The Empress Tree
A small empress tree acrobatically seeks sunlight.
Festival Anim!arte 2015
Minnesota Electronic Theater 2015
Best of Design UW-Stout 2015
Chippewa Valley Film Festival 2016
Color and Imagery
The Empress Tree begins in a heavy, stifling landscape. Similarly, the dark grays and uninspiring browns have little room to breathe. Drawn upwards by sunlight, our character climbs to naturally brighter colors and more spacious environments. Her energy in movement quickens to match the changing scenery. Finally, she launches herself into the warmth of rosy clouds and teal sky.
The goal of the Empress Tree was to create complex, athletic 3D character animation. I approached the project holistically, starting at character design and story boards to modeling, rigging, lighting, and rendering in Maya, then finally creating film festival submission materials and social content. After sculpting the environments, the character was rigged to allow a high range of motion and a dynamic head piece to add both follow through motion and a sense of material and structure for the character's body.
The character's motion is inspired by gymnastics and dance. This posed the (exciting!) challenge to express emotion through powerful body movements, which was and remains one of my absolute favorite types of animation to achieve.