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The Arts Institute: Animated Movie for Nisqually Reserve Nears Completion

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For the past few quarters, more than 25 students in the Animation Production Team class, taught by Roby Gilbert, have been creating an animated children's movie.

"The Teddy Project" is designed to teach urban youth about wildlife and wild places and was organized by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The finished piece will be shown at the Education Center at the Nisqually Reserve near Olympia.

"It's been a really fun project," says student Linda Spain, who has served as the project coordinator. "Animating wildlife is oddly serene. It's a good experience working to put something together with such talented artists."

The main characters were designed by Heather Alling. "It's been fun bringing her characters to life and making them talk," Spain says.


Megan Merrit created the backgrounds for the 150 second flash movie. "It's been fun for me," she says. "I want to be a background artist. It's forced me to do so many backgrounds, I'm getting faster." One animated scene that Merrit worked on had 160 frames.

Another student who says his speed has improved through the project is James Tonjes, who handled sequential coloring and prep work. "What used to take 13 hours, now takes me an hour-and-a-half," he says.

All together, the movie has 26 scenes and should be completed by the end of June.

"I'm letting them run the show," says instructor Roby Gilbert. "They sharpen each other and come out of here with a group project. That's how the industry works."

The clients like what they've seen so far. "We've been really pleased with our interaction with the class and Roby," says Jean Takekawa, the Nisqually Reserve's leader on the project.
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