ATEC students have produced “Sticky,” a 107-second animated short film that expresses the circle of life through a young chameleon, a fly and a flower.
“Sticky” is the second animated short film from the animation studio course. A team of 30 students, from the graduate and undergraduate levels, worked on the project.
The original story was conceived by arts and technology senior Adam Nusrallah.
“I pitched it to the university for the animation studio course back in April 2013, and throughout production, I was one among the project coordinators,” Nusrallah said. “We started going into actual production in August 2013, and it lasted two semesters from fall semester 2013 to spring semester 2014.”
The challenge of creating a professional project is what made people want to work on “Sticky,” he said, and the story was short and simple enough for the project to seem feasible.
“I think what attracted (us to) this one was the idea of taking that sort of fun stylization of the toony look of like Pixar and pushing the realistic style,” Nusrallah said.
There was no budget for the film, as students only had to pay for the course. The university provided most of the software through its labs on campus for students to apply their creativity.
The main concentration of this year’s project was focusing on the details of every frame, Nusrallah said. This forced the team to put in a great amount of time for “Sticky.”
“Even though it’s a minute and 30 seconds long, it still took a whole year to create it,” he said.
Students filled various roles, including project coordinators, concept, layout, modeling, texturing, rigging, animation, lighting, compositing, visual effects and sound design.
Condensing a big idea into a short film was the main challenge, said ATEC junior Gabrielle Polanco.
The film starts by showing an animated chameleon walking on a branch. Suddenly, a fly grabs the attention of the creature. The chameleon then attempts to capture the fly with its tongue.
The story ends when the fly rests on a carnivorous flower, and the fly subsequently gets devoured by the plant.
“We had named it the circle of life when we originally pitched it, which was funny because it was kind of a last minute name for us before we pitched it,” Polanco said. “It’s supposed to relate to the chameleon trying to eat the fly, and the fly gets eaten by the flower, so the circle of life.”
Along with learning the skills he needed to make an animated film, Nusrallah said believing and implementing ideas with confidence was an important takeaway from the course.
“I cannot express how much I’ve learned,” he said. “Not just from the class or the professors, but from meeting all the students. It was a great way to network, but I learned more than I have anywhere else just by working with them.”