Today, Digital Arts student Marie Cheng gives us a behind-the-scenes taste of life from Dodge’s digital suites.  Stay tuned for more updates from her, and for more snapshots of the Digital Arts program as graduation day draws near!


Guest Blogger Marie Cheng (BFA ’15)

It’s almost that time of year–Digital Arts Senior Thesis Night! For me, this screening is a first glance at arguably the most anticipated night of the year for students in our major. As a current freshman, I entered Chapman eager to learn as much as I could about everything digital arts, from art direction, to animation, to visual effects. I had no idea, however, that I would be given so many opportunities to get involved right away.

This past year, I have been mentored by the upperclassmen and professors in my major in order to contribute to these short films. One particular project I worked on was “Lights Out,” in which two soldiers from opposing sides of an ongoing war experience an encounter that leaves them with the chance to end the conflict. The thesis film, directed by Alexander Renshaw and Kyle Storms, is a CG-animated short, with many props and characters, in addition to visual effects and art direction, which required hundreds of hours to successfully tell the story of these two soldiers.

With so many different components of the production pipeline to cover, Alex and Kyle enlisted the assistance of many peers, including myself. Within the first few months of school, I was tutored and taught how to create simple 3-D models in Maya, which were then used as various props and background objects throughout the short. Both Kyle, Alex, my tutor Hunter, and other students were extremely generous with their time, spending hours patiently teaching me the basics of modeling, rigging, and animating.  Take a look at some examples:

Through Kyle and Alex’s hard work and endurance both in their project and in mentoring me through my work, they have been able to efficiently complete their film, and equip me with an invaluable foundation in the technical, interpersonal, and artistic demands of the entertainment industry. Without a doubt, it has been an exciting year of learning, collaboration and storytelling, and I look forward to the day when I can do the same for the future classes of aspiring digital artists.

Come see “Lights Out” along with all the other awesome senior thesis films on Thursday, May 10th, in the Folino Theater at Dodge College at 7pm!

Marie Cheng (Digital Arts, Class of 2015)


Read more about “Lights Out” on Facebook!

Follow Marie’s personal blog, with more examples of her work, here.