3. SENIOR THESIS - PROJECT GOALS - THESIS vs RESEARCH
THESIS YEAR GOAL
"To graduate with a comprehensive project and a professional portfolio that best reflect your areas of expertise."
TWO PROJECTS - THESIS PROJECT & RESEARCH PROJECT
Over the course of your senior year each of you will participate in two projects.
A comprehensive "Thesis Project" will be the central focus of your senior year, while a smaller "Research Project" will be included as creative break from production duties, and ideally, an opportunity to rejuvenate creativity and bring some diversity to your portfolio.
The content and form of these projects should reflect each animator's proven track record and personal interests.
1. THESIS PROJECT
Thesis Projects are designed to create showcase-worthy animation at a near-professional level. They must be a comprehensive work of art with potential for festival entry, gallery exhibition or pitch competition.
The Fall Semester "Green-light" Process is designed to support concepts that show particular artistic merit, reasonable production challenges, and a clear path towards completion. These projects will function in a studio-like environment with some students fully dedicated to the project while others may be brought on in a freelance capacity.
A successful pitch for Thesis Projects must address the following concerns:
1. Compelling Content: What's unique about your particular project and why should we dedicate resources toward it?
2. Clarity of Concept: How well have you thought your project through and does it show in your presentation?
3. Do-ability: Does your pitch reflect a clear understanding of the challenges of your project and have you addressed how you (and your partners) will meet them?
All animation seniors will be required to have direct involvement in a Thesis Project performing as a principle, or supporting artist/animator. While we encourage students to work in small teams to maximize man-hours and creative potential, collaboration is not a requirement. Team sizes can range from solo endeavors to teams of four animators. Teams of three is typically recommended.
Thesis Projects will primarily surface as animated projects executed in a variety of media. Other forms of visual story, interactive game play, and kinetic sculpture may be accepted provided a case is made for their potential success. We are open to see what the future holds as technology and student interest continue to expand our options.
2. RESEARCH PROJECT
The Research Project is designed for students to explore a single area of personal interest unencumbered by production pipelines and group dynamics.
This project may be tailored towards filling out a professional portfolio or creating a low-budget micro-short. For some, the option of freelancing on someone elses Thesis Project may sound attractive.
The following options are examples of acceptable Research Projects:
Focused Portfolio Building & Freelance Opportunities: 3D Character Modeling, 2D Character Animation, Character Design, 3D effects, Color Scripting, Storyboarding, etc.
Creative Research: Structured exploration in traditional media, kinetic sculpture/zoetrope construction, Animatic, Design Workbook, web comic, Simple Game dynamics, etc.
Stephan Leeper/Central Michigan University/2023