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Animators take on 24 Hours Animation competition

12 Long Beach State teams created 30-second animations with the theme “empathy.”

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Animators take on 24 Hours Animation competition

Kim DeLeon, senior pre-production major, and Daniele Reyes-Neyra, senior studio art major, adjust the felted puppets for their stop-motion animation

Kim DeLeon, senior pre-production major, and Daniele Reyes-Neyra, senior studio art major, adjust the felted puppets for their stop-motion animation "Little by Little.”

Emma DiMaggio

Kim DeLeon, senior pre-production major, and Daniele Reyes-Neyra, senior studio art major, adjust the felted puppets for their stop-motion animation "Little by Little.”

Emma DiMaggio

Emma DiMaggio

Kim DeLeon, senior pre-production major, and Daniele Reyes-Neyra, senior studio art major, adjust the felted puppets for their stop-motion animation "Little by Little.”

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With drinking fountains turned off, sprinklers oscillating and escalator stagnant, the only sights or sounds that came from the Long Beach State campus at 2 a.m. on Friday were clicking keyboards and crunching candy wrappers from students in the 24 Hours Animation Contest for Students competition.

The annual competition challenges students internationally to create a 30-second animation from scratch in 24 hours. The theme of this year’s event, “empathy,” was released to students around the world at 4 p.m., when the countdown began.

“It takes the longest time, but [the animating] is the easiest part,” senior animation major Trilina Mai said. “The hardest part is developing and locking down your idea.”

First created by the Director of School of Art Aubry Mintz, the 16th annual iteration of the event now involves 49 different campuses.

The competition was open medium, meaning they can use any program they want, and competing teams of five used animation programs spanning from TV Paint to Adobe Animate. At least one team opted for experimental animation, and created a stop-motion film with felted puppets that took six hours to create.

The third-floor classroom in the fine arts building was covered in textured ribbons, polyfill stuffing, fabric and paint from the stop-motion team. Tables that weren’t covered in art supplies were covered in Halloween candy and snacks.

“We tried to something that would save us time, but would also read well with the audience,”

senior studio art major Daniele Reyes-Neyra said. “It’ll be 180 frames, so two frames per second. It’s not that bad actually.”

Animators must create all aspects of their films from start to finish during the duration of the competition. Students cannot leave campus until the competition is over. No pre-designed characters, puppets or backgrounds are allowed.

“We have polyfill [stuffing] that we dyed with acrylic. It was difficult to make actually, because the paint was not sticking and it got everywhere,” senior animation major Kim DeLeon said. “We’re using it as smoke.”

Their animation “Little by Little” is about the endangerment of bees. Following the theme of “empathy,” teams created concepts that ranged from environmental awareness to embracing individuality.

“It’s exhausting physically, mentally, spiritually,” junior microbiology major Pallas Lim said.

Most teams followed the same schemas when it came to animating. The video concept, character design and storyboarding were finished long before animating began. Many teams included members with diverse skill sets.

“We have someone doing background right now. All of us, we’re doing roughs. Two of us will do clean up afterwards,” Mai said. “[Animation majors] are more common, but we do have some scattered illustrators who enjoy animation but just like the drawing aspect.”

Students worked at a fast pace to create keyframes and backgrounds as they occasionally break concentration to laugh and hug huge cartoonish pillows. Yawns were heard across the room and one student laid in a sleeping bag on top of a table. The resilience of student artists under the pressure of a strict deadline was apparent in the studio rooms of Fine Arts 4.

“The industry is like that, you have crunch deadlines,” senior animation major and lab technician Molly McGrane said. “You have to hit that deadline. This teaches students how to finish a film and meet requirements. You have to work with a team.”

According to Mai, 218 teams in total participated in the competition, a total of 1,090 members. Of those teams, 12 are from LBSU. Students from as far as Germany and Australia animated in unison with LBSU teams.

“People start to slow down, I’ve noticed, around 4 a.m.,” senior animation major and lab technician Debbie Bounnoy said. “Once the sun rises, when people walk around and go outside, people will be rejuvenated, and then it’s crunch time.”

Awards for the competition winners change each year depending on the sponsors. According to Bounnoy, past prizes have included black bags full of art supplies and tickets to the CTN Animation Expo.

The top three Long Beach State teams will also receive in-house awards, which will be presented around 12:30 p.m. on Oct. 10. Submissions usually take about half a week to be judged, Mai said, and the winners of the competition in whole are estimated to be announced that same day.

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