In a team of four, we produced this 3D animation as a technical display of skill using Autodesk Maya. This project grew over the course of the semester going through all stages of iteration, from rough sketches, to story board and finally to animation.

software: Maya + Premier Pro + After Effects


The scope of this term project was quite broad. There was no minimum time length, theme or narrative to follow. The only restriction we had was to select "a skill" that we wished to understand in depth. My group was split between rendering and animation as our primary focus so we decided to focus on both options in our short. In order to best display these skills we opted for an easy to model, low-poly aesthetic so that we could focus on animation and laying out scenes. Similarily, our narrative was chosen to provide varied scene types without dialogue. Our target was to tell the story using atmosphere, motion and expression as a true test of our skills.

My Role: As the strongest visual artist in my group I served as the lead storyboard and concept artist. Additionally I was the sole rigger and lead animator. I also assisted in the modeling and rendering of the characters and scenes.

a detail image showing how the lamp can be rotated to form new shapes


Our concept is designed to emphasize the skills that we wished to work on: rendering and animation. By having a character move through several scenes in an investigatory nature we had the opportunity to assemble and render several different scenes that we had tailored to the message. These different scenes are accompanied by the characters emotional ups and downs which we strived to depict through the animation of the character which was a difficult challenge because our chosen character is an inanimate object: a cloud. This means that we had to pay special attention to the rigging to allow the projection of human motion.

I had previously rigged all of the moving characters for the group members using a simple skeleton designed to give the character basic shoulder, hip, arm, and head motion. It was really important to me that we have clean head, shoulder and arm motion in particular because these body parts are capable of conveying the most emotion aside from the face which our character did not have. I animated the first and the final scenes which include the most intimate and emotive shots. I animated these scenes using pose-to-pose animation to ensure that my characters motion would not be stiff and increase his human-like appeal.


Creating The Water Bearers was incredibly challenging due to mayas steep learning curve and the fact that I always underestimate render times. Despite this difficulty, working on this project reminded me of my passion for animation and really inspired me to pursue 3D graphics further. I have learned to love working in maya and continue to work on small models and animations in my own time.


Many of the major challenges that I came across in this project were due to the massive nature of Maya. I spent a lot of time practising modeling and rigging in particular to become more competent with the software. One example in our animation where the depth of software caused issues for me was in making the character's skeleton rig as the character is non-human, but we wanted it to have more human motion. In oreder to achieve this effect I broke the skeleton down and tested different combinations. Ultimately I identified the shouders as being the most important part for achieving human motion as the shoulder often lead movement for the head and arms.

If I could refine this project I would like to clarify the narrative in the beginning of the short. Additionally, I would like to learn how to improve my compositing skills using depth maps and render passes.

an overall image showing the lam in it's entirety an overall image showing the lam in it's entirety