the camera specifically) while keeping the rest of the elements in 3D. So the cloud and moon that are in the background are not smaller, but farther. I pushed them back and put the moon on top of the clouds to have a cartoony effect. Again our audience are all freshman students who are still growing into adults. So I am still able to have cartoony effects integrated into my design is not a big problem. This is just an example of how I have to learn on the fly and adjust my projects to how much I know about MAYA. Everyone else on our social media team are our peer mentors and we had a graphic designer that moved to CUNY central earlier this month. So now it is just practically designers with not a lot of experience and myself.
During this time of year it becomes rather hectic here at office according to the advisors. Mainly because of all the students coming in for appointments before the winter break. While that is happening new students who are interesting in joining the program for spring are flocking in as well. So during this time of year it can be stressful, so I have been told. But from what I have seen the office has actually been lively. I do think it is because of the Christmas season and the spirits it brings along. The office has been decorated in blue and white snow flakes all over the halls and the entrance. Which I discussed with my team about using this as an inspiration for the next post I had little time to work on. I have about 2 weeks to come up with a Christmas themed 3Dimensional poster similar to that of the Halloween one I built in MAYA. So by using the office decorations as inspiration I have been working on creating a snowy version of the Halloween poster. While it is not complete, I practically replaced all the spooky parts of the old poster and replaced them with cheery Christmas things. So the pumpkins were replaced with wreaths. I was told to still keep the ASAP elements intact (the logo) I am changing and adjusting the backgrounds and foregrounds to match the season. As our next event is called the “De-stress event”. It is basically to help students relax so that they can properly adjust and study for the upcoming finals.
Some days here at ASAP can be really slow. Nothing really happens during the beginning of semesters since the recruitment period does not begin until December. So during the gap where nothing happens the fun committee is really the main group that handles students. During multiple of our meetings we discuss a ton of ways to get the students engaged. We do this by having an estimated amount of students who we predict will be attending. As well as what food to order for the events. A lot of thought goes into these events. Every detail from decoration to activities is discussed and talked about during these meetings. We tend to have our meetings on Wednesday morning’s. With a group of around 10. 4 to 5 Advisers, our entire social media team, and a couple of the student ambassadors who help out during the event. A lot of the posters and things that are posted online from our accounts are discussed here as well. Especially since we try to get the students who look at our stories and read them to come to these events. So we make posters for them to get interested in the events, as well as engaging the poster to relate to the event themselves. While I have done static images in 3D, I have never done a poster to purposely look 3D like. By this I mean give it a sense of space that it is all on one plain, while also showing 3 Dimensional aspects. So created and rendering out clouds for example. Creating the sense of height and depth in the poster was new for me. While I did receive a lot of input, I am not 100% happy with it. Unfortunately I ran out of time and the deadline was due to hand in this poster to be posted online.
Since the beginning of my internship I have not met anyone with enough experience in the animation industry to call a role model or anything of the sort. Most full time staff members here at ASAP have degrees in education. Most of them have earned a Master’s degree in education which is great listening to stories that involve how they were educated and where they were educated. Most of the staff members here are not from New York actually. A lot of live here now because of work, but for the most part they all seem to have come from more south of the country. So its rather difficult asking anyone for help here at the program. I get critiqued by co workers and adjust my posters and other things I work on by that. I do however seek a lot of outside help for techniques I do not know. A lot of YouTube tutorials on how to adjust lighting properly in MAYA and how to pose characters a certain way. A lot of techniques from MAYA is applied in my actual internship. Every month here at ASAP we host an event for our students. We have whats called a Fun Committee which I have had the opportunity of being a part of. We do lots of set designing and coming up with ideas on how to engage students in a way that is not only educational but fun. Since most of our students are between the ages of 17-22 (Since we recruit mostly freshman students) we have to find a way to stay “hip”. We unfortunately had to skip the November event due to some developments that happened, but the Halloween October event was a hit! We created an escape room and I was a major designer for the way the room would be organized. Which way the students would have to walk and what questions should be asked during what sequence of the escape room. I am also helping with the new event that is happening soon for Christmas. Which is going to be a mash up of Thanksgiving and Christmas together.
Giselle Rodriguez invited to a networking event that is located in Soho. We entered Scholastic’s Big Red Auditorium downstairs. While going down the stairs there’s a large statue of Captain Underpants as well as Clifford, the big red dog. At the end of whole event we met up with Brian Larossa and spoke about how often they do these events throughout the year. This may have been the final one of the year. It was about Designer Ina Saltz regarding her past and her new hobby of photographing typographical tattoos. Ina studied design during her college years and her parents doubted her future because they grew up in a time in which it was seen as not suitable for living to be an artist. Kind of the starving artist idea. We sit down in a large auditorium that is not packed but is filled up quite a bit. After about 45 mins of Ina explain her past and how she has developed as an artist in the industry, she finally moves onto the tattoo’s portion of the presentation. Which I originally not excited turned out to be extremely interesting. She begins by explaining that it started out as a hobby for her and nothing more. But as she grew more interest in different styles and types of typographical tattoos she goes on to say that she remembers a majority of all the meaningful tattoos that stuck out to her and her husband. Unfortunately I cant remember any of the stories of the tattoos as there were so many. After her presentation ended we go on to go greet and speak with one another. I met an elderly woman, her name was Liz. She was very kind and carried out conversation. She was very interested where my college was located and that was how our conversation began. I later found out that Liz has had her own experience in the design industry. At the time I did not bring any of my business cards but I was grateful to meet her, she seems to be a regular there at these events held by sacks. Unfortunately I had to exit the event earlier than expected due to some things needed to be done. But before I left I was able to see Prof. Larossa again. I completely forgot that he actually works at sacks. We were able to catch up a bit, and he was very interest on how my senior project and what my plans for the future was. Again I did have to leave earlier than expected I had to cut this conversation short and then head home.
