Date of Award

8-2012

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)

Legacy Department

Digital Production Arts

Advisor

Davis, Tim

Committee Member

Tessendorf , Jerry

Committee Member

Malloy , Brian

Abstract

This thesis illuminates the specific methods undertaken to achieve of a realistic computer-animated creature that consumes light and dwells in a cave. The animation short, Li Fe, contains seven such creatures whose anatomy required various production techniques to achieve a believable appearance appealing to viewers in a strong way. In most animations all areas of production need to be optimized for fast rendering as well as easily adaptable to change. The modeling, texturing, shading and lighting methods for Li Fe underwent such optimization to achieve a truly believable creature. The look of the creatures was made possible by relying on the viewer's real-world experiences with anatomy of both humans and animals. The modeling of the creature resulted in a highly detailed model, which was then optimized with a Zbrush plug-in for efficiency in future phases of the production. The texturing and shading of the creatures was implemented using a multi-layered process to achieve maximum detail and customization when desired. Lighting the creatures employed Maya and Nuke to achieve the controlled look of a light source glowing within. The end result of the methods used was a production that was easily able to adapt to change and a believable creature to which audiences will be able to better relate.

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