BYU Animation continues to climb mountains

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The lights dimmed in the Animation Theater and the student creators began to watch their handiwork on the big screen. Garrett Hoyos, the Senior Producer on the student film, began to point out frames that needed different lighting and rendering.

Throughout the five-minute short, laughter from the audience rarely ceased. The new student film was coming together beautifully.

Although Ram’s Horn has improved since, comments from the students made it clear they knew it was “crunch time.” Hoyos let everyone know that their Saturdays from now until the end of the semester would be spent in the animation lab. He assured that everyone would eventually end up with a job if BYU Animation keeps up its reputation with this film.

Hoyos talked to the group after the private viewing about improvements to be made, and moments later the students were off to do just that. In the Talmage lab, every computer was working on perfecting something different – how the snow moved, the way the helicopter blades rotated, the skin of one of the characters and more.

The BYU animation team continues to work hard on a new project after winning a Student Academy Award for its short film “Owned” over the summer.

The new project, titled “Ram’s Horn,” has been in production since January. The project is scheduled to be finished in January 2015.

Garrett Hoyos, who textured Jeff in “Owned” and is the producer of the current senior film, has given a few hints to its plot.

“It’s about a mountain climber named Andre, whose goal is to get to the tip of an enormous mountain in the shape of a ram’s horn. At the top of the mountain, a protective father ram is the only thing keeping the climber from reaching his goal — to get to the tip,” Hoyos said.

On the blog dedicated to the project, posts show gradual changes to the set and subjects as well as inspiration behind the movement for one of the main characters. One post is entirely filled with videos of baby goats hopping.

Hoyos shared a two-second clip of the project in progress that features characters Papa and Rambo. Advice from the “Director’s Notes” portion of the blog describes an attempt to make the film more toon-like than anything they’ve done before.

“We would like to suck a little more ‘Disney’ out of the designs and inject a little more ‘Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs,'” the blog reads.

Hoyos believes this approach will take animation at BYU to a whole new level. “For the first time, we are creating a short film that feels a lot like the classic Looney Tunes cartoons that hopefully tug at your heart,” he said.

He also spoke in behalf of the team when he described the overall experience so far.

“It’s been an awesome experience for everyone. We are learning to be better people and better filmmakers. It’s a ton of work, but we know it will pay off in the long run,” he said.

The BYU Center for Animation may be on its way to receive more awards for its original short despite a ram or two in its way.

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