This paper is about the process and creation of my final MFA thesis assignment, a 5 minute and 30 second short animated film titled “Lumens”. This film was primarily animated in 3D and created over the course of two semesters. Lumens is about the journey of an unnamed heroine hunting a creature that swallowed the sun, bringing perpetual darkness into the world. As the heroine travels the dark landscape, she lights up old forgotten lampposts, bringing light back into the world. In the end, the heroine is unable to complete her task and dies in the end, failing to reach her ultimate goal. However, although the heroine had failed, her journey succeeded in bringing light back into the world.
The film is a culmination of skills that I’ve learned as a student at RIT, exploring new methods and technical knowledge on my own and pushing what I could do with the format of digital animation. One of the goals that I set for myself was embracing as many tools as I could to create a project that would help me push myself as a filmmaker. Another major goal I wanted to accomplish was to create a film that would stand out in contrast to the other two I had made previously as a student at RIT, “ILLUSION” and “PRIORITY”, by trying to produce a more experimental film instead of the more narrative driven ones.
The film’s main character and environments were created and animated in Autodesk Maya, while most of the textures were painted digitally in Photoshop and then composed together in After Effects. The sound and music was developed to create a sense of somber reflection and to highlight the loneliness of the Heroine as she travels the barren landscape.
Just like the theme of failure of the film, I do not believe that I reached most of the goals that I had originally set out to accomplish. As time began to run out, I had to abandon the idea of creating an experimental film and embraced a narrative driven story. I had also failed to use a lot of techniques I had learned and tweaked such as the dynamically driven hair and had to remove certain shots to ensure that I could complete the film on time. However, even as I look past all my failures I do see myself growing as a filmmaker as I set out to the next stage of my career as an artist.
Library of Congress Subject Headings
Computer animation--Technique; Computer animation--Themes, motives; Animation (Cinematography); Animated films--Themes, motives; Short films--Technique; Short films--Themes, motives
Imaging Arts (MFA)
Department, Program, or Center
School of Film and Animation (CAD)
Mari Jaye Blanchard
Moreno Lee, Manuel, "Lumens" (2018). Thesis. Rochester Institute of Technology. Accessed from
RIT – Main Campus