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Short film ‘No Robots’ a 21st century exploration of intolerance

Created in 2010 by co-directors Kimberly Knoll and YungHan Chang, two students at San Jose State university, the short animated film No Robots (the full video included below) is such high-quality visual storytelling, it’s hard to believe it was made by students.

No Robots

“This is my first animation project,” YungHan Chang said in a blog post. The native of Taiwan is studying film and animation at SJSU.

“We gathered a big group of our friends at San Jose State, and together we made this film happen,” Knoll said on her own blog. “It took 6 months to complete.”

Although a director on this piece, her passion lies in drawing the background settings in animated stories – creating the rooms that are filled by the story. ” Unfortunately as a director, I didn’t have much time to contribute much artwork for the movie,” she said.

The one scene she did create was the scene before the final credits. “This scene was the most difficult to color, because I had to make it warm and inviting while sticking with the overall color scheme of the film, green. I decided to go for the blue-green light of the exterior and split compliment for the interior,” she said.

One of the artists who worked with Knoll on the backgrounds was fellow student, Joe Tirasuwan. ” I had a chance to work on the backgrounds of the film. Pencil and painted by myself,” he said, using colors as decided by Knoll. His work, and others’, is included in the gallery at the bottom of this article.

“I was in charge of color and lighting, and leading the over all look of the animation, along with the production designers Tim Tang and Corwin Herse-Woo,” Knoll said. “This was the first time Corwin (production designer) and I had ever done a color script and it was one of the most challenging aspects of the film.”

Being an artist and coordinating a team of other artists presented unexpected challenges for Knoll.

“We created the rough color guides on the top left, and as production began, we realized that the color guides were not clear enough for the background artists. Since we had a few artists for each act, the color between shots were not congruent,” She said. “To tie all the shots together, I painted over each background to clearly define the pattern of the colors and the light.”

David Speakman

David Speakman has spent more than two decades as a writer/editor, photographer, graphic designer and manager of creative teams in broadcast, print and the Internet. His education is in journalism, graphic design, organizational communication and law.
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