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The Last Lift

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The Last Lift is the result of two quarters’ worth of hard, sometimes grueling work by my Computer Science and Engineering 490 class in 2001.

The UW Capstone computer animation program took place over five months and four courses. In CSE 458 we learned how to use Maya, the industry-standard 3D graphics program used to create the special effects in such movies as Stuart Little and The Lord of the Rings. Some of my art from that class can be seen at my classwork page. Along with it came CSE 490dc, for extra practice with digital character animation. CSE 490ap taught us the ins and outs of the animation production pipeline—i.e., how to develop a story from start to finish. My original film concept’s story reel is online.

In spring quarter, the classes continued as the single CSE 490ca, a collaborative course focused on producing a short animated film. We settled on one of the story proposals from 490ap, and then wrangled it into something quite different from its original form. The central character, an elderly elevator operator, changed from a vindictive old geezer who pushed annoying passengers out the door into oblivion into a kindly soul who perceived people’s needs and always took them to "just the place."

I worked as the reference lead, modeled Jack, the male passenger, and created shaders for most characters’ faces and some of their clothing. Once the characters were rigged and placed in their scenes, I lighted several shots. I also modeled and shaded some props.

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