First-time animators at Dixie State create short film remotely

ST. GEORGE — An animation class at Dixie State created a short animated film completely off campus as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The film, called The Faux Firefly, was the first film done in a new emphasis being offered by Dixie State: entertainment, arts and animation

This is the first year that the program has been offered at Dixie State. The class, from start to finish, creates a concept for a short animated film in which the students write the script, create characters, and make color schemes, storyboards and settings.

The class works on the short animated film throughout the semester, finishing it before school lets out.

“In the middle of it, we went to spring break and then we never came back,” associate professor of animation and photography Alex Chamberlain, who taught the class, said. “The whole thing transitioned to online. We were meeting twice a week via Skype to sort of coordinate who had what and what everybody’s responsibilities were. It made it pretty stressful, to be honest.”

One of the students in the class, Autumn Hadley, said the class would meet on Monday and Wednesday to coordinate on the project and once they were finished with certain steps, they would move on to the next task.

An animation class at Dixie State created a short film while working remotely as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, St. George, Utah | Photo courtesy of Alex Chamberlain, St. George News

The class completed the film using free software called Blender.

“We definitely didn’t expect it at all so at first we were kind of like, let’s do our homework and then at the end we can put this all together,” Hadley said. “In the middle, we realized we couldn’t so I think most of it landed on our teacher to make sure everything went as planned. It’s also our responsibility too. Our group was very responsible and we made it work somehow.”

Another student, Michael Hoyt, also spoke of the struggles that remote instruction brought to the animation class.

“I kind of liked it because I’m introverted but it was kind of hard to keep up communication sometimes,” Hoyt said.

The student film, The Faux Firefly, can be seen at the start of this article.

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2020, all rights reserved.

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