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Animation of sea turtle

MAS students create 3D animation; bring international awareness to ocean plastics issue

June 22, 2021

Students in the fall 2020 NEWM-N441 3D Team Production class taught by Media Arts and Science (MAS) faculty Albert William and Zebulun Wood built a 3-minute animation of a sea turtle, Mr. Bubbles, based on Herminia Din’s book, “Our Plastic Ocean, Our Clean Ocean.” Din is an artist/author at the University of Alaska-Anchorage, currently living in Taipei, and wrote the book to raise awareness of plastic pollution in the oceans.

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, “at least 8 million tons of plastic end up in our oceans every year  and make up 80% of all marine debris from surface waters to deep-sea sediments. Marine species ingest or are entangled by plastic debris, which causes severe injuries and deaths.”

Team member Alex Nichols—now a senior in the MAS program—was mostly involved in the preproduction phase, working on many of the paintings and textures of city scenes, as well as textures of Mr. Bubbles, the turtle hero of the story.

“Creating a film that tells such an important and urgent story with very talented people from all around the globe, and all in the midst of a pandemic that forced us to work remotely for the entire project, was something to be very proud of, for all of us. It was the first project in my life that felt real and alive, and the first time I could see myself doing this sort of thing every day,” Nichols said.

Earlier, a larger project was initiated by Darrell Bailey, Ph.D., of the Purdue School of Engineering and Technology at IUPUI, in collaboration with Erland Hilden and Despina Moysidou of Gothenburg, Sweden who created a story and composed a musical. Bailey, a founding dean of the School of Informatics and Computing asked William to provide animation based on the story in the musical, which was also incorporated into the N441 class.

Albert said, ”Zeb (Wood) and I incorporated this project into our course to create “Mr. Bubbles and the Tangled Web”, which was a true international service learning project with potential for significant impact.”

“Mr. Bubbles and the Tangled Web” can be viewed here on Vimeo.


Media Contact

Joanne Lovrinic