The Blue Bird


Brief: Create an animation 30 seconds or longer in length exploring experimental techniques or a personal story

Artist Statement: This piece is a visual representation of a bedtime story my mom used to tell me about my grandfather and the duality of his personality. She wanted to show me that even though someone is strong and fierce enough to take a life, they can also be empathetic and be kind enough to save a life. And in keep this balance everyone could, as my grandpa would say, "Leave every place better than how you found it" 

Narrator: Imo Rolfe  

Sound Effects and Software Attribution: HERE



The first round of styleframes where crude, and the 3D renders took 10-60 minutes a frame, but I was determined to get it done. I had never designed a character before, let alone animated one, but I was invested in the story and decided I'd pitch the idea with these frames and figure out the details later.

Process: First animatic

The earliest animatic was a mess. But it got the point across and everyone either loved it or hated it. So I felt successful.

Process: Proof of Concept [ENVIRONMENT and OCtane Render]

In an attempt to address the exceptionally long render times I was facing, I invested in OTOY Octane Render. This allowed me to render frames at 15 seconds to 2 minutes a frame. After this a began my Internship with Hasbro and did not touch the project for three months.

Process: final animatic

This was supposed to be the final animatic, final timing, script-lock, etc... But at my full faculty critique in October of 2016, I was told to make it longer, make some well needed changes to character designs, and to change the ending. So there are some major changes from here on out. 

Process: Sets From 3D:  

Prior to beginning the animation process, and admittedly somewhat pre-maturely, I began rendering my 3D scenes. I knew that I was going to have an uphill battle with character animation, and I wanted to make sure I wasn't wasting time with 3D animation when I needed to be 2D character animating. So during the Final Animatic Process, I rendered all of my Raw 3D scenes and cut them into the final timing. (Except the final scene that was amended in October.)

Process: 50% Animation

We had lots of group critique days. The big one was 50% Animation. Half the project had to be completed. And we where critiqued by all the members of the Motion Design Faculty. These where their notes:

Jill Taffet: "This is a beautiful piece – but still need to find a way for us to connect with it more. Push [the] season change [like] we talked about. Re-edit end scene and cage scene. See Morgan’s notes [on] re-animation and VO, [Also] see Jared’s notes [on] what we discussed [about] opening up [the] edit and making it longer ... [to] help us to connect [with the piece] better.

Morgan Williams: "VO is a bit too dramatic, needs to be more matter-of-fact. Understand it's a placeholder... When deer gets afraid, motion needs to be much more exaggerated. Wounded bird animation looking much better, but needs more small, tight shaking motions rather than constant large movements. Big movement, hold and shake, big movement, hold and shake, etc."

Jared Greenleaf: "Christian, Concept is clear. Recommend looking for opportunities to pause the story, in order to allow the audience to see and feel—the voice over is over whelming and doesn’t give an opportunity to think for myself"


This was an amazing journey, from initial designs, to road bumps like being told to make my bird more demential when I was almost halfway into animation, all the way to the final delivery. I learned so much about 2D and 3D animation as well as compositing. I am proud of every minute detail of this project and I cant wait to see the worlds response. During the process of creating this piece I kept track of my process HERE. There are a few things there that make this page more cumbersome than it already is so if you are interested check it out!