If I had self evaluate myself while working at this office I would definitely say the amount of work I have been putting into my projects here at ASAP. But not to come off as an excuse I have been spending a tremendous amount of time focusing on my Senior Project final project. Having to make, model, and animate everything for a short is not an easy task. Especially since I am one person, and at a real studios there are separate teams entirely to do these things such as model, and and color and light. Having to do everything myself is rather intense. But the projects that I have handled here are not on such a large scale as senior project. I don’t have the pressure of handling such a large task, as I am part of a social media team and we feed off ideas and give each other feedback to be able to put out the most interesting post’s. So this project in particular is the project relating to our advertisement of our ASAP Halloween event that happened on Halloween day. My job was simply to make a 3D Poster that includes things relating to Halloween and give it a “spooky” vibe. When I thought about Halloween and what is considered as “spooky”, I instantly thought about a semi cloudy moonlight night at a cemetery of sorts. So I sketched out a couple ideas including pumpkins and a requirement was to have the ASAP logo included in the poster somehow. So I simply created giant letters in 3D and gave them the colors that the actual ASAP logo contains. I looked up the RGB for them so I got as close as possible for the colors. The pumpkins took a bit to model as it was my first time taking out pieces of a polygon to give it the signature creepy smile. I finally got the logo and put tons of pumpkins laying around the field, my only problem is that the project felt bland. There was a huge problem and it was that I had no background at the moment. So after receiving some inspiration and ideas from the team I went back and added a couple of large trees with no leaves on them. Just to give off sort of a forest vibe to the project. I also had the issue of lighting and coloring the things that are not the LOGO. So I went for a dirt at the bottom of the floor and a gave the trees a lighter brown shade but not too light. Something about it still felt very off to me about this. So I spoke to a colleague of mine and we were just talking about different things that we see in stereotypical Halloween films and “scary” movies. That same night I started messing with some shapes and polygons in Maya and got this nice long and twisty shape that looked a lot like roots. All I did from there was create more roots and added them to the “ground” plane of the poster and created this really weird living plant idea with it. It worked out really well, the roots were given multiple colors. I originally only had green but then there was too much green everywhere, and I tried changing the tones of greens I was using but it still felt like too much. So I went for some dark colors a couple blacks here and there. It worked out really well and I’d say that Im excited to work on the Christmas poster that is our next event.
(P.S. I DID NOT MAKE THIS THANOS POSTER, It simply is the other promotional poster done by another colleague.)
Today I learned how important it is to see new environments for animation. While the office is not super exciting today, we of the fun committee, ventured out to look at our basement where we will be conducting an escape room for students that attend our Halloween event at the end of the month. Just spending a little under an hour at the basement gave me tons of ideas on how to improve my poster for the event. For now my idea was to have a pumpkin patch around the logo of the program. As well as having stone statues behind and around the logo. I had not considered the significance of actually having more than a static background that does not give depth to the poster. I am now trying to model the back of the poster which is going to be reminiscent of the actual escape room area that is located in the basement.
I do tons of research as to how animators prepare shots for their animation. While animators rarely have to actually model the background and layout a scene, they do go to actual places to get a feel for how humans move around in specific settings. For example, for the filming of Pixar’s Up they actually went to the cliff and waterfall that is shown in the movie. So that way they get the same sense of danger they would like to portray for they characters that they have to animate. Which ties back as to why it was a great idea to go down to our basement so that I can see and feel the atmosphere I would like our students to feel during our escape room event.
Our office is located at 172 pearl street, which is City Tech’s Environmental building. We are on the second floor and for the most staff members, including all full-time staff, wear business casual attire. So for the most part everyone wears pants a button down shirt, or a dress with very minimal designs on them. The most you will see if maybe a floral dress from one of our academic advisers. Everyone in our office does indeed have a desk, or the least share one with someone who doesn’t work the same shift as them. Our academic advisers all have their own cubicles, while our associate director has her own office space. My supervisor being the director of the program also has his own office space, which is frequently being used for meetings. Part time staff are usually allocated 12 to 20 hours a week, while full time staff work 9-5 everyday of the week. I work 12 hours a week, usually for 2 days Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Being a part time staff who is not usually does not see students, I am not required to dress so formal for work. So I am allowed to wear jeans and even sweatpants to work. I do have to be mindful of graphic clothing that would have controversial things on it. I personally do not own anything of the sort, it is the only thing that is not permitted, since it is an office after all.
Our mornings begins differently for everyone in the office. Our academic advisers sometimes have appointments with students who come early in the morning. Students that are part of the program are assigned to an adviser who they will be seeing for their entire associates degree. They would come in and greet one of CA’s who works the front desk and sign in to let the adviser know that they have arrived on time. By this time the adviser comes out and greets the student and guides the student to their cubicle where they have their monthly meeting and speak about the students academics and things of the sort. For everyone else in the office, we usually find ways on how to improve the students experience in the program, as well as everyone else’s experience in the office. So we make signs to make things easy to find, organizing. As well as sending emails to ensure things are being ordered on time. For example water for the office, also the little things we need for our monthly events and our office.