Animated Video Production

PICK OF THE WEEK: Invisible (CGI 3D Animated Short)

Blake Harris 08.30.2016

Finding love is hard enough. But when you’re a shy chameleon—who vanishes from visibility whenever you get nervous—it can be downright brutal. Is there any hope? Animators Michael Trikosko and Andrew Wilson aim to answer this question in their charming animated short Invisible, which we’ve selected as our PICK OF THE WEEK.

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The animators responsible for crafting this gem—Michael Trikosko and Andrew Wilson—did so as Computer Animation students at Ringling College of Art & Design. There’s no doubt that this duo is talented—Trikosko, for example, was previously awarded the first ever ASIFA-Hollywood and American Educators Forum Scholarship—but what’s particularly impressive about Invisible goes beyond the aesthetics of animation. Through nimble and nuanced storytelling, the filmmakers are able to create a short tale that captures the ecstasy and awkwardness of being a teen and attending a school dance.

Take a look…

Credits:

  • a film by Michael Trikosko & Andrew Wilson
  • produced at Ringling College of Art & Design (Department of Computer Animation)

3 Things We Loved About This CGI 3D Animated Short

1. Ambience and Authenticity > Look-at-me Aesthetics

When making a film, especially as an animation student, it’s tempting to take the mindset of “look at everything I can do!” In other words, it’s easy to lose focus on story in favor of showing off. But, wisely, Michael Trikosko and Andrew Wilson realize what many often do not: if you don’t have a good story, then people aren’t going to stick around and watch your film.

This is particularly relevant in the case of Invisible because given the story’s conceit—a chameleon who constantly blends away into his surroundings—it would have been very easy (and certainly tempting) to make this film little more than a series of aesthetic pyrotechnics, in which our main character keeps blending in to an escalating array of dazzling backgrounds. But what’s so great about Invisible is that it doesn’t succumb to that temptation; instead, it stays true to the ambience of a dimly lit school dance. And, in doing so, elegantly creates a believable world that earns the trust and engagement of the viewer.

As a result two things happen:

  • we feel invested in the story and characters
  • we (having all been to dances like this) are able to see ourselves in the story

And because of that investment and potential for personal/emotional resonance, a funny thing happens. We become more aware of nuanced moments (and the deft animation that went into creating those moments). To the extent that subtle looks and glances become as powerful and dazzling as any showy aesthetics could be…

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2. Humor and The Metaphor

Because Trikosko and Wilson are able to craft a recognizable and emotionally resonant world, the metaphor—of feeling invisible at a dance; or, really, feeling invisible in a relationship—plays incredibly well. Not only is this skillfully mined in service of the narrative, but that metaphor is also leveraged to find moments of awkward, on-point comedy.

Like not being noticed by a love interest and then watching her walk away…

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Or when you try to ask someone to dance with you but it doesn’t come out as clear (or suave) as you had hoped…

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Or when you take a photo with someone…but end up feeling invisible in the ensuing picture…

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3. The Ending…

This is the right time (and a very clever use case) for aesthetic pyrotechnics!

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Questions? Comments? Contact IdeaBlog@idearocketanimation.com

Blake Harris

Blake Harris

Blake Harris is the author of "Console Wars: Sega, Nintendo, and the Battle that Defined a Generation."
Blake Harris

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