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You Are Not Alone

Yufeng Li,
United States,  New York Pratt Institute,  3D Animation and Motion Arts,  May 15, 2015
You Are Not Alone is a six-minute 3D animation created by Yufeng Li. All visual aspects in this film are made by myself. This is my thesis film and it takes me almost 3 years to finish it.

In the year of 2058, Beijing becomes uninhabitable due to air pollution and sandstorms. People are forced to live underground, including a teenage girl. The girl wants to see her sister working above-ground and she sets out with two robotic friends: an intelligent sports car and a teddy bear. However, their joinery to the ground is not as easy as expected.

  • Animation
  • Compositing
  • Design
  • Editing
  • FX/Simulations
  • Generalist (all)
  • Lighting
  • Look Development
  • Modeling
  • Story Development
  • 3ds Max
  • After Effects
  • Maya
  • Mental Ray
  • Mudbox
  • Nuke
  • Photoshop
  • UV Layout
  • V-Ray
3D Total
  • Film of the Year
  • 2071 Page Views
  • 12 Images
  • May 10, 2015
Story Development:
I spent 3 years finishing this film. However the most time-consuming job is the story development. It takes almost 2 years for me to come up with a clear story. During these days, 16 total-conversion and countless minor tweaks took place.

Characters Design:
There are three main characters in my film: a girl, a robotic teddy bear and an automated sports car. All of them are designed in a realistic style to fit the environment. I don't simply copy many other post-apocalyptic characters design but created my original post-apocalyptic characters.
Actually, the design of the automated sports car took the longest time. This car is built with intelligence and emotion. He is enthusiastic, persistent and born with chivalry. As an agile and deviant character, the design of Angel highly references the Lamborghini Aventador. To give him more personality, I add carbon fiber side blades to his body by taking reference from the Audi R8.

Modeling & Texturing:
I use 3ds Max and Mudbox for the modeling work. Most of the UV maps are created inside 3ds Max. Only some complex objects are unwrapped with UV Layout. I use Photoshop for drawing the textures. I also use Mudbox to directly paint some additional details on characters’ models.
Characters have 3 different versions of “dirty” textures. They appear fresh at the beginning of the film. However, as they travel further in the journey, the girl gets dust on her clothes and the car gets scratches on the body.

I use both Autodesk 3ds Max and Autodesk Maya for character animation. I use Maya for the rigging process and then send the rigged characters back to 3ds Max for the animation work. Most of the character animation are created by using the Biped system in 3ds Max.
I use “Madcar”, a 3ds Max plug-in produced by iCube R&D group for the vehicle simulation animation. However, I still have to animate the vehicle by hand for many stunt driving movements.

I use the hair and fur system in 3ds Max for the hair and fur creation and simulation. For a faster and more stable solution, I also use the cloth system to create “hair cloth” objects and bind the hair splines to the surface of the “hair cloth”.
Some visual effects, like the sandstorms are created with Maya fluid system.

Rendering & Post Production:
I use VRay for the majority of the rendering tasks. Some visual effects and a few hair and fur effects are rendered by Mental Ray.
I use Nuke for some post-production tweaking works such as color correction and details enhancement. I use After Effects and Premiere for the composition work.

You may take a look at my demo reel to see some detailed breakdowns of my film in motion:

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